Megyn Kelly “whitewashing” claims have erupted since the reported cancellation of Al Roker and Tamron Hall’s 9 a.m. hour of NBC’s Today show. Tamron Hall left the network upon learning that her segment of Today would be axed to make way for Kelly to host.
According to Hollywood Life, NBC has responded to the searing criticism that the arrival of Megyn Kelly means they’re “whitewashing” their cast. The National Association of Black Journalists released a long statement on its website chastising the network for eliminating Roker and Hall to replace them with a white woman.
“NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing,” the statement read in part.
The NABJ asserts that the co-hosts should be getting “praise, not punishment” for Today’s high ratings.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 2, 2017
The network reacted to speculations that Megyn Kelly’s arrival at NBC and the rumored elimination of the 9 a.m of hour Today equated to “whitewashing.”
“NBC News has a long and proven history as an industry leader in newsroom diversity,” the statement read. “We will continue to engage in the running dialogue we’ve had for many years with the National Association of Black Journalists and other advocacy groups to advance those goals.”
NBC chairman, Andrew Lack, has offered Megyn Kelly three opportunities at the network; Kelly will host her own daytime show with an emphasis on news and discussion, she’ll anchor an in-depth Sunday night news program to rival 60 Minutes, and will helm breaking news coverage.
There hasn’t been an official announcement about Kelly taking over Tamron’s spot during the 9 a.m. hour of Today, but Roker continues hosting the broadcast. He did react to his co-host’s sudden departure on February 2.
“As some of you may have heard by now, our good friend Tamron Hall has decided to leave NBC News,” Roker said. “Personally, Tamron has been not just a co-host here on Today’s Take for the past three years, but a good friend to not just me, but to all of us here, and we want to wish her nothing but the best, much continued success and cannot wait to see what her next chapter is.”
A source told People magazine that Hall was offered a lot of money to stay, but turned it down. The “whitewashing” allegations may seem more valid given the fact Hall was willing to bolt. Another source told the magazine that “there’s bad blood” over the shakeups unfolding.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 2, 2017
Several reports published claim Megyn Kelly’s presence at NBC has left the network’s anchors feeling threatened. Among the most prevalent rumors out there is Kelly will anchor alongside Matt Lauer, replacing Savannah Guthrie on Today. The network has already debunked those rumors, stating that Guthrie is staying put.
“We just signed Savannah to a massive deal that is longer than Megyn’s,” a high-level source at NBC told Page Six in January. “A lead anchor role at Today isn’t part of the conversation for Megyn. The goal was simply to get someone of Megyn’s talent and caliber through the door at NBC. We have not made a decision on her daytime slot. It is being discussed.”
If it’s true Megyn Kelly will replace Tamron Hall and Al Roker’s hour of Today in the fall, then that part of the statement is contradictory.
There are also rumblings that NBC is aiming to go in a more conservative direction hiring Megyn Kelly. They also hired her former Fox News colleague, Greta Van Susteren, who appears on MSNBC’s For the Record.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter]