Megyn Kelly reportedly wants Bill O’Reilly money to sign a new contract with the Fox News Channel.
The Kelly File star supposedly earns $15 million per year and is seeking an approximately $5 million bump in pay, at least according to a Wall Street Journal report about the contract negotiations.
After 12 years on FNC, the ex-corporate lawyer’s contract expires next summer, but CEO Rupert Murdoch has signaled that he is willing to move on if need be, the WSJ noted.
“Asked if Ms. Kelly would stay at the channel, Mr. Murdoch said in an interview that she is important to the network and he hopes to get a contract signed ‘very soon,’ but noted, ‘it’s up to her.’
“Mr. Murdoch said he is kept abreast of the talks ‘every minute of the day.’ While he doesn’t want to lose her, he said, ‘we have a deep bench of talent, many of whom would give their right arm for her spot.'”
A rumor floating around claims that FNC would give the 9 p.m. Eastern Monday-through-Friday time slot to feisty Judge Jeanine Pirro, the popular anchor of Justice with Judge Jeanine, but perhaps a more likely scenario is that Kimberly Guilfoyle, also a lawyer/prosecutor and the sassy co-host of The Five, would get the gig, if it ever comes to that.
Bill O’Reilly’s deal is also coming up for renewal, and Murdoch indicated he wants to keep The O’Reilly Factor host in the FNC fold as well. Both The Kelly File and The O’Reilly Factor are ratings powerhouses.
Immediately after the election, Megyn Kelly will embark on a book tour for her new memoir, Settle for Less, which is apparently expected to be a best-seller, although Kelly’s May prime-time Fox broadcast network special Megyn Kelly Presents — which included a then-fence-mending interview with Donald Trump following their feud — significantly underperformed in the ratings, if that’s any indication. She is also scheduled to co-host Live with Kelly! on November 9. Apparently, the book will contain a chapter about the Roger Ailes sexual harassment allegations.
“While few question Ms. Kelly’s interviewing skills, some wonder if her tough persona would translate to the softer touch associated with morning or afternoon television. Her attempt to do a Barbara Walters-type celebrity prime-time special earlier this year was a critical and ratings disappointment,” the WSJ recalled.
On the subject of Trump, some believe that when Kelly accused Trump of misogyny in the first GOP presidential debate in August 2015, it was more about careerism and burnishing her credentials for CNN or another network than a legitimate journalistic inquiry. In the intervening months, The Kelly File has featured a lot of anti-Trump content, including the recent and highly publicized dustup with Newt Gingrich.
As always with these kinds of encounters, depending on one’s ideological perceptions, either Kelly schooled Gingrich or vice versa. Leaving politics aside, neither necessarily covered themselves in glory. To some, Gingrich appeared overly defensive while Kelly came across as too smug, which may explain the uptick on some nights in Trump cheerleader Sean Hannity’s ratings over The Kelly File. Hannity follows Kelly on FNC at 10 p.m. Eastern.
According to Variety, Megyn Kelly did not take offense to Rupert Murdoch’s remarks about the contract negotiations.
“Kelly was surprised by Murdoch’s comments to the Journal, which she read just before going on air to host Wednesday’s edition of The Kelly File, according to a person familiar with Kelly’s thinking. The anchor, this person said, was bemused that the Fox boss would publicly address a private negotiation, but she was not angered to the degree that his comments might influence her decision about whether to remain with Fox News…
“As for Kelly’s future at Fox News, her current contract runs through the middle of next year. At present, she’s in a window that allows her to engage with other prospective employers. Kelly’s representatives at CAA are in the midst of ‘due diligence’ to get a handle on what her options could be if she left Fox News, but are not expected to make a final decision for some time yet, given that she is working furiously as Election Day approaches, and then has a whirlwind of promotional duties for her book. Kelly, the person said, is generally happy with her role at Fox News but is also aiming to find a way to spend more time with her children. Moreover, she is realistic about the limits of being able to chart her own course at a rival news outlet or pull in the same salary elsewhere that Fox appears prepared to offer.”
In the aftermath of the controversial Gingrich interview, conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin — ironically a former member of the #NeverTrump cohort — accused Megyn Kelly of being “out of control” and auditioning for CNN, Good Morning America, or the Today show. He also scolded her for alleged attention-seeking by going on The Howard Stern Show when her career was just getting started. Levin claimed that the Fox News Channel was “imploding,” in part because Murdoch’s two sons and heir apparents are politically liberal.
Murdoch insisted, however, that “were not changing direction…that would be business suicide.”
Do you think Megyn Kelly is worth a $20 million per year salary, which amounts to about a $5 million raise? Who do you think should replace Megyn Kelly if she moves on from Fox News to another TV network?
[Featured Image by Victoria Will/Invision/AP Images]