Kelly drew national attention, and criticism, on Tuesday for her comments about wearing blackface with Halloween costumes. Many considered her remarks to be offensive. Now, industry sources are reporting that Kelly’s role with NBC is changing, according to CNN.
The end date for Kelly’s NBC show is unknown.
Kelly attempted to do damage control on Wednesday, starting her show with an apology for the offensive comments. The audience gave her a standing ovation, but others were unimpressed. Now, it seems she’ll soon be leaving the 9 am hour.
Even before the blackface controversy, Kelly and NBC were thinking about possibly parting ways — at least as far as her Today show is concerned. Kelly and NBC execs talked about “winding-down” her portion of the show by the end of the year, according to industry sources.
Kelly’s show on NBC premiered September 2017. NBC signed Kelly on to a huge contract of $23 million a year for three years, for a total of $69 million.
But controversy boiled over on Tuesday during a segment of Kelly’s show when she asked “what is racist” when it’s Halloween. “Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was okay, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character,” she said.
Later, Kelly apologized to her co-workers at NBC for the insensitive remarks. That night, the story was covered NBC Nightly News, and the controversy became a hot topic of discussion during the Today show Wednesday morning.
She opened her hour of the show by saying “I’m sorry” to her viewers. “The country feels so divided and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor.”
NBC News chairperson Andy Lack spoke at a company town hall meeting Wednesday, saying “there is no other way to put this but I condemn those remarks, there is no place on our air or in this workplace for them. Very unfortunate,” according to Vulture.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kelly met with network execs to talk about covering more news and politics and leaving the morning show format.
These stories are more in line with Kelly’s former duties at Fox News. So for now it appears Kelly will remain within the fold at NBC, but in a whole new role for the network.