After being replaced by Megyn Kelly for the Today show’s 9 a.m. hour, former host Al Roker will be returning to the table. TMZ reports that NBC is going back to the format that it used prior to bringing in Kelly, which means existing network talent will host the hour. Al Roker, who used to host that time slot, will be a part of the lineup that replaces Kelly.
Just over a year ago, Roker, Dylan Dreyer, and Sheinelle Jones toasted to their last show together, literally handing over the reins of a horse they brought on stage to Megyn Kelly. The trio remained a part of the show but was no longer part of the trumpeted third-hour slot.
TMZ says that Roker was “bitterly disappointed but still gracious.”
Fast forward a year, when Megyn Kelly created an outrage that was met by boycotts and an outcry from audiences. Kelly was fired from NBC after she made offensive comments about wearing blackface for Halloween. In a discussion between Kelly, Melissa Rivers, Jacob Soboroff, and Jenna Bush Hager, Kelly asked why it wasn’t ok for someone to dress in a costume that featured blackface.
“But what is racist? You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on white face for Halloween,” she asked the panel. “That was OK when I was a kid, as long as you were dressing like a character.”
Roker was among the critics responding to Kelly’s comments, per the Inquisitr.
“The fact is, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the county. This is a history, going back to the 1830s [with] minstrel shows. To demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right. I’m old enough to have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters just magnifying the stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the big problem is. … No good comes from it.” Roker said. “It’s just not right.”
The host has also continued to battle with Twitter commenters who are defending Kelly’s comments.
The original Amos and Andy, Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden in a composite publicity photo pic.twitter.com/uqd5dKxyoX— Al Roker (@alroker) October 24, 2018
Kelly, who is still in a $25 million-a-year contract with NBC, is currently in the process of negotiating a deal to leave the network. She is asking $50 million to settle.
For the time being, Roker, along with Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Craig Melvin will lead the 9 a.m. hour. The show’s third hour remains a work in progress, however. Kotb told audiences on Monday that the show is starting “a new chapter.”