The Today Show aired on NBC on Monday without Megyn Kelly in her usual third-hour time slot after the commentator was let go for seemingly defending blackface, E! Online is reporting.
“Today, as you know, we are starting a new chapter in the third hour of our show.”
Last week, Megyn Kelly’s career on The Today Show came to an inglorious end after network executives decided to remove her from the show following controversial comments about blackface. Blackface, for those not familiar, refers to the practice of white entertainers (and in some cases, black entertainers) smearing black makeup on their faces and performing exaggerated stereotypes of African-Americans for laughs.
The practice has been out of fashion for at least eight decades, although it still goes on from time to time. And last week, Kelly defended it. Specifically, she said that, in the context of white Americans donning blackface for Halloween costumes, it’s perfectly OK, according to CNN.
“But what is racist? 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 OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
Kelly later apologized, but her apology fell on deaf ears, and she was relieved of her position on the show by NBC.
Now Today Show producers are trying to figure out what to do with the show’s third hour, which had until last week been almost exclusively Kelly’s. While executives scramble to put together a new concept, the show’s remaining hosts – Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin, and Al Roker – are filling in for her for the time being.
And on Monday, they addressed the departure of their former colleague.
“As [the third hour of The Today Show] evolves, we want you to know that the entire Today family will continue to bring you informative and important stories—just as we always have.”
What the new version of the third hour will look like remains unclear, but the Hollywood Reporter reports that NBC will almost certainly be anchored by one or more hosts already appearing on The Today Show.
As for Megyn, while her role on The Today Show is no more, she remains an employee of NBC, according to her attorney, Bryan Freedman. He says that Megyn and the network are still in talks to map out her future with the company.