The exit of anchor Megyn Kelly from NBC News will soon become official, with Kelly receiving a $30 million exit package from parent company Comcast, Page Six reported Tuesday. The anchor had signed a $69 million multi-year contract when she joined NBC early in 2017.
Kelly, who was removed from her Megyn Kelly Today show in October, had announced she was joining NBC in January of 2017. Prior to this, she worked for several years as a legal correspondent — and then anchor — with Fox News, although Kelly didn’t start at NBC until the summer of that year. Her time at NBC was plagued by low ratings for both her morning show and her prime-time interview specials, and came to an end after she defended the usage of blackface in Halloween costumes on the air. This last incident drew sharp words from colleague Al Roker — leading to an apology from Kelly — and led to the cancellation of Megyn Kelly Today in late October.
The severance deal has taken some time to get done, due to the fact that “paperwork is going back and forth,” and is expected to be finalized after the Thanksgiving holiday, the report said. The settlement will head off any potential litigation, while allowing NBC to turn the page and Kelly to eventually move on with her career.
The exit of Kelly is yet another in a long line of departures from the Today Show. Ann Curry was unceremoniously dumped from the popular morning show in 2013, while longtime anchor Matt Lauer was suddenly terminated following sexual misconduct allegations in 2017. Kelly’s former hour on the show — now hosted by a revolving cast that includes Craig Melvin, Jenna Bush Hager, and Al Roker — has improved in the ratings since her departure.
Page Six reports that Kelly is “already planning her return to TV,” although it’s unclear when, or where, that might take place. Kelly’s role in the downfall of former Fox News boss Roger Ailes — and her past feud with President Trump — could preclude her from returning to her former network. It’s also hard to imagine her joining another network morning show. A “senior TV source” quoted by the site predicted that Kelly “would likely take a short break from TV and return to cable news ahead of the 2020 election.”
At any rate for Kelly, a $30 million exit package is an unusually optimal financial windfall at the conclusion of a job that didn’t work out — a stint that ended after less than two years.