NBC has officially parted ways with Megyn Kelly, the company said in a statement released Friday. “The parties have resolved their differences, and Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee of NBC,” a network representative told TheWrap.
The former Fox News star, who generated negative headlines and weak ratings in 13 months hosting the third hour of the network’s “Today” morning franchise, is expected to be paid out for the remainder of her three-year contract, an individual familiar with the matter told TheWrap. That sum is believed to be between $25 million and $30 million.
Under the separation agreement, Kelly is free to seek on-air work at another outlet immediately, the insider said, adding that the agreement contains a non-disclosure clause identical to the one Kelly signed when she joined the network back in early 2017.
In a video interview posted on TMZ just hours before NBC’s announcement, Kelly said she “definitely” planned to return to television in 2019.
A rep for Kelly did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.
“Megyn Kelly Today” was canceled on Oct. 26 days after she suggested on air that wearing blackface might not be racist in certain instances, like on Halloween. “What is racist?” she asked. “You get in trouble if you’re a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. When I was a kid that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character.”
Almost immediately, Kelly was denounced by the NAACP and dropped by her talent agency. An emotional on-air public apology was not enough to stanch the bleeding from yet another self-inflicted PR wound.
The “blackface” gaffe was one of many for “Megyn Kelly Today,” which launched in September 2017 with much fanfare. The program was beset by low ratings as the former Fox News firebrand struggled to find her softer side as a daytime TV host.
Throughout her tenure, she was unable to fully separate herself from the inflammatory style that made her standout on Fox News. On-air flubs included a defense of fat shaming and asking Jane Fonda about her plastic surgery during a live interview.
Neither moment went over well with her new, female-skewing daytime audience or with numerous critics on Twitter.
However, Kelly did gain some traction with viewers with harder-hitting segments about the #MeToo movement, including sympathetic interviews with victims of sexual misconduct and tough grillings for lawyers representing the accused.
Kelly also had short-lived primetime show that aired during the summer of 2017, which generated attention for an interview with InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones but drew unimpressive ratings numbers.
Though Kelly is not bound by a non-compete clause despite leaving NBC with another year on her three-year, $69 million contract, it’s unclear where she might land next. Her former employers at Fox News have reacted coolly to the idea of Kelly returning.
“I’m a big fan of Megyn’s. I like her a lot. We didn’t want her to leave Fox when she did,” Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said during a conference in November. “Having said that, I’m very happy with our current lineup on Fox, and we won’t be making any changes there.”