‘Today’ 3rd Hour Opens Without Megyn Kelly: ‘We Are Starting a New Chapter’ (Video)

The show’s 9 a.m. hour opens Monday with Craig Melvin, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker

Last Updated: October 29, 2018 @ 6:37 AM

The “Today” show’s troubled third hour began without Megyn Kelly after the network announced Friday that they would cancel her 9 a.m slot “Megyn Kelly Today.”

In Kelly’s place were three of the network’s biggest stars: Craig Melvin, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker.

“Today as you know we are starting a new chapter in the third hour of our show,” Kotb noted in brief opening remarks before moving onto coverage of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. “As it evolves, we want you to know that the entire ‘Today’ family will continue to begin you informative and important stories just as we always have.”

You can watch the moment above.

It’s unclear whether the trio of Melvin, Kotb and Roker is going to be the permanent fix or just a temporary solution. A rep for NBC did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

The Monday opener comes less than a week after Kelly blew up her show — and likely her career with NBC — by defending the use of “blackface” on Halloween.

“What is racist?” Kelly asked last Tuesday. “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.”

An emotional Wednesday apology was not enough to quell an avalanche of outrage and Kelly was pulled from the air for the rest of the week. Her Thursday and Friday shows were reruns of earlier episodes. Kelly faced some of the harshest criticism in house — including from two of the people who replaced her Monday. Melvin called her remarks “ignorant and racist,” while Roker said Kelly owed “a bigger apology to folks of color.”

Kelly’s ultimate fate at NBC remains up on the air, but she is widely assumed to be negotiating an early exit from her three-year $69 million contract. She is known to have retained the legal services of talent litigant Bryan Freeman as she prepares her departure.