Megyn Kelly notoriously found herself in big trouble with NBC — and had her low ratings–plagued Today hour subsequently canceled — after she decided to defend blackface during a segment on the morning program. On Tuesday afternoon, “Page Six” reported the former Fox News anchor is close to finalizing an exit deal with NBC. By Tuesday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kelly could be walking away with more than $30 million.
Kelly’s comments were made during an October segment on Halloween costumes, during which the host asked “What is racist” about a white person wearing blackface. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween,” she said on air, “or if you’re a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween.”
Her comments immediately went viral. The now-former Megyn Kelly Today host issued an apology for her remarks, but the damage was done: Her Today co-hosts Al Roker and Craig Melvin publicly called her out on air, and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack formally condemned Kelly’s remarks in a company-wide meeting. She was quickly taken off air, and her Today hour was canceled shortly after.
Meanwhile, the fate of Kelly’s $69 million three-year contract with NBC was still up in the air. Would she remain at NBC in a different capacity? (Kelly had been accused of creating a toxic work environment at the network, and failed to garner big ratings). Or would she leave — but with a hefty payout? On Tuesday afternoon, “Page Six” suggested the latter. Per “Page Six”:
Sources say NBC owner Comcast will pay Kelly around $30 million. She signed a $69 million deal when she joined the network after leaving Fox News in 2017.
A source familiar with the negotiations said nothing will happen until next week at the earliest, admitting: “It’s taking slightly longer than expected, the paperwork is going back and forth.”
Later that day, the WSJ confirmed much of the gossip column’s report, citing “people familiar with the matter” as saying that the deal could come as early as next week. According to the WSJ, Kelly’s deal will likely have her walking away with the full remainder left on her contract — she currently has a little more than half left — which would result in a payout of at least $30 million. Kelly and NBC are reportedly still negotiating over nonfinancial components of the contract, such as nondisclosure and noncompete clauses.
So does this mean Kelly will be going away for good? Nope. “Page Six” reports she is already planning her return to television. “But this is far from the end of her TV career — in the Trump era, there are few broadcasters like her,” a source told the gossip column. “Megyn would likely take a short break from TV and return to cable news ahead of the 2020 election.”
This post has been updated.