After weeks of negotiations, former Today co-host Megyn Kelly is officially leaving NBC — and will be paid out the remainder of her three-year, $69 million contract, CNN reports. In a Friday statement, the network said, “The parties have resolved their differences, and Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee of NBC.”
In October, Kelly found herself in hot water with the network after deciding to defend dressing up in blackface for Halloween during a segment on Megyn Kelly Today. Kelly’s comments immediately went viral and drew criticism online. The host apologized, but it was too late: Her Today colleagues Al Roker and Craig Melvin called her out on air, and NBC News chairman Andy Lack reportedly condemned her remarks in a companywide meeting. She as initially taken off the air, but by the end of the week, her Today hour was canceled.
What followed were weeks of drawn-out negotiations about Kelly’s exit deal. The former Fox News anchor had signed a three-year, $69 million contract with NBC in early 2017. But during her tenure at NBC, Kelly’s show had been plagued with poor ratings and allegations of a toxic work environment. She also notoriously upset Megyn Kelly Today guests Jane Fonda and Debra Messing — and NBC execs weren’t pleased by her behavior. So, the network had reportedly been in talks to end Kelly’s program before her October blackface remarks.
Nevertheless, by late November, it was reported that Kelly would likely receive a hefty payout for the remainder of her contract. On Friday evening, CNN reported that the exit deal had been finalized: Kelly would be walking away with around the remaining $30 million from her contract, according to two sources.
The deal includes a nondisparagement clause, which means there’s a limit as to what she can say about the network. But Kelly isn’t believed to have signed a noncompete, which means she could feasibly be on the air again soon (and she told a TMZ reporter on Thursday that she will “definitely” be returning to TV this year). But CNN’s Brian Stelter notes Kelly does not currently have an agent, and it doesn’t appear that she has a job lined up at this time.