Today Show Addressed Talks Of Megyn Kelly Leaving NBC After Blackface Comments

megyn kelly blackface comments

In the time since this article was originally written and published, NBC has officially made the decision to cancel Megyn Kelly Today, and the time slot will shift back to closer to the previous Today format. NBC released a statement confirming the cancellation, saying this:

Megyn Kelly Today' is not returning. Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be hosted by other 'Today' co-anchors.

Below is the original story from before the cancellation news officially broke:

Megyn Kelly's NBC career was making headlines even before her big move was officially announced. Less than two years later, Kelly may be finished at the network after making controversial comments earlier this week concerning the use of blackface in Halloween costumes. While NBC News has yet to officially comment on the matter, the widespread rumors of her impending exit were addressed on Kelly's tentative current home, The Today Show. Here's was Morgan Radford's plain summation during the segment:

Sources familiar with the situation tell NBC News that conversations have already started about Megyn's exit, the exact details of which remain unclear at this moment.

Conversations obviously aren't indicative of anything permanent being decided, but the signs are almost universally pointing to Megyn Kelly's departure being as imminent as ever. Her inflammatory comments were universally rebuked, and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone at NBC or NBC News arguing publicly for Kelly to remain in her higher-up position.

Considering Megyn Kelly is a little over a year into her three-year contract with NBC News (valued at $69 million), the anchor's alleged exit would likely result in a pretty major payday. Had she been fired for criminal charges, that'd be one thing, but hand-tying situations like this don't often leave much room for networks to avoid paying out a hefty severance package.

Financial details of that kind have yet to be confirmed. CBS Detroit did report that Megyn Kelly had parted ways with talent agency CAA, and that she has brought attorney Bryan Freedman in to handle the proceedings. So that will possibly play a role in the deal being made, and may speak to how long those conversations could last.

You can watch the Today segment below.

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On Thursday morning, NBC News announced that Megyn Kelly Today tapings wouldn't be happening for the rest of the week, which already wasn't a positive sign for her return. Repeats aired during the telecast's time slot on Thursday and Friday.

If Megyn Kelly does go through with NBC meetings execs on Friday to discuss her future, then audiences can probably expect for next week's Today episodes to follow suit with repeats. Alternately, Today Show producers may spend the weekend seeking out potential guest replacements to take over the time slot until a more permanent solution arrives. There is no shortage of talent across all of Today's hours, so perhaps Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford's fourth-hour slot will expand to two hours while things are resolved behind the scenes.

Once it seemingly became clear that Megyn Kelly's days at NBC were numbered, some speculated that she would return to her former home Fox News, despite the somewhat non-amicable way she departed. Some from Fox News even offered supportive comments in recent days, fueling that speculation. However, the network released a statement that doesn't make Kelly's return appear all that likely.

We are extremely happy with our entire lineup.

On Wednesday, Megyn Kelly took time on Today to fully address the backlash that had formed against her, and she tearfully apologized for her previous comments. While her "sorry" statement was largely deemed to be a genuine one, however, it wasn't enough to sway those calling for NBC to fire her.

During Megyn Kelly Today's Tuesday telecast, the host claimed to not grasp why blackface was so offensive, since it was "okay" when she was a kid if "you were dressing up like a character." She went on to defend Real Housewives star Luann De Lesseps, who'd come under fire earlier this year when a Halloween episode appeared to depict her wearing blackface makeup for a Diana Ross costume.

Following the airing, Megyn Kelly sent an internal memo to her Today coworkers and staff, apologizing and admitting that her views were not sensitive to the issue. Saying she's "never been a 'pc' kind of person," Kelly called the history of blackface is abhorrent, and said its wounds are "too deep."

Neither her internal apology, nor her public one, stopped anyone at NBC or Today from calling Megyn Kelly out for those comments. Colleague Craig Melvin called her words "ignorant and racist," while Al Roker went on air saying that she needed to make a bigger apology to people of color everywhere in the U.S.

NBC News chief Andy Lack made comments about Kelly's Today segment during a town hall meeting on Wednesday.

There is no other way to put this: I condemn those remarks; there is no place on our air or in this workplace for them.

Megyn Kelly's blackface comments were not the first time the Today host has incited controversy during her time at NBC. From her softballed interviews with Vladamir Putin and Infowars' Alex Jones to other racially charged comments about Santa Claus, Kelly has found herself in the crosshairs time and again. This time, though, she may not find her way back.

This might have been a completely different discussion if Megyn Kelly Today was bringing in massive numbers for NBC, since TV execs have sometimes turned blind eyes to scandals when they resulted in bigger audiences. However, Kelly has not been the viewer magnet that execs were hoping for, and didn't attract the entirety of the large, conservative-leaning crowd that followed her at Fox News. Her time slot is averaging far fewer viewers than the hour had previously brought in.

Speaking of days gone by, some think it's possible that Today will bring former anchor Tamron Hall back to potentially take over the third hour again. Hall had turned many heads back in 2017 when she (seemingly voluntarily) vacated her Today gig following the news of Megyn Kelly's addition to the NBC News team.

Speculation on that front was further fueled by Tamron Hall's social media post about Al Roker's current work in the Waitress musical currently on Broadway. Two former coworkers hanging out together isn't a sure sign of Hall making career choices, but they sure do look happy together again, don't they?

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Stay tuned for more updates from this ongoing situation, as Megyn Kelly's NBC future will surely be figured out sooner rather than later. While waiting to see what happens, our fall TV premiere schedule will shine a light on primetime's biggest debuts and returns.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.