Former news host Megyn Kelly has officially severed ties with NBC and salvaged the remaining payments from her astonishing $69 million contract deal, the network reported Friday night.
“The parties have resolved their differences, and Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee of NBC,” the company said in a statement.
Kelly is just halfway through her three-year contract, but NBC has agreed to pay her the remainder of the money, believed to be close to $30 million, according to the network.
Kelly, who moved from Fox News in January 2017 after a headline-grabbing confrontation with Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, never quite clicked at her new network. Ratings were lackluster on “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” and for her morning talk show, “Megyn Kelly Today.” Her multiple gaffes — more appropriate for Fox News — created tensions at her new job.
The final straw was her defense in October of Halloween costumes that include blackface. Kelly said it was OK when she was “a kid” (she was born in 1970) to don blackface — “so long as you were dressing up as a character.” It was also acceptable, she believed, when “Real Housewives of New York” reality star Luanne de Lesseps wore blackface as Diana Ross for an episode.
As part of her NBC deal, she has signed a “non-disparagement” clause limiting what she can say about NBC, according to CNN. But she didn’t sign a non-compete agreement, according to People, which would have barred her from working for a competing network.
Roker, Craig Melvin, Dylan Dreyer and Sheinelle Jones will now officially fill the third hour of the “Today” show created when Kelly’s program was axed, an NBC source told People magazine.
Kelly clashed with Trump during a debate in 2015 among candidates for the Republican nomination for president.
Kelly, one of the moderating journalists, grilled Trump on his disparaging comments about women, noting he had called them “dogs,” “fat pigs,” “slobs” and “disgusting animals.”
“You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ [that] it would be a ‘pretty picture’ to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Kelly asked.
Trump responded: “I don’t frankly have the time for total political correctness, and to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”
He later lashed out at her. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her — wherever,” said Trump. He also later disparaged her professionalism and called her a “bimbo.”
The controversial blackface remarks were among several racially insensitive comments by Kelly at NBC, including her insistence that Santa Claus and Jesus are “white.”
She also once said that women “want to be fat-shamed” to help them lose weight. She later apologized for that comment.