Megyn Kelly will not appear on NBC show Thursday amid reports of exit deal

Megyn Kelly will not be appearing on her NBC show on Thursday, two days after the host's controversial comments about blackface as a Halloween costume drew stinging criticism from inside the network, according to multiple reports.

Two sources close to the situation tell The Hill that NBC and Kelly are working on an exit deal. The negotiations come less than two years after Kelly jumped from Fox News to NBC News in January 2017.

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Kelly sparked criticism Tuesday when during a panel segment on her show, "Megyn Kelly Today," regarding Halloween costumes, she said dressing up in blackface was considered fine when she was growing up “as long as you were dressing like a character.”

“You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween,” Kelly said. “That was OK when I was a kid, as long as you were dressing like a character.”

Kelly went on to point out that “Real Housewives” reality star Luann de Lesseps once dressed up as African-American signer Diana Ross becuase de Lesseps wanted to “look like Diana Ross for one day.”

“People said that was racist and I don’t know, I felt like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross?” Kelly said on Tuesday. “She wanted to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween.”

Guest panelist Jacob Soboroff, a reporter for NBC News, responded that he hadn't seen de Lesseps's costume of Ross but that "it sounds a little racist to me.” 

Kelly's comments quickly drew fire from critics, most notably from NBC News and MSNBC.

On "NBC Nightly News" on Tuesday evening, anchor Lester Holt addressed the Kelly issue. The next day, "Today" did another story on Kelly's comments, as did MSNBC, which included anchor Craig Melvin calling Kelly's comments "indefensible."

Kelly apologized for the comment in a letter to NBC staff. But longtime "Today" meteorologist Al Roker said the apology wasn't good enough.

“The fact is, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the county,” he said. “This is a history, going back to the 1830s minstrel shows. To demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right. I’m old enough to have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters just magnifying the stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the big problem is. … No good comes from it. It’s just not right.”  

Kelly would make an emotional apology on the air on Wednesday.

“I want to begin with two words, I'm sorry,” she began. “The country feels so divided and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor.”

“Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too,” Kelly concluded to a standing ovation from the live in-studio audience. 

 

NBC News president Andy Lack also condemned Kelly's remarks during a town hall meeting at the network's headquarters in New York City.

“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,” Lack told staff at the town hall on Wednesday afternoon.

An NBC News spokesperson told The Hill in a statement, "Given the circumstances, 'Megyn Kelly Today' will be on tape the rest of the week."

Several media outlets also reported Wednesday that Kelly has also parted ways with her talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, on Wednesday, reportedly opting for United Talent Agency instead.

Kelly, 47, signed with NBC in early 2017 for a reported $69 million over four years.