Megyn Kelly never got a chance to succeed at NBC


Given the turbulence we’ve seen this week, Megyn Kelly should send someone to get her stuff at NBC and never look back. 

To get you up to speed, Kelly didn’t appear on her Thursday NBC show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” after criticism for controversial comments on air regarding blackface and Halloween costumes. She won’t appear on Friday, either, per an NBC spokesperson.  

{mosads}Two sources told The Hill on Thursday that Kelly and NBC are currently in exit talks. She dropped her talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, on Wednesday. 

Since joining NBC, she has been repeatedly slammed by her own network, both on the air and at the highest levels of 30 Rock via its news chairman, Andy Lack. 

This hot mess all comes after she discussed blackface as a costume for Halloween with a panel, arguing Tuesday it was fine when she was growing up. Kelly has since apologized twice, in a letter to colleagues and on-air, where she was reduced to tears. 

The panel discussed “Real Housewives of New York” cast member Luann de Lesseps’s costume of choice once — dressing as Diana Ross although de Lesseps is not black. Kelly pointed to this as an example of a scenario where celebration, not racism, was the goal.  

From there, social media exploded over the comments, leading to non-stop media coverage.

On “NBC Nightly News,” Lester Holt addressed the issue (competitors CBS and ABC did not). 

The next day, NBC’s “Today Show” did another story on Kelly’s comments. MSNBC did its own, which included anchor Craig Melvin calling Kelly’s comments “indefensible.” 

On NBC, Al Roker said that Kelly owed “a bigger apology to folks of color around the country” than her internal letter conveyed. Before Kelly’s show launched, Roker and Tamron Hall held its 9:00 a.m. slot.

Kelly later issued a second apology, this time on the air. 

“I want to begin with two words, ‘I’m sorry,'” she said. “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 later concluded to a standing ovation from the live in-studio audience.  

Given the public flogging led by her own network, it’s hard to imagine Kelly fighting to stay at NBC. And NBC seems more than fine with the prospect of a line-up without her.

Since joining NBC in January 2017, the Fox News alum never seemed particularly welcome nor given a true chance to succeed — despite Lack betting on her with a $69 million three-year contract.

First, there was the patently ridiculous decision to put Kelly up against “60 Minutes” in June 2017 via NBC’s “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.” 

Great move, considering “60 Minutes” has been a ratings monster that has devoured any and all competition for 50 years. It looks like a textbook example of setting someone up for failure.

That fall, she launched a third hour of “Today,” another oddity from NBC brass. Why is someone you just made your highest-paid talent only doing one hour at the relatively unimportant time of 9 a.m.? 

Even when the 2018 Winter Olympics came along, providing NBC News anchors and hosts with a huge platform, Kelly was left back in the states. To add insult to injury, the network hired former “Today” show star Katie Couric as a one-off host for the opening ceremonies. 

In the end, Lack threw Kelly under the bus when things got inconvenient, despite hiring and touting her heavily. He should have reprimanded her in a closed-door meeting, instead of airing his grievances publicly to other members of his staff and risking comments leaking to the press. 

“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 a town-hall meeting at 30 Rock on Wednesday afternoon. 

Where Kelly goes from here is anyone’s guess, but a return to cable news is the most likely option. 

Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill and host of “What America’s Thinking.” 

Tags Blackface Halloween Joe Concha media megyn kelly Race

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