One of the biggest stars at Fox News over the past decade was Megyn Kelly. Her primetime news show “The Kelly File” received very high ratings and made her a star. It was therefore seen as a very wise more by NBC News president Andy Lack when he signed Kelly to a three-year contract for roughly $90 million at the beginning of 2017. However, the signing has turned into a nightmare for the peacock network. Kelly started her NBC tenure with a Sunday news magazine that failed to build an audience. She was then given the third hour of the lucrative “Today Show” franchise a 9am. She hosted a talk show format that covered many different issues. Once again, Kelly found viewers very hard to come by.
Kelly’s NBC career came to an end one month ago when she was widely criticized for defending children using blackface with their Halloween costumes. The criticism was even given by her NBC colleague Al Roker. Kelly then gave a tearful apology during her next show. Alas, the apology was not enough for NBC to keep her around. The negative publicity surrounding Kelly’s remarks made it impossible for NBC to continue to put her on the air. They terminated her employment and reassigned NBC staff members who worked on her show.
Negotiations regarding an exit package have been ongoing for the past month between lawyers working for Kelly and NBC. An agreement has finally been reached between both sides. NBC will pay Kelly the full amount remaining on her contract. This amounts to $30 million. NBC never tried to avoid paying the money. They have been more concerned with the specific terms related to Kelly’s non-compete clause which will prevent her from immediately signing a contract with another network. NBC also wanted to make sure that a non-disclosure agreement was in place to prevent details of the settlement from being spoken about publicly.
It is not clear what will happen to Megyn Kelly after her non-compete agreement with NBC expires and she is free to work for another network. Any company that agrees to hire her will be taking on an enormous amount of baggage. They will also have the knowledge that Kelly was not able to get good ratings during the two years she worked at NBC. Therefore, the negative publicity they would get for hiring her would probably not be worth it.