Coverage: Kelly leaving Fox News for NBC
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly announced Tuesday that she’s leaving the network for rival NBC, where she will have a daytime show and a weekend magazine show.
Jon Swartz of USA Today has the news:
Kelly was arguably the most prominent TV journalist during the contentious 2016 presidential election, engaging in a public spat with President-elect Donald Trump and disavowing former Fox News chief Roger Ailes over his personal behavior. She also hosted one of the top-rated shows on Fox News Channel. All of that made her a coveted free agent among TV networks as she neared the end of her contract with Fox.
As part of a broad, multi-year deal, Kelly will also anchor a new Sunday evening news magazine show and contribute to NBC’s breaking news, political and special events coverage. Kelly, who was reportedly paid $15 million a year by Fox in the last year of her deal set to expire in July, was seeking $20 million for her next contract, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Megyn is an exceptional journalist and news anchor, who has had an extraordinary career,” Lack said. “She’s demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we’re lucky to have her.”
NBC said details on Kelly’s duties will be announced in the coming months.
“While I will greatly miss my colleagues at Fox, I am delighted to be joining the NBC News family and taking on a new challenge,” Kelly said in a Facebook post. Kelly, who reportedly held talks with ABC and CNN among others, is expected to host her last show on Fox on Friday.
Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times focused on what Kelly’s departure means for Fox News:
The move will herald a seismic shift in the cable news landscape, where Ms. Kelly had become the second-most watched host — after Bill O’Reilly of Fox News — and often helped define the national political debate, especially over the last year as Donald J. Trump regularly attacked her, at times in viciously personal terms.
Ms. Kelly’s exit will upend Fox News’s vaunted prime-time lineup and inject a new dose of tumult just a few months after the departure of the network’s powerful founding chairman, Roger Ailes, who was ousted after several women made allegations that he sexually harassed them.
The new deal brings to a close the most anticipated television news contract negotiations since Katie Couric signed with CBS News in 2006, for $15 million a year.
Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, which is controlled by the family of Rupert Murdoch, had offered Ms. Kelly more than $20 million a year to stay after her current contract expires this summer. Rival networks seeking to hire Ms. Kelly away, including NBC News, had made it clear that they could not match that money from Fox, the cable news leader for the last 15 years running.
Stephen Battaglio of the Los Angeles Times reported that other networks also bid for Kelly’s services:
In a statement on her Facebook page, Kelly said, “While I will greatly miss my colleagues at Fox, I am delighted to be joining the NBC News family and taking on a new challenge. I remain deeply grateful to Fox News, to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, and especially to all of the FNC viewers, who have taught me so much about what really matters.”
Both CNN and ABC had expressed interest in Kelly. But NBC’s emergence was surprising. The network had locked up new deals with its “Today” co-anchors Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, the only two jobs that would command the kind of compensation that Kelly’s representatives were looking for.
Carving out a new role for Kelly at NBC News for the annual eight-figure deal she was seeking is a bold move. It has been a challenge in recent years for TV news stars to transfer their popularity to daytime programs and prime-time magazine shows. Kelly, currently the biggest star to break out of TV news in recent years, will be the latest to test whether it can be done.
Kelly’s NBC News deal does not include a role on its cable news channel MSNBC.
Fox News said Kelly will host her final edition of “The Kelly File” on Friday.