The agreement pays Kelly the remainder of her $69 million deal and includes no non-compete clause, so she is free to work elsewhere immediately.
Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee at NBC News. The news came on Friday and serves as the last chapter of an extraordinarily rancorous saga that began last October when Kelly was publicly hammered – including on her own network – for displaying a decided lack of awareness about the painful racist origins of blackface.
Exit discussions between Kelly’s Lawyer, Hollywood litigator Bryan Freedman, and NBC lawyers had been ongoing since October 25, two days after Kelly made her controversial comments during a Megyn Kelly Today segment about Halloween costumes. The agreement will pay Kelly the remainder of her three-year $69 million contract, say sources, and does not include a non-compete clause (six months is standard in the TV news industry). So Kelly is free to take a job elsewhere immediately.
“The parties have resolved their differences, and Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee of NBC,” said a network spokesperson.
The fallout from Kelly’s comment was swift; her 9 a.m. Today hour was officially canceled Oct. 26. Current Today anchors have been filling in. And on January 4, the show officially exited Studio 6A, the Rockefeller Center studio where Megyn Kelly Today was filmed in front of a live audience. The 9 a.m. hour is now airing from Studio 1A, the flagship Today location. Meanwhile, Kathie Lee Gifford, who hosts the bubbly 10 a.m. Today hour with Hoda Kotb, announced that she intends to leave in April, necessitating changes at the second ofToday’s four hours.
Kelly’s impending exit dominated media headlines in the days after her blackface comments generated a furious backlash — and tearful apology from Kelly. Sources say negotiations between Kelly’s lawyer and NBC hinged on a payout of the entirely of her contract and the company’s desire to have Kelly bound by a non-disclosure clause. Such agreements are standard in exit and severance packages, even when circumstances are not contentious. But Kelly – who believed that NBC executives were engaged in a whisper campaign to smear her – balked at the clause unless NBC was bound by the same type of agreement, sources close to her told THR. But other sources with knowledge of the exit deal say it contains the same boilerplate NDA language that was in her original employment contract.
Prior to her blackface comments, Kelly had expressed a desire to wind down her 9 a.m. hour and get back to covering news and politics. She was expected to participate in NBC’s midterm election coverage – before her comments scuttled any chance of a role transition within NBC News.