NBC’s $69 million blunder

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Two thirds of the way into the reported $69 million, three year deal Megyn Kelly signed with NBC, she’s officially out at the network.

  • Kelly hasn’t been seen on NBC’s air since October, were her show was canceled after controversial comments she made about blackface.
  • Her show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” was underpeforming in the ratings.
  • Since October, NBC has replaced the timeslot with “Today Third Hour,” which has improved the ratings significantly.
  • From October to earlier in January, “Today Third Hour” originated from Studio 6A from a custom built studio for Kelly.
  • After Kelly’s morning show was canceled, NBC opted to keep using the space for both “Today Third Hour” and, briefly, “Sunday Today.”
  • However, in late 2018, NBC announced plans to move “Today Third Hour” back to Studio 1A and it did Jan. 7.
  • Kelly, meanwhile, has pledged that she will return to TV this year, though has not gone into specifics.
  • NBC reportedly was paying Kelly $69 over three years — and will have to shell out the $30 million remaining on her contract, despite reports the network would try to avoid such a payout.
  • NBC also invested heavily building the “Megyn Kelly Today” set, marketing and staffing the show and may have also tarnished its venerable “Today” brand as ratings for “Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda” dipped thanks to the poor lead-in numbers of Kelly’s hour that immediately proceeded it.
  • Ultimately, the total cost to the network is likely higher than just the salary Kelly was paid — but includes immeasurable damage to the “Today” and NBC News brand.
  • Kathie Lee Gifford, meanwhile, will exit “Today” later this year, with at least one outlet reporting that one of the reasons behind her departures was how NBC treated Kelly (though Gifford denied this is a tweet to TVNewsMix).