Megyn Kelly’s contract at Fox News was set to expire this summer, and there’s been much speculation as to where she’ll be heading next if her contract isn’t to be renewed.
She discussed the possibility of leaving Fox back in April, telling Vanity Fair “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve had a great 12 years here, and I really like working for Roger Ailes. I really like my show, and I love my team. But you know, there’s a lot of brain damage that comes from the job. There was probably less brain damage when I worked in the afternoon. I was less well known. I had far less conflict in my life. I also have three kids who are soon going to be school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. I come to work at 3:30. I like to see my children. Having said that, my boss has been good about working with me to make me happy–he knows I’m a hard worker. I’ve had few problems here where I couldn’t talk to him and say, “Can we work something out?,” and come away happy.”
By November however, it seemed unlikely that a departure from Fox would’ve led to her taking a job at another network, at least. Vanity Fair had reported that there was no bidding war for a contract with her, with her only offer being a $20 million offer for renewal from Fox. That’s why it was extremely surprising that news broke today Megyn would not only be leaving Fox News, she’d be leaving for another network.
If she was to be hitting the door, CNN was the network many thought would be hiring her. Back in December, Megyn responded to reports she may be leaving Fox News for CNN by telling her two million Twitter followers to ignore the rumors – but she didn’t rule out the possibility either. She was responding to a report that claimed CNN’s President Jeff Zucker wanted Megyn to anchor a show in the 8pm or 9pm time-slot.
Now, according to the New York Times: Megyn Kelly, who arrived at Fox News 12 years ago as a television news neophyte but rose to become one of its two biggest stars, has decided to leave the network to take on a broad new role at NBC News for an undisclosed amount, people briefed on the negotiations said on Tuesday.
The NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, wooed Ms. Kelly away from Fox News by offering her a triple role in which she will host her own daytime news and discussion program, anchor an in-depth Sunday night news show and take regular part in the network’s special political programming and other big-event coverage.
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.
The new deal, which NBC is expected to announce imminently, 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 year. 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.
And now, Ms. Kelly herself has made the announcement.
So, it’s likely she’s taking a position for a pay-cut, and she’ll likely end up with a smaller audience as well. Why remains a mystery. Will we learn of a new controversy following this departure, like after those of Gretchen Carlson and Andrea Tantaros, or is she simply looking for a more relaxed position?
In any event, does it really matter?
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]