Megyn Kelly to leave Fox News for NBC

  • FILE - In this May 5, 2016 file photo, Megyn Kelly poses for a portrait in New York. Kelly, the Fox News star whose 12-year stint has been marked by upheavals at her network and personal attacks on the campaign trail, is headed to NBC News. She is expected to take on a multi-faceted role at NBC. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File) Victoria Will

Los Angeles Times
Published: 1/3/2017 4:03:15 PM

News anchor Megyn Kelly is leaving Fox News to join NBC, where she will have a wide-ranging role.

The move was announced Tuesday by NBC News chairman Andy Lack, who personally handled the negotiation to lure Kelly away from the cable channel that has been her professional home for 12 years.

“Megyn is an exceptional journalist and news anchor, who has had an extraordinary career,” Lack said in a memo sent to staffers. “She’s demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we’re lucky to have her.”

Kelly will host a daytime talk program and a Sunday night news magazine show and will have a role in its political and event coverage. The daytime show is likely to be a morning program that will follow the fourth hour of the “Today” show. No launch date has been set.

Kelly, 46, has been with Fox News for 12 years and is the anchor of its second most-watched prime-time program, “The Kelly File.” Her contract, which currently pays her $15 million a year, is up in July.

Kelly was said to have an offer in the range of $20 million to remain at Fox News as she has long been a favorite of Lachlan and James Murdoch, who run parent company 21st Century Fox. People familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity said NBC did not match the Fox offer. But Kelly had made it clear in interviews and private conversations that money would not be the sole determining factor in deciding on her future.

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.

“We thank Megyn Kelly for her 12 years of contributions to Fox News. We hope she enjoys tremendous success in her career and wish her and her family all the best,” Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman at 21st Century Fox, said in a statement.

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