An irony in light of Kelly’s role in bringing down Roger Ailes: I don’t think I’ve seen a single #MeToo malefactor fall as quickly as she apparently has for making one outre remark about wearing blackface on Halloween. Harvey Weinstein had been credibly accused of multiple rapes and lingered longer at his firm than Megyn did at NBC after their respective scandals emerged.
Which tells you something about where the media’s social priorities are. Especially, perhaps, at the network that didn’t find Ronan Farrow’s exposes of Weinstein interesting enough to run themselves.
But I digress. If you believe the Daily Mail, the Megyn Kelly experiment is over at NBC:
Multiple sources have confirmed to DailyMail.com that Megyn Kelly is out at NBC…
‘Megyn Kelly is done. She is not ever coming back,’ said an NBC executive with knowledge of the situation.
‘We are just working out timing of the announcement but mark my word – she is gone and will never be seen on NBC live again.’
The source then added: ‘Here’s the worst part – her deal is a non-break deal – so she walks away with all that money. It’s disgusting and heads should roll here because of it.’
Her contract was for $69 million. She never has to work again — although she will, because no amount of money can cushion a fall in status like the one she’s taken. Going from Fox star to would-be network superstar to washed-up anchor who blew her big chance and then expressed a Bad Thought one day on TV and was never heard from again isn’t a life anyone would tolerate, regardless of how comfortable that life might be.
I almost didn’t blog the blackface silliness last night, so trivial did it seem, but I’m glad I did given how quickly she was un-personed afterward. Suddenly she was off the air, perhaps voluntarily; her staff was allegedly in an uproar about the “toxic environment” on set; she parted ways with her agent; and then the cast of “House of Cards,” which was led last year by yet another longtime #MeToo malefactor, wouldn’t appear on her show. All that for wondering whether it’d be offensive for a white adult who sincerely admired a black person to dress up as them, replete with skin-darkening, as a tribute for Halloween.
But this isn’t really about the blackface thing, is it? Vox-er Jane Coaston is correct:
Firing Megyn Kelly for the blackface thing is the equivalent of firing a football coach not after he loses to Louisiana Tech but because he heaved a Gatorade bottle at a player.
— Jane Coaston (@janecoaston) October 25, 2018
Her ratings were poor and she was disliked in-house for various reasons — her leapfrogging homegrown talent to get her own show, her Fox pedigree, her #MeToo comments about NBC veteran Matt Lauer. The blackface thing is a pretext, a “socially acceptable” reason for ending the Kelly experiment at NBC abruptly. But it’s a nasty pretext insofar as it guarantees that assessments of her career will forever note that she was sent packing because of something “racist” she said on air. That’s NBC’s parting gift to her: “She’s a racist unfit for broadcast TV” as a footnote to her professional legacy.
This is also correct:
This whole thing was a car wreck from Day 1. A tough political journalist trying to become Oprah DeGeneres. And any benefit of the doubt a non-Fox person would get was out the window.
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) October 25, 2018
She wanted to be Barbara Walters, it seems, and interview more celebrities and newsmakers than she could draw at Fox. But the ratings weren’t there and the chirpy “Morning Yak” banter of a.m. TV just isn’t what people like about her. She had a unique niche in Fox primetime and traded it to become something far less unique on a broadcast network. What a shame.
The Daily Mail claims she’s eyeing a new destination:
A network news insider tells DailyMail.com that there are tentative conversations underway about Kelly returning to Fox News, whose viewers despise what they perceive as ‘political correctness’ and would likely welcome her back with open arms.
Kelly was not particularly popular when she left the network among the staff, buit had more allies there than she does now at NBC.
It’s unimaginable. Where would they put her? Primetime is now all locked down with Trumpists. The closest she could get to that time bloc would be 7 p.m. or 11 p.m., but those slots are currently occupied by network faves Martha MacCallum and Shannon Bream. If people at Fox had issues with Kelly before, imagine how they’d feel if management shoved MacCallum or Bream aside to make room for her. If not weekday evenings, where would she go? Slum it in daytime? Do a weekly show on Saturday nights after, um, Judge Jeanine? C’mon. None of this will remotely restore Kelly’s star status. If anything, going home to Fox to grovel after failing at NBC would make her look worse.
I wonder if CNN will find a slot for her. What do they have to lose? They’re uncompetitive in primetime and certainly Kelly would attract more eyeballs, if only out of curiosity, than Don Lemon or Chris Cuomo. CNN was interested in her too before she signed with NBC. The question is whether CNN personnel would be okay with her working there or if she’d meet hostility at that network as well. Lemon, for instance, Lemon laid into her a few days ago over her blackface comments. It’d be a good fit for her in this sense: CNN is overtly anti-Trump and Kelly has a history with POTUS, of course. (Which is another reason why a return to Fox would be awkward.) If she landed at Zucker’s network and resumed her 2015 role as an outspoken Trump critic, she’d ingratiate herself to CNN viewers and, probably, the staff. She’s not going to beat Hannity and Maddow but she can certainly beat what CNN is rolling out right now.
Update: Kelly’s ready to play hardball: She wants Ronan Farrow to sit in on her meeting with NBC execs.