NBC ended Megyn Kelly’s show last week but the behind-the-scenes battle over her exit from the network is still ongoing and is now spilling out into the public. Kelly’s contract with NBC lasts until 2020 so they’re looking at a massive payout in order to get rid of her. But CNN Business reports that Kelly is also unhappy with NBC demanding she agree in writing to not speak ill of the network after her departure:
NBC is said to be reluctant to pay out the rest of her three-year contract, which is reportedly worth $69 million. And Kelly is said to be reluctant to sign away her rights to speak freely.
Sources confirmed to CNN that one of the sticking points involves something called a non-disparagement clause, which would prohibit Kelly from speaking ill of NBC in the future.
A non-disparagement clause is often a part of a broader non-disclosure agreement, or NDA for short.
NDAs are not unusual in situations like this so Kelly will almost assuredly have to sign something in order to get her payout. But there is speculation that Kelly may have additional leverage in this situation because of what she knows about other scandals at NBC:
Kelly is different because she has repeatedly challenged NBC News management in public, and has hinted that she knows more than she’s shared about various NBC controversies.
Those cases include the Matt Lauer scandal — when the host was fired amid misconduct allegations — and the circumstances surrounding Ronan Farrow’s departure from NBC when Farrow was investigating Harvey Weinstein.
The rumor is that Kelly has suggested she be paid an extra $10 million in order to keep her silence about everything. Kelly’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, said those claims were completely false and insinuated NBC was using them to gain an advantage in the negotiations. He accused NBC’s Andy Lack of having “lost control.” From Page Six:
Freedman issued a statement to Page Six on Wednesday saying, “Despite my efforts to handle this process confidentially, NBC News is allowing the media to run with completely false and irresponsible reports that disparage Megyn by erroneously claiming she has ever asked for more money than her contract requires. If NBC News is not the source then they have a responsibility as a news division to correct these false claims. Or are they somehow attempting to use these fabrications for some fictitious advantage in the discussions we’re having? If Andy Lack has lost control, my hope would be that Steve Burke can step in and not permit blatant lies about our discussions to remain uncorrected.”
An NBC spokesperson told us in response: “Unlike Mr. Freedman, who has repeatedly commented to the media throughout the negotiations, we respect the confidentiality of the process, and will have no comment until it reaches its conclusion.”
If NBC really wanted some gonzo ratings they’d put Andy Lack and Megyn Kelly on TV for an hour to debate her firing and her contract. I’d watch that just to see what she says about Lauer and to see how nervous Andy Lack looks when she brings it up. For the record, I do not believe NBC’s management knew nothing about Lauer’s behavior.