By Max Godnick
Megyn Kelly's exit negotiations with NBC were underway on Friday, as the network announced that the third hour of valuable morning show real estate she anchored is canceled.
"Essentially and effectively she is out," Tony Maglio, TV editor at TheWrap, said Friday in an interview with Cheddar. "It's just a matter of all the legalese and what she'll walk away with."
'Megyn Kelly Today' will not return and instead the third hour of 'Today' will be hosted by the program's other anchors, announced the network that pays her a reported $23 million annual salary.
Any doubts about the host's future at the network were cast aside Friday when the Today show led its broadcast with an [update] (https://twitter.com/TODAYshow/status/1055785428442333184) that negotiations surrounding her "imminent departure" were ongoing.
Variety [reported] (https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/megyn-kelly-legal-fight-nbc-blackface-1202993968/) that Kelly tapped Bryan Freedman, a Los Angeles-based attorney, for her legal team, a move Maglio says suggests she's trying to recoup her entire reported 3-year, $69 million contract before officially parting ways with the network. In a statement on Friday, Freedman confirmed that his client remains an employee of NBC News, adding, "discussions about next steps are continuing."
Kelly's fractious relationship with her employer reached a [boiling point] (https://cheddar.com/videos/megyn-kellys-controversial-pricey-run-nbc-ending-reports) this week, when she defended wearing blackface on Halloween. She apologized for the incident both on-air and in an internal memo sent to NBC employees.
Now, attention turns to the futures of both Kelly and NBC's hugely important morning show, after a tumultuous year that saw the network grapple with [Matt Lauer's firing] (https://cheddar.com/videos/nbc-news-fires-matt-lauer-after-sexual-misconduct-allegation) and [reports] (https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/nbc-news-denies-blocking-ronan-farrow-expos-harvey-weinstein-n905321) that it sat on Ronan Farrow's Harvey Weinstein bombshell expose ー a deluge of bad headlines that's put pressure on chairman, and [frequent target] (https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1035120511259500544) of President Trump's tweet storms, Andrew Lack.
"It's never good when one of the splashiest hires you make is a disaster," Maglio said. "The damage right now is a humongous financial hit, a lot of egg on their face, and the morning show wars are heating up and they don't have a host for the third hour of the Today show."
The media world is already speculating about Kelly's next move. Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman [reported] (https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/10/megyn-kelly-eyes-returning-to-fox)Thursday that the host is interested in returning to her previous employer, Fox News.
Maglio said his sources at the network insist they're not open to welcoming her back, as the network might not want to disrupt its ratings success.
"Fox News isn't really in need of any sort of a boost to their prime time," he said.
For full interview click here.