January 3, 2017

Megyn Kelly is leaving Fox News for NBC News, bringing an end to one of the most protracted and public contract negotiations for a television news personality in years.

The “Kelly File” host is getting a three-part deal at NBC News: She will host a new one-hour daytime program, anchor a new Sunday evening news magazine show and contribute to NBC’s breaking, political and special events coverage, according to an announcement published by NBC.

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

News of Kelly’s departure was reported first by The New York Times.

The network did not announce a firm start date for Kelly. In its announcement, NBC News said further details would be made available “in the coming months.” Her contract with Fox expires this summer.

In a statement on Facebook Tuesday, Kelly said she would “greatly miss my colleagues at Fox” and remained “deeply grateful to Fox News, to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch.”

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. More to come soon.

In recent months, Kelly’s future in broadcast journalism was up in the air as her contract came up for renegotiation. Her public clash with Donald Trump, the publication of her memoir and her popularity at Fox News elevated her profile and gave her additional bargaining leverage.

Meanwhile, internal turmoil at Fox News swirled as longtime Chairman Roger Ailes departed the network amid accusations of sexual harassment. Kelly leveled accusations of sexual harassment against Ailes in her memoir, “Settle for More,” which described an episode in which Ailes made repeated and unwanted advances before asking her when her contract expired.

Shortly after that, tensions between Kelly and Bill O’Reilly flared when the “O’Reilly Factor” host claimed publicly Kelly’s revelations were making the network “look bad.”

Still, Fox News seemed determined to keep Kelly. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in October, Rupert Murdoch said that “money (wasn’t) an issue” in the negotiations.

Until now, there has been no public inkling of a firm offer from a network outside of Fox News. In October, Vanity Fair reported that, although Kelly had been offered $20 million a year to stay at Fox News, there was no public bidding war for her talents among other networks.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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