Megyn Kelly appeared happy on-air when Hoda Kotb was named the permanent co-anchor of the Today Show with Savannah Guthrie. But her comments were taken as "mean-spirited" by an NBC News source who spoke to Page Six Saturday.
On Jan. 2, when NBC finally named Kotb the full-time replacement for the fired Matt Lauer, Kelly told Kotb, "We talked recently about how, 10 years ago, your life was very different. You were going through a dark period.”
Kelly did not say the "dark period" she was referring to was Kotb's breast cancer and surgery. Instead, Kelly asked, "Do you take a moment on a day like this to stop and think, ‘Holy moly’?”
An NBC News insider told Page Six that everyone in the control room "gasped" when Kelly mentioned her "dark period" since "many viewers likely won’t know exactly what she was referring to."
"That comment was awkward, mean-spirited. It really stung," the insider told Page Six.
After that incident, Guthrie and Kotb fired back by laughing at Jane Fonda's response to Lily Tomlin's "face lift" comment.
Last week, Grace and Frankie star Tomlin said she knew her co-star Fonda "before your first facelift."
“Who are you, Megyn Kelly?” Fonda said.
Guthrie and Kotb laughed at the comment, a reference to Fonda's awkward September interview with Kelly on Megyn Kelly Today.
Kelly's show also lost a writer when Kevin Bleyer was fired after he wrote a leaked memo to NBC human resources, accusing Megyn Kelly Today producers of creating a "toxic and demeaning" environment.
Kotb had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in March 2007. Since then, she has become an advocate for breast cancer awareness and has frequently talked about it on the show.
"Cancer shaped me, but it did not define me. It's part of me, but not all of me," Kotb told Today.com in October.
Before Kotb officially got the job, Radar Online reported in December that Kelly and Kotb's competition to get the job was "getting ugly."
"Hoda and Megyn are pretending to be friends and supportive of each other but behind the scenes it’s a knife fight," a source told Radar. "They are both ambitious and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be the main host of the biggest morning show in the USA."
Since Kelly did not get the job, she will remain the host of Megyn Kelly Today at 9 a.m. ET.
Photo credit: NBC