Megyn Kelly is officially done with NBC, and leaving with an eye-popping payday even by the inflated standards of broadcast news.
After it was revealed Friday night that Kelly formalized the terms of her NBC contract following inappropriate comments about blackface on her morning talk show last fall, Kelly exited the network with the rest of her $69 million contract.
CNN reports that NBC gave the amount Kelly was estimated to have received over the course of her 3-year contract with the network — an amount that would have been distributed annually throughout her term, estimated at $23 million per year.
The outlet adds that Kelly will be subjected to an “industry standard nondisparagement clause,” which limits what she can say about the network and her interactions with executives. However, representatives for Kelly and NBC will not comment further on the details of her exact terms.
Sources tell CNN that since Kelly is not subjected to any “noncompete” clause, she can join any network right away — a possibility the former FOX News anchor is excited about.
In an interview earlier Friday, Kelly told TMZ reporters that audiences would “definitely” see her back on television soon. However, at the moment Kelly does not currently have an agent, so there is no indication she has another gig lined up.
Last October, NBC cancelled her daytime talk show, Megyn Kelly Today after Kelly stirred up outrage with a discussion about Halloween costumes — specifically, the use of blackface and how it was okay.
“But what is racist? Because, truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween,” Kelly said with an all-white panel during a segment on her cancelled morning show. “Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character.”
“I can’t keep up with the number of people we’re offending just by being normal people these days,” she added.
While Kelly apologized for the remarks both in an internal e-mail to colleagues and a tearful on-air statement the next day, critics, fans and apparently her bosses, were not too thrilled over her response as the history of blackface has long been an insensitive representation of the black community, stemming in stereotypes and racist sentiment.
Sources told the New York Times that Kelly believed the blackface comments were just a “pretext” for the network to fire hire as her show had been in trouble well before the controversy due to low ratings and consistent clashes with celebrities, like Jane Fonda and Debra Messing.
Since she left, the third hour of the Today Show has seen its ratings climb from an average of 2.4 million viewers to 2.9 million.
The Today Show airs weekday mornings on NBC.
Photo credit: NBC