NBC News also reports that a source familiar with the situation but who is not authorized to speak publicly said, "Conversations have already started about Megyn's exit from the network."
People familiar with the matter told WSJ that negotiations have begun just days after Kelly's comments on her 9 a.m. hour of the Today show defending blackface ignited swift backlash, both inside and outside the network.
On the Tuesday edition of Megyn Kelly Today, a discussion about Halloween turned controversial when Kelly wondered if wearing blackface as part of a costume is actually racist.
"Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character," she said on the show.
She drew immediate criticism not only from those who worked for outside networks but also from inside NBC — including Today show Al Roker and NBC News chair Andy Lack.
"The fact is, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country. This is a history, going back to the 1830s [with] minstrel shows. To demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right,' Roker said.
At a town hall meeting with staffers, Lack denounced Kelly's comments. "There is no other way to put this, but I condemn those remarks," he said. "There is no place on our air or in this workplace for them. Very unfortunate."
Kelly apologized twice — once in an internal memo Tuesday afternoon that was released by an NBC spokesperson, and again at the top of Wednesday's show. The network has made no official announcement on Kelly's future, but said Thursday that Megyn Kelly Today would air re-runs for the rest of the week.
Later in the day, reports surfaced saying Kelly was out at NBC, with people within the network indicating she wouldn't return.
But even before this week's controversy, Kelly's future wasn't going to be on Megyn Kelly Today, reports The New York Times. After disappointing ratings, she and NBC executives were reportedly in talks to reassign her elsewhere within the news structure.0comments
In the wake of the situation, Kelly hired high-profile lawyer Bryan Freedman, who reportedly indicated that he would like former NBC contributor Ronan Farrow to sit in on a meeting with him and NBC News executives on Friday as they decide Kelly's fate. Kelly once said on-air that the peacock network should hire an outside lawyer to investigate why Lack and other NBC officials passed on a story from Farrow about allegations of sexual harassment by film producer Harvey Weinstein; the story went on to win a Pulitzer Prize at the New Yorker.
A senior NBC News official disputed the idea that NBC News is retaliating against Kelly for her #MeToo coverage.