Jim Rutenberg’s Jan. 3 story in the New York Times announced the biggest contract for a TV news personality in more than a decade (since Katie Couric had left NBC for CBS in 2006): Megyn Kelly to depart Fox News Channel after 12 years there for NBC.
According to the New York Times article, non-Fox networks looking to hire Kelly notified her and her camp they couldn’t match Fox’s high-priced offer. But it was NBC News chairman Andrew Lack’s offer of the following three roles to Kelly that convinced her: host of her own daytime news and discussion program, anchor an in-depth Sunday night news show and be a regular on NBC’s special political programming and other big-event coverage.
Kelly’s profile increased steadily when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized her question to him about his misogynistic comments towards females during the first Republican debate in August 2015.
Despite being the No. 1 cable network in total viewers for total-day and prime time in 2016, the past few months for Fox News have been a tumultuous time as its original chairman Roger Ailes was ousted after allegations of sexual harassment by several women including former “Fox and Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson and the aforementioned Megyn Kelly.
The move to NBC will now lead to a new void in Fox News’ popular prime time lineup. “The Kelly File” was cable’s second most-watched news program, only behind its lead-in on the same network, “The O’Reilly Factor.”
On Facebook, Kelly thanked 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, along with “the FNC viewers, who have taught me so much about what really matters.” She said her time at Fox News “changed my life,” but it was time for a new challenge.
Kelly’s current contract with Fox News expires in the summer of 2017. Her final day on Fox News is set for Friday, Jan. 6.