Megyn Kelly Exits, Stage Left

Networks invite problems when news anchors become the story

A new multi-year deal at NBC News has lured news anchor and host Megyn Kelly away from Fox News, it was announced Tuesday. Kelly will take on several roles at her new network, including running a daytime show as well as a Sunday evening magazine program. She will also be a major part of the NBC team moving forward, helping to cover breaking news and major political events.

Many know Megyn Kelly as the Fox News anchor who had a major political feud with President-Elect Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign for the White House. After she asked a question Trump didn’t like at a presidential debate, the two sparred over Twitter before sitting down for a prime-time interview, in which they seemed to share in a mutual respect.

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“I have great respect for you that you were able to call me and say, ‘Let’s get together, let’s talk,'” the president-elect told her in the May 2016 interview.

Since the feud, which put Kelly in the spotlight, the news anchor has released a book, “Settle for More,” and appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair.

Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said in a statement about Kelly’s departure from the network: “We thank Megyn Kelly for her 12 years of contributions to FOX News. We hope she enjoys tremendous success in her career and wish her and her family all the best.”

The anchor had come under controversy in the last year or so for moving more into the role of celebrity than news reporter.

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In a Facebook post, Kelly said, “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 [Fox News Channel] viewers, who have taught me so much about what really matters.”

Kelly’s program on Fox News was the second highest cable news program next to “The O’Reilly Factor,” hosted by Bill O’Reilly. Her last show will be Friday, although her contract was not due to expire with Fox News for another six months.

In “Settle for More,” Kelly hinted she was seeking a future gig that allowed her more time with her three children and a way to move away from the combative nature of political reporting.

Besides her dealings with Trump, she was most recently known for grabbing headlines by revealing allegations that she had been sexually harassed by her boss, Roger Ailes.

Ratings notwithstanding, the anchor had come under controversy in the last year or so for moving more into the role of celebrity than news reporter. By becoming the story herself due to the controversy with Trump and Ailes, plus the release of her memoir, Kelly had become more headline-grabbing than the very stories she reported. “The Megyn Kelly Moment,” chimed The New York Times in a 2015 headline about her.

Kelly is even executive producing “Embeds,” a political comedy series.

Daytime television, oriented as it is toward entertainment, is likely the perfect place for her. As someone who has become more and more of a celebrity and entertainer with fawning media profiles and magazine covers, she has become synonymous with the news rather than a reporter of it.

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