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Megyn Kelly leaving Fox for NBC daytime, prime-time roles

Megyn Kelly is about to change networks. The

Megyn Kelly is about to change networks. The Fox News star and will move to NBC News for an undisclosed amount, according to story that was reported by The New York Times on Tuesday. Credit: AP

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly will join NBC in a role that will involve both daytime and prime-time series, Andrew Lack, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, announced on Tuesday. Kelly who had been in the middle of a protracted contract negotiation with Fox will instead jump to NBC at the conclusion of her current contract later this summer. Her last day at Fox News will be Friday.

The move was unexpected because Kelly had reportedly held advance talks with ABC News, while Fox News had pursued her as well and appeared to be close to a new deal with its prime-time star. (CNN was also recently reported to be in the mix.)

Kelly, whose “Kelly File” is among the most viewed programs on cable news, had been considered one of television news’ most sought-after free agents. Nevertheless, she appeared poised to remain at Fox News, which launched her career — and indeed catapulted it.

On Tuesday night, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Channel, issued a statement on Kelly’s departure from the station: “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.”

Her role at NBC will include a daytime series and a Sunday night informational program. Per the NBC statement, “Kelly will become anchor of a new one-hour daytime program that she will develop closely with NBC News colleagues. The show will air Monday through Friday at a time to be announced in the coming months.”

Kelly also seemed poised to become the next Barbara Walters or Diane Sawyer: a major TV interviewer who could secure the biggest stars or news figures for the biggest scoops. Certainly an NBC role wouldn’t preclude such an opportunity for Kelly, especially in prime time on Sunday. Daytime is perhaps another question.

Meanwhile, Kelly’s departure poses both a big question for Fox News and creates a major hole. “The Kelly File” at 9 p.m. has been a success for the network and second only to its lead-in, “The O’Reilly Factor,” in terms of total viewership. Kelly was also considered part of the future at Fox News, but that future underwent a categorical change over the summer when Roger Ailes was forced out in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal. Kelly was among the women who also told Fox’s investigators that Ailes had made sexual advances, and wrote of those in considerably more detail in her recent memoir.

There was nothing to indicate that Kelly couldn’t or wouldn’t continue at Fox, however. Instead, she’s heading off to a new network home, and a new future. Per Lack’s statement, “Megyn is an exceptional journalist and news anchor, who has had an extraordinary career. She’s demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we’re lucky to have her.”

Meanwhile, Kelly, who declined Newsday requests for comment, said in a Facebook post, “I remain deeply grateful to Fox News, to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, and especially to all of the FNC viewers, who have taught me so much about what really matters.”

A report in The Wall Street Journal last fall said Fox had offered Kelly $20 million per year to stay. NBC’s counteroffer was not revealed.

Details of both programs will “be unveiled in the coming months,” per NBC.

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