Tuesday, January 03, 2017
Megyn Kelly Leaves FOX For NBC
FOX news anchor Megyn Kelly has jumped to NBC, where the 46-year-old personality will headline her own afternoon news program at NBC News as well as a prime time “in-depth” Sunday night news show.
“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,” Kelly wrote Tuesday in a post on her Facebook page. “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"
Of course, there was quite a bit more to it than that. Megyn Kelly essentially owes her career to Roger Ailes, who hired her with little or no previous experience, mentored her and helped her become one of the most successful on air personalities in America. As Ms. Kelly herself put it in an interview on the Charlie Rose program, “I really care about Roger. And he has been nothing but good to me. And he’s been very loyal. And he’s had my back. And he’s looked out for me.”
A year later, she accused him of sexual harassment, to wit that Aisles had engaged in a “cat and mouse” game with her, and made “sexually charged comments” toward her. She also accused Ailes of at least one incident in which he allegedly grabbed her hand and tried to kiss her on the lips.
This was at a time when Ailes had already been accused of 'sexual harassment' by one former anchor woman who was let go from FOX, Gretchen Carlson. Coming from a top FOX talent like Megyn Kelly, that was pretty much all it took to finish Ailes's career. The rumor was that a number of FOX news personalities felt it was unjustified and disloyal on her part, for reasons best known to themselves. A number of them had clauses in their contracts that actually permitted them to leave if Ailes left, and according to several sources FOX narrowly avoided losing a big chunk of its on air talent.There was also allegedly quite a bit of dissension based on Ms. Kelly's temperament, and she was said to have been heartily disliked by a number of her colleagues. That was reportedly one reason Greta Van Sustern left FOX abruptly.There was also ongoing friction between her and FOX stars Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.
Since a lot of this stuff went on behind the scenes, it's hard to nail down what happened, and there's no real evidence either way. Given the climate today, it's very easy to accuse any man of sexual harassment, which used to mean something entirely different than it means today. And it certainly used to mean something very different than what Megyn Kelly alleges Aisles did to her. Ailes, for his part, has continued to deny it. But today if this sort of thing comes down to a he said, she said contest, universities, employers and other institutions tend to believe the woman, disbelieve the man involved and do what needs to be done to make the incident disappear in the name of political correctness. That, of course, is exactly what FOX did.
At any event, this seems to have worked out well for all parties. Megyn Kelly always wanted a mainstream network show and certainly NBC has an atmosphere much more conducive to her politics and her personality than FOX. One of the things keeping her there was apparently the reluctance of anyone but FOX to pay $20 million per year for her talents. Apparently NBC decided they were willing and able, and they likely acceded to the $25 milion per year she tried to get out of FOX to stick around.
But its also true she'll be leaving an already established audience, and moving to daytime. A lot of people (Katie Courik, Meredith Vieira, and Anderson Cooper among others) weren't able to do it, so we'll see if Megyn Fox can be a trend setter here.
And on the other hand, FOX still has plenty of top rated talent and a lot of FOX viewers and perhaps a number of her colleagues are going to be happy she's history.
So it's a win win for everyone.