(CNN) — While negotiations continue between Megyn Kelly and NBC, the network announced on Friday that her 9 a.m. talk show has been canceled.
“Megyn Kelly Today is not returning,” the network said in a statement. “Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be hosted by other ‘Today’ co-anchors.”
Her exit from NBC News is not official yet. But it will be soon. It’s a foregone conclusion among all the players involved, multiple sources said Thursday.
Kelly’s newly-hired attorney Bryan Freedman reacted to Friday’s NBC announcement with a statement of his own.
“Megyn remains an employee of NBC News and discussions about next steps are continuing,” Freedman said.
Multiple factors explain Kelly’s impending exit from NBC.
Her offensive comments this week about blackface Halloween costumes sealed her fate.
Kelly made the offending remarks during an awkward roundtable discussion about inappropriate and offensive costumes on her eponymous one-hour block of the “Today” show, known as “Megyn Kelly Today.”
During the segment on Tuesday, Kelly said it was OK when she was growing up for white people to dress up as black characters, and she spoke out against a controversy that erupted last year over a reality star who portrayed Diana Ross.
“But what is racist?” Kelly asked. “Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
Later in the discussion, Kelly brought up Luann de Lesseps, a star on “The Real Housewives of New York” who drew a backlash last year for dressing up as Ross.
“There was a controversy on The Real Housewives of New York with Luann, and she dressed as Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that that was racist,” Kelly said. “And I don’t know, I felt like who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how, like, that got racist on Halloween.”
(De Lesseps apologized for the costume, but denied altering her skin.)
Many observers were aghast at Kelly’s comments, and some noted that the panel did not include a single person of color. And absent from the discussion was any mention of the ugly history of blackface, a tradition spanning centuries meant to perpetuate racist stereotypes.
In her note to colleagues after the show aired, Kelly explained that she now understands how she erred with those comments.
“When we had the roundtable discussion earlier today about the controversy of making your face look like a different race as part of a Halloween costume, I suggested that this seemed okay if done as part of this holiday where people have the chance to make themselves look like others,” she said. “The iconic Diana Ross came up as an example. To me, I thought, why would it be controversial for someone dressing up as Diana Ross to make herself look like this amazing woman as a way of honoring and respecting her?”
“I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry,” Kelly added. “The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep.”
Even before the latest controversy erupted, NBC executives were already talking about a possible end to her one-year-old talk shows.
NBC hired Kelly away from Fox News with great fanfare in January 2017. She was promised two shows, a weekday morning talk show and a Sunday evening newsmagazine. But the newsmagazine did not last long, and the talk show didn’t meet ratings expectations.
Her contract was said to be worth $23 million a year for three years.
Kelly has had no comment since Wednesday, when she appeared live on her show and apologized for the blackface comments.
Thursday’s live show was replaced by a pre-taped episode. Friday’s show was also on tape. So it appears she will not be returning to the show to say goodbye to viewers.
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