WASHINGTON, January 3, 2017 – The anchor of the Kelly File, Megyn Kelly, is leaving Fox News and making room for new talent at the number one rated cable network. Kelly’s daily show is second in rating only to FNC’s Bill O’Reilly.
The reporter is heading to NBC News. Andrew Lack, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group says she will anchor a new, one-hour daytime program.
“Megyn is an exceptional journalist and news anchor, who has had an extraordinary career,” Lack said. “She’s demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we’re lucky to have her.”
NBC said details on Kelly’s duties will be announced in the coming months.
“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 said in a Facebook post. Kelly, who reportedly held talks with ABC and CNN among others, is expected to host her last show on Fox on Friday.
Kelly’s departure will have an impact the television news industry; it may be a sign that Fox News can be toppled from its position as the most-watched basic cable network in prime time and overall, a first for the network. AdWeek.com reports:
“As we close out our 20th year, Fox News continues to redefine television news and break ratings records, proving it is indeed the most watched and most trusted television news source in the country,” said co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine.
The ratings for 2016 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):
Primetime (Mon-Sun): 2,429,000 Total Viewers / 481,000 A25-54
Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,395,000 Total Viewers / 280,000 A25-54
Fox News will also close out 2016 as the 5th most-watched network in prime time in all of TV– only behind the big four broadcast nets: NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX.
Kelly had no further comment, a spokeswoman said.
During the 2016 presidential election, Kelly became the story after conducting a very public spat with candidate Donald Trump. During the first GOP candidates’ debate, she confronted him about his insulting remarks about women.
Trump countered with slashing remarks in which he insinuated that Kelly was antagonistic to him because she was menstruating. Showing her “intrepid reporter” side, Kelly eventually met with Trump, at Trump Tower, with the two powerful personalities coming to terms with their disagreements.
It was one of the first real examples of Trump’s ability to move forward, without carrying the baggage of the past with him.
Kelly is the most recent female anchor to leave Fox after denouncing former Fox News chief Roger Ailes. The powerful Fox News CEO and chairman resigned in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, which he has denied. Kelly departs the network following Gretchen Carlson, crowned Miss America in 1989, who announced she was leaving on Twitter on July 6, 2016.
Carlson reached a $20 million settlement deal after she sued Ailes alleging sexual harassment and retaliation. 21st Century Fox has also completed smaller settlement deals with other women who accused Ailes of harassment; reports say that more than 20 women reportedly spoke with the lawyers about inappropriate behavior by Ailes.
“I am gratified that 21st Century Fox took decisive action after I filed my complaint,” Carlson said. “I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace.”
She also expressed thanks to the people who supported her when she filed the suit.
“I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen,” she said. “All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work, and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded.”
Extremely popular FNC host Andrea Tantaros filed suit against Ailes and Fox alleging retaliation for complaining about Ailes’ advances. Fox denied the report, a representative saying Tantaros “is not a victim; she is an opportunist.” The conservative political analyst and commentator was the co-host of Outnumbered on Fox News Channel, and an original co-host of The Five.
A former criminal defense and civil trial lawyer, Greta Van Sustern hosted the current affairs show On the Record w/ Greta Van Sustern and was a favorite Fox personality. On September 6, 2016, following failed contract negotiations, she resigned from Fox. Fox did not let the popular news personality say goodbye on-air, instead immediately filling the On the Record anchor spot with news veteran Brit Hume.
Tucker Carlson is now the news anchor of that time spot.
Roger Ailes was known as one of the most power men in cable news before he resigned. Kelly says he harassed her starting in 2005, according to her book, Settle for More.
At NBC, Kelly will anchor a new Sunday evening news magazine show and contribute to NBC’s breaking news, political and special events coverage. Kelly, who was reportedly paid $15 million a year by Fox in the last year of a deal set to expire in July, was seeking $20 million for her next contract, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Kelly,’s departure is a blow to Fox, which has retained most of its top talent but has lost many of the strong, female anchors that brought a younger, female demographic to the conservative 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,” Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said in a statement.