Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is leaving the cable network for a role at NBC News.
In a statement Tuesday on her Facebook page, Kelly said, “I have decided to end my time at FNC, incredibly enriched for the experiences I’ve had.”
Kelly has been an icon for conservatives, but her decision to move to NBC, a network that President-elect Donald Trump and some conservative pundits have branded as “liberal,” is not a complete surprise.
As NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik reports, Kelly’s career change follows a period of turbulence in her relationship with the network:
“[Kelly’s move] comes in the aftermath of her explosive accusations that former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes had sexually harassed her earlier in her career. And that was on the heels of her colleague Gretchen Carlson alleging the same in a lawsuit. That led to the departure of Ailes and to significant questions about what path Fox News would take forward. Her departure only raise the stakes for Fox.”
Kelly butted heads with Ailes and her network colleagues at other times as well. When Trump, angered by a question she asked him during a debate, attacked her repeatedly during the campaign, Kelly said she didn’t feel supported by the network. In an interview with NPR’s Kelly McEvers, she said, “My boss, Roger Ailes, was not able to stand Trump down. My friend Sean Hannity, who is a big Trump booster as you know, he was not able to stand Trump down. No one was able to stop his antics.” In the interview, Kelly said she received threats from Trump supporters for months.
Kelly’s move to NBC News was first reported by The New York Times. Her contract with Fox News expires this summer, and the Times says rival networks were not prepared to match Fox News’ offer, reported to be “more than $20 million a year.” The newspaper adds:
“The NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, wooed Ms. Kelly away from Fox News by offering her a triple role in which she will host her own daytime news and discussion program, anchor an in-depth Sunday night news show and take regular part in the network’s special political programming and other big-event coverage.”
The exact terms of her new contract are not yet known.
Kelly started at Fox News 12 years ago as a legal correspondent and quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the network’s biggest stars. Since October 2013, she has hosted her own nightly program called The Kelly File, becoming the second-most-watched host on cable news after her Fox News colleague Bill O’Reilly, according to TVNewser, a website that tracks TV ratings.
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