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Megyn Kelly will not return to 'Today'

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By Claire Atkinson

NBC News said Friday that anchor Megyn Kelly will not return to the 9 a.m. ET hour of “Today,” marking the end of a rocky run since Kelly moved to NBC News from Fox News.

“Megyn Kelly Today is not returning,” an NBC News spokesperson said. “Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be hosted by other TODAY co-anchors.”

Kelly is still in talks with NBC News about her future at the network, according to two people familiar with conversations who were not authorized to speak publicly. Sources earlier in the week said that Kelly was likely to leave the company.

Bryan Freedman, a lawyer for Megyn Kelly, said that she remains an NBC News employee and “discussions about next steps are continuing.”

The announcement ends a tumultuous 13-month run for Kelly as part of the “Today” lineup. Kelly rose to become one of the most recognizable TV hosts in the U.S. during her 12 years at Fox News, where she hosted an evening show, “The Kelly File.”

Kelly’s hiring by NBC News in January 2017 made waves across the media industry in part for her sizable contract, reportedly worth $69 million over three years. The show’s ratings got off to a slow start, with Kelly attracting a smaller audience than the when her predecessors, Tamron Hall and Al Roker, hosted the 9 a.m. hour.

Kelly recently drew harsh criticism after a segment on Tuesday about Halloween costumes in which she questioned why blackface was considered racially insensitive.

“What is racist? Because you get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween,” she said. “When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up like a character.”

Kelly apologized for the comments on Wednesday’s show.

“I want to begin with two words: ‘I’m sorry,’” Kelly said in her show’s open.

Kelly continued, “I defended the idea [of blackface] saying as long as it was ‘respectful’ and part of a Halloween costume it seemed ok. Well I was wrong and I am sorry.”

At a pre-scheduled Town Hall event, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack addressed the incident. “There is no other way to put this: I condemn those remarks; there is no place on our air or in this workplace for them,” he said.

A previously-taped episode of “Megyn Kelly Today” aired in place of a live show Thursday.

Jerry Martin, general manager at KPRC, an NBC affiliate based Houston, said he felt Kelly had a difficult task in moving from Fox News.

“She was trying to spread her wings and do a different type of show,” Martin said. “She was never able to overcome her Fox image. That’s hard to overcome, and then especially moving to daytime, she had a number of hurdles to jump over.”

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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