Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Report: NBC likely to turn to network veterans to replace Megyn Kelly

NBC is scrambling to re-structure the third hour of Today after canceling Megyn Kelly’s segment within 72 hours of her controversial comments about blackface in Halloween costumes last month.

The network began covering Kelly’s third-hour slot with veteran Today anchors last week. There have been rumors that Kelly Clarkson could take over as a permanent replacement, but entertainment news site E! reported that NBC will likely choose a known entity at the network after its failed venture with Kelly.

Who will replace Megyn Kelly?

Today hit the reset button on the third hour last Monday with veteran anchors Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, and Craig Melvin.

“Today, as you know, we are starting a new chapter in the third hour of our show,” Kotb said during the first episode since Kelly left. “As it evolves, we want you to know that the entire Today family will continue to bring you informative and important stories — just as we always have.”

The network covered the rest of the week with Roker, Melvin, Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Sheinelle Jones, Dylan Dreyer, Jenna Bush Hager, Stephanie Gosk, and Jacob Soboroff. According to E!, the first week without Kelly may be a trial balloon for a return to a tried and trusted old formula.

When NBC signed off on Megyn Kelly Today, the morning show’s new structure “killed the natural flow of Today, essentially turning the segmented four-hour program into three separate shows haphazardly lumped under one umbrella.” With a view to getting back to the way things were before its failed experiment with Kelly, NBC insiders may be looking to bring back the old hosts of its 9 a.m hour.

“I think the easy play is to just go back to Al, Dylan [Dreyer], and Sheinelle [Jones],” a source told Vanity Fair. “Rather than doing something splashy again, it makes sense to go back to what was there.”

NBC to replace from within network

Kelly’s show was canceled within hours of delivering an on-air apology to viewers. She is currently locked in heated exit negotiations with NBC to get paid for the rest of her three-year contract.

Her year at the network was dogged by low ratings that affected her co-hosts’ segments, and her firing came one year after the network suffered a massive scandal with the ouster of Matt Lauer over allegations of sexual misconduct. After weathering all that uncertainty, NBC may be looking at its veteran anchors to right the ship.

E! noted that NBC handled Lauer’s ouster by expanding Kotb’s role. A similar scenario could play out after the latest shake-up.

Kotb and Guthrie have their own hours to cover, so it’s unlikely they will serve as permanent replacements, the site noted. But whoever replaces Kelly permanently will likely come from within the network.

Regardless of whoever replaces Kelly, the former Fox anchor has been left without a home in the media world. Fox isn’t interested in taking her back.

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