Megyn Kelly is expected to walk away from Comcast Corp.’s NBC News with more than $30 million—the full value left on the three-year, $69 million contract with the network, according to people familiar with the matter.
The TV anchor’s exit deal with NBC News could come as early as next week, one of the people said, more than a month after she came under fire for questioning on-air why using “blackface” for a Halloween costume was necessarily racist or insensitive. Her show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” was canceled days later.
The issues that the two sides are haggling over are largely “nonfinancial,” the person said, including noncompete and nondisclosure clauses. Ms. Kelly’s contract with NBC went into effect in the middle of last year, meaning she has a little more than half of her contract left.
In jumping from a star turn at Fox News to NBC News, Ms. Kelly attempted to transition from a hard-nosed prime-time interviewer of world leaders on Fox News to a cheerful morning host at NBC’s “Today.”
But she struggled getting traction on the broadcast network. Her Sunday evening newsmagazine show flamed out quickly, and her revamp of the 9 a.m. hour of the “Today” show attracted fewer viewers than its predecessor.
When she prompted an outcry with her Halloween comments last month, her relationship with NBC fully deteriorated. She apologized, but NBC executives and talent were harshly critical, and within days her morning show was canceled.
Ratings for her former 9 a.m. hour of “Today”—now led by Al Roker, one the sharpest critics of her Halloween comments—have improved since she left, according to Nielsen.
The New York Post earlier reported that Ms. Kelly was nearing a deal to exit with the full value left on her contract.
NBC’s $69 million bet on Ms. Kelly was troubled from the beginning, with some of her NBC colleagues chafing at her on-air manner, lofty salary and the high cost of producing her show. Some of her programming choices drew internal criticism, including her decision to interview conspiracy-theorist Alex Jones on her Sunday evening show.
Her morning program never seemed able to strike quite the right balance between hard and soft news, and Ms. Kelly struggled to adapt to interviewing celebrities. A public spat with Jane Fonda, whom Ms. Kelly asked on-air about plastic surgery, made booking other big-name talent a challenge.
When Ms. Kelly left Fox News and joined NBC, she said she was done with politics. However as her morning show failed to gain traction, she began pushing for more political assignments within NBC News. Given the disappointment of her stint at NBC News, other networks may be reluctant to make a big gamble on Ms. Kelly.
Fox and Wall Street Journal parent News Corp share common ownership.
Some NBC News executives were doubtful from the start that the hiring of Ms. Kelly would pay off. She wasn’t only transitioning from an opinion-based show but also moving to a different style of television in which she had no experience.
“We were a baseball team and we signed a free-agent running back,” said one senior NBC News executive.
Appeared in the November 21, 2018, print edition as ‘Kelly to Exit NBC With Full Contract Amount.’69, contract, Deal, entirety, Kelly, Leave, Megyn, Million, NBC, nears, news