Just days after her controversial comments on Halloween costumes, “blackface,” and changing cultural sensibilities, Megyn Kelly was cut from Today by NBC, the network that had just hired her in 2017 to a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract. While she is still an NBC employee at the moment, insiders predict her days there are numbered.
But reports have emerged that things had already gone south between Kelly and NBC prior to the “blackface” commentary and the former Fox News star had already been searching for a path to exit NBC and return to the network she once called home.
That news came from Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who cited two anonymous sources at Fox News said to be “familiar with (Kelly’s) thinking” on the issue, one of whom said, “She wants to come back.”
Wants to return to Fox
Kelly was said to have shifted her commentary in a more right-leaning direction in recent weeks and months, perhaps to try and win back some of her former fan base at Fox.
One example of such was her “vigorous defense” of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and harsh critiques of Kavanaugh’s primary accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who Kelly had described as a “Democrat donor” with an attorney who was a “well-known Democratic activist.”
However, there are a number of obstacles in the way of a potential return to Fox News for Kelly, namely the fact that the current line-up at the network is doing quite well and it is unclear where Kelly would fit in, not to mention the fact that CEO Lachlan Murdoch remains quite displeased with how Kelly had rejected a lucrative offer to stay at Fox to instead go over to NBC.
Moreover, Kelly was said to still be a “polarizing figure” among anchors, staffers, and producers at Fox. Some were angry with how Kelly had “leveraged” her feud with President Donald Trump to garner mainstream celebrity status, while others felt she had latched on to the #MeToo movement only after it had become clear that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes was on his way out over sexual misconduct allegations, Sherman wrote.
One unidentified anchor summed up the general mood at Fox and said, “There’s a lot of Schadenfreude,” implying some at the network were deriving a bit of pleasure from Kelly’s current misfortune.
Unclear where she would fit
Perhaps the biggest question is whether Fox News viewers would be accepting of a return to the network by Kelly.
Considering the ratings successes of Fox’s current prime-time lineup, it is doubtful that any of those hosts would be bumped to make room for Kelly.
That said, it’s possible that Fox could find a way to fit Kelly in during the daytime hours, or perhaps even feature her in a weekend slot. But again, it is unclear if Fox viewers would give Kelly a second chance.
In the eyes of many viewers, Megyn Kelly was all set as a veritable rock star at Fox — until she tangled with then-candidate Trump personally, shifted her tone toward conservatives and Republicans, and rejected a lucrative deal to re-sign at the network in favor of trying her luck at a “mainstream” network like NBC.
But that obviously didn’t work out as planned, and Kelly’s chances of returning to Fox seem unlikely as well.