Megyn Kelly’s television show on NBC was canceled after the blackface controversy this week. NBC pulled the plug on Megyn Kelly Today after the huge wave of controversy caused by Kelly’s comments about using blackface in Halloween costumes on the show’s Wednesday episode.
The issues first began when Kelly appeared on her show on Wednesday during a round table discussion of Halloween costumes and went on to question whether wearing blackface during Halloween was truly racist. Kelly’s comments proved instantly inflammatory, sparking intense heat on social media as many called the host out for her offensive comments. Kelly has made no official statement regarding the incident yet.
CNN reports that, on Friday, NBC announced that it was canceling Megyn Kelly Today. “Megyn Kelly Today is not returning,” the network’s statement read. “Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be hosted by other Today co-anchors.” Though Kelly is not yet out of NBC News for good, some suspect that she will be fired from the network in the days to come. Kelly’s attorney Bryan Freedman spoke on the issue and claimed, “Megyn remains an employee of NBC News and discussions about next steps are continuing.”
Many believe that ratings were also a motivator for NBC’s decision on Kelly’s show. NBC hired Kelly out from Fox News after she made sexual harassment allegations against Fox's chairman Roger Ailes last year. She was hired with a three year contract that included Megyn Kelly Today, but the show was delivering low ratings, something that could certainly have added incentive to the network's decision to bring the show off the air following Kelly's blackface comments on Wednesday. Kelly’s time at Fox News and her sexual harassment allegations were going to be adapted by Annapurna into a feature film that included a star-studded cast, with Charlize Theron slated to star as Kelly and John Lithgow set to play Roger Ailes. However, Annapurna dropped the film earlier this month shortly before the film was due to begin production for reasons unknown.
Megyn Kelly’s fall from grace has some compelling parallels to Roseanne Barr’s controversy that occurred earlier this year. Over the summer, Barr made her own racially charged statements on Twitter that caused her popular ABC series to be cancelled and inspired the spinoff The Conners, which is currently on air. These two incidents together suggest that networks are cracking down on stars’ behaviors under the current political atmosphere, no longer afraid to axe entire shows over an individual’s bad behavior. When considered together with the Roseanne Barr incident, NBC’s cancellation of Megyn Kelly Today adds further proof that the film and television industry is changing in increasingly progressive ways.