Megyn Kelly fired her agent Wednesday after news leaked that the NBC News star might be relinquishing her daytime show, according to a source directly familiar with the situation.
The source said Kelly parted ways with her agent Matt DelPiano, of Creative Artists Agency, the executive who negotiated her stratospheric $23 million-a-year deal for three years with NBC News.
A representative for Kelly, Davidson Goldin, told NBC News Wednesday night that Kelly was switching to UTA. Just hours later, UTA spokesman Seth Oster told NBC News, “After initial discussions, UTA made a decision not to move forward in representing her.”
A source directly familiar with the talks between Kelly and UTA told NBC News they had been in talks with Kelly for two weeks — prior to the blackface comments — and when other UTA clients voiced displeasure over those comments, representing Kelly became “untenable.” (UTA represents Jo Ling Kent, one of the co-authors of this report.) CAA did not immediately return requests for comment. NBC News declined to comment, and Kelly was not immediately reachable.
Trade magazines The Hollywood Reporter and Variety reported that Kelly was in discussions about a new role at the company and suggested her show “Megyn Kelly Today” would end after its second season.
Kelly immediately received harsh backlash after her segment Tuesday about Halloween costumes and what people find acceptable in the current cultural climate.
"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."
But her NBC News colleague Al Roker shared some historical context Wednesday on NBC News' "Today" show about why blackface is offensive.
"She owes a bigger apology to folks around the country of color," Roker said. "This is a history going back to the 1830s, because these minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race...wasn't right."
Kelly apologized Wednesday, opening her show, "Megyn Kelly Today," saying: “I’m Megyn Kelly and I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry.”
She added: "I learned that given the history of blackface being used in awful ways by racists in this country, it is not OK for that to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise."
Speaking at a prescheduled Town Hall event at NBC’s 30 Rock headquarters on Wednesday, 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.
He reiterated that her comments were, “very unfortunate.” He said that moving forward he would be speaking to Kelly to “sort through this.”
Kelly, who joined NBC News last year from Fox News had created headlines for a number of reasons, including her interview with Alex Jones, the right-wing media commentator who runs InfoWars and espoused the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook mass shooting was a hoax. Jones has since acknowledged the Sandy Hook school shooting did occur.
Kelly's interview with Jane Fonda also drew criticism for being ageist because she asked the Academy Award-winning actress about Fonda's plastic surgery.
"Megyn Kelly Today" has increased revenue in its time slot. Variety reported that the time slot increased revenue in the first half of the year compared to the first half of 2017 by 26 percent to $65.8 million.
Kelly is slated to be part of the team covering the midterm elections.