Megyn Kelly Finalizes Exit from NBC — Find Out Who's Replacing Her on Today Show's Third Hour
Four familiar faces will be taking over the third hour of the Today show following Megyn Kelly‘s exit.
Craig Melvin, Al Roker, Dylan Dreyer and Sheinelle Jones will officially be filling the spot left by Kelly, an insider at NBC confirms to PEOPLE.
“Hope you don’t mind these faces! You’ll be seeing a lot of them at 9am,” Dreyer captioned a smiling photo — shared Jan. 7 on Twitter — of the group, which has been holding down Kelly’s former time slot. “Please join us!”
She added the hashtags: “#3rdhourtoday #youvegotafriendinus #letthegoodtimesroll @TODAYshow @SheinelleJones @craigmelvin @alroker.”
On Friday, Kelly — she left Fox for NBC in January 2017 and signed a three-year, $23 million-a-year contract — finalized her departure from the network.
An NBC spokesperson said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Friday, “The parties have resolved their differences, and Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee of NBC.”
“The contract will be paid out, about $25-$30 million dollars,” a source with knowledge of the situation tells PEOPLE. “She had to sign a confidentiality agreement: it’s the same language from her original employee contract, so it’s nothing different. She has no non-compete. The deal wasn’t signed until the last minute.”
A second source says that Kelly, 48, is “the one who has been holding off on signing. She was holding out because she didn’t like the NDA. There’s an NDA. Its’ standard. But she didn’t want to sign it. They’re very, very common. And she’s getting paid a lot. It’s the rest of the contract — roughly $30 million.”
At the end of October, NBC confirmed reports that Kelly’s 9 a.m. Today show hour was canceled amid immense backlash for her controversial remarks about blackface.
“Megyn Kelly Today is not returning,” an NBC spokesperson told PEOPLE as Today anchors Melvin, Hoda Kotb and Roker replaced Kelly’s spot.
Though Kelly’s show was officially done, her future at the network remained unclear. Following NBC’s announcement about the show, Kelly’s attorney told Variety in a statement: “Megyn remains an employee of NBC News and discussions about next steps are continuing.”
Her departure was announced after her on-camera comments about attempts by universities to discourage “inappropriate and offensive costumes,” asking a panel of guests: “But what is racist? Because truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character.”
Kelly apologized for her comments twice — first in an internal email to colleagues and then on-air as she held back tears.
“I defended the idea, saying as long as it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume, it seemed okay. Well I am wrong and I am sorry,” she said.
“One of the great parts of sitting in this chair each day is getting to discuss different points of view. Sometimes I talk and sometimes I listen. And yesterday I learned,” Kelly continued. “I learned that given the history of blackface being used in awful ways by racists in this country it is not okay for that to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise.”
She added: “I have never been a PC kind of person. But I do understand the value in being sensitive to our history, particularly on race and ethnicity. This past year has been painful for many people of color. The country feels so divided and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor. I want to be part of that. Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too.”
Looking ahead following her time at the peacock network, Kelly is ready to get back to work — and soon.
“She’s looking forward to her next chapter,” a friend of Kelly tells PEOPLE. “She was an employee of NBC, so she wasn’t exploring other career opportunities yet. She was skiing with her family over the holidays and looked really happy.”
“She’s expected to be back in action soon,” says the friend. “She will work again.”
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