Almost a month after Megyn Kelly’s show was dropped by NBC News and coming up on the one-year anniversary of Matt Lauer’s pink-slipping from the same organization over sexual harassment claims, talks over an exit agreement for Kelly still have a ways to go.
Despite a flurry of speculation in the last few hours from certain outlets connected corporately to Kelly’s former home Fox News Channel that this is all but over, Deadline has learned that hopes for a tidy and buried Thanksgiving resolution are not quite fair and balanced, to put it mildly.
Not to say that agendas are playing themselves out, but both the Andy Lack-led and Comcast-owned news division and reps for Kelly continue to meet and negotiate over what has been described as a “extremely complex” deal. A deal that has almost no hope of being executed this week and may even not be signed, sealed and delivered by the end of next week, one insider revealed.
For the most part, it seems the money aspect of Kelly’s approximately three-year, $69 million contract has been settled, with both sides comfortable with the payout outcome and sum.
However, among a checklist of other matters that remain, a primary stumbling block to wrapping Kelly’s complete departure from NBC seems to be determining specific language agreed to by all parties for the non-disparagement clause. A flow of paperwork and potential propositions have traveled from Kelly’s attorney Bryan Freedman and NBC over the past several weeks with no phrasing acceptable to all, I hear.
Neither NBC nor Kelly’s reps responded to request for comment on the state of affairs this close to the feasting holiday.
Following several verbal missteps by Kelly since her ratings-fluctuating Megyn Kelly Today debuted in September last year, the morning show had its plug officially pulled October 26, just days after the host made deeply offensive comments about “blackface” Halloween costumes.
Since then, as talks over Kelly’s payout and her future post-NBC have been ongoing and the now-former host has changed agencies, there have been calls by Freeman for NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke to step in if Lack can’t bring this action to a timely conclusion.
Of course, NBC News PR, in seemingly permanent crisis management mode, quickly rejected that desire.
“Unlike Mr. Freedman, who has repeatedly commented to the media throughout the negotiations, we respect the confidentiality of the process, and will have no comment until it reaches its conclusion,” a spokesperson for the unit said on Halloween.
Conclusion being the operative term, then and now.