What Megyn Kelly's New Role At NBC Will Look Like

With an annual salary of some $18 million, NBC plans to transform new hire Megyn Kelly, who it wooed away from Fox News, into "a bigger, more mainstream star than anything else that Fox could have done," a source told Vanity Fair. In order to get its money's worth, the "Peacock Network" will need to fashion its correspondent into a bird with more colorful feathers than anyone else in TV news, and that means involving her in a slew of emerging projects. There seems no stopping the reporter, who was reportedly offered $100 million over four years to stay with Fox News, where her well-publicized feud with Donald Trump and her sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News executive Roger Ailes made her one of the most-watched prime-time journalists. Even with Ailes ousted, Kelly has clearly moved on, so let's take a look at what this new chapter will look like to NBC audiences.

No more night shift

According to Fox News, Kelly hinted during her good-bye announcement that a big impetus for leaving was to spend more time with her family, particularly her three young children (Yates, Yardley, and Thatcher) with second husband Doug Brunt. The schedule for her wildly successful prime-time show, the Kelly File, prohibited her from spending time with the kids at night. Kelly made it clear she'd like a more family-friendly schedule, tweeting: "My job is important to me, but it's dwarfed by my love for my children."

Her first project would compete with syndicated giants

Kelly's first flagship program at NBC will be an hour-long news discussion program that will likely air between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Variety reported. Speculation originally suggested she may take over part of the extended Today show block. It was later confirmed by People that she'll host the popular morning program's 9AM hour, which currently holds the top-rated Today's Take.

Will she shake up the Today show?

Some say one reason Kelly won't (yet) make something like the $25 million Fox offered her is because it would surpass the current Today show talents' paychecks. According to Page Six, the allegedly territorial Lauer signed a contract extension for $20 million which will take him "well into 2018" and co-host Savannah Guthrie inked a "massive deal that is longer than Megyn's." Still, some sources for Page Six​ are already speculating that Kelly is being groomed to take Guthrie's spot. Both Kelly and the network denied the report, which begs the question: could NBC simply be grooming Kelly to succeed Lauer or to at least fill in for Guthrie during her maternity leave?

One thing is certain: any major changes to Today would be handled delicately. Producers notoriously had trouble removing Ann Curry from the equation years ago and ratings suffered. Word on the street is that trouble is already brewing among the show's cast. According to Page Six, both Lauer and Guthrie "were only told about their high-profile new colleague on the morning that the story broke." Sources said Lauer "blew a gasket," which NBC insiders denied. An insider told Vanity Fair, "They will build the Today show around [Kelly]. I know she will be sitting in one of those chairs eventually."

Well, it looks like "eventually" came sooner rather than later, because...

Tamron Hall was the first to go

On February 1st, 2017, Tamron Hall shocked the world of morning news when she announced she would be leaving NBC and MSNBC when her contract expired at the end of the month. The news came just as it was confirmed that Kelly would be taking over the 9AM hour of Today, during which Hall and Roker host Today's Take.

Although it's unclear whether Hall's sudden exit was a direct result of Kelly's Today show takeover, a source for People alleged that there is currently "bad blood" between her and the network and that she was informed of Kelly's new role minutes before air on Friday, January 27th. Still, sources add that Hall handled the situation like a pro and that NBC did what they could to save her. "She was offered a lot of money to stay ... a new multi-year, multi-million dollar deal to stay at the Today show and MSNBC and she turned it down," a source told People. "She doesn't currently have another offer, but her contract was up. And they offered her a new deal

Her arrival could knock Days of Our Lives off the air

Kelly's hiring may coincide with NBC's plans to end the soap opera Days of our Lives, which has aired a mind-boggling 13,000 episodes over five decades. According to People, several cast members have been told this season will likely be the drama's last. The network reportedly plans to devote an hour of daytime programming to Kelly, so eliminating Days would open up a coveted time slot. Not to mention, competing networks CBS and ABC have sidelined soaps in recent years. If NBC does cancel Days, we hope they at least bring back Will Horton for the finale or, heck, give Kelly a cameo.

She could compete with 60 Minutes

TV Guide named CBS's 60 Minutes the No. 6 TV show of all time in 2002. That's pretty good. As the gold-standard of Sunday night news magazine programs, 60 Minutes has never been duplicated on other networks. NBC, with its long-running stable of respected programs such as Today, Meet the Press, The Tonight Show and Late Night, has been chasing 60 Minutes forever, even after the program lost all of its original correspondents in recent years. According to Salon, Kelly's deal with NBC includes "anchoring a Sunday night news magazine" that could give the CBS staple a run for its ratings.

She's a sure bet for political coverage

Though there don't seem to be plans to make Kelly a nightly news anchor at this point, she's a shoo-in for the network's political coverage. Her superstar status skyrocketed during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle as she took on Donald Trump during interviews and debates and on social media. Now that Trump is president, it makes perfect sense that NBC may want to cover his term through the prism of Kelly. According to Vanity Fair, we can expect her assertive interview style to become "a staple at political conventions and during big elections."

She's producing TV projects

Though neither are slated for NBC, Kelly is already producing two TV projects. According to The Des Moines Register, she's creating a political comedy called Embeds for Verizon's streaming platform and a political drama called The Residence for FX. When does she have the time to pull all this off, or sleep? Anyway, Kelly's multi-tasking makes it clear that she has healthy ambitions and has probably brainstormed numerous ideas for new NBC programming. Did the network just hire a future executive? What else could Kelly do? Call the Kentucky Derby, perhaps? NBC broadcasts the race, and she's wearing the perfect hat for it.

Her memoir poses a big problem

Other than her job change, the Ailes sexual harassment allegations, and her feud with Trump, what other big news did Kelly break in 2016? Oh, yes, in her memoir, Settle For More, she suggests that Ailes and Trump may have collaborated during the campaign, while Ailes was still running Fox News, which would represent a potentially alarming conflict of interest. The big problem with Kelly's book was the timing: shey saved the most salacious details about alleged improprieties committed by Trump and Ailes until after the election, making it seem to those on the political left like she didn't want the news to have a negative effect on Trump's vote count or on her employer.

Vanity Fair wrote that Kelly "blew the goodwill she built" with the public and failed as a journalist. "It is her job to report relevant facts and let the people decide what to do with them. To not only withhold these stories until after the election, but to also hang onto them in order to sell books is one of the more calculating, cynical footnotes in a highly cynical, calculating election season. It's a move more out of the Trump campaign playbook than out of any one a responsible journalist should be using."

So, when can she start?

Kelly aired her last show for Fox News in January 2017 but at the time of this writing, she is still negotiating the terms of release from her contract, which runs through July 2017 and has a no-compete clause that could keep her off the air until 2018, reported People. It probably won't happen that way because, according to Vanity Fair, NBC is expecting her to begin working in the spring of 2017 on a program (presumably her daytime show) to air in the fall of 2017. Will Kelly change the face of NBC News? There's no doubt she will. It's just a matter of what that face will look like.