Third hour of ‘Today’ cut to make way for Kelly

Chris Wallace, left, Megyn Kelly and Brett Baier during Fox's presidential debate telecast.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Chris Wallace, left, Megyn Kelly and Brett Baier during Fox's presidential debate telecast.

NBC is dropping the third hour of its morning show “Today“ to make room for a new talk show with former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

Staffers of the third-hour show, which is also known as “Today,“ were informed of the decision after Friday’s program. An NBC representative declined to comment.

Two people familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly said Kelly’s new show will debut in the fall and air in the 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. hour. If it airs at 10 a.m., the current fourth hour of “Today“ with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Griffin will move to 9 a.m.

There has been no decision of the title of Kelly’s program and whether it will carry the “Today“ brand name.
Al Roker, the weather anchor for “Today“ from 7 to 9 a.m., and Tamron Hall, are the current co-anchors of the third hour. There is a desire among NBC News to keep Hall as part of the “Today“ family but no plans have been finalized. Hall, the first African American woman to be a regular co-anchor on “Today,“ is also a daytime news anchor on MSNBC.

Kelly, a Bethlehem High School graduate, agreed to join NBC News in January, but is under contract to Fox News until July.

Kelly, 46, became a breakout TV news star after her tough questioning of Donald Trump during the first Republican presidential primary debate in 2015. Trump ridiculed Kelly in TV interviews and on social media in the months that followed. But his criticism only propelled her fame and likely motivated her to seek a wider platform than Fox News.

NBC launched the third hour of “Today“ in 2000 at the height of the morning franchise’s popularity. The hour averages around 3.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

The program became a part of the 2016 presidential campaign when former co-host Billy Bush was heard in a leaked 2005 video engaging in lewd, sexist conversation with Trump. Bush was suspended from the program and NBC bought out his contract. He was not replaced on “Today.“

Categories: Entertainment

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