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, known as “Today’s Take,” were informed of the decision after Friday’s program. An NBC representative declined to comment.
Kelly’s new show will debut in the fall and air in the 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. hour, said two people familiar with the plans who were not authorized to comment publicly.
If it airs at 10 a.m., the current fourth hour of “Today” with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford will move to 9 a.m.
Other people who work at “Today” who have been briefed on the plans but were not authorized to discuss them said NBC News is leaning toward giving Kelly the 10 a.m. slot with a live show in front of a studio audience. If that’s the case, it will not have 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 management 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 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.”
Trump went on to be elected as the 45th president of the United States in November.