At a South by Southwest panel on March 9, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim said the network learned something after paying Megyn Kelly $69 million to stop talking in front of their cameras, though what he thinks they learned is not immediately clear.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oppenheim answered a question about Kelly’s firing by not answering it at all:
“I don’t think I would get much done if I spent any time thinking about how I would ‘re-write history,’” he said. “Look, she’s obviously a talented journalist and a talented person. We learned a lot from the experiment of having put her at 9 a.m. She did some great work on a Sunday night magazine show that we were proud of. But, at the end of the day, in this business, sometimes you take big swings and they work out, and sometimes they don’t. But, the important thing is to learn whatever lesson you can and keep moving forward.”
Just to refresh: Kelly was finally fired after a disastrous run for not understanding that blackface is bad but still got to walk away with the $69 million promised in her three-year contract. Seems like the offensive and ultimately costly “big swing” decision to hire someone who’s made a career out of being insensitive and deeply unpleasant to host a feel-good morning show might merit a moment’s reflection, but hey, he’s probably pretty pressed for time.
He also did not think Ronan Farrow’s Pulitzer-winning reportage on Harvey Weinstien was “ready”:
“All of the folks who looked at his reporting and said, ‘This isn’t ready yet,’ those are the same people who have shepherded the 500+ exclusives that we have gotten on the air in the last 2 years, things that are equally sensitive, things that deal with national security, things that deal with sexual misconduct.”
Guess those people were wrong. Wonder if he learned anything from that.