NBC News’ announcement of MSNBC anchor and "Today" show co-host Tamron Hall’s abrupt departure from the network yesterday (February 1) prompted massive criticism from her fans, many of whom accused NBC of marginalizing her in favor of ex-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
Deadline published the full text of NBC News’ press release to media outlets announcing the departure. The statement, reprinted below, ends with a quote from Hall:
Tamron Hall will be leaving NBC News and MSNBC when her contract expires this month. Yesterday was her last day as an anchor on both networks. Tamron is an exceptional journalist, we valued and enjoyed her work at TODAY and MSNBC and hoped that she would decide to stay. We are disappointed that she has chosen to leave, but we wish her all the best.
Tamron joined MSNBC and NBC in 2007, and became part of the TODAY team in 2014. She has also worked passionately to bring awareness to domestic violence, highlighting the issue on her show "Deadline Crime, with Tamron Hall." She earned an Edward R. Murrow Award for a story that aired on NBC News, and an Emmy in 2010 as a member of NBC News’ live inauguration coverage.
Al Roker will continue to co-host TODAY’s Take at 9am weekdays until a new morning lineup begins in the Fall of 2017.
Tamron asked that we share the following. "The last ten years have been beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m grateful. I’m also very excited about the next chapter. To all my great colleagues, I will miss you and I will be rooting for you."
The announcement came five days after The New York Times reported that Kelly would host a new daytime show that will replace "Today’s" third hour (also called "Today’s Take"), which Hall co-hosted with Al Roker.
Hall’s extensive NBC resume includes hosting "MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall" and "NewsNation with Tamron Hall." She frequently presented one-off specials like MSNBC’s 2016 and 2014 election night coverage. She also anchored "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt" in place of its namesake host throughout December 2016.
Although NBC’s announcement did not directly attribute Hall’s departure to the "Today" line-up changes, anonymous sources told The New York Post’s Page Six and People that Hall walked away from a new multi-million dollar contract after the network axed her "Today" hour. Both publications also reported that Hall learned of her slot’s cancellation mere minutes before she went live for an MSNBC telecast.
Deadline reported that Kelly left Fox News for NBC in early January. Her move generated immediate controversy for her problematic comments about race while anchoring at Fox News. Media watchdog organization Media Matters for America compiled some of her remarks in a 2015 video, which included:
- Downplaying the role of race in Michael Brown and Eric Garner‘s killings by police
- Victim-blaming Dajerria Becton for being violently arrested
- Saying people should comply with police commands "even if [they] know the cop is in the wrong"
That outrage only intensified after NBC shook up the "Today" line-up to make space for Kelly’s new show. Hall’s fans took to Twitter to criticize the network’s replacement of her and Roker’s slot with a White woman who insisted Santa Claus and Jesus were also White. Here’s a sample, including tweets predating NBC’s announcement on Hall’s departure:
We see how you do @nbc @MSNBC pic.twitter.com/bipKBtC6AA
— Rebecca Theodore (@FilmFatale_NYC) February 1, 2017
This is who is replacing @tamronhall and @alroker at @TODAYshow. Still waiting to learn why since they’ve been #1 for 7 straight weeks. ? https://t.co/yYuroRfiLh
— April (@ReignOfApril) January 29, 2017
With her talent and appeal, Tamron Hall will land a meaningful position. NBC will regret the move. #TeamTamron
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) January 28, 2017
@tamronhall Why are you leaving at @MSNBC? You are my favorite reporter. Are they just driving out all of the black people one by one?
— Dr. Bennett (@DrBennettKnows) February 2, 2017
This is not a good look
I will not watch one moment of @TODAYshow even if you interview #FrederickDouglas
— Lisa Love (@ElleMagee) February 1, 2017
The @TODAYshow @nbc treatment of respected journalist @tamronhall is inexcusable. Will be tuning into @GMA from now on! #teamtamron
— Kidan Araya (@KidanAraya) February 2, 2017
@tamronhall keep your head up!!! Not watching @TODAYshow any more! #nbcunprofessional #teamtamron
— June E Dowell-Burton (@JDBizzyMSW) February 2, 2017
Hall is not the first Black female journalist to leave NBC under suspicious circumstances. Elle.com editor-in-chief Melissa Harris-Perry left MSNBC last February. She said in an email to her MSNBC staff, published on former colleague Jamil Smith’s Medium page, that MSNBC removed her show from the lineup with no discussion or notice.