The always dramatic world of morning news got hit with another bombshell in February 2017 when Tamron Hall suddenly announced she was leaving NBC News and MSNBC. After the news broke, the Today show was thrust into the media spotlight as audiences tried to figure out why Hall quit and if NBC’s newest hire, former Fox News star Megyn Kelly, had anything to do with it. Here’s what we know.
Hall's exit was abrupt
Hall shocked her millions of fans when she announced she was leaving her top-rated post on the Today show, as well as her duties on MSNBC, after her contract expires at the end of February 2017. “The last ten years have been beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m grateful,” she said in a statement (via Page Six). “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.”
“Tamron Hall will be leaving NBC News and MSNBC when her contract expires this month,” a spokesperson for NBC said. “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.”
Hall joined MSNBC and the Today show in 2007 and 2014, respectively.
Did Kelly get in the way?
Hall’s exit came just a few days after reports confirmed NBC was canceling the third hour of Today—during which Hall co-anchored Today’s Take alongside Al Roker—to make room for new addition Kelly. Sources for People magazine claimed Hall was informed of the shake-up just “minutes before going on MSNBC,” and the timing of the announcement “seems to have contributed to her decision to move on.” The source said, “She couldn’t believe they told her right before she had to go on air. She was definitely shocked.”
Other show insiders are apparently unhappy with the decision, especially after the Today’s Take program’s recent surge in ratings. “Everyone has been left in the dark and no one knows why there’s such a disruption when shows are doing so well across the board,” a source told Page Six. “People are pissed,” another source said. “The third hour was beating every syndicated show across the board. They were in over their head and bit off more than they can chew when they hired Megyn.”
She's handling everything like a pro
Despite Hall’s sudden departure, NBC apparently won’t have to worry about dealing with another Ann Curry-esque situation in the press. In fact, sources told People Hall was “very much herself last week” after the Kelly news hit the tabloids. “She was bubbly as usual on air,” an insider said. “She may have been annoyed, but she didn’t show it on air.” Others sources have praised Hall for being “nothing short of a team player” and keeping any potential drama off the air. “In Tamron Hall style, she went on air and acted like the classy professional that she is,” a source said.
But was she difficult?
Although she’s beloved by millions of fans, sources for Radar Online allege Hall wasn’t exactly so sweet when the cameras weren’t rolling. “She was very difficult,” the source said. “She could have an attitude and was sometimes short and rude with the staff. If you were not Matt Lauer or talent, it could seem like she had no time for you.”
Another insider said, “TV is a cutthroat business and Tamron is one of the best,” adding, “Behind her are a long line of people she stepped over to get to the top. She makes friends with the right people and ignores everyone else. But this time she was out played by Kelly.”
A source for People also alleged that there is “bad blood” between Hall and NBC.
NBC tried to get her to stay
Even as Kelly was being groomed as the network’s next big superstar, NBC reportedly did its part to get Hall to stay during the awkward transition period.
“She was offered a lot of money to stay…and she turned it down,” a source for People magazine said. “She doesn’t currently have another offer, but her contract was up. And they offered her a new deal.” Hall was reportedly offered a “multi-million dollar contract” to stick around, according to People. “Insiders are surprised that she left,” a source said. Ya think?
She seems to be in good spirits
In March 2017, Hall served as the keynote speaker at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s Summit Salute. In her remarks (via Page Six,) she described the reactions she’d been getting from people since she left Today.
“Some would call and say, ‘Oh my God, are you OK?…I don’t want a friend who calls me saying, ‘Oh my God.’ It’s a job. It doesn’t define me. It doesn’t determine what I do…how I treat people,” Hall told the crowd. She went on to say that being on Today was a dream that she never even imagined achieving, and that just because she no longer has the job, that doesn’t take away the victory of having gotten it in the first place.
Her co-anchors said they would miss her
On the Feb. 2, 2016 episode of Today, Al Roker took a moment to praise the great work that his former co-anchor had done since joining the morning news program in 2014. “Personally, Tamron has been not just a co-host here on Today’s Take for the past three years but a good friend—and not just to me, to all of us here,” he said (via People). “We want to wish her nothing but the best, much continued success and cannot wait to see what her next chapter is.”
NBC was accused of 'whitewashing'
In the wake of Hall’s exit, NBC was faced with accusations of “whitewashing” from prominent organizations such as the National Association of Black Journalists. “The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is saddened by Tamron Hall’s departure from NBC,” said a statement from the NABJ (via People). “She broke ground as the first black female Today show cohost and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show’s third hour of programming.” The statement continued, “NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing.”
NBC issued its own statement in response to the NABJ: “NBC News has a long and proven history as an industry leader in newsroom diversity. We will continue to engage in the running dialogue we’ve had for many years with the National Association of Black Journalists and other advocacy groups to advance those goals.”
The Harvey Weinstein revelations derailed her comeback
In July 2017, Hall announced her partnership with yet-to-be-disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein’s television wing to develop a daytime talk show that she would host,” according to Variety. “My birthday is in two days, and Harvey gave me a birthday gift very early,” she told the New York Post of the deal, adding, “I’ve been on TV for 25 years, since I was 18. Now, as I’m approaching 47, this is where I want to be and where I need to be. I’m just in the happiest place that I’ve been.”
Obviously, her elation would be short-lived. Weinstein’s empire crumbled in the wake of the scandal that, as of October 2017, included accusations from 84 women claiming they were sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped by the former film giant. Speaking with HuffPost about the scandal, Hall said she found it “horrifying” and said she phoned Weinstein at 5 a.m. the day The New York Times broke the story for a “take no prisoners” call.
As of this writing, Hall is reportedly once again shopping around the idea for her show, but she had this to say in regards to the alleged actions of the man who was so close to being her boss: “It’s a woman’s worst nightmare to be in a situation where you believe someone more powerful has control over your life… I spent the summer talking to young girls raped on their college campus. They don’t have money or access. They were yelling into the wind with no one listening. I hope today they are comforted by Ashley, Rose, Lauren, Asia, and Mira [some of Weinstein’s accusers], women who from the outside have everything but inside behind the closed doors suffered in silence.”
She stirred up some controversy on Instagram
Hall found herself in a bit of controversy over a November 2017 Instagram post featuring herself posing with a black Santa Claus statue. “Found him early… #christmasseason #familyfun #texas,” she captioned the photo.
But that’s about where the fun ended after one commenter wrote, “Give it up seriously, a black Santa, talk about racist! Get over the jealousy!” Other commenters piled on until what was a fun holiday photo became a full-on social media race war. “Your [sic] the stupid racist jerk, get some manners and maybe a third grade education!” one commenter wrote. Another chimed in: “Tamron is way above you and you in no way matter with your asinine comments so why don’t you go to ho ho Hell!”
Hall herself never waded into the online scuffle, and it’s not really a surprise as to why she didn’t. So much for the Christmas spirit, huh?
She's still hosting Deadline Crime
Just because Hall isn’t on everyone’s TV every morning doesn’t mean that she’s gone from the airwaves entirely. In September 2017, Investigation Discovery premiered a new season of Deadline Crime with Tamron Hall, the in-depth investigative series focusing on unsolved crimes that she’s hosted since 2013.
Speaking with People about the show in 2016, Hall said that part of her motivation for doing Deadline Crime was her own experience with the still unsolved murder of her sister, Renate. Found beaten to death in a pool in 2004, Renate had been in several relationships with abusive men, according to Hall. Her killer was never found, although a former male companion, whom Hall once witnessed abusing Renate, was considered as “the only person of interest in the investigation.” He was never arrested, however, “due to lack of evidence.”
Hall also works with domestic violence outreach groups Safe Horizon and Day One.