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Megyn Kelly Character Cut from Showtime's Roger Ailes Series (Exclusive)

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 10/30/2018 Tatiana Siegel
Megyn Kelly wearing a purple shirt and smiling at the camera

What to do when your project’s real-life protagonist becomes embroiled in scandal? For Showtime, it was write out the character completely. 

A Megyn Kelly character is getting the boot from a Showtime project about Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ downfall, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Sources say the NBC News anchor will no longer will be featured in the untitled limited series from producer Jason Blum, based on Gabriel Sherman’s book The Loudest Voice in the Room.

The Kelly character's removal required minimal adjustments because she was a minor one in the eight-episode Showtime series, appearing in only a few scenes. Her character had not been cast yet (Naomi Watts will play Gretchen Carlson and Russell Crowe will portray Ailes). 

"Megyn Kelly was a peripheral participant in Ailes’ downfall," says Sherman, who co-wrote the first episode with Spotlight writer Tom McCarthy. "It was Gretchen Carlson and her lawyer Nancy Erika Smith who drove the events that led to Ailes’ ouster. ... By the time [Kelly] spoke to investigators, Ailes’ fate had been sealed. Any dramatization that makes her a central character in Ailes’ takedown is pure fiction."

Meanwhile, Jay Roach’s untitled film about the Fox News women who brought down Roger Ailes with their claims of sexual harassment is forging ahead with Charlize Theron portraying Kelly.

Though the filmmakers have been calling the film an ensemble piece, Theron is top-billed and also a producer. Production on the film began in Los Angeles on Oct. 22, three days before NBC canceled Megyn Kelly Today after Kelly's comments about blackface, leaving the filmmakers in an awkward position — move forward with a tarnished heroine or delay production by refashioning Theron’s Kelly and tweaking Charles Randolph’s script into a roman à clef.

The movie already dodged one bullet earlier this month when it was dropped by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, leaving the filmmakers scrambling to find a new distributor. On Oct. 9, Lionsgate stepped in to release the film, which also stars Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and John Lithgow (though a source says the deal is not officially closed yet but is very near the finish line). 

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