Donald Trump will again meet his apparent media arch-enemy Megyn Kelly at the next GOP presidential debate on January 28 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Fox News announced the debate schedule today.
Trump, the Republican front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination, has been feuding with Kelly, and on and off with her employer, Fox News, since she essentially accused him — to the outrage of many Trump fans — of being a misogynist during the first GOP debate on August 6. That debate set an all-time viewership record for a non-sports cable event with 24 million viewers. Trump ignited a controversy over inappropriate criticism of Kelly on a CNN interview the following evening.
Moreover, last week, for example, Trump took to Twitter to blast Kelly as “overrated” when an apparent teleprompter error caused her to underestimate the sometimes thin-skinned New York businessman’s huge Republican primary lead over his rivals as evidenced in a Monmouth University national poll of the GOP-leaning electorate.
Fox News boss Roger Ailes has steadfastly supported Megyn Kelly in the various dust-ups with Donald Trump.
As such, it should come as no surprise that the moderators for the January 28 debate will remain the same as the prior event: Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace. It will air on the Fox News Channel, Fox News Radio, and online starting at 9 p.m. Eastern time
“The debate will also feature the first face-to-face questioning between Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump since the first debate, which led Trump to criticize Kelly personally and Fox News in general, though suggestions of a boycott did nothing to hurt ratings for The Kelly File,” TV Newser observed.
“Kelly, in particular, will be under the spotlight this time after she sparred with Donald Trump, a squabble that continued for months as Trump would, with almost regular frequency, begin complaining about Kelly. It will be the first time since the first debate that Kelly and Trump will be face to face,” Politico explained.
It will be the last forum featuring the GOP hopefuls prior to the Iowa Caucus on February 1. Fox has yet to announce if a second-tier debate will also take place that night, particularly since the so-called undercard is dwindling, with today’s exit of U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham from the presidential contest as the latest development. “The criteria for candidates to qualify has not yet been announced,” FNC indicated.
The Kelly File, preceded by The O’Reilly Factor, together form a prime time ratings powerhouse for the Fox News Channel on weeknights. Although he originally floated the idea of boycotting Fox News entirely in the aftermath of the August 6 Debate, Trump appears regularly with Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Susteren, Sean Hannity, and on various other FNC programs but not on The Kelly File.
As TV viewers are well aware, the controversial real estate mogul and ex-Celebrity Apprentice star is also a fixture on ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC news programs.
On January 14, the FOX Business Network will serve as host for the next GOP debate (FBN hosted a debate on November 10). CNN has hosted two GOP debates so far. CNBC has hosted one, which most observers classified as an epic fail given the conduct of the moderators.
According to Mediaite columnist Joe Concha, the Donald Trump-Megyn Kelly feud is one sided because Kelly has declined to “take the bait” of “Trump’s Twitter tantrums,” but will be ratings gold for FNC when it telecasts the January 28 GOP debate.
“Here’s an early prediction: Because of the hype that will reach — to use [an] old Spaceballs term —ludicrous speed because of Donald and Megyn alone, this debate will beat 24 million. It’ll beat 25 million. In boxing terms, this is Ali-Frazier II. Tyson-Holyfield II. Snooki-Sammi Sweetheart II. But really, Fox brass had no choice here: Sidelining Kelly would be seen as some kind of concession her questions were unfair in Debate 1 (they weren’t). There’s also a business consideration here, and without her — and the possibility of a huge confrontation initiated by Trump when responding to a question he deems unfair — on board, viewership drops by five million without even blinking.”
Do you consider the next GOP debate featuring Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly as appointment viewing/must-see TV?
[Photo by John Minchillo/AP]