Megyn Kelly has been an important fixture not just on Fox News but in the media business especially in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election. She not only made the news but she sometimes became the news. This was evident when she clashed several times with President-elect Donald Trump.
One memorable moment was during the Republican primaries when the billionaire leveled what many viewed as personal attacks which were equally demeaning and insulting to women. It also attracted online abuse and her family was forced to hire security guards over threats she received.
But now the second most highly rated cable news personality is switching to network television. This has come as a surprise because it was believed she would be staying on at Fox especially after being offered a lucrative contract. So why is Megyn Kelly leaving Fox for NBC? Below we examine her motivating factors.
To Expand Her Wings
Fox News was predominantly aimed at the segment of the population whose political leanings were conservative. But the move to a major broadcast network gives Kelly access to a much bigger and wider audience. While being interviewed by The New York Times, Kelly let it slip that she was looking to be the next Barbara Walters or Oprah Winfrey saying that there currently existed a gap that she could fill.
“Those were the biggest spots to go for an interview if you had something you wanted to get off your chest, if you were in the middle of a scandal or a major news story… And I’m here!” Kelly said.
Part of the reason why daytime programs are difficult for famous journalists is because serious news topics do not augur well with daytime audiences that are largely female.
2. More Time for Her Family
During her time at Fox News, one of Kelly’s concerns was that the schedule did not allow her to spend enough time with her family, especially her three young kids who were always asleep by the time she got home from her program that ran at night. Consequently, in the recent past, it is understood that one of Kelly’s top priorities had been getting a family-friendly schedule that allowed her to spend more time with her children.
3. To Get Away from the Male-Dominated Fox Culture
During the U.S. presidential campaign, Kelly publicly complained that she was unable to book interviews with Donald Trump when her other colleagues at Fox News such as Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly easily did. The surprise election of Donald Trump seemed to entrench the male-dominated male culture at Fox and Kelly may have reasoned that it was perhaps time to chart a new course. Additionally, after Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chairman was ousted over allegations of sexual harassment, Kelly has had to endure snide remarks from Bill O’Reilly.
4. For More Roles and Responsibilities
Another reason contributing to Megyn Kelly leaving Fox News is that she will have added responsibilities and roles. At Fox, Kelly had a prime-time role but at NBC she will have multiple roles. With NBC she will be able to have a daytime program besides an evening news magazine show on Sundays. She will also be part of NBC’s coverage of major breaking news and also political events.
For Kelly, a daytime program is will prove to be a big risk since this time slot has proved to be a graveyard for big names in TV journalism. For instance, Anderson Cooper, a CNN anchor, was only able to last two seasons in a daytime program. Additionally, Katie Couric lasted less than 24 months in a daytime program on ABC following her recruitment from CBS.
“If she survives the trial by fire of daytime and Sunday nights, the bet is unbelievable. If not, she could end up fading into obscurity,” a network executive said.
5. To Cash in on Her Brand
As much as she had to endure personal attacks and even the threat of potential harm to her family, Kelly achieved celebrity status during the recent U.S. presidential election campaign due to her independence and smarts. Besides penning a best-selling book, she also appeared on the covers of magazines. In light of this, it would only be natural to extend her reach and get bigger and this has no doubt contributed to Megyn Kelly leaving Fox News for NBC.
[Featured Image by Victoria Will/AP Images]