Three weeks into Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly on NBC, the ratings have hardly been “yuge.”
Despite all the hoopla surrounding the Alex Jones interview, the TV news magazine hosted by Megyn Kelly attracted only about 3.5 million viewers, losing to a 60 Minutes rerun on CBS, U.S. Open golf coverage on the FOX broadcast network, and a repeat of America’s Funniest Home Videos on ABC, TheHill detailed. In Week 1, featuring the Vladimir Putin interview, Kelly’s program notched 6.2 million viewers, but has been trending downward ever since.
Jones, the controversial Infowars impresario, scooped the episode and perhaps undermined Megyn Kelly’s journalistic credibility by releasing a 30-minute video containing a pre-interview telephone conversation with Kelly as well as snippets of the interview itself.
During the phone chat, Kelly, 46, seemed to be engaging in some serious flattery in trying to get him to agree to the sit-down at his base in Austin, Texas. Kelly claimed that she found Jones “fascinating” and promised that she would never do a “gotcha interview” or a “hit piece.”
According to Jones, however, Kelly was very combative in person when it came to a discussion of Sandy Hook, and the interview turned out to be an interrogation or cross-examination by the network correspondent he referred to as a “modern-day Medusa” and corporate puppet. Jones also insists that he has disavowed prior claims that the Sandy Hook massacre was a false flag operation.
Because of blowback from outraged Sandy Hook families, the segment was reportedly re-edited so that Kelly appeared to get tougher with the gravelly voiced Infowars conspiracy theorist. For different reasons than the Sandy Hook families, Jones had also called for the interview to be shelved. The finished product received mixed reviews from media industry observers, as did the Putin interview for that matter.
“The timing comes into question here as well. Critics said it looked like a blatant ratings-grab for a show trying to find an audience. And those critics were right,” TheHill media columnist Joe Concha opined.
In the three weeks since Megyn Kelly’s new Sunday news magazine premiered, ratings have steadily declined https://t.co/eGTJYDI5WR
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 19, 2017
Be that as it may, the television audience seemed indifferent to the controversy.
“In the end, Kelly won over some critics with a tougher-than-expected grilling of Jones. But she didn’t win over the public. Most of them didn’t even watch,” the Orlando Sentinel indicated after the ratings came out.
NBC executives had already started panicking about a “ratings disaster” after Week 2 of Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, when only 4.35 million viewers tuned in, according to what an insider told Radar Online.
“NBC is freaking out.They didn’t pay her $15 million for this. They are now worried that her numbers will be bad when she joins the 9 am hour of Today. If Kelly tanks at 9 am she will also bring down Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb at 10am.”
— John Adams (@DailyAdams) June 19, 2017
NBC producers are supposedly trying to line up Kathy Griffin or Arianna Grande for exclusive interviews to salvage the ratings, Radar added, so that viewers might decide to spend part of their Sunday night with Megyn Kelly.
Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly will go dark once NFL football starts up again.
In the fall, as alluded to above, Megyn Kelly is scheduled to take over the 9 a.m. Monday through Friday slot on NBC, which may or may not continue as part of the Today franchise.
As far-fetched as it seems, there was even an rumor floated by a New York City radio host that NBC approached Fox News about taking back its former star, Breitbart News reported, adding that Fox supposedly nixed the idea. The same host suggested that Kelly might be offloaded to MSNBC instead, should the downward spiral continue.
“Kelly has been a flop on NBC. The peacock network gave her a contract worth more than $15 million annually to lure her away from Fox News. She is supposed to be the future of NBC…But she’s routinely losing in the ratings,” the Orlando Sentinel concluded.
Some Megyn Kelly detractors contend that when the ambitious media personality and former corporate lawyer who anchored The Kelly File on Fox News famously challenged Donald Trump during the August 2015 GOP presidential debate over his past disparaging comments about women (“only Rosie O’Donnell,” the future president famously quipped), it was more about careerism and auditioning for another network — which turned out to be NBC — than a legitimate journalistic inquiry.
Against that backdrop, those Fox News viewers disillusioned with Megyn Kelly over all the anti-Trump content on The Kelly File are unlikely to follow her to NBC. On the flip side, more liberal NBC viewers could be reluctant to welcome Megyn Kelly into their living rooms because of her FNC resume.
Do you think that Megyn Kelly will turn things around for NBC News and is the alleged freaking out premature?
[Featured Image by Vladimir Smirnov/TASS News Agency Pool Photo/AP Images]