Is Megyn Kelly Today too big to fail?
The 9 a.m. Eastern time hour of the NBC Today show franchise with Megyn Kelly at the helm is less than two weeks old, and has been met with less-than-stellar reviews, drawing comparisons to the Bride of Frankenstein.
Kelly, who is trying to reinvent herself from prime-time news anchor to daytime diva focusing on lifestyle and entertainment, has experienced some awkward moments with studio guests Debra Messing, Jane Fonda, and Tom Brokaw. Parenthetically, the longtime NBC News anchor, who has acknowledged a hearing problem, told the Washington Post today that the studio acoustics were terrible in response to a perception that Megyn Kelly cut him off this morning during an anti-National Rifle Association soliloquy.
Ratings for Megyn Kelly Today have declined since its first episode during which the 12-year Fox News Channel anchor noted that she is “done with politics for now.” In week one, the show averaged 2.5 million viewers, starting the week at 2.9 million and finishing with 2.3 million. Live with Kelly and Ryan, syndicated by ABC at 9 a.m. in many markets, “beat Megyn Kelly Today by 21 percent in households last week,” the New York Times reported.
Reportedly, her lucrative contract with NBC News includes anchoring big political and other major news events, however, although her show was bumped yesterday for coverage of the Las Vegas mass shooting anchored by colleagues Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. Also, data from a market research firm circulating through the media industry supposedly reveals that Megyn Kelly has a low likability rating, the New York Post claimed.
Over the summer, there were reports that NBC execs were in total panic over how Megyn Kelly Today might fare, particularly given that her Sunday night news magazine was pulled after just eight episodes apparently for lackluster ratings.
Vanity Fair acknowledged that many ultimately successful shows stumble out of the gate, but noted that some NBC insiders have grown concerned about Megyn Kelly Today moving forward, although there also may be some internal jealously in play for the newcomer who is said to earn $17 million a year.
“[Megyn Kelly] appears far more comfortable talking about legal affairs and scandals than yukking it up with celebrities on publicity tours and commiserating about having to wear Spanx with high-waisted pants, as she did earlier in the week in a segment about fall wardrobes…Despite some notable bright spots, Kelly’s show was largely panned during its first week…
“Inside NBC, however, some of Kelly’s new colleagues aren’t so patient. ‘It’s like an implosion’…’Everyone is surprised at how quickly it’s gone badly,’ this person continued. ‘People are just like, ‘oh my god.’ A half-dozen people within the NBC orbit confirmed that the chatter within 30 Rock is that in its first week, Kelly’s show did not get off to a great start….”
Other media industry insiders threw more shade on the show, according to the Daily Caller.
‘”People at home can spot a phony quickly and they already have here,’ an industry spy told [reporter Betsy Rothstein]. ‘It will be impossible for NBC to fix this. The reviews were horrible…'”
Another TV insider contended that Megyn Kelly, at this point in time, lacks a solid fan base among the viewing public, and as such, Megyn Kelly Today supposedly can’t be fixed.
“Here’s the reality. Fox viewers feel betrayed by her….for Roger [Ailes], for leaving FNC…Liberal viewers see her as a Fox News host. She is totally without a constituency. You need a constituency…”
As suggested above, the challenge for Megyn Kelly perhaps is that those Fox News viewers disillusioned with her over all the anti-Trump content on The Kelly File during the election season seem unlikely to follow her to NBC. On the other side of the coin, more liberal NBC viewers could be reluctant to welcome Megyn Kelly into their living rooms because of her FNC resume. Or, as an Inquisitr commenter previously observed about a perceived crossover-appeal or lack thereof, “The left hates her and the right has disowned her.” This potential disconnect might also pose ongoing challenges with many liberal-leaning celebrities booked to appear on Megyn Kelly Today.
The former Fox News anchor officially went to work for NBC News on May 1 after declining an even better offer (in terms of dollars) to stay at FNC. The last episode of The Kelly File occurred on January 6, 2017.
Separately, some Megyn Kelly detractors contend that when the media personality and former corporate lawyer 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. That exchange touched off a feud that Kelly has described as “the year of Trump.”
Megyn Kelly enjoys the support, for now, of top NBC executives. Do you think that there is a rush to judgment about the viability of Megyn Kelly Today after less than two weeks on the air?
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]