Has the Megyn Kelly-hosted 9 a.m. Eastern hour of the NBC Today show franchise turned the corner after weeks of low ratings and criticism from TV critics and on social media generally right out of the gate?
As the Inquisitr has substantially chronicled, Megyn Kelly has encountered challenges in trying to make the transition from prime-time political news anchor to daytime diva focusing on lifestyle and entertainment on Megyn Kelly Today.
In its fifth week, Megyn Kelly Today seems to have experienced a ratings boost, however, through reverting to news-oriented coverage of the sexual harassment allegations engulfing movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, ex-NBC political analyst Mark Halperin, and former Fox News colleague Bill O’Reilly, among others in the entertainment/media industry.
Variety explains the apparent rebound for Megyn Kelly’s TV ratings.
“After a rocky early start that has drawn scrutiny, Kelly’s recent focus on matters of sexual harassment and gender inequality has drawn viewers to the fold…Viewership for the program among the audience most coveted by advertisers – people between 25 and 54 – rose 11% for the week ended Oct.  over the prior week, according to data from Nielsen. Overall viewership for Megyn Kelly Today surged 10% to about 2.34 million in that time period. The average viewership for Monday and Tuesday’s broadcast this week has been 2.5 million.”
Week One of Megyn Kelly Today averaged 2.5 million viewers, starting the week at 2.9 million and finishing with 2.3 million, and it has been on the decline ever since, up to last week. Kelly’s show is still finishing well behind Live with Kelly and Ryan, however, which is syndicated by ABC and airs in most markets at 9 a.m.
The Today time slot now presided over by Megyn Kelly (who dressed up as Shania Twain for Halloween) is also down 19 percent from last year at this time. Although Week 5 may be different, Megyn Kelly Today has also been watering down the ratings for Hoda and Kathie Lee, who take over at 10 a.m.
While there are more developments from Hollywood seemingly by the minute, it remains to be seen if an emphasis on that topic will continue to benefit Megyn Kelly in the long term or will be a just a temporary ratings upgrade.
“Sexual harassment issues may stoke viewership, but interest in the topic could ebb,” Variety noted. Moreover, Kelly’s many detractors on both the left and right of the ideological spectrum likely see the emphasis on this controversy as another manifestation of opportunism.
Earlier this week, the New York Post claimed that colleague Matt Lauer threw Megyn Kelly under the bus because celebrities are steering clear of Megyn Kelly Today. “It’s a big problem for them,” Matt Lauer supposedly said in reference to Kelly’s show. Interviews with A-Listers are a staple of daytime TV.
In a recent Rasmussen poll, forty-five percent of Americans revealed an unfavorable opinion of Megyn Kelly, while just 28 percent have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the ex-anchor of The Kelly File on FNC. A modest six percent say they are very favorably disposed toward Megyn Kelly, while 27 percent lacked enough knowledge about her to offer an opinion.
The improvement in Megyn Kelly’s TV ratings for Megyn Kelly Today is good news for NBC execs who are paying the media personality $23 million a year on a three-year contract.
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]