‘Megyn Kelly Today’ Or ‘The Walking Dead’ — Which TV Show Gets Cancelled First?

Both high-profile television programs could be on life support.

Walking Dead ratings continue to fall
Gene Page / AMC

Both high-profile television programs could be on life support.

Megyn Kelly recently set a new Today show record, but one that NBC News executives probably didn’t expect when they opened their checkbook to hire her away from the Fox News Channel at $23 million per year.

In the meantime, ratings for the AMC zombie apocalypse drama The Walking Dead continue to decline precipitously, although the series is still the top scripted drama on basic cable.

As the Inquisitr has 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.

According to The Wrap in late November, Megyn Kelly’s 9 a.m. Eastern time platform of the Today show franchise was headed for its lowest ratings since the year 2000. The so-called November sweeps period allows networks to set their advertising rates, which is obviously is crucial to the bottom line.

“Kelly has averaged just 699,000 daily viewers month-to-date so far among the 25-54 year-old demographic. Among 18-49 year-olds, the numbers shrink further with just 548,000 average daily viewers. Overall, the show logged 2.296 million viewers on average. All three of those metrics represent steep declines and a continued gradual drop-off that has persisted for the nettlesome 9 a.m. hour since its turn-of-the-century launch.”

Megyn Kelly’s ratings have popped somewhat recently as she has positioned herself as America’s sexual harassment cop, but apparently the final November numbers were still uninspiring. Moreover, Kelly’s many critics view the emphasis on misconduct in the media and entertainment industry as more opportunism.

Megyn Kelly Today could face cancellation
  RW/MediaPunch/IPX / AP Images

Perhaps one of the only things upon which liberals and conservatives can agree in this politically polarized country is the sense that Megyn Kelly lacks believability or genuineness as she attempts to reinvent herself as an Oprah-life personality in the important TV daypart.

In any event, NBC execs have apparently concluded that she is not a good candidate for the flagship Today program to replace the fired Matt Lauer, the New York Post explained.

“While we’re told that ousted anchor Matt Lauer’s intense, long-running jealousy over potential rivals has left the network with no male contenders for his empty chair, a disastrous November sweeps means that the network’s banner hire, Megyn Kelly, isn’t a viable replacement either…The all-important quarterly measurements of viewers tend to be higher in November than in July, when fewer people are watching TV in general, so the news that Kelly’s numbers were lower in November than in July is particularly hair-raising for execs. Kelly took over in September.”

Parenthetically, now that Sean Hannity has reclaimed the 9 p.m. Eastern hour on FNC from The Kelly File, he has superseded his predecessor, Mediaite reported.

“According to Nielsen Media Research, from September 25th — when he moved to 9 PM — to November 22nd this year, Hannity has averaged 3.18 million total viewers and 667,000 in the 25-54 demo. During the same period last year, The Kelly File pulled in 3.06 million viewers and a 25-54 audience of 636,000. Overall, Hannity is up 4% in total viewers and 5% in the key demo compared to Kelly last year.”

Rating for the 7-9 a.m. Today show broadcast have spiked, however, since the Lauer scandal surfaced.

In the TV ratings sense only, is Megyn Kelly a dead woman walking, despite all the resources that NBC News allocated to Megyn Kelly Today?

On the subject of dead or undead people walking, The Walking Dead continues to see its viewership decay, as the Inquisitr has also detailed. The latest numbers for Sunday night’s episode, “Time For After,” are in, according to the Comicbook.com website.

“Sunday’s Episode 8×07, the penultimate episode of 2017, had 7.47 million people watching live, earning a 3.3 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. It’s the lowest number since November of 2011 and March of 2012 but, unsurprisingly, remains atop the chart for Sunday night programming.”

The Season 8 premiere logged 11.4 million viewers with a 5.0 rating in the demo, so the trend is definitely not TWD’s friend.

Over the years and seasons, TV critics as well as fans and former fans have consumed an enormous amount of social media bandwidth discussing the issues with the TWD storyline, particularly its often slow pace when nothing much happens to advance the narrative. In contrast, Season 8 — which seems to be taking place over the course of one day or so — has been action packed, thus making the audience erosion something along the lines of a surprise perhaps. The Walking Dead stumbles to its mid-season, 88 minute finale on December 10.

Even though every season premiere or finale (or season collectively) is usually hyped as the most shocking ever and whatnot, the marketplace seems to be voting otherwise. In addition to lapses in logic and bad decision-making woven into the plot, the series appears stuck in a repetitive arc of good humans vs. bad humans and moralizing about zombie apocalypse situational ethics while warriors abruptly become pacifists and vice versa.

TWD seems to do its best when the entire ensemble of main characters participate in the same episode (which is not often the case) rather than disappear for weeks on end. Meanwhile, the demise of no-name or peripheral, cardboard characters evokes minimal audience impact. The killing off of first-tier characters is an entirely different matter and has often left viewers with a bad taste in their mouth, as it were.

Similar to the struggles of Megyn Kelly Today in sustaining an audience, given all the implications, it remains to be seen if AMC actually ever will pull the plug on The Walking Dead.