After making a risky $69-million investment by stealing Megyn Kelly from her leading role at the conservative Fox News – in an attempt to convert her into a new star in the mainstream media – NBC has found that its gamble did not pay off.
“NBC bet $69 million on Megyn Kelly – then viewers vanished,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “The former Fox News star was supposed to bring a bigger audience since taking over the lucrative 9 a.m. slot for Today, but ratings declines and high costs have dragged down a critical franchise. [She] has struggled to build an audience for her program on ‘Today,’ raising questions about her shift from Fox News.”
Losing wager, through and through
After being given more than a year’s time to increase traffic to her new progressive network, the opposite has happened
“Megyn Kelly was supposed to bring star power to NBC News and a bigger, broader audience of morning viewers to its Today show franchise,” the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint reported. “Instead, the three-year, $69 million bet to woo Ms. Kelly from her conservative prime-time perch at Fox News is backfiring.”
Critics have argued that Kelly’s fall from stardom started as early as 2015, when her ongoing spat as a Fox News anchor with then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump began, but her ratings as a conservative news host never drove ratings down as they have for the leftist NBC station.
“Since joining NBC’s flagship morning show Today, Kelly averages just 2.4 million viewers per episode, which is 18 percent below what the hour was drawing last season, according to Nielsen Journal, quot[ing] the media research firm Nielsen as determining [the figures],” Newsmax reported. “Even worse, the ratings have further plummeted for the past two months to a low of 1.9 million.”
Television news analyst and consultant Andrew Tyndall insists that other errors were made by NBC when it decided to bring Kelly into the fold.
"[NBC News Chairman] Andrew Lack made the mistake with Megyn Kelly [from the beginning] with the decision to hire her to an anachronistic celebrity contract in the mistaken belief that star quality could turn into ratings gold," Tyndall told the Wall Street Journal.
Kelly blamed inaccurate portrayals of her in the media for her fall from popularity.
"I need to introduce myself to people who don’t know me or know some bastardized version of me that they’ve gotten from a website or a TV show,” Kelly told the Journal in an interview. “There are definitely some who only know me through some caricature they learned about on The Daily Show.”
Kelly’s run-in with the president is not the only reason given for her move to NBC and subsequent plummeting ratings.
“New York magazine has reported that Kelly’s long jump from The Kelly File on Fox News to NBC was fueled by unhappiness over a long-running feud with Donald Trump, ex-CEO Roger Ailes' sex harassment scandal, and strained relations with boss Rupert Murdoch,” Newsmax recounted.
Everything the anti-Trump Kelly has tried after departing from Fox has essentially ended up in failure, beginning with the debut of her current stint with NBC’s Sunday night Dateline-style newsmagazine.
“By all measures, her Sunday Night effort been a disaster – her interviews have been either ridiculed or loathed by the rest of the press, and the ratings reflect a distinct lack of interest,” Variety reported last year. “To be sure, newsmagazines around one anchor have a high failure rate – even for respected names like Bryant Gumbel, Connie Chung and Jane Pauley. But Kelly’s problems go beyond ratings.”
More problems …
Kelly’s downward spiral was also propelled by a controversial decision she made regarding a story she was covering on the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting that killed 22.
“[S]he was ridiculed for interviewing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, despite a backlash that cost the show advertisers and led to Kelly being dropped as host for an event by an organization founded by parents of children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School – violence which Jones labeled a [government] hoax,” Newsmax noted.
The group went as far as issuing a statement explaining its reasoning for axing Kelly as its event’s host.
"Sandy Hook Promise [SHP], a leading gun violence prevention organization, and NBC host Megyn Kelly have agreed that Kelly will no longer host the organization's annual Promise Champions Gala on Wednesday, June 14th, in Washington D.C.," the organization's statement announced. "This decision was spurred by NBC’s planned broadcast of Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who believes the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown … was a hoax."
SHP Co-founder and Managing Director Nicole Hockley pleaded with Kelly not to air her interview with Jones.
"Sandy Hook Promise cannot support the decision by Megyn or NBC to give any form of voice or platform to Alex Jones," Hockley proclaimed in a statement, according to a June 2017 Newsmax report.
But Jones soon joined SHP as an unlikely ally in its call to not air the interview when he claimed that Kelly duped him and misrepresented his stance.
“I'm calling for @megynkelly to cancel the airing of our interview for misrepresenting my views on Sandy,” Jones tweeted on June 12, 2017.
His call to keep the interview moot was also declared in a video.
"Megyn Kelly lied to me several weeks before she came here, and she said the interview was not going to be about Sandy Hook and the mass shooting there," Jones asserted in a video, according to the Washington Post. "My listeners questioned it (Sandy Hook shootings). … I played devil's advocate by saying maybe none of it happened and it was all fake. The other side of me believes those parents I've seen on TV, and real mass shootings happen, so it probably did happen."
However, in turn, Kelly surprisingly pointed to her longtime foe, Trump, in order to bring credibility her decision to interview Jones, noting that he commended the radio host in the past and appeared on his show – also adding that Jones received White House press credentials.
“POTUS's been on & praises @RealAlexJones' show,” Kelly posted on Twitter June 12, 2017. “He's giving Infowars a WH press credential. Many don't know him; our job is 2 shine a light.”