NBC took a big gamble on former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, gave her an important project and poured millions into “Megyn Kelly Today”, but unfortunately for them, they have yet to see any promise that their investments are paying off. Instead, they are struggling with Kelly’s massive drop in viewership.
NBC enticed Kelly to transfer from Fox last year into their network with a three-year, $69 million contract.
Kelly, however, never drew the audience her new network was hoping she would deliver. Her premiering at the 9 a.m. time slot in September was also met with controversy with a feud with Jane Fonda that dragged out for months. Her Sunday night news-magazine show even proved to be an even bigger disappointment, and to Kelly’s frustrations, perhaps, was quickly shrunk to sporadic primetime specials.
Kelly’s poor ratings are also affecting Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford’s 10 a.m. show, with their time slot seeing a 6% drop in viewers and 19% among adults 26 to 54.
Kelly is refusing to give up, however. She is asking for patience while having a ready menu of excuses for her lack of success in her new network. She said: “Our show is a baby. We’re six months old.” She also added in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that: “Morning TV is obviously new to me and I’m figuring it out as we go… I think any show needs about a year to just find its footing.”
NBC President Andy Lack had no choice but to defend their hiring of Kelly. Lack also told Wall Street Journal that: “Megyn has continued to prove that she’s a tremendously skilled, hard-hitting journalist, who adds valuable insight and analysis to all she touches.”’
Kelly may be giving herself too much credit or pretending to be dense with TV realities she should have been an expert by now. Unlike other businesses where growth can be projected and can enjoy the luxury of waiting for the enterprise to pick up, TV demands immediate results and instant brilliance. Any show can be axed in a matter of months or less for poor ratings.
One year, Kelly, “to find your footing”, is a joke. The truth may be a bitter pill to swallow for the once high and mighty Kelly but she lost her audience the moment she has been hostile to Trump.