Megyn Kelly is causing a ratings slip across NBC’s morning shows after the network waged a hefty $69 million bet to recruit the former Fox News host for a brand new program.
The show is just six months in, and many daytime talk shows have taken years before hitting their ratings stride. But NBC’s gamble hasn’t exactly proven to pay off the way network executives might have hoped for, according to The Wall Street Journal, which published an inside look at Kelly’s challenge on Wednesday morning.
“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,” she told the Journal. “There are definitely some who only know me through some caricature they learned about on The Daily Show.”
Some of NBC’s affiliate TV stations are unhappy with the drop in viewers, and staffers on other NBC News shows have been grumbling about Ms. Kelly’s lofty budget. Hollywood publicists started steering their A-list talent away from the program when a feud erupted with Jane Fonda after Ms. Kelly asked the actress on-air about her plastic surgery.
In addition, Ms. Kelly’s Sunday night newsmagazine, which premiered to disappointing ratings last summer, has been reduced to occasional prime-time specials.
Kelly became a national household name throughout the 2016 election, moderating a presidential debate, taking on President Donald Trump and later releasing a book. But the ratings she enjoyed as a nightly news host for the conservative network hasn’t yet transcended to MSNBC — in fact, her hour in the critical morning time slot appears to be negatively impacting ratings for Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford’s 10 a.m. hour on the Today show, while ABC’s competing morning show Live With Kelly & Ryan has enjoyed a ratings surge.
“Our show is a baby. We’re six months old,” Kelly continued. “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.”
Still, NBC News spokespeople tell the Journal the morning show is profitable. In a statement, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack described Kelly as a “hard-hitting journalist” who brings “valuable insight and analysis to all she touches.”