Megyn Kelly Offers Behind-The-Scenes Look at Duggars Interview

FOX News' Megyn Kelly Interviews Jim
Courtesy of Fox News

Megyn Kelly, this week’s Variety cover subject, scored 3.1 million viewers earlier this month with her exclusive interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who opened up about their son Josh molesting their daughters as a teenager. But as the Fox News anchor reveals, it wasn’t an easy process turning around the sensitive conversation so quickly. Kelly walked Variety through the 14.5 hours it took to land her scoop — and how it almost didn’t come together before airtime.

Kelly: “At 7 a.m., I caught a flight from New York to Arkansas with my executive producer, my line producer, my hair and makeup team and my assistant. I went directly to the house and met the Duggars for the first time. Some collection of the children were there. I didn’t count them — there were many. I got the tour, sat down, did the interview. My own producer wrapped me: ‘You’ve got to move on to the daughters.’ We ran for the car.

“We have 12 people on my staff, and everybody was typing as fast as their fingers could type. At the airport, I printed out the 36-page transcript. We’ve got this 50-minute interview, and we have to cut out 25 minutes, and make sure it’s still fair. They want to tell their story, but I want to hit them with the tough questions too. It’s got to have both. There’s only one person who can edit it, and that’s me.

“My crazy drafts are filled with notes and I’m handing it off to my assistant. She’s typing it and sending it from the plane. I had to get another edit to get it tighter. I land and get back to Fox News. It’s 7:40 p.m. We go on air at 9 p.m. The head of editing had five editors stay, which is unprecedented in the history of Fox News, because it requires money.

“It’s 8:30. I say to my line producer, ‘Are we there?’ She says, ‘We’re six minutes over.’ Six minutes is a lot to cut out of an interview! We don’t have a lot to spare. We’re not going to make it! In response, I sent out an email — I never swear in emails, I swear all the time in personal conversation — that said, ‘We are f—ed.’

“You know how the person finds superhero strength to lift a car off a child? That’s where I was at that moment. Everything became clear. The team motivated. We got to air at 9 o’clock. The A Block was done. The C Block was done. The D Block and the E Block were not done. The A Block airs and it’s beautiful — and I’m like, ‘Don’t celebrate! This whole thing could collapse at 9:30, and we might have dead air.’

“We get to the end, and it’s perfect. I said, ‘Get your asses to Del Frisco’s — I’m buying.’ In 14.5 hours, we had nothing and then we had what really was a highly produced beautiful broadcast that you could air on network TV any night of the week. Diane Sawyer had two months for the Bruce Jenner special. And if I dare say it, it did not look any better than what we did. I was very proud of my team.”

For more about Kelly, read this week’s cover story.

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  1. patrice says:

    This was a half assed, self serving attempt to justify an interview that did not answer any questions and honestly, hurt the Duggars further, which is fine by me. She failed on every count.

  2. CaptnWednesday says:

    She just admitted she half-assed this story… Probably the first honest thing to come out of her mouth.

  3. Elaine says:

    Meghan Kelly is comparing herself to Diane Sawyer? Who does she think she is? She seems very cold and robot-like on the air and I won’t watch her. If she was a brunette she would be a waitress at Denny’s.

  4. Tammy says:

    Your interview was a farce.

  5. Megyn Kelly is outrageously self-important. What a hack

  6. reneer says:

    What a stupid, stupid article. she knows what she did and she did it for views and ratings only. I swear, ANYTHING for your career and screw everyone else. I have personally read previous quoted statements from each of the parents, THEN, I watched them lie through their teeth on camera changing their stories. Lie, lie lie lie lie lie. They are harboring a multi-offise child molester and hey….it’s normal in their world. The Duggars are going to fall and fall hard.

  7. Char Fda says:

    thats not inside look. show the whole uncut video from when you arrived to when you left.

  8. Glory says:

    The content of the documented incidents versus the Duggar’s version is wrought with discrepancies. For example- molestations still took place after they put “safe guards” into place. Also, all molestations were NOT fondling over clothing as there was an incident wherein Josh lifted a girl’s skirt a laundry room and fondled a child as he read to them. This is only like 15% of the discrepancies, by the way.

    And for this, I find Megyn Kelly’s interview of them to be socially irresponsible, almost deplorable. She wasn’t thorough at all in her questioning and she had not a morsel of the fire she has for pundits who simply disagree with her on politics. These people are covering for a child molestor, why do they deserve special treatment? Megyn Kelly is not a journalist, she just incites people and panders to whatever gets her check cut…even if it’s devoid of ethical rationale.

  9. Kamy Towne says:

    This interview was a total debacle, as many media outlets have pointed out. Asking tough questions is only half the job. The other half is getting truthful answers. Magyn Kelly went there as a fan, and her acceptance of answers that were blatantly lies, even for the layman that read the police report, made Kelly and Fox News look like hired help licking masters boots . They all have no credibility,sympathy or understanding , as they hold themselves s above everybody else,above law,above community, above common sense. Toss this trash off of our TVS once and forever. #canceltheduggars

  10. Horrible, horrible interview. Fox should be ashamed for the hype. There were so many time in the interview when the Duggars would say something that had been proven via police reports, etc. to be false, and nothing was challenged by Ms. Kelly. It felt as if she was acting as part of the Duggar PR team. Horrible, horrible interview.

  11. Diane says:

    Thumbs down on the interview. Megyn Kelly obviously hadn’t fully researched her subjects prior to this interview. If she had done that…really sat down and watched episodes of 19 Kids and Counting, she could have come up with some much more hard hitting questions. Then again, that wasn’t what this was about. This was set up by the crisis team the Duggars are working with to get their oh so sorrowful faces on the tube and their ‘story’ out there so that things could calm down and Jim Bob could go back to making bank off of his family.
    My dream scenario would be for a real investigative journalist to have a go at Jim Bob and Michelle.
    That would actually happen around the time the Duggars start professing their belief in the theory of evolution though.

  12. Donna says:

    She did a great job. It was the fox channel. What would you expect. She wasn’t out for blood. She did what she went for – how was the family holding up. What was the reasoning behind their dealings with Josh? Finally, did they feel what was done was successful. When she was done I knew how the Duggars felt about those questions. Fairly basic…. Has anyone found out who put up on the Google home page a story directed to the Shit head Duggar fans? Also has the photoshoped image of Jill naked been destroyed. I have to many questions what has been decided about the release of records!

  13. Guy Hirsimaki says:

    She should have left her hair and makeup people at home and let Michelle do it. Jim Bob would have liked that! The interview was set up to make the Duggars look good. It didn’t and Megyn didn’t push them at all. Awful job.

    • Kamy Towne says:

      She didn’t have to go for blood, but for the truth. Even the layman that read the police report ,knew that those answers were lies. A good interviewer doesn’t just ask the tough questions, but also points out discrepancies or lies quoting from previous statements, especially given to the police. Magyn went there as a fan and hired help of a media outlet that supports the conservative right, to which the Duggars are intertwined with , including presidential hopefuls, Joshes former employer in Washington, JimBob ‘s connections with the local government,etc. In the end this is truly about how much wealth,political power and connections can help you get away with. It should’ve been about the devastating crime of child sexual abuse, pedophilia and incestuos behaivior in big, fundamentalist evangelical families that belong to cults.

  14. Emily Morgan says:

    I am sure that JimBob and Michelle had a problem with Megyn Kelly’s outfit. Tight stretch pants and a short red top.

  15. lynn says:

    All Megyn Kelly managed to do was enable this sick, twisted family to spin their bizarre stories even more. The parents are repulsive and Megyn did not ask one tough question. She needs to check her ego at the door because the interview was a joke.

  16. Jossta says:

    Wow is that woman full of herself! The interview was ridiculous! She didn’t ask one “tough” question.

  17. Plankton says:

    I am sorry to say “Megyn” that “You are not the one who should edit the story”, being that its your story your the last one who should do it. That’s like saying the Duggards should edit this story. Both parties are not the correct way to edit.

  18. cktailgrl says:

    Well, Megyn, since the public and the media broadly panned this interview, it was left to you to stroke your own ego. For that part of the job I say well done. What a shameful, weak interview.

  19. bbjrose1 says:

    @megynkelly no one would have ever known the interview was done, edited and aired, in the bottom of the “We Ran Out Of Time” hour, if you had not shared that. As I said the night the interview aired, “You handled and delivered that interview perfectly!”

  20. Talk about full of yourself and totally delusional. Her magic mirror telling her what a great reporter she is every morning need overhaulted.

    Yeah, she had a lot of viewers but does she even remotely realize that the great majority of the audience came away thinking her interview and reporting skills were on the downside of just plain awful.

  21. mickey2942 says:

    Why wasn’t Josh interviewed?

    • Diane says:

      Mickey2942, I think it was for a couple of reasons:
      1) Josh is a coward.
      2) He is also a loose cannon. Like Jim Bob, he is a narcissist. Unlike Jim Bob, he hasn’t had as much time to hone his double talk skills. I think they knew he was likely to say or do something that would have blown the whole situation out of the water.

  22. mingin says:

    How many more interviews. Are they trying to convince us of something which in most cases would have stopped after the allegations were confirmed.

  23. Smartin says:

    Wow…someone thinks quite highly of themselves. I watched that interview and I believe the ‘tough’ questions Megyn refers to, must have landed on the editing room floor. Anything that even came close to being a tough question was more glazed over than a frosted donut, by the duggars, and then not followed up on, by Megyn. She might consider personal employment with the Duggars as their public relations expert. I wasn’t looking for “tear them to shreds” interview, but something that was much more transparent and honest would have been more appropriate.

  24. Diane says:

    What were the “tough” questions, that is tough questions that were critically followed up with other tough questions? I don’t think there were any. Sorry but Oprah or Nancy Grace would have pulled so much more out of Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar, and I like “19 Kids & Counting”, have watched it as long as it’s been on the air. The Kelly File interview was like soft-serve ice cream

    • Tulip says:

      I do hand it to her for good “time management” as far as travelling, interviewing, writing, editing, etc. (and looking pretty), but she missed out on so many follow-up questions. Jim Bob just kept deflecting, and his Stepford wife kept looking in awe at her husband w/ occasional remarks in that little girl voice. Maybe Kelly should have spent more time on her promised “hard questions.” Interviewing the daughters was exploitive and not necessary since they obviously have been so indoctrinated by their parents. I understand the Duggars got help from Hukabee’s PR person before the interview.

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