NBC’s Big Bet on Megyn Kelly Comes With Big Risks

Megyn Kelly
REX/Shutterstock

NBCUniversal will spend millions of dollars each year for the next few in the hopes that Megyn Kelly can succeed in areas in which she’s never been tested: daytime talk and Sunday newsmagazines.

The Comcast-owned company said Tuesday it intended to launch a new daytime program as well as a Sunday newsmagazine to showcase the famous Fox News anchor, whose profile has risen steadily since she launched a primetime program after Bill O’Reilly’s on the well-watched 21st Century Fox cable-news outlet. There’s no question that Kelly’s presence is now outsize, thanks to powerful on-air performances on Fox News’ “Kelly File”; the release of a best-selling memoir, “Settle for More,” in 2016; clashing famously last year with now-President Elect Donald Trump; and also playing a role in the ouster of Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Kelly is expected to join NBC News later this year, after finishing her tenure at Fox News, where her last program is expected to be Friday.

Related

Megyn Kelly Embeds

Megyn Kelly Will Leave Fox News Perch for NBC News

“This move will propel her to superstar status,” said Ira Berger, who supervises ad buying on broadcast and cable for The Richards Group, an independent Dallas ad agency. “This move will broaden her reach beyond the Fox bubble.”

And yet, Kelly’s current halo does not necessarily mean she can also triumph over splintered broadcast-TV audiences and tired formats. Those are hurdles she and NBC will have to leap over in the months to come.

NBC said it intends to place Kelly in a new Monday-through-Friday daytime hour set to launch sometime over the coming year. To accomplish that feat, NBC would have to either take time from the four hours it already devotes to its “Today” morning franchise, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue; negotiate with affiliates for strong placement of a syndicated  hour; or test something in the early evening, where it distributes “Access Hollywood.” Meanwhile, a Sunday newsmagazine would likely run for a limited cycle, as the network already devotes a good portion of its Sunday lineup to “Sunday Night Football,” one of TV’s most-watched programs.

A spokeswoman for NBC News declined to comment beyond the company’s announcement on Tuesday. NBC declined to make Andrew Lack, chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, available for comment. The announcement was said to surprise some NBC News employees.

Success in these new ventures is not guaranteed. Other famous anchors have tried their hand at daytime TV in the recent past, and met with middling success. Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper and Meredith Vieira are among the famous TV-news personalities who tackled daytime talk programs in the last few years. All three lasted just two seasons before ending their respective efforts. There is some speculation that NBC could envision Kelly as the person to spearhead its efforts to launch a rival to ABC’s “The View” or CBS’ “The Talk,” two programs that feature a panel of popular female personalities weighing in on the issues of the day. But there is also talk that Kelly might serve as a means to lure Republican women to its fold in an era when that party controls the House, Senate and White House.

Launching a new, sustainable newsmagazine has also been tricky in recent years, as NBC learned when it debuted “Rock Center” with Brian Williams in 2011. That effort also lasted two seasons before being cancelled due to low ratings. NBC more recently tried “On Assignment,” an effort produced by its “Dateline” staff that relies more heavily on stories of adventure and innovation than on the murder tales viewers have come to expect from the parent show.

Simply put, NBC and Kelly will join forces to counter prevailing viewership trends. More people are getting their headlines from social-media outlets and mobile devices. Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults overall say they get news on social media sites, according to a 2016 study by Pew Research Center. Those figures don’t mean consumers don’t turn to TV for information, but make it clear news aficionados have other places upon which to rely.

To push back, TV is placing more emphasis on strong personalities. At CNN, Don Lemon often strikes people as a non-traditional evening anchor who is more interested in shaking up conversation. Kelly, who has never been shy about asking an impertinent question of a politician, a reality-show star or even a person who could end up being President of the United States, may serve a similar function – in doing so, lending new life to some of TV’s most hidebound formats along the way.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 325

Leave a Reply

325 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Pasquale Desimone says:

    Megan Kelly is a ‘change the channel’ newscaster can’t stand anything about her

  2. Bob says:

    “daytime talk and Sunday news magazines”

    IMO, it was a VERY BAD bet for NBC but Fox viewers win.

    IMO, MK is a very annoying “commentator” and always seems to TRY and be funny (she’s not).

    I for one am VERY ecstatic with her decision to leave FNS.

  3. Wes Martin says:

    Sorry but will not be a a fan anymore! Seattle for more ? Sounds like you want to own your own network? Loss a lot of respect for your choice of net works bey bey will not watch anymore!!!!

  4. Has NBC news ever questioned Megyn Kelly on her racist views, and hateful rhetoric when it came to black men being murdered by cops in this country. She lives in a bubble, and that may be the undoing to the ratings NBC seek to have. What were you at NBC thinking to hire this bigoted woman. The women on “The View” will have a field day with Megyn Kelly…and rightfully so.

  5. Shirley Radulski says:

    Thank goodness she is leaving Fox News, felt she was very condescending and pompous, quit watching her show about 6 months ago along with many other people we know.

  6. Carol Rieger says:

    Well. From now on I will not trust any news coming from NBC as being reliable or objective. Those executives who hired her must have lost their minds, or we truly are living in the Twilight Zone.

  7. Harry Moyer says:

    I’ll do as I’ve always done when it concerns this racist, (plenty of footage proving that allegation on Fox), hypocritical, bubble-head; turn the channel. I give none of these scum my viewership… regardless of network. NBC will likely figure it out when they find out she’s toxic.

  8. Mike Ritter says:

    uhhumm…I wonder if she thanked Trump for her new found fortune!

  9. Stefano DiMera says:

    Residents of Salem should be worried !!!! Megyn Kelly’s new daytime show could replace Days of our Lives? The soap has only been renewed till Fall 2017

  10. KARL KORDECKI says:

    Our house will not view anything she has to say .We only watch FOX NEWS.

    • Bob says:

      I actually would avoid watching her and reluctantly put up with her incessant attempts to be humorous, during the election night broadcast. No one has told her she is NOT funny and we are NOT looking for humor in our news. IMO, shut up and give me the FACTS.

      IMO, FNS dodged a major bullet when she didn’t take the offer (if there was one). She is NOT worth it IMO.

      Time will tell how big of a mistake NBC made.

      Her “Commentator” personality is like nails on a chalk board to me.

  11. jdzamacona says:

    Kelly is an oppotunist with little or no talent she kept silent on her boss’s alleged sex advances long after others came out with it. It it weren’t for Trump she would remain unknown by most except those faithful to FOX which obviously is not the majority of Americans. At tbe end she’ll rake the $$$ but not the viewers.

    • Terri Lin says:

      If you are going to comment, at least be honest. Kelly has said all along that she went to a supervisor about Ailes behavior. He left her alone after that. What did you expect her to do? And in Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit, when questioned, Kelly told the truth about her experience. If you don’t like her, that’s cool, but don’t make up the facts. Hate to break it to you, Megyn Kelly has her fair share of supporters who think she has the talent and ability to do quite well at NBC.

  12. Stoney says:

    Can’t wait to see her crash and burn…….

  13. Bas says:

    CNN going to crush Fox News…Grear one NBC.

  14. Over-paid, over-exposed will work against her. Corporate media wants a steady return their investment. Rating = advertising dollars charged for the next fiscal quarter and realized the next fiscal quarter. As part of an ensemble, she might survive awhile. Alone…doubtful.

  15. Brain@williams.com says:

    She’s as toxic as Olbermann.

    People like this destroy corporate morale.

  16. WingsofCrystal says:

    I refuse to watch someone that names their child Yardley.

  17. Karen says:

    Kelly is unwatchable. She tries to take the emphasis away from news and place the spotlight onto herself – she dresses unprofessionally, she personalizes major news stories on how it effects her and not the country or the average viewers. People don’t connect with her. MSNBC is unwatchable due to its liberal bias, but I did watched Rachel Maddow during a democrat debate and she amazed me with her professionalism. There was nothing that shifted the focus to her; she used all of the valuable time asking Hillary and Bernie relevant questions. She tends to dress in all black, which I used to question but I realize she wants the viewers to listen to content and not be distracted by her outfits. It does make the entire viewing process a learning experience, whereas with Kelly, she wants people discussing her hair, makeup, spaghetti strap dress, etc.

    I see Megyn Kelly and I think of all the stuff I regret doing in college. She embarrasses me as a woman and an American. Every journalist, especially female journalists, should feel uncomfortable that she has become a star when serious news should rule.

    • Bob says:

      I totally agree with much of your comment and think FNS is all the better for her departure. Many of the women on either The Five or OutNumbered are more than qualified to replace MK IMO.

  18. Tiffany Stokes says:

    Is NBC still around? I don’t watch TV anyway. As for news, I just look at Drudge Report, and then don’t believe most of it anyway. Hey “Media”, you lost your credibility a long long time ago with all your ‘fake news’. As for Kelly, she now looks so arrogant and full of herself, I wouldn’t watch her anymore anyway. But.. what ever.

  19. Jack Pod says:

    The change will have no effect on me. I will continue watching Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel reruns.

  20. Mark Matis says:

    She’ll fit in better with the fake news at NBC. Mr. Williams can tutor her in how to meet that network’s “standards”…

  21. NBC will lose BIG time hiring this commie. She’s damaged goods and hardly no one watches her dumb shows on fox.

  22. Fred Garvin says:

    Sorry, but I’ve done away with the puppet heads years ago. Don’t need their egos clouding my news.

  23. sosrcountry says:

    I don’t expect this to last long, her biggest fault is arrogance and it shows. Male employees should always have witnesses when dealing with her.

  24. Russell Turner says:

    She got too full of herself and thinks the story is about her, like many other ‘reporters’.

  25. golions1 says:

    Fox was good to her and good for her. I think Fox wanted her gone after she went public with accusations against Roger Ailes. I don’t think she was wrong, but she bit the hand that fed her. Her path at NBC will be difficult.

  26. George Rivet says:

    It looks like NBC will oversee the demise of another budding superstar and short circuit her career in the process.

  27. Lee says:

    Come on, she is a lawyer and talented commentator who asks questions about the Trumpster you folks don’t don’t like. Bye.

  28. Mike O'Connor says:

    will they please take the over-rated MSM hack chris wallace also? he is nothing but a tool shed for the establishment. then he can get together with his worthless RINOette sister and pine on about the “good ole days”

  29. Ryan Toth says:

    BYE BYE! wont have to see The Kelly anymore! traitor, traitor, traitor

  30. Sam Dennis says:

    As usual NBC is acting against its own interests. After the novelty wears off, Megyn’s success at NBC will fade rapidly. She is not a likable person and while highly opinionated she isn’t much of a journalist.

  31. Humility says:

    The faces may change, but will the message change as well? The reason people seek out alternative news is because they are tired of the same old bias. Who will be feeding and editing her news?

  32. fred russo says:

    We never watched her on FOX her show was nothing more than all the others. We watch one show a day and it’s the ladies on OUTNUMBERED. That all the news we need try them they are great!

  33. Lee says:

    Methinks any one of the talking heads on CNN, MSNBC, FOX would switch for bigger bucks. They all make millions+,

  34. Joanne says:

    Concept will not succeed. Kelley is popular because she is part of the nightly FOX lineup. Stick an unknown in her time slot after O’Reilly and he/she will succeed simply because they’re part of the 7-10PM growing number of Republican conservative viewers addicted to FOX.

  35. Dee says:

    Megyn claimed she wanted to be home more to take her children to school, be at their after school events, eat dinner with them and be there to put them to sleep at night…maybe she should give her husband back his gonads and let him go back to work and she can be a stay at home Mom. Now it seems she’s going to be more busy with two shows than her one show on FOX News. I’ll never watch NBC news or talk shows eve!

  36. Pat kinnick says:

    Not sure if NBC is the right landing place for her

  37. The real reason for the move is so she could hawk her book to a new audience. The Fox viewers had grown tired of her boring highlights night after night. Good riddance.

  38. ed says:

    Did not like her style on Fox, so it is no loss for me but possibility a gain depending on who is put in her time slot.

  39. The Network News Outlets (CBS, NBC, and ABC) have a long history of making serious mistakes in the hiring of “News Readers.” I have a feeling this move by Kelly to NBC will turn out to be another one. I doubt a significant percentage of her followers on Fox will follow her to NBC. And what few viewers who watch the Liberal Channel are going to be enamored with her style of broadcasting? Time will tell, but my guess is this is a mistake for both Kelly and NBC.

  40. Tonto says:

    What a fluff piece this article was. Evidently the writer never followed #kellyfile on Twitter. The comments here say it all about Megyn.

  41. saturn says:

    It is great she went to NBC as that is a channel I will never watch.

  42. Patrick says:

    Settling for less

  43. JB says:

    I used to watch her too. I haven’t for months now. She will be a liberal commodity left-leaning shill of the big networks.

  44. Don Keebals says:

    Kelly’s move is called aiming low, but good riddance from Fox News. She was a drag on their rating, and an insult to thinking people. NBC will love her fake news.

  45. gavinwca says:

    NBC get’s another Femanazi, just what they needed. The good thing is after Friday I can watch FOX again between O’Riley and Shawn. I am so tired of Miss Megan being the victim of her own making, I would not pay her 20 cent, let alone 20 million.

  46. Kary says:

    Fox didn’t fight for her because nobody else at Fox could stand her. She should fit right in with Brian Williams.

  47. Robert J. Cornell says:

    I’ll “settle for more” conservative hosting elsewhere! Paid off by the dark side and replaceable.

  48. Barker says:

    Kelly’s original appeal to me was that she was an intelligent and attractive REGULAR person who could take on anyone in the political or Hollywood elite and deftly hand them their asses as if she were taking out the trash. Now she has morphed into this celebrity diva/hoochie momma that I have not liked for months. I quit watching her months ago and will not go back once she goes to NBC.

  49. itsy_bitsy says:

    Fox made Megyn, not the other way around, so good luck NBC. You need help, but she isn’t enough to pull you out of your hole. Megyn had large audiences because she was on FOX and FOX has huge audiences. These audiences will not leave FOX to follow Megyn, but you may be able to pull from CNN, ABC,and CBS.

    • Has NBC news ever questioned Megyn Kelly on her racist views, and hateful rhetoric when it came to black men being murdered by cops in this country. She lives in a bubble, and that may be the undoing to the ratings NBC seek to have. What were you at NBC thinking to hire this bigoted woman. The women on “The View” will have a field day with Megyn Kelly…and rightfully so.

    • Kris - FL says:

      Agreed. NBC dug their own hols with their biased reporting, personal preference treatment from their talking heads towards politicians and political positions, and their repetitive outright lies. Megyn Kelly may help some, but she won’t bring them out of the hole they’ve jumped in. I am disappointed in her though. She has changed significantly since she started her show on Fox, and is apparently only in it for the money now.

More TV News from Variety

Loading