×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Advertisers Seemed Wary of NBC’s Megyn Kelly ‘Sunday Night’ Broadcast

NBC is hoping Madison Avenue will embrace massive ad rate hikes in the fall to support Megyn Kelly’s soon-to-launch morning program. On Sunday night, however, some advertisers kept the anchor’s new newsmagazine at arm’s length.

NBC’s broadcast of a much-scrutinized episode of “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” which led with a segment about controversial conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, appeared to run with fewer than the usual amount of commercials that typically accompany a first-run program. Three of the ad breaks led with public-service announcements, which usually run in less desirable ad inventory. Some of the advertisers that sponsored Sunday’s program had their commercials appear more than once during the hour. And many of the show’s commercial breaks appeared to contain a number of promos for NBC programs that is greater than the norm.

The show was already a hot potato for some advertisers. Last week, the chief marketing officer of J.P. Morgan Chase, Kristin Lemkau, tweeted that she was “repulsed” by the idea of NBC giving Jones a platform.  The self-styled provocateur is known for spreading dubious theories about national events — even going so far as to dub the 2012 shooting massacre of children in Newtown, Conn., a “hoax.” The financial-services firm requested that its local and digital ads not be placed adjacent to any broadcast or stream of the segment, according to a person familiar with the situation. It remained unclear whether J.P. Morgan Chase pulled its ads from NBC properties or simply “re-expressed” an advertising schedule so that commercials would run at different times or alongside different programming.

To be sure, several blue-chip marketers showed up to support “Sunday Night.” Procter & Gamble, one of the nation’s biggest advertisers — and most conservative — ran an ad for its Head & Shoulders shampoo. Consumer-products giant Henkel ran two spots for its Snuggle laundry detergent featuring the company’s well-known “Snuggle Bear” mascot. And a number of manufacturers of over-the-counter medications like Icy Hot, Allegra, Aspercreme, Xyzal, Nasacort, and Gold Bond powder showed up in support of the program.

But it was clear from the first ad break — which did not appear until about 20 minutes into the broadcast — that the program was not running with a full complement of commercials from national advertisers. By using public-service announcements, or PSAs, to lead off three different ad breaks, NBC created a buffer of sorts between “Sunday Night” content and the commercials of paying sponsors. PSAs typically run as part of time donated by media companies and appear at a particular network’s discretion.

NBC also used “Sunday Night” to run promos for a wide variety of its programs, including “Today,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Hollywood Game Night,” and “Midnight, Texas,” among other shows.

Madison Avenue is accustomed to running commercials on TV without generating much controversy. But a polarized base of American consumers has changed the game in recent months. Advertisers have found themselves pressured to pull their support of Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” and “The O’Reilly Factor” when the hosts of those programs came under public scrutiny. Delta Air Lines and Bank of America recently yanked some support of New York’s Public Theater’s schedule after reports surfaced that the title character of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” was portrayed as looking a lot like President Donald Trump. Even this year’s Super Bowl was monitored to determine whether advertisers were supporting or speaking out against political issues.

More Biz

  • Viacom Q4 Profit Drops Despite Business

    Viacom Q4 Profit Drops Despite Business Improvements

    Viacom said net income in its fiscal fourth quarter dropped, even as the entertainment company saw improvements in some of its chief revenue lines, a sign of the challenges its operations continue to face even as the parent prepared to merge with CBS Corp. in a few weeks’ time. The New York owner of Nickelodeon, [...]

  • Imax logo

    Imax China Hires Edwin Tan as CEO

    Former conferences and exhibitions executive Edwin Tan has been appointed CEO of Imax China. He replaces Jiande Chen, who now becomes vice chairman of the company, having headed the company since its inception in 2011. Tan was previously CEO of the China business of leading events firm Messe Muenchen. Before that he held roles at [...]

  • Visitors passe by a Alibaba Group

    Alibaba Readies $14 Billion Share Sale in Hong Kong

    UPDATED: Chinese e-commerce and entertainment giant Alibaba may raise up to $15 billion through a secondary listing of its shares in Hong Kong. The move would be the largest share offering this year and comes despite the ongoing civil strife in the Asian financial capital. Alibaba’s shares have been traded in American Depositary Receipt form [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, center, leaves a courtroom

    Weinstein Trial Expected to Take Up to Two Months

    Jurors in the upcoming trial of Harvey Weinstein will be told that the case will last up to two months, according to a recent court filing. Weinstein is set to go on trial on Jan. 6 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. According to a court filing, the jury pool will be told to [...]

  • supreme court byron allen comcast

    Emotions Run High as Supreme Court Hears Byron Allen vs. Comcast Arguments

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sharon Fletcher traveled from Bethlehem, Pa., in the hopes of attending Wednesday’s Supreme Court hearing in the civil rights lawsuit filed by entrepreneur Byron Allen against cable giant Comcast. Fletcher was one of several hundred people who waited in line for a seat in the courtroom. She was there before 8 a.m. [...]

  • Alan Horn

    Disney Studios Chief Alan Horn on Scorsese v. Marvel, Challenges in a Changing Business

    It has been more than a month since Martin Scorsese compared Marvel movies to theme park rides and questioned their cinematic credentials, but the conversation started by his comments continues. Walt Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn, who considers Scorsese a friend after working with him on “The Departed,” weighed in on [...]

  • Bon Appetit at the Chase Center

    Golden State Warriors' New Stadium Boasts the Best in the Bay Area Food Scene

    Don’t expect to dine on pedestrian stadium-style eats at San Francisco’s new $1.6 billion Chase Center, built on 10-plus acres in Mission Bay. Home court for the Golden State Warriors, the arena seats 18,500 and has 37 outlets to serve patrons freshly cooked and seasonal items along with craft brews, intricate cocktails and California wines. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content