In the next round of TV-network morning wars, the battle to watch will be Kelly vs. Kelly.
Megyn Kelly’s new NBC morning program will launch at 9 a.m. in the fall, according to an NBC News spokeswoman, meaning the popular former Fox News Channel anchor will square off in many markets against a refreshed “Live,” the syndicated ABC program led by Kelly Ripa. ABC said Monday morning that she will be joined as co-host by Ryan Seacrest after a year of working with an array of guests.
The scheduling suggests that both networks see the mid-morning — typically viewed as a time when many viewers have left their living rooms and gone to work — as a time slot with audience worth fighting for. The TV networks’ morning scrum has always been feistiest during the hours between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., when “Today,” “Good Morning America,” and “CBS This Morning” duke it out for the toast-and-eggs crowd. But this move could focus new attention on the time slot that follows those programs. Both NBC and ABC announced their moves as TV’s annual “upfront” market, where U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming season to advertisers.
Not too many months ago, Megyn Kelly worked briefly as a guest co-host on “Live.” Now the two will have to consider each other in different fashion.
NBC has not announced whether Kelly’s show will be part of “Today,” or portrayed as separate from that enterprise. A third hour of today, long co-hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, is likely to remain at its current 10 a.m. roost.
NBC News has already moved forward on a separate Kelly project, a Sunday news-magazine that will be overseen by veteran “Dateline” producers David Corvo and Liz Cole. Kate Snow is expected to contribute to the program, which is slated to launch in June.
NBC News is placing a big bet on Kelly: She will compete with CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sundays and with two of TV’s most enduring personalities — Ripa and Seacrest — during the week.
The two projects give Kelly an opportunity to pursue hard-news stories as well as lighter material. Last week, Kelly interviewed the Kardashian family, the reality-series kingpins who hold forth on NBC News sister operation E! “Barbara Walters has retired,” Kelly told Variety in 2015 as Fox News unveiled an effort that would let her interview celebrities for a primetime special on Fox Broadcasting. “Diane Sawyer left her anchor role. Oprah has moved to the OWN network and is doing a different thing now. So why not me?”