Megyn Kelly’s much-hyped move to NBC News was, apart from anything else, an attempt to break out of the hard-right confines of Fox News and reorient her career in a softer, more mainstream direction. Nobody with any sense took this seriously, and now, thanks in large part to some old-fashioned racism of the kind that would have been perfectly welcome at her old home, Kelly’s disastrous attempt at a daytime talk show appears to be coming to an end.
Kelly did not appear on Thursday’s edition of Megyn Kelly Today, and an NBC spokesperson told USA Today that she won’t be showing up on Friday either. CNN’s Brian Stelter spoke to multiple people who said that the show is ending outright, and that Kelly is “unlikely to return later.” This follows Kelly’s rousing defense of blackface on Tuesday—something which triggered an extraordinarily harsh public backlash from her NBC News colleagues. (Kelly apologized for the comments, but that has not helped one bit.)
Of course, if Kelly was beating all her competitors in the ratings, her bosses would probably not be so eager to show her the door. But she very much is not—as the New York Times pointed out on Wednesday night:
On-air errors, even contentious ones, can sometimes be smoothed over if an anchor has big ratings. But in her first year at NBC, Ms. Kelly’s portion of “Today” has averaged 2.4 million viewers, a drop of nearly 400,000 from the same hour’s average before her arrival, according to Nielsen. Ms. Kelly has also trailed a rival morning program, “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” by a wide margin.
None of this should come as any sort of surprise. Kelly showed the world who she was long before she ever set foot at NBC. You can’t really blame her for setting her sights beyond Fox and trying to cash in on her post-2016 fame. However, you can, and very much should, blame NBC for hiring her, for kicking higher-rated hosts of color to the curb for her, and for wasting tens of millions of dollars on her. NBC brought this catastrophe on itself, and it should be ashamed. As for Kelly? She’s rich and white; she’ll be fine.