Once again, NBC is coming to terms with the idea that maybe they shouldn’t have spent all that money to bring on Megyn Kelly. Once again, Megyn Kelly Today has lost even more viewers, and once again, while consultants and anyone with eyes can see that the show was a grave misstep, Kelly and her team are feebly insisting that things will be better when viewers get to know the “real” Kelly. Unfortunately for her, the problem is that we already do.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Kelly’s ratings are 18% below what the very same hour was pulling in last year for Today, and down 28% when it comes to the crucial 25-54 viewer category. Following the Jane Fonda controversy, celebrity publicists have avoided the show, and the general failure has spread—Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford’s Today hour, which follows Kelly’s, has also seen a drop in viewers.
This has been the trend for a while, but nothing summarizes the issue quite like this stunning quote about NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, via WSJ:
“Andrew Lack made the mistake with Megyn Kelly [from the beginning] with the decision to hire her to an anachronistic celebrity contract in the mistaken belief that star quality could turn into ratings gold,” said Andrew Tyndall, a television news analyst and consultant.
True! What makes this even more frustrating is that Kelly was an expensive get—and as WSJ points out, “The combined salaries of previous hosts Al Roker and Tamron Hall were less than half of Ms. Kelly’s $23 million-a-year payday, according to several people familiar with the matter.” Megyn Kelly may be getting $69 million for her three-year contract, but the deal is hardly…nice.
For her part, Kelly is really stepping up and taking responsibility—by blaming the media for supposedly distorting her otherwise infallible image:
“I need to introduce myself to people who don’t know me or know some bastardized version of me that they’ve gotten from a website or a TV show,” Ms. Kelly said in an interview. “There are definitely some who only know me through some caricature they learned about on ‘The Daily Show.’ ”
The woman dedicated a lot of airtime to fearmongering about black “extremists,” defended racist emails sent around the Ferguson Police Department, and, oh yeah, INSISTED THAT SANTA IS WHITE. Megyn Kelly is her own caricature, and I guess it’s going to take a $69 million hit for NBC to realize that.