Struggling morning show host Megyn Kelly’s failure to connect with her audience is ruining NBC’s ratings, the latest viewer numbers have shown.
“Not only are ratings plummeting since Megyn Kelly joined the ‘Today’ franchise, but the numbers show Kelly’s lead-in has also affected Kathie Lee [Gifford] and Hoda Kotb’s show, which follows straight afterwards,” an insider told the New York Post.
Kelly, the longtime Fox News host who joined NBC this summer, is now in the third week of “Megyn Kelly Today” but has yet to make a credible shift from hard-nosed political reporter to inspirational morning TV moderator.
“The format for Megyn’s show doesn’t make sense. Her show distracts from the ‘Today’ franchise,” another source added.
Kelly has been publicly criticized by one of her opening show’s guests for anti-LGBT remarks she made while at Fox, had an on-air standoff with Jane Fonda about the star’s history of plastic surgery, shouted down Tom Brokaw and broken a promise never to do cooking segments, which caused her to drop a “kinda gross” piece of raw chicken that Steph Curry’s chef wife was trying to prepare.
Her 10-episode Sunday night interview show was also put on hiatus two weeks early this summer after her audience fell by half, and she recently fired her publicist.
Kelly’s morning hour is now down 32 percent from the show’s viewership a year ago, prior to her takeover.
The next program in the network’s morning lineup, “Kathie Lee & Hoda,” has dropped 26 percent since the 46 year old began her hosting duties, suggesting that most viewers who switch away when Kelly comes on don’t go back to NBC later in the morning.
“Too many people are tuning out NBC. Hoda and Kathie Lee had been a bright spot in the mornings. People are alarmed,” the insider warned.
But one NBC staffer was trying to stay positive, noting that “Megyn posted her highest ratings yet in the key demographic on Monday, and she had her biggest total viewer number since the premiere.”
And while it is true that audience numbers tend to fluctuate as shows get off the ground, Kelly’s are still in flux despite the channel’s biggest names publicly lending their support to the new show — something that reportedly rankles with longstanding stars, many of whom are being paid less than the newcomer’s $23 million per year.
“When you add the cost of developing the show, hiring staff and promoting Megyn all the time, this adds up to a $100 million mistake,” one NBC employee previously said. “The network that created Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw and Matt Lauer will now forever be remembered for the $69 million hire of Megyn Kelly.”
- Report from the New York Post
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