Written by DML
Megyn Kelly was once the cat’s meow at Fox News. CEO of FNC, Roger Ailes was building the entire network around her star power.
Ailes, who was a close friend of Sean Hannity, bumped the pro-Trump host from his slot at 9 p.m. to the later hour of 10 p.m. just so Kelly could shine her star in prime time. With O’Reilly’s show before hers, Kelly had a great lead in.
I was often a guest on Megyn’s show, and it was produced so much better than any other show at Fox. Her staff was bigger, and she had the fanciest studio in the building.
But Megyn had a nasty run in with Trump at the first GOP debate and it all went downhill from there. It was probably a blessing in disguise for Kelly — or so she thought — to get out from being under the black cloud of negative news and ruthless politics.
Fox was not for her — she wanted more — she wanted to be Oprah, and truth be told she was never made for conservative news reporting. A liberal at heart, Kelly had to fake it on more than one occasion during our conversations about immigration.
When Kelly left Fox for NBC News, I’m willing to bet there was no question in her mind about how successful she’d be. But after the last few months, I wonder if she still harbors that same confidence?
According to Variety, Kelly’s morning show on NBC is having the same issues her nightly show had over the summer. ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ is barely breathing, and from the sound of it, she’s struggling to land big guests because of her connection to Fox, and her rocky start interviewing some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
A number of publicists who spoke to Variety expressed discomfort with the idea of booking their clients in the third hour of “Today,” which has now been retitled “Megyn Kelly Today.” These publicists, however, said they are still eager to take their talent to other blocs of the morning show. “I’m not booking anyone on her show,” says a high-powered publicist, with a roster of big names, who asked for anonymity due to her overall relationship with “Today.” “I literally haven’t pitched anyone even from right out the gate. The buzz that is out there is so bad.”
Another well-known publicist, who represents one of the celebrities who has appeared on Kelly’s show, wasn’t pleased with the interview. “I won’t plan to have others go on,” the publicist said. “None specifically have been offered or asked to, but it’ll be my preference not to.
The article goes on to highlight some of Kelly’s biggest flops in the first few weeks.
Over the summer, sources tell Variety that producers from Kelly’s show made a trip to Los Angeles to sell the big publicity firms on the new hour of “Today,” promising a lighter, more inspirational Kelly that viewers hadn’t seen before. However, according to an insider who attended one of the meetings, the team didn’t seem to have a clear direction of the show they were pitching. Kelly didn’t fit into a box like Ellen DeGeneres or Dr. Oz. And as a result, not too many celebrities jumped onboard.
Fast-forward to the first episode. Kelly surprised audiences when she debuted on Sept. 25, swearing off politics entirely. Instead, she sat down with the cast of NBC’s “Will & Grace.”
That interview grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons. Kelly made an ill-received joke about a super fan’s sexual orientation, which led actress Debra Messing to post on Instagram that she was “dismayed” by Kelly’s remarks and regretted going on her show. Two days later, Kelly offended Jane Fonda with an off-putting question about her refusal to talk about plastic surgery. (“We really want to talk about that right now?” Fonda huffed, seated next to her co-star Robert Redford.)
Where Megyn’s morning show leads to is anyone’s guess at this point. But there’s one thing about Kelly I know from my time sitting across from her… if she’s going to fail at this new gig, she won’t go down without a fight.
And if she does bomb, don’t be shocked if Fox News takes her back. Martha MacCallum’s ratings are pretty weak compared to the rest of the Fox lineup. The Murdochs love Kelly even though the Fox audience had lost their flavor for her. They’d stick her back in at 7 p.m. faster than you can turn the channel.
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