NBC is losing its $69 million gamble to steal Megyn Kelly from her conservative Fox News throne and remold her as a mainstream superstar on the Peacock Network, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Since joining NBC’s flagship morning show "Today," Kelly averages just 2.4 million viewers per episode, which is 18 percent below what the hour was drawing last season, according to Nielsen media research cited by the Journal. Even worse, the ratings have further plummeted for the past two months to a low of 1.9 million.
Andrew Tyndall, a TV news analyst and consultant, told the Journal: "[NBC News Chairman] 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."
In an interview with the Journal, Kelly said erroneous portrayals of her in the media are to blame.
"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. There are definitely some who only know me through some caricature they learned about on ‘The Daily Show,’” she said.
New York magazine has reported that Kelly's long jump from "The Kelly File" on Fox News to NBC was fueled by unhappiness over a long-running feud with Donald Trump, ex-CEO Roger Ailes' sex harassment scandal, and strained relations with boss Rupert Murdoch.
But her NBC debut with a Sunday evening "Dateline"-style newsmagazine show last year was dubbed "a disaster" by Variety.
As well, she was ridiculed for interviewing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones despite a backlash that cost the show advertisers and led to Kelly being dropped as host for an event by an organization founded by parents of children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, violence which Jones labeled a hoax.
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