Megyn Kelly's ratings for her morning show are being questioned before she begins. And that's not good news for NBC.
Set to debut on Monday, Sept. 25, Kelly's show has been described as Oprah Winfrey-esque. Forgoing a co-anchor, Kelly will go it alone, utilizing a solo-host and live-audience format in the 9:00 a.m. time slot.
"My hope is that the show can be a unifying force, with courage, that can at times be provocative ... fun and uplifting and empowering and can make people feel like: fists in the air at the end of it," the blond beauty says in a promo. That all sounds kinda, sorta exciting. But what does it mean? Short answer: NBC wants the former Fox anchor to be everything to everyone. Especially female viewers.
But as Bill Carter points out in a CNN article, TV heavyweights like Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper have tried the solo format and it rarely works for women in Middle America. What does work? Celebrity guests on Live With Kelly And Ryan, cooking segments with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford and gardening segments with Savannah Guthrie or Al Roker. Soft personalities, light segments and little or no politics. But that doesn't exactly sound like Kelly's resume.
Kelly — who reportedly got paid about $17.5 million for her new contract — failed to yield the ratings the network was looking for on Sunday evenings. Kelly’s premiere episode of Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly earned a 0.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic and a 1.2 rating among those aged 25-54. It averaged around 6.1 million viewers but lost to a 60 Minutes rerun in the second half hour, after the Putin interview had concluded.
She was also publicly criticized by industry vets like film director Oliver Stone, who didn't think she was prepared to handle the interview. Stone said this week that Kelly "was attractive" but "wasn't in position to debate or counter [Putin], because she didn't know a lot of things." LA Times reporter Lorraine Ali also concluded from the premiere that Kelly is "still not a great interviewer."
Kelly was ideal for Fox's audience (right-leaning men who thought she was hot). But now she's going up against two heavy hitters, Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, and the outlook isn't promising.
“The Sunday show laid such an egg that any claims that she had automatic star power, to get people in the door to see what she was doing, have been disavowed,” television news analyst Andrew Tyndall told The Daily Beast. “The stardom of the celebrity anchor was a phenomenon of the 1980s ... In this day and age, the shows make the anchors, not the other way around.”
“She’s going to have to adapt to the live audience, she will have to be more entertaining, and that will be a learning curve for her," a daytime veteran told The Daily Beast. "The ultimate question is whether she connects with women in daytime.”
Do you think Megyn Kelly's morning show will be a success? Let us know your take in the comments section below!