Megyn Kelly’s upcoming NBC morning show may have some network executives losing sleep.
NBC insiders are reportedly worried that Kelly’s new 9 a.m. show could follow in the footsteps of her poorly performing Sunday prime time program.
The Sept. 25 debut of “Megyn Kelly Today” is set to replace the long-running morning show’s third hour, “Today’s Take,” a plan that has executives concerned about the former Fox News anchor’s ability to connect with the demographics of daytime viewers.
Officially, NBC is excited about the show which is will include a live audience in a specially built studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. But the former prime time star related to a more male-skewed viewership at Fox News and the poor showing of her NBC debut, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” has insiders worried.
“A lot of people were watching the magazine show to try to get a sense of her appeal to the daytime demographic and a sense of how she would be outside of the Fox environment,” a veteran daytime television impresario told The Daily Beast, noting that the nationwide audience in that time period is not only heavily female but from 25 to 30 percent African-American and Latino. “Fox News skews very male… I always tend to think of her as more of a guy’s girl than a girl’s girl… It’s extremely challenging, and I’m not sure Megyn’s personality really connects with women.”
Kelly has been making regular appearances on the 7-9 a.m “Today” show in recent weeks, preparing for the launch of her own program. She has also reportedly building relationships with colleagues at her new network home.
According to The Daily Beast:
Yet, according to network insiders, her new role is prompting “questions internally about who her audience is exactly” as well as a sense of “total panic” concerning the intense media scrutiny that will unavoidably attend the launch of Megyn Kelly Today, to say nothing of the need to publicly vindicate NBC News Chairman Andy Lack’s $17 million gamble (reportedly her eye-popping annual compensation) when he wooed her away from Fox.
It was not a good omen for Kelly’s daytime prospects when Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly posted disappointing numbers, was reportedly pulled from its limited summer run July 30 two episodes short of the expected 10, and attracted unwelcome controversy with the Alex Jones segment, notably protests from the relatives of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims (including 20 young children killed in a mass shooting that Jones had called a hoax).
“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 Beast. “In this day and age, the shows make the anchors, not the other way around.”
Another NBC insider believes despite the struggle of Kelly’s Sunday night program, the morning show has the benefit of being part of the underlying recognition and success of the “Today” show brand.
“She should be able to excel there even if the Sunday show was perceived as compromised. They’re totally different animals,” the source said.
“She has the safety net of being in the ‘Today’ show cocoon,” the daytime impresario told the Beast, warning that Kelly is “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. The ultimate question is whether she connects with women in daytime.”
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