Controversy usually creates cash and big ratings—except if you are NBC News’ Megyn Kelly.
After Kelly’s controversial and much-hyped interview with Alex Jones tanked by again failing to beat out reruns of 60 Minutes and America’s Funniest Home Videos, New York radio host Mark Simone tweeted on Monday that NBC is trying to unload Kelly and convince Fox News to take her back.
But a high-ranking Fox News source told Breitbart News that there is “no way” Kelly could come back to the network. Quite simply, the source told Breitbart News, Kelly “would not be welcomed back.”
Simone also suggested that if Kelly becomes more toxic and her ratings tank even more, “NBC will have to take her off the network,” and “if they are stuck with her, they’ll give her an MSNBC show.”
Before she bolted to NBC, Kelly anchored The Kelly File on Fox News. During the 2016 election cycle, Kelly won praise from mainstream media journalists when she tried to undercut Donald Trump during the first Republican presidential debate in August of 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. She also gave “Never Trumpers” a forum on her primetime show to constantly slam Trump throughout the election cycle.
And as the Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove noted, Kelly also “hastened [Roger] Ailes’ forced resignation last July with her fateful decision to recount his misconduct to a team of lawyers hired by 21st Century Fox to investigate allegations made in the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.” New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported that Kelly “told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox.”
As Grove pointed out, Kelly, in her book, said there was some “poetic justice” in the role she played in helping boot Ailes out of Fox News.
“I worked my tail off… I established myself as a serious person,” Kelly wrote. “I built my own power. And when the allegations against Roger hit, I used it. Perhaps there is some poetic justice in that.”
NBC reportedly invested nearly $20 million a year to bring Kelly to the network, and NBC’s investment has not paid any dividends at all. After her interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kelly was mocked for being way out of her league. And when HuffPost obtained the full unedited interview in which a “nervous” Kelly lobbed Putin “softballs,” Kelly was subjected to another round of criticism.
Her interview with Jones did not have any news value and may have damaged NBC’s and her reputation more than it helped. Advertisers like J.P. Morgan Chase fled while Kelly lost credibility in the eyes of many when, in a leaked recording that Jones released, Kelly is heard telling Jones, “It’s not gonna be some gotcha hit piece, I promise you that.” NBC did not help matters when it released a photo of Kelly and Jones that, as The Hill’s media columnist Joe Concha described, looked ‘like they were on a Tinder date pulling up to a drive-thru.”
Yet despite all of the hype, Kelly’s interview with Jones still flopped. 60 Minutes and America’s Funniest Home Videos reruns even beat Kelly’s show by nearly 40 percent in the coveted 18 to 49-year-old demographic, as Concha noted.
A television executive told CNN over the weekend that NBC’s “fundamental mistake” was thinking that Kelly was actually a “superstar.” NBC executives have already reportedly determined that viewers are not going to tune in to Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly just to watch Kelly and are “freaking out” over the “ratings disaster” that is Kelly.