If anyone thought that Megyn Kelly’s move to NBC made her more progressive or was a sign of a change of heart on her politics, they need to get a load of this.
In an op-ed printed in Variety, Kelly was called out by TV critic, Sonia Saraiya. Although Kelly earned herself some points for taking on Trump in that infamous debate where Trump questioned whether she was menstruating or not and the fact that her complaints against Roger Ailes, former horn dog Fox News CEO, caused him to step down, some troubling facts still remain. Furthermore, after moving on from Fox News to NBC, things aren’t looking good for the former Fox News superstar.
‘By all measures, her “Sunday Night” effort been a disaster: Her interviews have been either ridiculed or loathed by the rest of the press, and the ratings reflect a distinct lack of interest.’
Saraiya commented that newsmagazine shows never do well, which is the format of Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly. Kelly is slated to take over a 9 a.m. morning show soon.
Saraiya also explained the psychology behind morning television personalities.
‘Daytime television is a notoriously difficult nut to crack — dozens of shows, built around former news anchors and other personalities, have failed to succeed, even when they are helmed by otherwise well-liked personalities.’
She added Kelly has never been a likable person on camera. Furthermore, she added Kelly faces tough 9 a.m. competition from Kelly Ripa, who she described as a “brash, bubbly personality.”
‘Ripa, a master of the form, was already, in all likelihood, going to eat Kelly for lunch (or is it breakfast?). Now that Kelly’s reputation on the rocks — and that Ripa has a new telegenic cohost in Ryan Seacrest — it’s hard to imagine Kelly making a dent in Ripa’s audience.’
Saraiya also delved into Kelly’s troubling past that is littered with plenty of racist statements regarding black people. She pointed to a Slate article that described Kelly as a racist demagogue. That piece referred back to this face-palm worthy comment Kelly made in response to Slate’s “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore” piece.
‘Jesus was a white man, too … he’s a historical figure and that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa.’
Her racist statements are, and should be, a major problem for her viewing audience. Nielsen found that in the 2015-16 season, 23.1 percent of the total TV audience tuning in were African-American women making them the “largest component of the daytime viewership base.”
Saraiya went on to bring up the newest focus on Kelly, her Alex Jones interview.
‘The entire rigmarole with Alex Jones was a series of unforced errors: Amateur decision-making, lightweight investigation, and vaguely defined motives … after all of the hullabaloo defending her interview of Jones, she couldn’t manage to get the segment to coalesce around a news peg. So what is Megyn Kelly good at?’
She delivered a harsh criticism of Kelly that showed how disappointing her career at NBC is turning out to be.
‘On NBC, Kelly is didactic without being trustworthy; patronizing without being impressive. Her voiceover suggests doom without really proving it; there’s a scare-mongering side to her reportage. And, most importantly: She’s alienated everyone. At this point, Kelly’s most virulent critique comes from the right — the audience that she’s supposed to be helping deliver to NBC. The network is presumably hoping that centrist or center-right women will eventually tune in.’
Kelly’s NBC career may, of course, take off at some point. It’s possible she could somehow become more bubbly. However, the op-ed proves one thing: Kelly should keep in touch with her Fox News’ colleagues because she may need a soft place to land in the future.
Featured image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter.