Megyn Kelly’s new morning show has had a rough start, to say the least. The former Fox News host’s new NBC series, cleverly titled “Megyn Kelly Today,” premiered last week and was ruthlessly panned by critics. A review in The Washington Post called it “far from successful” — and that was one of the nicer comments made so far.
Kelly has been criticized as having a likeability problem and asking awkward questions of celebrity guests. But the bottom line is that she made the mistake of running into the arms of the liberal media — thinking they’d fully embrace her.
On a recent episode of her show, Kelly called her first week at NBC’s morning show “educational.”
All the critical reviews and celebrity disdain about her first week were predictable. Kelly made the colossal mistake, as did her new employer, NBC, in believing her brand and star power transcended that of her former employer, Fox News. She made the Katie Couric career chess error of leaving a highly popular television show in order to try to transform herself into someone her audience neither recognized nor cared for — sad.
Some of Kelly’s biggest fumbles in the first week of her show came from her questionable interviewing skills, something for which she’s been criticized before.
“Will & Grace” star Debra Messing, along with the rest of the show’s cast (all pictured above), appeared on Kelly’s show to promote the relaunch of their series. Messing found herself dismayed when Kelly asked an audience member and fan of the show if he “became gay because of” one of the show’s central characters — a gay attorney.
Messing jumped on Instagram after the interview to say, “Regret going on. Dismayed by [Kelly’s] comments.”
When Messing disavowed her appearance on Kelly’s show, a clear line was drawn in Hollywood, which is likely going to be an epic headache for the show’s producers in booking future celebrity guests.
In a write-up about the show, The Daily Beast said celebrity guests on Kelly’s show often resembled “hostages blinking into the camera for help.”
The critics had already been piling on Kelly after her debut, but by midweek the Hollywood daggers were fully out, when actress Jane Fonda looked annoyed to be on the set with Kelly and angrily snapped at a question about plastic surgery.
The critics had been piling on Kelly after her debut, but by midweek the Hollywood daggers were fully out.
“You’ve been an example to everyone in how to age beautifully and with strength and unapologetically,” Kelly told Fonda. “You admit you’ve had work done, which I think is to your credit. But you look amazing … I read that you said you’re not proud to say you’ve had work done. Why not?”
Fonda snapped back, “We really want to talk about that now?”
Kelly tried to win back control of the interview by saying, “Well, one of the things people think when they look at you is how good you look.”
Fonda then clearly pivoted from Kelly’s question back to a topic she dearly wanted to discuss. She replied, “Well, thanks. Good attitude, good posture. I take care of myself. But let me tell you why I love this movie that we did, ‘Our Souls at Night,’ rather than plastic surgery.”
Some fellow actresses, such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar, criticized Kelly on social media for her attempts to push Fonda to talk about plastic surgery.
“So how come @megynkelly didn’t ask @RobertRedford if he had any plastic surgery?? Way to stay composed @Janefonda #doublestandard,” the actress wrote.
To make matters worse, the ratings for Kelly’s new show have been as bad as ratings for her summer program. The series opened to 2.9 million viewers but was already down to 2.4 million viewers by week’s end. The hour of programming that her show replaced averaged 2.8 million viewers a week.
For that and all the controversy surrounding celeb guests, NBC executives have to be asking themselves, “What audience does Kelly bring to the table?”
As ratings are showing thus far, not much of one.