In what many describe as a perfect demonstration of karma, Megyn Kelly’s sudden departure from the Today Show late last month has resulted in a ten percent ratings jump in the key demographic of 25-54 for the multi-hour morning show. Last year, Kelly was a prized catch and welcome addition to the long-running NBC news staple. But now, she is on her way out after months of controversy and declining ratings.
NBC canceled Megyn Kelly Today – which was the third hour of the Today Show – in late October after she made controversial comments to an all-white panel questioning why it was inappropriate to wear blackface for Halloween. Kelly’s comments resulted in an immediate backlash from fans and a lashing from her colleague, Al Roker.
Kelly did apologize to her viewers and co-workers, but it was too little, too late.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 20, 2018
Since Kelly’s exit, the network has rotated different hosts during Today’s third hour, and the show is outpacing its rival Good Morning America, which usually pulls a bigger audience.
Of course, it could be the controversy surrounding Kelly’s departure that has caused the ratings jump, with some viewers tuning in to find out how the network would navigate her absence. So, we will have to stay tuned to find out if the ratings surge continues.
This was the final nail in the coffin for Kelly’s run at NBC. Ever since her very first episode of Today, Kelly has caused problems for the network thanks to comments she has made during interviews and various show segments.
Kelly got off to a shaky start during a segment with the cast of Will & Grace where she made an ill-conceived joke about a super fan’s sexual orientation. And, just two days later, Kelly obviously annoyed Jane Fonda during an interview when she asked her about plastic surgery.
Things didn’t get easier after that, and the show’s ratings steadily declined as celebrities boycotted the show and viewers looked elsewhere for their morning news and pop culture updates.
— Decider (@decider) November 21, 2018
Originally, Kelly signed a $69 million multi-year deal with the peacock network. But now, she and NBC execs are negotiating the terms of her departure from the network, and Page Six is reporting that she will be walking away from NBC with $30 million in her pocket.
This doesn’t mean we have seen the last of Kelly. She is still a popular anchor, especially during the age of Trump. And, after a short break, we will most likely see Megyn Kelly return to TV as we get closer to the 2020 election.