The pattern seems to be repeating itself for her new daytime talk show.
In its first week on the air, NBC’s new 9 a.m. talk show “Megyn Kelly TODAY” has been blasted by critics, drawn middling ratings, and inspired a series of negative press reports about her banter with celebrity guests.
Largely famous for mercilessly grilling high-profile guests and at-times inflammatory segments about race, the new host declared on her first show that she was “done” with politics and would focus on broader lifestyle topics and more positive-focused stories. Asked, for example, if she would take a knee with NFL players protesting police brutality and racial injustice, Kelly offered platitudes about the right for everyone to the First Amendment, saying “Go USA, that’s my feeling in watching it.”
The new NBC host also bungled a series of softball interviews with celebrities, asking cringe-inducing questions that ended up going viral.
In her first major interview, Kelly sat with the cast of NBC’s “Will & Grace,” the resurrected early 2000s sitcom that starred a fictional gay lawyer.
Kelly brought a superfan onstage during the interview, asking the fan if it was “true you became a lawyer, and you became gay, because of Will?”
The question provoked an immediate wave of criticism, even from the cast itself: Star Debra Messing said she regretted going on the show and was “dismayed” by Kelly’s comments, a remark that reportedly got Messing herself in trouble privately with the network.
Kelly again appeared to alienate a guest just two days later when she asked actress Jane Fonda about her history of plastic surgeries.
“We really want to talk about that now?” Fonda asked.
“One of the things people think about when they look at you is how amazing you look,” Kelly replied.
“Well, thanks. Good attitude, good posture, take care of myself,” Fonda said. “But let me tell you why I love this movie that we did, ‘Our Souls at Night,’ rather than plastic surgery.”
It’s unclear whether viewers are on board with the NBC host’s rebranding.
Kelly’s show had 2.9 million viewers overall on Monday and 917,000 in advertisers’ coveted demographic of 25-to-54 year olds, a number down from the same time slot last year. (NBC noted that it would be difficult for any network to match that day, which featured the first debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and now President Donald Trump.)
But that number has appeared to decline steadily over the week.
NBC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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