Megyn Kelly announced on her Facebook page that she will be leaving Fox News for NBC News. She has long said that her ambition was to be a talkshow host in the vein of Barbara Walters and she will now get her wish. Her departure also indicates that Fox News will go all in for Donald Trump.
Gabriel Sherman reported:
For Kelly, the jump from a primetime perch at Fox to a multifaceted role at NBC carries a high degree of risk. She’ll be giving up the most loyal audience in cable news for new set of platforms that she’ll have to largely build herself. At NBC, Kelly will anchor an Oprah-like daytime show, launch a new Sunday night news magazine, and contribute to the network’s political coverage. The track record for talented anchors launching daytime programs hasn’t been good (see: Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, Anderson Cooper), and no Fox News star has successfully crossed over to the mainstream before. But Kelly’s prodigious talents as a broadcaster, not to mention her canny media instincts, could help her defy the trend.
Sources close to Kelly told me today that her departure is an indication of just how unhappy she had become at Fox in the wake of her high-profile feud with Donald Trump and revelations she had accused Ailes of sexual harassment. Her relationships with Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity in particular had completely broken down, one Fox host told me. “Bill hated her,” the host said. As Kelly’s contract negotiations dragged on during her much-publicized book tour, things also grew strained with Rupert Murdoch, two sources said. One Fox insider told me Murdoch balked when Kelly asked for $25 million late in the talks. (A person close to Kelly disputed this, saying that said Kelly never asked for a specific dollar amount but that Fox had offered $25 million.)
For the record, you may recall that I have predicted that Kelly would leave Fox. In the Fox News video below, Fox's Howard Kurtz says Kelly's decision was based on a desire to be with her children. But let's face it, she could easily have gotten a daytime slot at Fox had she wanted one. I wrote many months ago that I thought Trump's attacks on her rocked her and made her reconsider what she was doing at Fox News.
Sherman also noted that Kelly's departure signals that Fox plans to go pro-Trump (as if we wouldn't have guessed). All her replacements are Trump cheerleaders (though I do not believe they all personally support him as much as they seem to).
Inside Fox News, staffers are speculating over who will replace Kelly. According to insiders I spoke with today, the consensus seems to be that the Murdochs will choose a woman to fill her 9 p.m. time slot. The leading internal contenders include Trish Regan, Shannon Bream, Sandra Smith, and Martha MacCallum. Two sources said Kimberly Guilfoyle is lobbying for the job.
Unfortunately for Fox, none of those ladies is a particularly engaging personality.
But wait, there's more to think about with this move. The New York Times pointed out that by hiring Kelly, NBC is making a play for conservative viewers:
For NBC, the addition of Ms. Kelly, 46, may help address a need many major news organizations face after the election of Mr. Trump: connecting with a more diverse audience. In bringing Ms. Kelly to NBC, Andrew Lack, the chairman of the news division, is adding a journalist schooled in the preferences and worldviews of the conservative Americans who helped elect Mr. Trump, and whose anger so many news organizations failed to appreciate.
You have to wonder why NBC News is suddenly gaga for conservatives. Neither Trump nor his agenda are popular and it's unlikely either will grow more popular once he's in office.
What do you think is the game plan?
Meanwhile, watch Fox News' on-air announcement from the January 3, 2017 Happening Now.
Agree with whoever said the replacement will be from outside the network. None of those women have heat, and I shudder to parse what Tinfoil “lobbying” means. Tantaros would’ve been perfect. The only one in house is perhaps Perino, whose Chris Stirewalt co-chaired show did well over the election, but I suspect there are reasons on both sides not to have her do it.
That’s why she left. Why NBC wanted her is beyond my comprehension.
None of the usual suspects…..Guilfoyle, McCallum, Bream, Regan…..have the star power that Wrinkled Rupert craves. He might raid another news network for a blond, leggy replacement.
Hannocchio, the Suffolk County Judas wants his old time slot back. The suits need to realize that Hannocchio is too old to attract younger viewers, and should keep his current time slot.
The Foxies will announce the winner of Kelly’s time slot. It could be Grandpa Hannocchio, or Judge I Dream of Jeanine.
I do believe they’ll pick a woman to replace her since her departure will leave no female host in prime time.
I just wonder how long they’ll allow her to remain on the air. I think her contract ends in July, but now that she’s no longer part of the future for them, how quickly will they remove her and use substitute host to find the replacement.
Given Kelly’s conduct at Fox News over the years, I have every confidence that she will simply continue the same kind of combative right wing coverage she’s been doing at Fox News, only on a presumably impartial network. I’m sure she’ll be more openly critical of Trump once she’s out from under the Fox News umbrella. Critical, that is, from the right.
The motive by NBC for both of these hires is that they want to move more conservative, given that we are now living in a world where Mike Pence is running the country and Donald Trump is working to bully as many people here and abroad as he can. It makes sense that NBC would want to cultivate their own right wing voices – MSNBC has an infamous history of this. You may recall the embarrassing internal memo revealed by Amy Goodman regarding the firing of Phil Donahue during the Iraq War under W Bush. For Kelly, I’m sure she thinks is her shot at respectability. I’m also sure that NBC is not paying her anywhere near what Fox News did – she’s being brought in to do something similar to what she did at Fox News ten years ago.
On a professional level, I admire her ambition and her willingness to do a lot of hard work to succeed in a difficult business. But on a moral and ethical level, she simply has no credibility whatsoever. And it’s truly disheartening to see once-admired news outlets cozying up to media personalities who have greatly profited from the viciousness and vacancy of the Fox News empire.
And it is going to ruffle a lot of feathers over at NBC because she seems to have been given the keys to kingdom over there. Long-time stalwarts will now take a back seat to Kelly. Wonder what the mood is like today at 30Rock???