Megyn Kelly was facing a losing battle when she left Fox News for a new career as a daytime talk show host on NBC News. She left Fox News following the dwindling of her popularity as a host at the network, mainly due to her lengthy feud with Donald Trump. When she came to NBC, with a mostly left-of-center audience, many saw her as a conservative host, since she’d come from Fox.
Despite the odds, NBC invested $69 million in Megyn Kelly over the past three years, and despite the show having higher than average production costs, it’s consistently delivered below-average ratings.
The combined salaries of previous hosts Al Roker and Tamron Hall were less than half of Ms. Kelly’s $23 million-a-year payday, and Kelly has averaged 2.4 million viewers an episode, 18% below what they brought in. And in recent months, they’ve fallen even further.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The ratings for Megyn Kelly Today have declined sharply for the past two months, dipping to a low of 1.9 million, after getting a lift from the network’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in February. Among adults aged 25 to 54, the key demographic that the show targets, ratings are down 28% since last season.
The performance of “Megyn Kelly Today” has allowed its chief rival, Walt DisneyCo.’s syndicated chat show “Live with Kelly & Ryan,” to more than double its lead over NBC in that hour to 747,000 viewers.
Her performance has even dragged down other hosts. Kelly’s ratings are damaging the ratings of the 10 a.m. hour of “Today” with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, which premieres after hers. That hour of the show is down 6% in viewers and 19% among adults 25-54.
Historically, NBC’s “Today” show (which airs for 4 hours on weekdays) has been a cash cow for the network. “Today” generates more than $500 million in revenue and profits of more than $100 million annually, making it the main profit center for the network.
It’s questionable how much longer a show that costs $30 million, or 30% of a show’s profit to run, can go on for.
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