NBC News’ hopes for former Fox News star Megyn Kelly have been dashed by poor ratings on not just one but two shows she hosts on the network.
Kelly was given her first shot with a Sunday evening newsmagazine show during the summer, which failed to beat repeats of “60 Minutes” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” causing NBC to end the show’s run one episode shorter than originally planned.
NBC execs weren’t worried about Kelly’s inauspicious debut because they were confident that she would shine on her daily morning show “Megyn Kelly Today.”
That show debuted on Sept. 25 to much fanfare, but without the ratings to match NBC’s high expectations.
According to the Washington Post the network is so worried about the shows declining ratings that they have started to send other “Today” show hosts–Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker to visit in an attempt to attract more viewers
In her debut week, Kelly’s show was down 12 percent from last year when Tamron Hall and Al Roker held down the slot. The second week was even worse with a 24 percent drop and week three saw a 23 percent drop according to Nielsen data obtained by Variety.
Compare that to ABC’s “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” which drew 14 percent more viewers than Kelly during her first week and 34 percent more during her second week.
Kelly’s problems have been largely self-inflicted.
In the first week, she upset “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing by asking one of the show’s superfans if he became a lawyer and gay because of lead character Will. A few days later she insulted Jane Fonda by asking her about her plastic surgery.
That has resulted in the show experiencing problems in booking celebrity guests, according to Variety.
“I’m not booking anyone on her show,” a publicist, who requested to remain anonymous told the trade publication. “I literally haven’t pitched anyone even from right out the gate. The buzz that is out there is so bad.”
An NBC spokesperson denied the report, but the fact is that on many days there are no celebrities on the show, which is unusual considering how they have long been a staple of morning news shows.
The show’s nadir may have been reached on Thursday when “Today” host Hota Kotb induced Kelly into a cringe-worthy dance segment that was widely panned by critics.