NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke took some of the blame for the network’s attempt to transfer Megyn Kelly’s cable news stardom to broadcast television in an interview on Monday.
In an interview with Variety, Burke said that he was partially to blame for luring Kelly away from Fox News in 2017 with a three-year, $69 million deal on NBC News.
NBC failed twice with Kelly, the first time with a Sunday evening news magazine show that flopped against summer repeats from ABC and CBS and then with her major vehicle–“Megyn Kelly Today” which served as the third hour of the Today show and struggled to find an audience.
“Megyn Kelly was a huge talent,” Burke told Variety on why they hired her. “She was at the wrong time of day (on NBC). In hindsight, we shouldn’t have done it.”
Kelly was a fast-rising star at Fox News going from legal reporter to hosting her own primetime show that on occasion beat Fox’s own juggernaut “The O’Reilly Factor” but had fallen out of favor after her contentious relationship with President Trump, angering many Fox viewers in the process.
While NBC was trying to find a way to make the Kelly contract pay off for them, she sealed her own fate after making a comment–wildly distorted by the liberal media about using blackface at Halloween. Kelly apologized for her remarks, but NBC quickly canceled her show and began negotiations on her departure from the network.
In a deal that was finalized on Friday NBC agreed to pay Kelly the remainder of her contract worth between $25-$30 million and is now free to pursue any opportunity that may come her way.
Kelly may struggle to land another network gig based on the NBC flop if her former colleagues at Fox are any guide.
Glenn Beck, who left Fox in 2011, has struggled with his television efforts and recently merged with Mark Levin’s CRTV, while Bill O’Reilly, who was fired by Fox in 2017, produces a No Spin News segment for Newsmax but is largely absent from television.
Since Kelly’s show was canceled the ratings for the third hour of the Today show have improved as it has narrowed the gap between itself and Live! With Kelly and Ryan and beat the syndicated program in total viewers and the key 25-54 demo that advertisers use for the week ending Dec. 24.