The hiring of Megyn Kelly on NBC was a mistake for the network.

adminOctober 27, 2018


Some things do not go together: brussels sprouts and chewing gum; cats and canaries; Megyn Kelly and NBC News.

In each of those cases, the mismatched combination should be obvious, but somehow, the NBC missed the tell-tale signs of how the combination of Kelly's views, especially in race relations, would be with the most conventional NBC. Andrew Lack, the network's top news executive, decided to take Kelly away from his main Fox News show nearly two years ago, and insert it into a leading role at 9 a.m. for the success of your network, the Today program.

Lack, who was not alone in media circles to pursue Kelly, may have been blinded by a familiar disease of television executives: the glamor look. That is the effect that sometimes emanates from a talent that shines brightly. It can lead to temporary loss of vision.

The events of recent months, especially last week, seem to indicate that the vision has been restored, although the cost of the solution ($ 69 million) could be considered a bit expensive. It's not good news for Lack, it's fair to assume them.

The outcome of the drama that has surrounded Kelly since the day he came to NBC seems to be upon us. The network formally canceled its program on Friday with the expectation that it will not have any other role in the network.

The experiment carried out by Lack – having Kelly, who had been very attractive on Fox News as a solo act, trying to emulate Oprah Winfrey by playing warmly and wisely with a studio audience – quickly went from miserable to miserable. The ratings were little by little, the critical evaluation was scathing, the internal dissension in NBC News about the movement was widespread, and then there were times when the nails were found with the slates:

Comments that sounded like embarrassing the body; Guests who were alienated (Jane Fonda, Debra Messing); persistent discomfort in performance; and the occasional scent of what could kindly be labeled racial insensitivity. Last week he focused intensely on Kelly's dismissal of deaf people as "politically correct" from the idea that African-Americans are offended by black-faced whites. But she had a documented record of such insensitivity, having accused, during her Fox News days, some in the black community of a "bully mentality".
And, of course, there was his famous insistence that a black artist would never play Santa Claus because he is, although fictional, definitely white. You may be able to declare justifiably that it could be a risk to hire someone who cares so much about Santa's career.

The NBC apparently avoided those concerns when it landed Kelly in what has been reported at $ 23 million a year. The shrug included the decision that she replace two black anchors, Tamron Hall and Al Roker, who were making much less money (and, as things have worked, they got better grades).

Undoubtedly, the lack has had a long and distinguished career in news, and holds the high cards in his hand, including the increase in MSNBC ratings, as well as the status of Today and NBC Nightly News, all of which he has played well. . But for a time he seemed seduced by the idea of ​​extending the appeal of NBC News to the followers of the new regime in Washington. Thus, Hugh Hewitt, conservative radio host, got a program on MSNBC, established by then as a liberal bastion, and Megyn Kelly, whose opinions only occasionally diverged from the usual Fox News narrative, moved into what had been a Neutral territory today at 9 a.m.

Both gambitos have now failed. At least the bitter note of Hewitt in the music score on the left of MSNBC, otherwise, did not imply a lottery ticket payment.

How serious was the mistake of hiring Megyn Kelly? If it involves a strong discord within the news division staff, low ratings, racially charged comments and a check that could fund the entire list of a small-market baseball team, it is likely to qualify as an error with little chance of passing unnoticed.

If the past is a prologue, and it's usually in the television business, all that could play a hand in future leadership decisions at NBC News.

It probably will not help that another recent decision about NBC News talent has not worked well either. Shortly after hiring Kelly, Lack called to let Ronan Farrow go, just before his work won numerous awards, including a Pulitzer for his information about the sexual irregularities of numerous media figures.


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