Megyn Kelly is leaving FOX for NBC, so we may see her from time to time on MSNBC, but not everyone is surprised.
“Her contract was up this summer, and her ratings had tanked. When she went after Trump, she alienated half her viewers. When she was offered the job at NBC, she was already looking for options, and she was encouraged to go.”, said P.A. Andrew Lewis at FOX.
Due to drastic drop in Kelly’s audience on FOX, NBC News President Andrew Lack was able to convince the 46-year-old Kelly to leave Fox News, even though NBC would not match the $20 million annual salary Fox had paid her.
At NBC, she’ll host a weekday daytime show, and take part in the network’s coverage of high-profile events. Kelly gained notoriety when she became aggressive with Donald Trump during the presidential debates, focusing her attention on him. It was a move that would cost her a large portion of her loyal audience.
She attacked Trump again in November in a effort to sell her new book, accusing him of things such as “offering to fly her and her husband to visit his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida”.
In a statement, 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch said: “We thank Megyn Kelly for her 12 years of contributions to Fox News. We hope she enjoys tremendous success in her career and wish her and her family all the best.”
“While I will greatly miss my colleagues at Fox, I am delighted to be joining the NBC News family and taking on a new challenge,” Kelly said in a statement on her Facebook page. “I remain deeply grateful to Fox News, to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, and especially to all of the Fox News viewers, who have taught me so much about what really matters.”
Lachlan and James Murdoch, sons of Rupert Murdoch, reportedly were keen on keeping Kelly at the network. The elder Murdoch took over from Ailes as the head of Fox News on a temporary basis.
Moving to NBC News will greatly increase the size of Kelly’s audience. Fox News averaged 2.4 million viewers in prime time, the most of any cable network in 2016. However, “NBC Nightly News” attracted more than 9 million viewers during the week of Dec. 19, topping rivals ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney (DIS) and CBS (CBS).
NBC’s move isn’t without risks. High-profile talent such as Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper tried and failed to attract audiences in daytime. NBC’s magazine show “Rock Center” was canceled in 2013 after two seasons. Plus, Kelly faces a challenge in switching from cable to a wider audience on a broadcast network.
“One has to wait and see how these transitions get made,” Thompson said. “Sometimes you move from one place to another, and it’s a triumph. Sometimes it’s not. They aren’t going to put Megyn Kelly into a daytime show that people are going to confuse with a Fox show, but at the same time they would be wise to play upon the strengths for which she is known.”
Kelly, who has a law degree, could wind up with high-profile assignments like anchoring the news or appearing on the “Today” show given her experience and credibility with the audience, according to Thompson.
“Now that she’s with NBC, she could potentially be popping up on MSNBC,” noted for being the liberal opponent of Fox News, “which is funny,” Thompson said.