The first week of Megyn Kelly’s daytime talk show, it turns out, was fantastic television. Don’t be confused: It was a disaster. But a disaster that couldn’t have been more compelling to watch. That whole watching-a-trainwreck analogy? This is what a $15 million one looks like.
Kelly, of course, became a star on Fox News, praised for attorney-like interrogation of her guests and her sniper-like toughness when a target came at her with bullshit.
In its infinite wisdom after spending all that money to woo Kelly away from her cable-news desk and giving her a daytime TV show, NBC thought, “All those things that you made you popular and ostensibly worth $15 million? Get rid of that entirely, and manufacture an awkwardly fitting personality that will be mercilessly mocked by the internet and—hell, why not—even your own guests.”
Kelly may have become a “star” at Fox News, but only because the late Roger Ailes, whose generosity toward her she repaid in her typical fashion, made her one. The audience, however, never took to her brassy, prosecutorial style, and abandoned her en masse after her opening question to Donald Trump in the Fox debate last year:
But it was that debate performance that won her praise from the Left, and no doubt was instrumental in NBC’s wooing of her. Look! A “conservative” who attacks the GOP frontrunner! Independent! Our kind of girl!
So now NBC is stuck with her, and at a high price. Hardly a soul from the Fox audience is likely to have followed her over to their ideological arch-enemy, NBC, and no self-respecting liberal will give her much more than a passing glance; the Fox taint is too strong on her for their tender stomachs. They all chortled when she embarrassed Trump, but who’s laughing now?
She’s not nearly as poised a host as she was an anchor and interviewer. She’s not in sync with the audience. She looks nervous. She is not relatable or winsome, both of which she suddenly — inexplicably — wants to be. It’s as if the old Kelly — sarcastic, cutting, sharp — got replaced by a President Trump-approved version that grins hard and just wants you to like her. She won’t talk politics! She promises! If this startling about-face tells us anything, it’s that Trump, Kelly’s tormentor, has won.
There’s a lesson in here for the #neverTrumpumpkins but they probably won’t learn it. Because, you know, preenciples.
Betting windows now open: Me-Agyn’s last day on the air at NBC.