It’s no secret that former Fox News host Megyn Kelly has been struggling in the ratings since transitioning to daytime television at NBC. New data from Nielsen, however, suggests the picture grimmer than most realize.
While the month isn’t over yet, Kelly is on track to deliver historically low numbers for the critical November sweeps period. In fact, if things stay where they are, Kelly will log the lowest sweeps numbers of any period since NBC’s “Today” franchise first claimed the 9 a.m. hour in 2000. And we’re not just talking about the advertiser-coveted 25-54 demographic or total viewers — we’re talking about both the key demo and overall audience members. The dismal ratings appraisal even holds up when looking at adults 18-49.
Numbers reported Monday, when analyzed by TheWrap, reveal that Kelly has averaged just 699,000 daily viewers month-to-date so far among the 25-54 year-old demographic. Among 18-49 year-olds, the numbers shrink further with just 548,000 average daily viewers. Overall, the show logged 2.296 million viewers on average. All three of those metrics represent steep declines and a continued gradual drop-off that has persisted for the nettlesome 9 a.m hour since it’s turn-of-the-century launch.
While the 7 and 8 a.m. hours were also down, the drop-off was not as significant as Kelly’s 9 a.m. slot.
Once known for her hard-charging prosecutorial style on Fox News, Kelly has attempted to share her softer side to daytime viewers on NBC. She has earned plaudits and ratings bumps for her segments on sexual harassment and assault victims, but otherwise there has been little else to celebrate.
The show has been regularly mocked since its launch in September for silly segments, or missteps from Kelly, who — for example — opened an interview with Jane Fonda in September with a question about her plastic surgery.
“We really want to talk about that right now?” snapped Fonda in an on-air rebuke.
The poor ratings have not only hit Kelly’s hour, but are also beginning to bleed into the rest of NBC’s lineup, including Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb’s show at 10 a.m.
“Comparing Kelly’s first two weeks versus the ‘Today’ show’s former 9 o’clock iteration over its final 10 episodes, ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ has declined an average of 10 percent among adults 25-54, which is the key demographic for news programming,” wrote TheWrap’s Tony Maglio last month. “When looking at the same two weeks from 2016, the falloff is worse: a 29 percent drop. The following hour — Kathie Lee and Hoda’s — is down 18 percent year over year.”
Representatives for Megyn Kelly declined to comment on this story. But here’s where we obligatorily point out that the host’s soft November has performed better than her lowly October, which was up from a lackluster late-September start.
So, there’s that.
Tony Maglio contributed to this report.