Megyn Kelly’s NBC Primetime Summer Run Is Over – So, How’d She Do?


megyn kelly putin panel

Megyn Kelly is moving from primetime to mornings in exactly eight weeks, when she’ll take over Hour 3 of NBC’s “Today” show. Let’s hope that time slot works a bit better than the Fox News transplant’s first summer run of “Sunday Night,” which just concluded.

“Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” got off to a hot start back on June 4, thanks to a ton of intrigue and an exclusive interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since then, however, the newest news magazine show came crashing back down to Earth, never sniffing key competition “60 Minutes” again. As a matter of fact, reruns of that CBS offering regularly tied or topped the NBC News competition, which is rarely a good sign for original audience-building.

Below is the per-episode ratings breakdown for all “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” episodes, per Nielsen’s Live + Same Day numbers.

June 4: 0.8 among adults 18-49 (1.2 in 25-54), 6.197 million total viewers
June 11: 0.6 in 18-49 (0.8 in 25-54), 3.608 million total viewers
June 18: 0.5 in 18-49 (0.8 in 25-54), 3.562 million total viewers
June 25: 0.4 in 18-49 (0.6 in 25-54), 3.414 million total viewers
July 2: Pre-empted due to Fourth of July holiday
July 9: 0.5 in 18-49 (0.7 in 25-54), 3.243 million total viewers
July 16: 0.4 in 18-49 (0.6 in 25-54), 3.127 million total viewers
July 23: 0.5 in 18-49 (0.7 in 25-54), 2.851 million total viewers*
July 30: 0.5 in 18-49 (0.7 in 25-54), 3.511 million total viewers.
*Delayed start due to NASCAR overrun

While those numbers aren’t exactly “This Is Us” figures, Kelly was still able to improve upon NBC News’ time slot average. In Summer 2015, “Dateline NBC” averaged 3.160 million total viewers. (We’ll set aside 2016’s 3.774 million because of the Rio Olympics.)

Crunching Kelly’s list of numbers above, “Sunday Night” has averaged a 0.53 among adults 18-49, a 0.76 with adults 25-54 and 3.689 million total viewers per episode. If one were to cruelly remove the Putin premiere, those slip to a 0.49 and a 0.7, respectively, and 3.331 million total viewers — so she’s still lifting the hour from where it was 24 months earlier.

Plus, the internal expectation at NBC News was never to unseat “60 Minutes” — at least, not for a while. After all, the CBS competition is a legitimate institution with a built-in and automatic audience.

The “Kelly File” alum will get her chance to build exactly that, NBC News chief Andy Lack has maintained — you’ll just have to wait a bit. “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” will return next spring, though Steve Kroft and Lesley Stahl probably aren’t shaking in their boots over Season 2.

“Megyn Kelly Today” debuts Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. on NBC.