Wednesday morning may have marked the final episode of the “Megyn Kelly Today” experiment. Should that prove to be the case, it would be the Fox News transfer’s opinions on blackface proving even more damaging than her bad TV ratings.
Since Kelly’s Halloween costume free-for-all comments have been written about to death — including here on this website — let’s analyze her Nielsen numbers, which provide absolutely no justification for NBC News to keep her on the air.
(For that matter, neither does her Q Score.)
From September 2017 to September 2018, Kelly’s 9 a.m. ET show fell 13 percent overall from its predecessor (2.8 million vs. 2.4 million), which was just a third hour of the “Today” show, hosted by Tamron Hall and Al Roker. The decline versus Septembers 2016-2017 was twice as bad on a percentage basis among adults 25-54, the key demographic for news programming.
“Megyn Kelly Today” also shed 26 percent of its viewers ages 18-49, and it was actually off two points more than that among young women.
Season over season, the time slot’s 8 a.m. lead-in, which is the second hour of “Today,” declined 10 percent in the demo and 3 percent overall. For a comparison, key competition “Good Morning America” was down 9 percent in that hour among adults 25-54 and 6 percent overall. ABC and CBS air syndicated programming versus Kelly’s hour.
“Megyn Kelly Today” got off to a particularly terrible start in terms of both reception and TV ratings, dragging 10 a.m. act Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb down in the process. However, Kelly’s ratings and profile were raised early on in the #MeToo movement when her show began booking victims of high-profile alleged sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. That said, they were still down from Hall and Roker, just not down as much.
Here are her total-viewer drops per quarter when compared with the final year of the previous format:
Q4 2017: -19.49%
Q1 2018: -17.16%
Q2 2018: -9.88%
Q3 2018: -4.79%
Again, Kelly’s demo losses have unfortunately been more severe and consistent, particularly among female viewers. She has dropped more than 20 percent in each quarter among women in the key demo.
Think that’s about as bad as it gets? We haven’t even mentioned her short-lived NBC News primetime show’s performance — that would just be piling on.
With Thursday and Friday’s live “Megyn Kelly Today” episodes already being replaced by reruns and an apology tour not exactly setting critics’ minds at ease, the big question remains: Will we ever see Megyn Kelly on NBC again? We’re no oddsmakers, but the numbers certainly don’t support the idea of job security for the host.
NBC News did not take us up on our offer to participate in this story.