Since former Fox News star Megyn Kelly took over the third hour of NBC’s morning juggernaut “Today” in September 2017, the program has been mired by ghastly ratings and blamed for dragging down viewership of the fourth hour hosted by Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee.
The show, however, has doggedly persisted and there’s both good news and bad news on the ratings front. Viewership in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 year-old demographic has climbed 20 percent between October (her first full month on the air) and January — from 686,000 to 835,000, according to the most recent available Nielsen data.
And overall viewership has grown 17 percent over the same time period, from 2.286 million total viewers in October to 2.68 million in January.
But Kelly, who was paid $15 million-plus to shake up NBC’s lucrative morning news lineup, continues to underperform compared to her predecessor in the third hour of “Today.”
“Megyn Kelly Today” ratings in the key demo are down nearly 30 percent in January compared to 2017, when Tamron Hall and Al Roker co-hosted the show. Total viewership stood at 3.353 million, 20 percent above what Kelly drew last month. (Hall exited the network last year after she was bumped from anchoring duties.)
A rep for Kelly offered no comment for this story.
Even so, Kelly is trending in the right direction — and the first quarter 2018 ratings look promising so far, with an additional boost expected from the network’s coverage of the Winter Olympics.
Ratings for the first week of February continued the upward momentum, with the show breaking 1 million average daily viewers in the 25-54 year-old demographic.
After a rocky daytime debut, Kelly has seen viewership growth largely on the strength of the lawyer-turned-broadcaster’s focus on the #MeToo movement.
In recent months, Kelly’s hour at “Today” has been dominated by a persistent drumbeat of accusers and their emotional stories of abuse and harassment at the hands of powerful men. While the pivot has yielded obvious fruit, it remains to be seen whether Kelly will be able to diversify her portfolio to grow her viewership further.