Megyn Kelly may be gone from the “Today” show, but her impact continues to be felt there. The NBC News morning program just topped total viewers for the second straight week — it’s the first time that has happened since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
“Today” always wins in the 25-54 demographic, but rival “Good Morning America” usually claims the larger overall audience tally.
Since “GMA” and “CBS This Morning” only air from 7-9 a.m., the Nielsen numbers in this story only count those two hours and thus omit 9 o’clock, the time slot in which “Megyn Kelly Today” aired. Still, the added intrigue surrounding her “blackface” comments and the subsequent fallout is being felt across those lead-in hours.
Last week, “Today” averaged 4.002 million total viewers. “GMA” was a close second with 3.992 million. The CBS morning show was a non-factor with 2.957 million.
Among adults aged 25-54, “Today” averaged 1.363 million viewers with a rating of 1.13, marking its 149th consecutive week of winning the key news demographic. “GMA” finished second with 1.266 million viewers and a 1.05 rating.
The numbers account for the show’s first full week without Kelly, after the Fox News alum was ousted amid heavy backlash over her comments about blackface. “Today” topped total viewers for what turned out to be her final week hosting the 9 a.m. hour as well.
“Megyn Kelly Today,” which had struggled in the ratings since debuting in September 2017, went into reruns late last month after the host suggested on air that blackface might be acceptable on Halloween.
“What is racist?” she asked during the segment. “You get in trouble if you’re a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. When I was a kid that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character.”
The gaffe prompted broad condemnation — including from her own network, which quickly announced that Kelly would not return and her show had essentially been canceled. The host has since been locked in negotiations with NBC over the terms of her exit and has been replaced on the air by a rotating line-up of other “Today” hosts.