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NBC’s $69 Million Bet on Megyn Kelly Looks Like a Disaster


Megyn Kelly does not have $23 million ratings.



  • Megyn Kelly has a three-year, $69 million contract with NBC, but her show’s ratings are lagging.
  • “Megyn Kelly Today” averages about 2.4 million viewers. “Live With Kelly and Ryan” reaches an audience of 3 million in the same time slot on ABC.
  • Tamron Hall and Al Roker, the hosts who previously had her time slot,made less than half of Kelly’s salary with higher ratings.

NBC poached Megyn Kelly from Fox with a three-year contract for $69 million, but her ratings are not consistent with what is expected from that level of network investment.

“Megyn Kelly Today” premiered in September 2017 but has yet to find its audience for its 9 a.m. weekday slot.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Nielsen data shows Kelly averages 2.4 million viewers a day. Kelly’s ratings are low in every regard: compared to her own viewership at Fox, compared to her competitors in the same time spot, and compared to her predecessors at NBC.

During Kelly’s last year at Fox News, “The Kelly File” averaged 2.7 million viewers despite being on a cable network. Kelly was in prime time and now airs in mornings, but her viewership dropped as she made the transfer from cable to network television.

In the same time slot over at ABC, “Live With Kelly and Ryan” has seen a spike in ratings, partially attributed to Megyn Kelly’s performance and partially attributed to Ryan Seacrest being named as Kelly Ripa’s permanent co-host.

Nielsen shows that “Live” has expanded its lead over “Today” since Megyn Kelly joined NBC. Ripa and Seacrest now average 747,000 more viewers than Kelly. Forbes reported that Ripa made about $18 million last year and will make approximately $20 million from her “Live” salary in 2018.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the audience for “Megyn Kelly Today” is 18% smaller than the audience for NBC’s previous hosts in her spot, Tamron Hall and Al Roker, and that Hall and Roker had a combined salary of less than half of what Kelly is now making when they had the 9 a.m. spot last year. Hall has since left NBC.



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