Hard-bitten newswoman Megyn Kelly wants to be NBC’s answer to Oprah Winfrey, and is seeking to ditch hard news in favour of ‘helping people’ when she signs on at the network for her new job, according to a report in Page Six today.
The no-nonsense Fox News star, who jumped from Fox to NBC in a deal worth between $12 million and $15 million and is due to debut on the Peacock network in the Fall, was the interviewer chosen by Fox to referee a GOP debate, in which she pursued a tough line of questioning against then-candidate Donald Trump.
Kelly, a former corporate litigator, was subsequently attacked by Trump, who told CNN: "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever."
The experience saw Kelly’s ratings and name recognition go through the roof, however, Kelly publicly complained that constant attacks by Donald Trump’s team threatened her safety.
“It has not been enjoyable,” Kelly told Variety, “I wish it hadn’t happened. I hope it will stop — his focus on me. If he’s determined not to stop, there’s nothing I can do. In my own world, there’s another side to this behavior. It poses real risks to the person under attack.”
Kelly re-established cordial relations with Trump and interviewed him a second time, but now wants to re-invent herself as a new Oprah when she moves to NBC, according to reports this morning.
Kelly was also a pivotal figure in the take-down of Fox News founder Roger Ailes; it was her allegations of sexual harassment that forced 21st Century Fox to take seriously the initial claims put forth by ex-anchor Gretchen Carlson in her lawsuit.
“I was approached several times, and several times I refused,” Kelly wrote of Fox’s “intense campaign” to get her to fall in line. “There was no way I was going to lie to protect him.”
When NBC announced her move they said that Kelly would cover special events and breaking news, host a new Monday-Friday one-hour daytime program and anchor a new Sunday evening show. No further details have been announced.
A source told Page Six, “There was a lot of tough news to report on her show at Fox News. A lot of combative interviewing, going after people. Doing that every night was difficult. Megyn feels she has more to offer. She wants to help people the way Oprah did, and do something more positive. She’ll be focusing on issues and bringing in real people as well as celebrities. Plus, she has a sense of humor and she wants to use that.”
Kelly has clearly been looking to expand her reach into human interest stories for some time. She referenced Oprah when she told Variety in 2015, “Barbara Walters has retired, Diane Sawyer left her anchor role. Oprah has moved to the OWN network and is doing a different thing now. So why not me?”
Kelly is still under contract with Fox News until July 1, but NBC is reportedly trying to persuade Fox News to release her early.