NBC is trying to save face over poor ratings for Megyn Kelly’s Sunday night prime-time NBC News show by announcing it will no longer air every week, Page Six reports today.
Page Six claims this is what is behind Tuesday’s announcement that Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly will only air “periodically” in the coming months, “dependent on Kelly’s schedule with her weekday-morning program, Megyn Kelly Today.”
One source told Page Six: “If they don’t know her weekday-morning schedule, maybe TV Guide can help. Pretty sure she has a live program Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET.”
Page Six’s source added that NBC’s statement “has the benefit of giving the network a way to scale back the poorly received show without the awkwardness of canceling it.”
NBC has denied the suggestions by Page Six that the move represented a lessening of their commitment to Kelly, saying: “She anchors the 9 a.m. hour of Today every morning, has a prime-time hour with Putin this Friday and will be a big fixture at political events as the midterms heat up. That’s as front-and-center as it gets.”
But there is no denying that Kelly’s Sunday night show has had a troubled history. It first ran last summer, shortly after Kelly signed her $20 million deal with NBC, but was pulled after just eight episodes, despite being earmarked for a 10-week run, after viewers switched off.
Kelly was the focus of a furious backlash after she interviewed Alex Jones of Infowars. Jones, who has questioned the truth of the Sandy Hook massacre and others, published his own recordings of phone conversations with Kelly in which she appeared to promise Jones the interview would be a softball personality piece.
“My goal is for your listeners and the left—you know, who will be watching some on NBC—to say, ‘Wow, that’s really interesting,” Kelly said in one tape, “It’s not going to be some gotcha hit piece, I promise you that.”
At another point she said, “I’m not looking to portray you as some kind of boogeyman. The craziest thing of all would be if some people who have this insane version of you in their heads came away saying, ‘You know what? I see the dad in him. I see the guy who loves those kids and is more complex than we have been led to believe.’”
Page Six claims that, since January, executives at NBC have been “wavering on what to do with the nighttime show.”