Megyn Kelly’s departure from FOX News was the media story of the year. But her new gig at NBC News might not be everything she hoped it would be. The move was basically a step down. Megyn may regret the decision sooner than later.
THE TRUTH BEHIND MEGYN KELLY’S NBC DEAL
The Megyn Kelly story is about best laid plans going awry—ironically awry.
She bargained to be the biggest voice of the dominant news channel in America — and, as well, the best paid on-air personality in the history of television news. Instead, she’s become merely a contender among the knives-out egos in the contested (and ever dwindling) territory of network news—and at a steep discount to the brass-ring salary she might have had.
The Murdochs, father and sons, thought Kelly was going to be their way of cleansing Fox of Roger Ailes and his brand of diss-the-elites conservatism—and of letting them, after 20 years of Ailes’s control, set their powerful network’s agenda. Instead, the network, even without Ailes, now seems ever-more in the Ailes mold….
For Megyn Kelly, at a price one person familiar with the negotiations put at $17 million-$18 million (practically speaking it would be hard for NBC to let anyone exceed Today show star Matt Lauer’s recent raise to $20 million), there was a prospective daytime show, with few models of success; a Sunday evening show, typically a loss leader; and a possible move for the hard-news Kelly into the soft hour of Today’ s 9 a.m. hour. Some observers see her inevitable destination as MSNBC—from the top-rated news network to the lowest.
The media world moves very fast. It will only be a few months before we see how this scenario plays out.
If Megyn Kelly’s new venture doesn’t work, that will be the second biggest media story of the year.