Leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election, Megyn Kelly was Fox News’ fastest rising star. She was popular with viewers and seemed to have a bedrock future with the company. What a difference a year makes. Today, not only is Kelly not on Fox, she is working on rebuilding a career that looked like it was headed straight for the stratosphere.
Megan Kelly Today
Recently, Kelly launched her own daytime talk show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” on NBC. The program is very different than anything else Kelly has done on TV to date. It’s not political, it’s not even really news. It looks a lot more like Oprah Winfrey or Ellen DeGeneres. There’s a happy studio audience and Kelly, clearly working to reinvent her TV persona.
“The truth is, I am kind of done with politics for now,” Kelly told her viewers. Promising to offer “a laugh, a smile, sometimes a tear … maybe a little hope to start your day…”
That’s definitely a new direction for Kelly, whose sharp questioning of newsmakers and political candidates made her the darling of the Fox News audience … until she locked horns with Candidate Trump. That was the end for Kelly at Fox. And the beginning of the end for Kelly in political coverage, apparently. At least for the time being.
It will be interesting to see how Kelly fits into this role. She was exceptionally good at grilling, at getting at truths and sparring with guests. Will she be as comfortable trading anecdotes and eliciting smiles?
CNN Reports on First Episodes
CNN reported on one of the first episodes of Kelly’s program, offering the following summary: “There she was mounting a charm offensive, fielding questions from the audience, receiving flowers from her husband, and warmly yukking it up with the cast and producers of ‘Will & Grace’ in an interview that wouldn’t have looked out of place on any other daytime talk show…”
So, is this Kelly reaching her potential, or is this her trying something new. Can the former hard-charging, eviscerating interviewer continue to “yukk it up”?
Some are saying that’s the wrong question to ask. This isn’t Kelly’s future. It’s just one step in PR process of “softening” her image for NBC’s typically more liberal audience. They weren’t necessarily buying Less Angry Conservative Kelly, so the network decided they needed a transition time to convince their viewers she really wasn’t who they thought she was.
That’s an interesting theory, and it may have some merit. Then again, maybe Kelly really is shifting in her perspective and in her appetite for the boisterous and caustic world of TV news. If that’s the case, and if Kelly really can win over that NBC audience, she will have completed one of the more impressive brand transitions in recent years.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.