Megyn Kelly Today
|Megyn Kelly Today|
|Presented by||Megyn Kelly|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||282|
|Production location(s)||Studio 6-A, Rockefeller Center|
|Original release||September 25, 2017 –|
October 24, 2018
Megyn Kelly Today was an American daytime talk show that was broadcast by NBC. Premiering on September 25, 2017, it replaced Today's Take as the third hour of NBC's national morning show Today. The program was hosted by Megyn Kelly, who had joined NBC News earlier in the year after leaving Fox News, and was the second of two NBC News programs promised to Kelly upon her arrival, alongside her newsmagazine Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.
Megyn Kelly Today received negative reviews upon its premiere, facing criticism for the quality of Kelly's hosting and her appropriateness as a daytime personality, as well as on-air interactions that proved controversial. On October 26, 2018, in the midst of backlash over remarks by Kelly on the program regarding blackface, and reports suggesting she wished to focus more on her role as an NBC News correspondent, NBC announced that the program had been canceled.
After it was announced in January 2017 that former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly would move to NBC News and host a new daytime program, The New York Times reported on January 27, 2017 that NBC was planning to discontinue Today's Take, and schedule Kelly's new show at either 9 or 10 a.m. (either replacing Today's Take in its former timeslot, or in the latter scenario, displacing Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda to 9). It was reported that NBC staff had not yet determined whether Kelly's new program would be branded as part of Today or as a stand-alone program.
It was subsequently announced that her new show would be titled Megyn Kelly Today, and premiere on September 25, 2017 as a replacement for Today's Take. The new program is structured as a talk show with a studio audience. Critics noted that the program was likely intended as a more direct competitor to the syndicated talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan, with Megyn Kelly trying to convey a "softer" personality to contrast her Fox News reputation of being an aggressive journalist and interviewer.
The first episode received negative reviews from critics, panning Kelly for her "awkward," "chilly" performance and failure to connect with the audience. The first week of shows were plagued with controversies that included actress Debra Messing expressing regret for appearing on the program due to Kelly's on-air comments, and Kelly's line of questioning about plastic surgery during an interview with Jane Fonda. The incidents prompted widespread criticism of Kelly's daytime hosting abilities. A month after the premiere, Julia Wallace wrote in USA Today that the show was "a disaster", but blamed NBC for trying to portray Kelly as an "almost comical" imitation of Kelly Ripa instead of tapping into the abilities that made her a success at Fox News.
During the October 23, 2018 episode, Kelly participated in a panel discussion on the appropriateness of blackface in Halloween costumes. During the segment—whose panel did not contain any African-American participants—Kelly recollected that "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween. When I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character", and added that "Luann de Lesseps wants to look like Diana Ross for one day, and I don't know how that got racist on Halloween."
Kelly's comments were widely-interpreted as defense of the practice, which is generally considered to be a derogatory caricature of African-Americans. Critics likened Kelly's remarks to a previous incident during her tenure at Fox News Channel, where Kelly asserted that Jesus and Santa Claus were white.
Later that day, Kelly issued an internal email apologizing for the remarks, stating that "I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry", and that "I've never been a '[politically correct]' kind of person — but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age. Particularly on race and ethnicity issues which, far from being healed, have been exacerbated in our politics over the past year. This is a time for more understanding, love, sensitivity and honor, and I want to be part of that. I look forward to continuing that discussion."
Kelly opened the October 24 episode with a public apology, and joined African-American journalists Amy Holmes and Roland Martin in a discussion over the controversies surrounding blackface. The same day, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Kelly had left the Creative Artists Agency, and had hired an attorney. The week's remaining episodes were replaced by encores.
Alongside the blackface controversy, it was reported that Kelly had discussed ending the program so she could focus more on her role as an NBC News correspondent, but that the comments may have an impact on her overall future at the network. Viewership of Megyn Kelly Today had been stable, but not as high as that of Today's Take.
On October 26, 2018, NBC officially announced that Megyn Kelly Today had been canceled, and that its time slot would be assumed by other anchors. Kelly's attorney stated that her future with NBC News was to be determined. Kelly ultimately terminated her contract with NBC in January 2019.
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- Steinberg, Brian (2018-10-24). "Megyn Kelly, Under Tough Spotlight, Apologizes Again For 'Blackface' Gaffe". Variety. Archived from the original on 2018-10-24.
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- Nemetz, Dave (October 26, 2018). "Megyn Kelly Today Officially Cancelled". TVLine. United States: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- Iannucci, Rebecca (January 7, 2019). "Today Reveals Cohosts for Post-Megyn Kelly Third Hour — Who's Taking Over?". TVLine. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
- Kludt, Tom; Stelter, Brian (January 11, 2019). "Megyn Kelly leaves NBC with all of her $69 million contract intact". CNN. Retrieved January 12, 2019.