EntertainmentMegyn Kelly Who? NBC’s ‘Today Show’ Third Hour Awkwardly Soldiers On
Megyn Kelly Blunder Raises Questions About Viability of Her NBC Show
Since joining NBC News in the Spring of 2017, Megyn Kelly has soldiered on at her morning program, “Megyn Kelly Today,” through various social-media controversies; a feud with actress Jane Fonda; scrutiny of her ratings, her guests, her dancing, her everything. Her hard work has been testament to her ability to take a punch and keep working to build an audience. Now there’s some question about whether Kelly can keep marching. The Tuesday broadcast of “Megyn Kelly Today” has spurred sentiments of disappointment from media buyers, the executives who allocate billions of dollars of advertising to media properties on behalf of Madison Avenue.
(Video provided by Us Weekly)
Al Roker returned Monday morning to the third hour of the Today show, for which he’d been a cohost for five years—under the title “Today’s Take”—until he was rudely interrupted last year by an interloper from Fox News.
Far from his frequent role as Today’s class clown, he wore a grim expression and a somber three-piece suit—appropriate to a moment when Americans are coping with the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, a maniac’s slaughter of 11 congregants at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
EXCLUSIVE: Megyn Kelly is OUT at NBC just 48 hours after defending blackface as she and the network fight over whether she will be paid out her $69M contract in full
This move comes just 48 hours after the embattled host made remarks in which she defended blackface on Today. Kelly tried to deal with the scandal by delivering a tearful apology on-air and welcoming two black panelists to discuss the fraught and horrifying history of the practice, but it did no good. 'Megyn Kelly is done. She is not ever coming back,' said an NBC executive with knowledge of the situation. 'We are just working out timing of the announcement but mark my word – she is gone and will never be seen on NBC live again.' The source then added: 'Here’s the worst part – her deal is a non-break deal – so she walks away with all that money.
On this third hour—which was otherwise untitled but, until last Friday, was known as Megyn Kelly Today—Roker and his cohosts, Craig Melvin and Jenna Bush Hager, sat together on a sofa for two tearful segments featuring a father and his daughter who performed CPR to save his life from a cardiac arrest, along with the emergency dispatcher who talked her through it over the phone, and the deputy sheriff who rushed to help.
“It literally is a perfect story for a day like today,” Al Roker told the guests at the end of the segment. “Thank you for helping us see the good out there.”
It was six days after the career-ending controversy over a blurted defense of Halloween blackface—actually the last straw of a series of unfortunate events involving Kelly’s show—and Roker didn’t utter the words “Megyn” or “Kelly”; neither did his co-hosts.
After Megyn Kelly's Abrupt 'Today' Exit, Where Does She Go From Here?
Now that Megyn Kelly is on her way out from "Today," where does she go from here? Multiple crisis PR and media experts agree that Kelly's ouster involved her disappointing ratings, not just her defense of blackface at Halloween. While her refusal to be politically correct could make her a conservative martyr, her lack of an audience complicates any potential comeback. As of Friday afternoon, Kelly was still employed by NBC News, which only announced that she wouldn't return to her year-old morning show, "Megyn Kelly Today." NBC News did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for clarification on her status with the network.
Kelly is now a non-person at NBC News: she whose name, like Voldemort’s, shall not be spoken.
As her Hollywood attorney was beginning Day 4 of trying to hammer out a severance package with NBC’s lawyers on the 1 ½ years that remain of a reported three-year $69 million contract, it was supposedly old-home week at the venerable NBC franchise.
But it didn’t yet look—or, for that matter, feel—like home.
It was an especially uncomfortable moment to be launching what Kotb told viewers is “a new chapter on the third hour,” with the promise that “the Today family…will bring you important stories just as we always have.”
By contrast, the drama surrounding Kelly—which had overwhelmed cable and social media for most of last week—was very much beside the point on Monday.
Perhaps unavoidably, the inaugural Megyn-less program was a strange hodgepodge of grave foreboding and forced bonhomie. It began in Studio 1A with Roker, Melvin and Kotb tossing to Savannah Guthrie on-location in front the synagogue, conducting a melancholy interview WITH Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto.
Bob Saget, 62, Marries Kelly Rizzo, 39, in Stunning Beach Side Wedding
Bob Saget and Kelly Rizzo Are Married
Then came a segment on how to heal from terrible tragedies featuring two Manhattan-based members of the clergy, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl of the Central Synagogue, and Rev. Jacqui Lewis of the Middle Collegiate Church.
As powerful as the message of the segment—not surprisingly, to embrace love and reject hate—was the image on screen:
Melvin and Roker are African-American, as is Lewis; Kotb is the daughter of Muslim Egyptians; and Buchdahl, the country’s first Asian-American rabbi, was born in Seoul, Korea.
It was a visual juxtaposition, if not a rebuke, to the chanting, angry, nearly all-white crowds at Donald Trump’s nightly rallies.
“That was really beautiful,” Jenna Bush Hager commented—suddenly onscreen from her remote location in Studio 6A.
The program, at this point 24 minutes in, seemed an uneasy homage to cognitive dissonance.
With a studio audience applauding feebly off camera, and then in a few brief shots on camera, Hager introduced a packaged Halloween-themed piece on the ghosts that allegedly haunt the decommissioned Queen Mary ocean-liner; then came the father-daughter segment; then, at the end, a weirdly out-of-place cooking segment, in which Melvin and Roker, amid fake dry-ice fog, half-heartedly yukked it up and tasted various Halloween delicacies such as bat balls, bloodied fingers made of hot dogs and ketchup, crispy brains, and vampire blood cocktails.
And that was where Today’s third hour started to make as much sense as a corned beef sandwich slathered in mayonnaise.
NBC scraps plan to have Megyn Kelly help lead midterm elections night coverage.
The network is erasing Megyn as exit negotiations continue in wake of her controversial comments about blackface.
Why Megyn Kelly's Show Is Failing
If you're new, Subscribe! → http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-Nicki-Swift After making a name for herself at Fox News, Megyn Kelly was courted by NBC and offered a ...
Kathie Lee And Jenna Learn Secrets Of Megyn Kelly’s Studio | Megyn Kelly TODAY
During the Olympics, Kathie Lee Gifford and Jenna Bush Hager will be hosting the Fourth Hour of TODAY from Megyn Kelly's studio. To help them feel at home, ...