A Rocky Start at NBC for Megyn Kelly

When NBC opened up the bank vault to hire Megyn Kelly, FTVLive went on record saying that it was a bad move that would likely fail. 

Kelly hasn't been on the air even 3 weeks yet at the Peacock and our prediction is looking rock solid. 

The New York Times writes, until Megyn Kelly, no prime-time Fox News anchor had tried to leap from partisan basic cable to the more pedigreed world of network news.

Less than a month into her tenure at NBC, Kelly and her new employer — which has placed a multimillion-dollar bet on her success — are learning just how daunting the transition can be.

Even before it airs on Sunday, Kelly’s interview with Alex Jones, the conspiracy-monger and influential voice of the so-called alt-right, a far-right, white nationalist movement, has generated a fierce backlash, just as the anchor is introducing herself to a broader audience.

Parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, which Mr. Jones called a hoax, asked NBC to spike the interview, saying it was extremely hurtful for her to offer a platform for Mr. Jones’s views. Ms. Kelly was disinvited from a Sandy Hook charity event and accused by some viewers of chasing ratings by infecting NBC with Fox News-style conservatism.

Jones’s website, InfoWars, published audio of Kelly cajoling and flattering her interview subject as she tried to secure his cooperation for the segment. “I’m not looking to portray you as some boogeyman,” Kelly can be heard saying. Assurances of fair coverage are standard practice in television journalism, where anchors seeking access routinely present their intentions in the best possible light. NBC is standing by Kelly, urging viewers to withhold judgment until the segment airs.

Her new show already faced an uphill fight against CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the No. 1 show in television news. And Kelly is about three months away from taking over the 9 a.m. hour on the “Today” show, a coveted soft-news time slot.

No TV personality wants to face the wrath of families of victims of a school shooting. And Kelly, who is predominantly known as a face of a conservative-leaning cable news network, does not have a reservoir of good will with NBC’s bigger audience to fall back on.

NBC said on Friday that at least one Sandy Hook parent was expected to appear in the segment. “We remain committed to giving viewers context and insight into a controversial and polarizing figure, how he relates to the president of the United States and influences others, and to getting this serious story right,” the network said in a statement. “Tune in Sunday.”

The storm shows few signs of abating. Late Thursday, a law firm representing several Sandy Hook families sent a letter to NBC warning that “airing the interview will cause serious emotional distress to dozens of Sandy Hook families.” At least one advertiser, JPMorgan Chase, has pulled its sponsorship of Sunday night’s show, and Kelly said this week that she was taken aback by the level of backlash at the Jones segment.

Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor, said he believed network executives would be toiling until the last minute to ensure that Sunday’s segment was seen as being responsive to the public criticism. “Coming from that world, I do not envy the job those producers and editors have right now,” Cuomo said.

The bottom line is no matter how much NBC edits the story and makes Jones look like a monster, the damage is already done and Kelly's NBC honeymoon is over before it even got started.