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Another Media Win

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NBC investing ungodly sums to hire Megyn Kelly so she can interview and legitimize lunatics is really working out well for the network.

According to early Nielsen data, the first 30 minutes NBC’s “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” was easily beaten by Fox’s U.S. Open Golf Championship coverage and CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which is in summer repeats.

The second half-hour of Kelly’s news magazine, after the Jones interview aired, fared even worse, finishing fourth in total viewers while tying ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for third in the key 18-49 demographic networks covet most.

7:00 p.m.
ABC – “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (R): 2.2 rating/ 5 share (#4)
CBS – “60 Minutes” (R): 4.0 rating/ 9 share (#2)
NBC – “Megyn Kelly on Sunday”: 2.7/ 6 share (#3)
Fox – 2017 U.S. Open Golf Championship: 5.2/12 share (#1)

7:30 p.m.
ABC – “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (R): 2.5 rating/ 5 share (#3)
CBS – “60 Minutes” (R): 4.4 rating/ 9 share (#2)
NBC – “Megyn Kelly on Sunday”: 2.4 rating/ 5 share (#4)
Fox – 2017 U.S. Open Golf Championship: 5.2 rating/12 share (#1)

Kelly’s program averaged 3.5 million viewers and had a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49. The program produced the same numbers last week, which were down 42 percent since her debut three weeks ago featuring an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

That’s most impressive bad performance since Joe Lieberman’s brag about his 3-way tie for 3rd in New Hampshire.

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  • keta

    When the insufferable interviewing the indefensible doesn’t even garner train-wreck eyeballs then there’s an obvious Lack of understanding the marketplace.

    • T’was in darkest depths of Murdoch
      NBC met a girl so “fair”
      But Alex Jones the evil one
      crept up and slipped away with her
      Her, her, yeah

  • angrifon

    On the one hand, good. I’m happy to see that NBC’s cynical experiment is failing. Megyn Kelly has a lot to repent and make amends for before she should be considered a real journalist, rather than a propagandist. On the other hand, she apparently elicited quite the performance from Alex Jones. Didn’t and won’t watch, so this is hearsay.

    • tonycpsu

      Nevermind, comment went to moderation hell.

    • efgoldman

      Megyn Kelly has a lot to repent and make amends for before she should be considered a real journalist

      Ms Kelly will be crying all the way to the bank.
      The executives who hired her and green-lighted the programs, however….

      • phrenological

        …will still make their bonus?

        If you don’t give them bonuses, how will you attract talent of their level?

        They’ll fire actual journalists to make up for it.

      • wengler

        Comcast is investing heavily in Republicans because it’s good for their business. The broadcast division is peanuts compared to the tolls they can extract from the death of net neutrality.

  • Murc

    The only possible reason I can see for hiring Megyn Kelly, especially since she’s not trying to remake herself as a liberal or even a centrist, is if you’re trying to swing the network to the right. So this is a huge failure on multiple fronts.

    Well, I mean… okay. I suppose you could think “Kelly is attractive and presents well on-camera, surely that’ll garner some eyeballs.” And, well, as a hetereosexual man with conventional beauty standards I do think she is in fact quite attractive.

    But I can kind of look at pretty ladies anywhere? I don’t have to listen to someone spout conservative drivel in order to do that? The idea that you can have an attractive woman do some news-ish stuff and people (and by people I mean “men”) will tune in because they want to bone her seems like it had some currency once, but if it still does it really shouldn’t for many, many, MANY reasons.

    • Derelict

      Make no mistake: The suits who make such decisions are NBC (and other media outlets) have been subjected to the Rightwing Wurlitzer calling them liberal for going on 40 years now. For many–probably most–of these suits, there has never been a time in their entire careers when they have been called liberally biased.

      So, they hire Megan Kelly and air interviews with Alex Jones and cram the Sunday Showz with Republicans and rightwing commenters and cranks. All in an effort to appease a rightwing that will never, ever accept anything less than total unquestioning unflinching fawning coverage.

      • CP

        You would think it might someday dawn on them that nothing they do will ever earn them the approval of these people, and that there are a lot of other demographics that actually are being ignored and neglected in modern day reporting but who might respond if you tried to pay attention to them.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          “And that, my liege, is why Melisas Harris-Perry had to be fired.”

    • phrenological

      “The only possible reason I can see for hiring Megyn Kelly, especially since she’s not trying to remake herself as a liberal or even a centrist, is if you’re trying to swing the network to the right”

      Is this not obvious? Obviously to us, but the mind boggles that anyone on earth could not see that the only lessons being learned by our
      MSM is that they want desperately to be much more like Fox, and less the stodgy fact-or-at-least-consistent-narrative reporters they’re perceived as being in the past.

      They want to court the zeitgeist of Trump-aligned white supremacists.

      • Pyramid Scheme

        If they want eye candy, they should just cut to the chase and hire Tomi Lahren. Megan Kelly is ageing out of the Fox News wank material archetype (her pancake makeup was painfully obvious in her most recent photos hyping her NBC show) and now wants to rebrand herself as a serious journalist, largely due to the fact that she has been treated as such in mainstream publications. Her serious journalist qualification is that she has been unwilling to let RW types cross certain lines, particularly when crossing those lines would disadvantage her as an upper class working white woman.

        • humanoid.panda

          If I understand it right, they view her as long term replacement to Barbara Walters/ Katie Kourik. Which looks like a weird choice to me, because the latter two showcased niceness, and Kelly not so much.

          • Pete

            Our society is not nearly as nice as it was when Walters and Couric were big.

          • scott_theotherone

            That’s exactly right—people were often surprised by just how tenacious an interview Couric could be, and she really could be, given how nice she generally seemed. Whereas it’s the exact opposite with Kelly—if she shows some genuine, or even genuine-enough-seeming, niceness to anyone who’s not a conservative white male, that’ll be the shock.

        • Colin Day

          Ms. Lahren was born the week I received my PhD. I feel old.

          • DrDick

            Ms Lahren is only a few years older than my grandchildren.

        • Tomi Lehran is pretty hot. I mean for a Nazi.

        • phrenological

          “If they want eye candy”

          Eh, Fox wants leggy blondes, NBC is only asking for a faux-feminist right-wing narrative.

    • Lev

      Yeah, the sexy news lady thing with FOX News doesn’t really make sense outside of their core demographic of hypersexual but guilt-ridden religious men. These are the same men who devour Maxim and the SI Swimsuit Edition. There’s still a lot of money to be made from the hangups of such men, but given rapidly expanding secularization it’s a shrinking pool overall.

      • Doug Gardner

        “…it’s a shrinking pool”

        I see what you did there…and I like it!

    • NonyNony

      The only possible reason I can see for hiring Megyn Kelly, especially since she’s not trying to remake herself as a liberal or even a centrist, is if you’re trying to swing the network to the right.

      You’re overthinking it. The reason to hire Megyn Kelly is because a) you suck as a network and b) you’re grasping at straws trying to do something – anything – that will make your ratings suck less. Kelly was a controversial figure who NBC hoped would translate into ratings. Because they’re at the “I dunno – throw shit to the wall and see if it sticks” stage of coming up with new programs. They were hoping that controversy would propel her to new heights on the network and, well, it was like so much of what NBC has been doing for the past few years, a bad bet.

    • The only possible reason I can see for hiring Megyn Kelly… is if you’re trying to swing the network to the right.

      MSNBC started this trend last year; NBC is simply continuing it.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        It started long before last year. Joe Scarborough has been fouling the air at MSNBC since 2007.

        • Good point. But there seems to be an acceleration toward a “centrist” ethic in TV journalism that includes right-wing crackpots.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            At roughly a two-to-one ratio to sane people.

        • Brad Nailer

          Have you been watching Joe and Mika lately? Joe wants to stab Trump in the eye, and he’s getting guests on with the same point of view. Yeah, he still supports the basic Republican program of deregulation, etc., but on the whole Trump thing he’s on our team.

    • wengler

      Megyn Kelly, Nicolle Wallace, Greta Van Susteren. NBC is stocking up on Republicans, despite reaping massive ratings from trainwreck called Trump. Imagine if Fox News had Democrats on during the day.

    • Shalimar

      Andy Lack has made it very clear he wants to swing all the programming on MSNBC to the right. Maddow is safe because of ratings. O’Donnell wasn’t going to be renewed but is presumably now a few weeks into a new contract because of the outcry when he announced there were no negotiations. Everyone else is getting replaced with Hugh Hewitt.

      • scott_theotherone

        “Maddow is safe because of ratings.”

        Am I misremembering, or didn’t Phil Donahue have the top-rated show on MSNBC when he was fired for criticizing the Iraq War?

        • Shalimar

          You are not misremembering, that did happen. It could happen again. The biggest difference is that Maddow beats Fox some nights now, while no show on 2003 MSNBC ever got close. She has more viewers than Donahue ever did.

  • Jonas

    My first thought reading this post was-‘Wait, America’s Funniest Home Videos is still on the air?’.

    • Derelict

      It audience is those who haven’t figured out how to get to FailArmy.com or JukinVideo on their internetz machines.

      • Lev

        Yeah but those aren’t presented by Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

    • phrenological

      At last, a good use for “This is why Trump Won”.

      @Derelict: I imagine in less than five years we’ll transition to “WorldStar’s funniest street videos”.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        And have CNN replaced by Capone-n-Noreaga or Fox replaced by VladTV.

        • phrenological

          “Fox replaced by VladTV.”

          Can’t wait for the NBC/Zerohedge partnership made in hell.

    • Just goes to show how truly insatiable the appetite is for silly cat videos.

    • Rob in CT

      “Ow, my balls”

  • elm

    I suppose it’s possible that many potential Megan Kelly viewers were watching the US Open. Golf viewership almost certainly swings to the right. Still, coming in behind a 60 Minutes repeat and tying America’s Funniest Home Videos can’t be a good sign so early in the show’s run, although I don’t think it’s fair to call the show a failure until it’s not up against a major sporting event sharing its demographic.

  • Mike in DC

    Greta van Susteren has been an epic fail, ratings wise, on MSNBC. Sadly it seems to take way too long for programming execs to “get it”, especially when it conflicts with their own biases and preconceptions.

    • phrenological

      “Greta van Susteren has been an epic fail, ratings wise, on MSNBC.”

      Don’t worry, they have many next right-wing “stars” from Fox to try. They’ll find their hatemonger formula yet.

      I guess all the family Scientology PR contacts in the world couldn’t save Greta from being worthless.

    • Doug Gardner

      GvS has been an epic fail.

      Full Stop.

  • Joe_JP

    So many alternative things to watch.

    You also had animated Star Trek episodes on Heroes & Legends Channel and a Gomer Pyle marathon.

  • Morbo

    US Open (#1)

    This is an indictment of us all…

    • NonyNony

      Meh – if I could I’d slowly replace the “news” coverage on Fox news with 24 hour golf coverage. Slowly, over time, so that viewers didn’t realize it was happening. Possibly interspersed with reruns of Andy Griffith and Leave it to Beaver.

      “Forcing” my parents to switch the channel away from Fox News and to golf (which my father and mother both actually enjoy watching) has a calming effect on their nerves. I think we’d be a healthier country if more folks in the retired demographic were watching golf all day instead of Fox News.

      • Bill Murray

        there is The Golf Channel, which is basically 24 hour golf coverage

  • djw

    Agree with Jonas; the real shocker here is “America’s Funniest Home Videos” still exists. If you’d asked how long it’s been since that was a thing I would have guessed at least 10 years.

    • Asano Sokato

      Hey, YouTube isn’t going to curate and filter itself.

    • FMguru

      There’s always a slice of TV programming that has zero buzz and representation in the greater media sphere but which finds an audience and just ticks along like a machine, year after year. In the 1990s, it was Coach and Wings, and in the 2000s it was those military police procedural shows like NCIS.

      AFHV must also benefit from being incredibly cheap to produce. A host, a PO Box, a smallish studio, and a couple of staffers, and you can reliably fill 30 minutes of network airtime to sell ads against, week in and week out.

      I imagine the audience for all these shows are the same: older white people in rural flyover country.

      • addicted44

        AFHV must also benefit from being incredibly cheap to produce

        This is probably the biggest factor.

        • phrenological

          Absolutely, figure out what the biggest “viral” videos on Youtube were from 2012, offer someone a few hundred bucks extra, bingo.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        AFHV must also benefit from being incredibly cheap to produce. A host, a PO Box, a smallish studio, and a couple of staffers, and you can reliably fill 30 minutes of network airtime to sell ads against, week in and week out.

        I do believe that it’s 60 minutes.

        Keep in mind, not everybody has cable, and not everybody has high speed internet. Some folks live in places where it’s not even an option.

        And there’s something to be said for having other eyeballs sort through the raging tsnumani of the intertoobs and finding you the best ones. Not only is there this show, there is also Tosh.0 on Comedy Central and Ridiculousness on MTV. (That last ont really emphasizes the Ow My Balls angle… but I can’t say AFVH doesn’!)

      • LeeEsq

        My favorite television story was inspired by AFHV. An Australian network attempted to create a raunchier version of it. The owner of the station was so offended by it that he called in and ordered that the crap be taken off his network.

        • Mike G

          Kerry Packer, the richest guy in Australia at the time, and owner of the biggest TV network.

          I believe his actual phone call to the network manager was, “Get that shit off the air,” so they killed it mid-show claiming “technical difficulties”.

      • JKTH

        Well…NCIS is still on and still gets high ratings, so it’s the same thing for the 2010s too.

      • John Revolta

        “Thatsa right, Guru! An’ now…………..it’sa polka time!! An’a one, an’a two…………….”

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      I shudder to think what percentage of their submissions are still VHS tapes.

  • Bill Murray

    What ratings did NBC usually pull down in this time slot before Kelly’s show? The Megyn and Alex conspiracy fest could have doubled the previous ratings and NBC would be greatly happy Alex Jones seems to have pulled in many fewer viewers than her Putin interview

    • Shalimar

      They were previously airing a rerun of the show Little Big Shots in the slot before it’s normal new airing. The new episode in the next hour was one of NBC’s best-rated shows. The rerun lead-in did about half that and was well behind 60 Minutes. From that point of view and because we assume Megyn’s show is cheap to produce other than her salary, they might actually be happy with the results.

      It isn’t just ratings. You can program something other than another news show opposite 60 Minutes. They obviously put Megyn’s show there because 60 Minutes is old and all the familiar anchors are gone. They wanted the bright new face to dominate it, possibly even force it off the air. By that standard, they failed miserably.

  • DrDick

    Today in proof that corporate executives have no idea what they are doing and are not very bright.

    • phrenological

      It’s almost as if generous executive compensation doesn’t reward performance or skill!

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Coming in 2018, Megyn’s show brings on a new production assistant, Cousin Oliver!

    • How many chances has Tucker Carlson had and he keeps failing. Why?

      • keta

        Because Fox news thinks shit is an instrument, and Tucker’s a one-man orchestra.

      • Shalimar

        Carlson had higher ratings than Kelly in the same time slot after he replaced her. I do not think those ratings have lasted, but she was hardly a ratings juggernaut compared to other Fox News primetime hosts. I think Tucker more wears out his welcome eventually than outright fails.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    Or so the Nielsen family would have you believe.

    Just how many American households are they spying on anyway?!

    And what about all the Alex Jones fans who turned on every TV in their house to NBC that night, hunh? Doesn’t that count for something?!

  • Solar System Wolf

    One of my friends from high school is still in the journalistic profession. He and the Society of Professional Journalists (to which I used to belong) keep repeating that criticizing Kelly/NBC for the Jones interview is terrible because the media can’t let public opinion dictate their coverage and Jones is newsworthy. I just want to beat my head against the wall. Jones is a mendacious huckster, and if your goal as the media to help people find out the truth, showcasing him as though he’s worthy of attention is antithetical to that goal. If your business is just to make money then so be it, but come down off the high horse so as to wallow in the mud more effectively.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      “if your goal as the media to help people find out the truth”
      “If your business is just to make money”

      I’d say the business these days is making money by convincing people that they’re finding out the truth. Look at all the shows “scientifically investigating” ghosts and ancient aliens. Most of our news media fits right into this group.

  • Please.
    Hiring Megyn and giving her carte blanche isn’t just about ratings. Andy Lack is making NBC News far right-friendly. Hence the mishugas at MSNBC where giving rightists exposure at the cost of ratings is acceptable.
    Really, the corporate media are so corrupted, so dishonest that they’re all nigh worthless.

  • CJColucci

    In principle, it is perfectly OK to interview an awful person if: (1) the awful person is legitimately newsworthy (which he might be precisely because of his awfulness if he has a sufficient following); and (2) the interview is professionally sound and incisive. After all, Kelly interviewed Vladimir Putin, and who, given the chance, wouldn’t have interviewed Adolph Hitler? I didn’t see the interview and had no greats expectations that it would meet the second standard. Does anyone who saw it have an opinion?

  • CJColucci

    In principle, it is perfectly OK to interview an awful person if: (1) the awful person is legitimately newsworthy (which he might be precisely because of his awfulness if he has a sufficient following); and (2) the interview is professionally sound and incisive. After all, Kelly interviewed Vladimir Putin, and who, given the chance, wouldn’t have interviewed Adolph Hitler? I didn’t see the interview and had no great expectations that it would meet the second standard. Does anyone who saw it have an opinion?

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