NBC executives are reportedly concerned that Megyn Kelly’s forthcoming morning show will not pull in ratings with younger people and non-whites after the network fired a popular black host, Tamron Hall, to make room for the former Fox News star.
The network made room for Kelly by axing the 9 a.m. hour of the long-running Today Show. but the performance of Megyn Kelly’s Sunday night program has left executives in a “total panic” about her morning show, which will debut on Sept. 25, according to The Daily Beast.
“A lot of people were watching the Sunday magazine show to try to get a sense of her appeal to the daytime demographic and a sense of how she would be outside of the Fox environment,” one insider told The Daily Beast. “Fox News skews very male… I always tend to think of her as more of a guy’s girl than a girl’s girl… It’s extremely challenging, and I’m not sure Megyn’s personality really connects with women.”
According to television news analyst Andrew Tyndall, “The Sunday show laid such an egg that any claims that she had automatic star power, to get people in the door to see what she was doing, have been disavowed… The stardom of the celebrity anchor was a phenomenon of the 1980s back when [flamboyant ABC News president] Roone Arledge was around. In this day and age, the shows make the anchors, not the other way around.”
Following Hall’s departure from NBC, the National Association of Black Journalists accused the network of “whitewashing” its on-air talent.
“The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is saddened by Tamron Hall’s departure from NBC. She broke ground as the first black female Today show cohost and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show’s third hour of programming,” a statement from the NABJ said at the time. “NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing.”
In the meantime, Hall is planning a daytime talk show with the backing of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. She has also hosted a crime show on the Discovery Channel since leaving NBC.