It was clear that NBC was trying to poach some of the conservative audience when they made the decision to let Megyn Kelly host the “Today” show, at the expense of Tamron Hall and Al Roker, who hosted “Today’s Take,” before Kelly came to the network.
Honestly, from the moment she was installed, she has been dropping the ball in one way or another. There was her insistence on asking Jane Fonda, an eighty-year-old woman, about her boob job, there was the way she told a man that “the gay thing was going to work out for him” as she was discussing the reboot of “Will and Grace.” There was also the moment where she encouraged viewers to body and fat shame loved ones as a way to encourage weight loss and fitness. Most recently her comments about blackface being an acceptable in Halloween costumes.
Personally, given Kelly’s comments about Santa and Jesus Christ being verifiably White, I don’t know why NBC was shocked by her ignorance and insensitivity. Actually, I doubt they were shocked at all. They probably just thought their audience would roll with it because White women have been getting away with far worse for much longer.
And here we are.
Anyway, even after her apology for the incident, the blackface comment earned her a suspension. And in the two weeks since she’s been gone, the ratings for the 9 a.m. hour, the hour she hosted, have gone up.
According to Shadow and Act, the ratings are up 5 percent with overall viewers and 11 percent in the news demographic.
The ratings spike during Kelly’s absence has proven to be lucrative for other hosts as well. Ratings for Hoda and Kathie Lee Gifford’s show, which airs after Kelly’s third hour segment, have also increased by 7 percent for overall viewers and 11 percent in the news demographic.
I understand that we’re talking about corporate America. Everything comes down to a numbers game. But, in this instance, NBC should have known their audience better than this.