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'Megyn Kelly Today' has been cancelled

Megyn Kelly's future at NBC is in doubt. Even Kelly's own colleagues pulled no punches when covering comments made by Kelly about blackface Halloween costumes.

Posted: Oct 28, 2018 8:54 AM
Updated: Oct 28, 2018 9:05 AM

Some things don't go together: brussels sprouts and bubblegum; cats and canaries; Megyn Kelly and NBC News.

In each of those cases the mismatched mix should be obvious, but somehow NBC missed the telltale signs of how off and off-putting the combination of Kelly's views, especially on race relations, would be with NBC's own, more conventional positions. The network's top news executive, Andrew Lack, decided to woo Kelly away from her Fox News prime time show almost two years ago, and insert her in a starring role in the 9 a.m. timeslot for his network's long-running hit, the Today show.

Lack, who was hardly alone in media circles in pursuing Kelly, may have been blinded by a familiar malady of television executives: glamour glare. That's the effect that sometimes emanates from a glowing-hot on-air talent. It can lead to temporary loss of vision.

Events of recent months, especially of the past week, seem to indicate vision has been restored, though the cost of the fix -- $69 million -- might be deemed a tad pricey. That's not great news for Lack, it's fair to assume.

The denouement of the drama that has surrounded Kelly since the day she arrived at NBC seems to be upon us. The network formally canceled her show Friday with the expectation that she will have no further role at the network.

The experiment put in place by Lack -- having Kelly, who had been icily appealing on Fox News as a solo act, try to emulate Oprah Winfrey by playing warm and wise with a studio audience -- moved quickly from misbegotten to miserable. Ratings were tepid to worse, critical evaluation was scathing, internal dissension at NBC News over the move was widespread, and then there were those moments where fingernails met blackboards:

Comments that sounded like body shaming; guests that came away alienated (Jane Fonda, Debra Messing); the persistent awkwardness in performance; and the occasional whiff of what might kindly be labeled racial insensitivity. The past week brought intense focus on Kelly's tone-deaf dismissal as "politically correct" of the idea that African Americans take offense at white people in blackface. But she had a documented history of such insensitivity, having, during her Fox News days accused some in the black community of a "thug mentality."

And, of course there was her famous insistence that Santa Claus should never be portrayed by a black performer because he is -- though fictional --definitively white. You might be able to make a fair case that it could be a risk to hire anyone who cares that much about the race of Santa Claus.

NBC apparently shrugged off those concerns when it landed Kelly at what has been reported to be $23 million a year. The shrug included the decision to have her replace two black anchors, Tamron Hall and Al Roker, who were making far less money (and, as things have worked out, were drawing better ratings.)

Lack certainly has had a long and distinguished career in news, and retains high cards in his hand, including increasing ratings at MSNBC as well as the status of Today and NBC Nightly News, all of which he has played well. But for a time he seemed seduced by the idea of stretching the appeal of NBC News to followers of the new regime in Washington. Thus Hugh Hewitt, conservative radio host, got a show on MSNBC, by then established as a liberal stronghold, and Megyn Kelly, whose views only occasionally veered away from the usual Fox News right-tilted narrative, moved into what had been the neutral territory of Today's 9 a.m. hour.

Both those gambits have now foundered. At least Hewitt's sour note in MSNBC's otherwise left-leaning musical score didn't involve a lottery-ticket payoff.

Just how bad was the mistake of hiring Megyn Kelly? If it involves loud discord within the news division staff, low ratings, racially charged remarks, and a check that could fund the entire roster of a small-market baseball team, it likely qualifies as a mistake with little chance of going unnoticed.

If past is prologue, and it usually is in the television business, all of that could play a hand in future decisions about the leadership at NBC News.

It probably doesn't help that another recent NBC News talent decision has not worked out well either. Not too long after hiring Kelly, Lack made the call to let Ronan Farrow go -- just before his work won numerous prizes, including a Pulitzer for his reporting on the sexual improprieties of numerous media figures.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 252475

Reported Deaths: 5521
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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