NBC Prioritizes Megyn Kelly Above the Rest, Turns Its Back on Today Veteran
It feels like it's been a long time coming, but Megyn Kelly's NBC debut is finally drawing near. After leaving behind a 12-year career with Fox News months ago, Kelly tweeted a picture on Monday celebrating her first official day with her new network.
She's quick to point out, of course, that she won't actually go on air until June. This week was more of a soft debut — a behind-the-scenes day for meeting her new colleagues.
One has to wonder whether or not the meet-and-greet was a friendly affair given the degree of speculation recently over tensions concerning Kelly's arrival. After all, when Tamron Hall decided to depart the show in February, it was widely suggested she left due to rumors that Kelly would be taking her 9 a.m. time slot on Today, which Hall co-hosted with Al Roker.
And as it turns out, Hall clearly had good reason to be concerned about her job. The official announcement came this afternoon, when an NBC News spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Kelly's new morning show will be replacing Today's 9 a.m. hour.
To longtime fans of Today, this may seem like a slap in the face to the veteran Roker (not to mention an unfortunate step backward in diversity, given that both Hall and Roker are being pushed out). However, the network has assured fans that Roker will remain part of the NBC and Today family.
As for the question on everyone's mind — what can we expect from the NBC version of Megyn Kelly? The network dropped a few hints about the direction the journalist plans to take.
For starters, Kelly's inaugural interview will reportedly be with the Kardashian family. Since Kim Kardashian West has already opened up about her terrifying Paris robbery ordeal on Ellen, it seems safe to assume Kelly has another angle for the famous family up her sleeve.
More in keeping with Kelly's hard-hitting journalism style, however, is a rumored sit-down with Russia's Vladimir Putin.
She'll certainly need to keep viewers on their toes, as her new time slot will pit her against another Kelly: ABC's beloved longtime morning host, Kelly Ripa. Since Ripa just named media powerhouse Ryan Seacrest as her new co-host on the top-rated Live, Kelly should be prepared for some fierce competition.
When it comes to Kelly's staff, NBC says that the current staff of the 9 a.m. hour will mostly comprise the team... but that the network isn't opposed to incorporating some of Kelly's former Fox News peers, either.
Will Kelly's transition from anchor at a conservative network like Fox News to a more liberal network like NBC go over seamlessly? Will she bump heads with Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer? Will she take on more pop-culture puff piece interviews like the Kardashians, or will she stick with her signature no-nonsense style?
Only time will tell, but NBC News president Noah Oppenheim seems confident they've made the right choice in prioritizing Kelly.
"[She] is tough and fair; there's a place for that [on morning TV]," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're not giving enough credit to the morning audience to think that they don't want those things. Her background is as an attorney, she's a mom of three, and she has had a lot of experiences that will be relatable to a huge cross-section of the audience in the morning."