NBC is in the process of canceling Megyn Kelly’s show according People Magazine, and is in the process of being fired entirely according the New York Post. Take all of that for whatever it’s worth, but at the least, it’s clear that her 9am show is toast. It’s worth pointing out that her ouster is not really about the fact that she said something racist on air this week. Instead, rather sadly, it’s about something else entirely.
Megyn Kelly had a history of saying racist things on the air while she was at Fox News. We can debate all day about whether she said these things because she is a racist, or because she’s too ignorant to know these things are racist, or because she was making the cold calculation that Fox viewers wanted to hear her say racist things. But the bottom line is that she did it, and NBC knew about it when it hired her, and NBC had to know there was a good chance she’d eventually do it again, and it obviously didn’t care.
The trouble is that Megyn Kelly has turned out to be a ratings dud. It’s easy to get ahead on Fox News simply by peddling the lies that the far-right wants to hear, and sounding convincing while delivering those lies. But at a mainstream network like NBC News, you can’t rely on those parlor tricks; you have to actually be insightful at reporting real news. And while Kelly was more insightful than most of her Fox News basement-league colleagues, she doesn’t play at the major league level. As such, she’s turned out to be a very expensive ratings flop.
Megyn Kelly’s offensive remarks about blackface have handed NBC News executives an excuse to save a little face while dumping someone for being a money-losing ratings failure. They’re hoping to garner praise for “doing the right thing” by shoving her out the door. But in reality, if they wanted to do the right thing, they never would have hired her to begin with.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report