In her debut hosting her own mid-morning television show, Megyn Kelly:
- Spent three segments promoting her own network’s reboot of the fantastic sitcom “Will and Grace,” which, as Kelly made sure viewers knew, would air this coming Thursday at 9 p.m.;
- Hung out with other stars of the NBC a.m., including Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Craig Melvin et al.;
- Welcomed a tray of mimosas;
- And said, “Now let’s get hammered,” as if it were all right to encourage drunkenness at 9:30 in the morning.
At the end of the hour, Kelly introduced a segment titled “Settle for More” — which is the title of her 2016 memoir — and profiled Sister Donna Liette, a nun who does social outreach in a violent neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. “How do you break through?” Kelly asked Liette, who responded that the youths around her neck of the woods crave love and support. NBC arranged for contributions from Coldwell Banker and Ace Hardware to assist in sprucing up a property in Liette’s neighborhood.
As for substance, that’s about it. You were forewarned on that front, too: In her promotional tour, Kelly said she wanted to get away from politics and talk with regular people. Speaking with Elle magazine, Kelly reflected on her days as a Fox News assassin: “I can unleash my legal cross-examination skills on any blowhard politician whenever I want. It’s not like I’ve lost that magic. I am not one-dimensional. I can do many things. What I’m trying to do is find more joy for myself personally and for my viewers, as opposed to just deconstructing political arguments that we all know are bulls–––, which is useful but not that fun.”
How much fun is Kelly? Well, she appeared to be making quite an effort to appear loose and collegial on the set of “Megyn Kelly Today” on Monday morning. That’s understandable, however. “I’m so excited. So excited, I’m also a little nervous,” she admitted at the outset of Monday’s show.
It was her first day, after all, in a format that’s foreign to her old gig. Sure, there are still cameras, makeup, segments, sets and the like, but that’s where the overlaps end. Whereas Kelly’s job once called for her to bludgeon the appropriate people — generally liberals — at the right time, her new charge is to be relatable, likable, vivacious, etc. Toward that end, Kelly introduced herself as a native of the great Capital District of New York State and spotlighted her mother in the audience, among other get-to-know-you gestures. As we noted last week, becoming a successful daytime solo TV host is a tough thing to do.
To make her audience aware of what’s coming, Kelly joked on Monday morning, “We will be dissecting the latest tweet from President Trump. Oh no, we will not be doing that. No, we will not be doing that. The truth is, I’m kind of done with politics for now,” she said, inviting viewers to “have a laugh with us, a smile, sometimes a tear — and maybe a little hope to start your day. Some fun! That’s what we want to be doing. Some fun.”
That’s indeed what they want to be doing, along with serial in-house promo segments, other corporate tie-ins and a pre-noon boozing exhortation. Best of luck, Megyn Kelly, with mid-morning network television; we’ll check in from time to time, but we prefer the industry sector you just left — cable news, with its cyclical rehashing of topics, shallow analysis and unforgivable distortions. It’s still better than programmatic “fun.”