“Megyn Kelly Today” is not “The Kelly File.” If the host stays true to her word, it might be the furthest thing from it.
In the debut of her NBC morning show Monday, Kelly made clear that she wants her new program to be dramatically different from the one she hosted in prime time on Fox News.
“We have the entire cast of ‘Will & Grace’ here live, along with the show creator,” she told a cheering live audience. The applause ended when she said this: “And then we will be dissecting the latest tweet from President Trump.”
“Oh, no,” Kelly said. “We would not do [that]. No. No, we will not be doing that. The truth is I am kind of done with politics for now. Right? I know. You know why. Right? We all feel it. It’s everywhere; it’s everywhere. And it’s gotten so dark, and I’m just, like, over.”
For those who slept through the entire 2016 presidential campaign and don’t “know why,” Kelly was referring to the nasty, personal criticism she shouldered from then-candidate Donald Trump, which typified the billionaire’s polarizing White House bid. Kelly told viewers Monday that being a television anchor “was good — until it wasn’t.”
“Then came 2016,” she said. “So much division, so much outrage, and I wasn’t happy. But I was scared to change. For years, I had dreamed of hosting a more uplifting show. But how? Where? What?”
“Megyn Kelly Today” is, apparently, the answer to those questions. It is the “more uplifting show” she wanted.
But avoiding politics in general and Trump, specifically, will be nearly impossible. Had she been on the air last week, for example, how could Kelly have talked about the Emmys without also discussing the cameo by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer or the political commentary that permeated the entire awards ceremony?
Going forward, how will she be able to touch on anything related to sports without also acknowledging Trump’s feuds with the NFL and two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry?
Politics is deeply infused into popular culture. Kelly herself has said “it’s everywhere.”
She seems to envision her new show as a place where viewers can escape for an hour. If that is her goal, Kelly will have to ignore a lot of big news stories or make some glaring omissions.
Kelly told People magazine last week that she is “not a political animal.” That might be true, but she is a journalist. Here’s betting that after a period of political detox, she will step back into the arena.