Because humans contain multitudes, I am currently worrying about both the fate of our democracy/world as well as the fate of a long-running daytime television show hosted by people who make millions of dollars a year. Though considerably less destructive than, say, global thermonuclear war—or even a total collapse of our economy—the latest news regarding Megyn Kelly’s alleged $20 million contract with NBC is nonetheless something to be alarmed by.
When Kelly got her deal with NBC, it was announced that she would “anchor a new Sunday evening news magazine show and will become an important contributor to NBC’s breaking news coverage as well as the network’s political and special events coverage.” It became clear that a large part of why she went to NBC was an ability to spend more time with her family, and as such, rumors that Kelly would be joining NBC’s imperfect but generally comforting morning show Today have been swirling for weeks. The move was confirmed by New York Times reporters Mike Grynbaum and John Koblin Friday afternoon. “Megyn KELLY will be moving to 9 am or 10 am hour on NBC,” Grynbaum wrote on Twitter.
This is huge news regardless of the time slot she’s ultimately given, as Kelly’s skills as a daytime TV host—especially one as delightfully unhinged and fluffy as Today—are largely unproven. Though part of the show is reporting the news, the bulk is comprised of puff pieces like, oh, surprising ways to cook with mayonnaise and interviews with questionably literate 18-year-old YouTubers. Can Kelly convincingly switch back and forth between the two hats every Today host is required to wear? I’m not sure!
The segment Kelly will likely replace is the 9 am hour, Today’s Take, which has seen a number of shake-ups in the past year—from my sweet prince Willie Geist’s departure for MSNBC over the summer to Billy Bush’s ill-fated stint. Page Six reports that Tamron Hall, the first black woman to co-host Today and a master at the aforementioned hat-switching, will unfortunately be “leaving the network next month when her contract is up,” and Al Roker would stick to the show’s first two hours, leaving the former Today’s Take block open for Kelly to do her thing.
Beyond the staggeringly embarrassing ramifications (not to mention optics) of replacing Today’s only segment hosted by two people of color with a conservative white lady from Fox News, I’m worried about what Kelly’s involvement will do to the show’s mindless, morning-friendly flow. Today is by no means stimulating television, but its well-oiled transitions from major headlines to deranged banter between its over-stimulated co-hosts acts as a nice supplement to my morning coffee. Will Kelly decaffeinate the whole thing?