Megyn Kelly to CNN Would Be A Risk For Both

This post comes a little late but my mom is in the hospital with a coronary condition so I have not had the time to write. 

A couple of days ago Drudge posted a story that Jeff Zucker was going all out to poach Megyn Kelly from FNC. The motivation behind the leaking of this to Drudge would be juicy indeed. Which camp did the deed and why?

But I am instead going to write about why this would probably be a bad deal for both, but for vastly different reasons.

For CNN the risks and unknowns are greater than they are for Kelly. In order…

  • According to Drudge, Zucker can’t afford to outbid Fox so instead he is trying to entice Kelly by offering a very wide greater than CNN networks platform and a huge promotion campaign. CNN has a decidedly mixed record on this score. The network threw oodles of money behind a campaign to promote Anderson Cooper; a campaign which failed to deliver the ratings the network hoped for and drew much ridicule for the alleged cost.
  • Zucker is taking a bigger risk than necessary if he does things this way. Despite all the glamour shots, all the glowing articles, all the off network promotional appearances, all the hype (Some of it deserved. Some not)…the fact is it is a huge unknown whether Megyn Kelly’s FNC star power transfers off that network. Given the lackluster ratings her Fox broadcast prime time special turned in, this is also a question Fox may be asking itself. The stigma of partisan cable news is very powerful and makes it tough to broaden one’s profile to other less ideological platforms (see: Maddow, Rachel).
  • But even if it did transfer, the chances CNN could come anywhere close to getting the ratings FNC gets with Kelly are almost nil. CNN will almost certainly be overpaying for Kelly and not getting the payoff FNC gets.
  • Zucker’s  instincts regarding talent is checkered at best. For every winning move he has made, there have been two or three which have detonated spectacularly in his face. Alexis Glick being forced down the Today Show’s throat. Going all in on Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo because of their on air chemistry only to quietly sever that tie when it was obvious he was very very wrong.
  • Some could see this as a move to weaken FNC. It is true that Kelly is the prime time heir apparent to O’Reilly who has maybe a couple of TV years left in him so losing both could cause trouble. But this is predicated on the notion that FNC can’t adjust. As we have seen with Tucker Carlson positively flourishing in Greta Van Susteren’s  old timeslot, an apparent loss is not necessarily a loss.
  • If CNN comes within a half of FNC’s offer, that will put more than a few CNN telents’ noses out of joint.With justification.

For Kelly the risks are potentially just as high as CNN but for vastly different reasons.

  • She will not make as much money as she could at FNC. Exposure is nice but salary is the biggest barometer of stature in this industry.
  • No matter how much cross platform exposure Zucker throws Kelly’s way, the unavoidable fact is Zucker has made the network one where there is no leader. No star. No anchor. Instead it is a team of rotating cogs that can be swiped in and out as needed. There is no true pecking order among the top talent. Anyone can dominate at any time given the situation. It isn’t Anderson Cooper’s network. Nor is it Wolf Blitzer’s, Don Lemon’s, Jake Tapper’s, or anyone else’s. That especially includes Megyn Kelly who as the new kid on the block would have to prove herself all over again to justify the prominence Zucker would force down the viewer’s throat. At FNC she could become the face of the  network once O’Reilly is gone. At CNN she will always be one of a crowd.

Kelly would be better off at a broadcast network than she would at CNN, though not do as well as she would staying at FNC. CNN will likely never get the intended payoff it hopes for by luring her over. This is not a great deal for either.

8 Responses to “Megyn Kelly to CNN Would Be A Risk For Both”

  1. I think Megyn and her people are making a mistake. They should have already resigned with FNC for the $20M+ they are offering.

    If her ratings take a dip after Trump is sworn in, I could see FNC lowering their offer.

    Greta tried to play “chicken” with FNC and they called her bluff. Fox must be loving it. Greta’s inflated salary is off their books and Tucker is crushing it in Greta’s time slot. Plus, Tucker has far more appeal to younger demos than Greta.

    Megyn’s overhyped Fox special was a huge bust. She certainly showed the broadcast nets that she isn’t near as valuable at her agent’s believe she might be.

    Then you look at her book sales which have been a disaster. I always thought Harper Collins (FNC’s sister company) vastly overpaid thanks to FNC pushing for it. They over-inflate that deal in hopes of keeping her around. It makes no sense at all for them to pay her $10M for that book. None. No justification. And to make that deal make sense, they went out and printed 2M hardcover copies.

    Keep in mind..when hardcover selling far more…. Harper paid Sarah Palin $5-$6M and they did a first printing of 1.5M copies. Sarah was a HUGE STAR then. She ended up selling 700,000 the first week!

    Megyn on the other hand moved 61,000 the first week. Sales for week two plummeted down to 40,000. Bill O Reilly’s “Killing Book” is already back ahead of Megyn. He moved 51,000 last week. After 11 weeks, Bill’s latest “Killing” has scanned over 700,000 hardcover copies. I’m sure Bill is thrilled with Megyn’s lack of sales.

    Had Harper done a realistic deal with Megyn…which would have been a $2M or so advance and a 1st printing of 300,000… then things would appear differently. But because of the huge advance, 1st printing and huge hype…. this hurts her once again when other networks are looking at her and her true value.

    I’m a big fan of Megyn’s. I like her. I don’t like what Trumpers have done to her. But would I watch her at CNN like I do her on FNC? Doubtful. I also think Shannon Bream (who should be Megyn’s replacement if she leaves) would get ratings that are close to what Megyn would get. I don’t think Martha is a good fit in that time slot. And I don’t know why someone keeps pushing Sandra Smith there as a fill in.

    Personally, if they didn’t give it to Shannon, I would go with Eboni K Williams. An attorney. She in her early 30’s. She’s Independent. She’s not a partisan. She’s gorgeous. Great personality. She has the ability to be FNC’s biggest star if they would handle her correctly.

  2. […] Why Megyn signing with CNN would be a bad move…for both of […]

  3. Megyn’s loathed at Fox News, by the audience and by her colleagues. She’s lost much of her starpower by standing up to Donald Trump, who is a god among Fox News’ audience.

  4. imnotblue Says:

    … which is why she continues to do very well in the ratings.

    But hey, that’s spin vs reality for you.

  5. If she moved to one of the broadcast networks then that makes sense, but going to CNN would be a lateral love at best and a significant downgrade at worst. She is one of the top stars in one of the highest rated cable channels and would also a huge payday, why leave?

    She’s not leaving, especially for CNN. She’s not stupid.

  6. megyn kelly and family do not deserve death threats or bodily harm…but after her verbal assault on donald trump in 1st debate last year, many of us trump supporters wished her career ill. megyn kelly made herself the poster child for the anti-trump and anti-american forces! remembering the heat of the political battle of past 18 months…most of us still want hillary locked up for treason, obama impeached for treasonous actions like giving the terror regime in iran 150 billion dollars to develope an islamic nuke…. and many of us look forward to megyn kelly failing with current and future books, hoping she loses her show to someone like laura ingraham or ann coulter who are truly worth the 20 million megyn thinks she is worth……bottomline; conservatives felt megyn betrayed us and bushwacked trump…..megyn belongs at the unwatchable commie news network and millions of us enjoy flipping megyn off at 8ct and flipping sean hannity on at 9ct….to; obama and megyn we say …dont let the door hit ya!

  7. “Megyn’s loathed at Fox News, by the audience:

    Isnt every hit show( #2 at Fox)……..loathed by their audience????

  8. imnotblue Says:

    @ Bill Breaux

    You’ve got to be kidding me!

    “verbal assault”?!
    She asked a totally legitimate question about things he had said in the past, which DID come back to bite him during the campaign! Why should she ignore that issue? Just because it could hurt Trump? Is that your idea of journalism?

    You may want Hillary locked up, but Trump said he doesn’t want to do that. You may want Obama impeached, but Trump said he and Obama are really getting along and like each other. And you may want Kelly to fail, but it’s not happening.

    Bottom line, you had an expectation that everyone was going to behave like Hannity, and PROMOTE Trump’s campaign, instead of asking hard questions… and anyone who did their job, needs to “fail.”

    You don’t speak for “Conservatives.” You speak for the most rabid and fervent Trump boosters. Unrealistic, inappropriate, and the farthest thing from actual political thought. You support Trump 100% regardless of what he does… politics has nothing to do with it.

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