This Erik Wemple interview with Megyn Kelly in the Washington Post is long but there is one area that needs highlighting now because of its potential impact on her future…anywhere.
KELLY: Oh, my next deal is all about greater balance. I mean, that’s — I had professional success, right? Thankfully. And I feel like I’m at a level in my business where I’ve established myself as a professional. And the one thing I haven’t managed to do is find a way to achieve a better balance. You know, it started off fine, this particular job and my family situation because my three little ones were very small when I started “The Kelly File.” They were 3, 2 and newborn. So, you know, I don’t know if you have kids, but you spend the day at home with them.
EWB: I have a 10 and I have a 13.
KELLY: Yeah, so you know how that goes. You can see them all day. But then they start school and now two out of my three and soon three out of my three are going to be in school from 8 a.m. in the morning till 3:30 p.m. So that’s not good enough, that’s when I leave for Fox. And I need to do better.
EWB: You write in the book that you get to go to daytime school events. It seems as though, you know, you left the legal profession, you became famous, you make a lot of money and you get to go to your kids’ daytime school events: How is that not a win-win-win and what more would you be seeking on the balance front?
KELLY: Yeah, well it is a win but it isn’t good enough. I want to see my kids for dinner, I want to put them down at night, I want to see their soccer games after school. I want to get to know the parents who take their kids to some of these events, and not all the time. We all feel that to some extent, but my problem in my current role is I see them in the morning and . . . I take them to school but unless there’s a school event that I can attend, I might not see them at all for the rest of the day until they’re sleeping in their beds at night.
EWB: Do they call you at work while you’re trying to get ready for “The Kelly File”?
KELLY: Yeah, we talk on the phone, so listen: It’s not that I don’t understand working parents make sacrifices; they all do, whether they’re TV anchors or not. It’s just a question of what works for any given individual and all I’m saying and I’ve said it publicly is that this particular balance that I’ve struck right now is not good enough for me. I will tell you that Fox has always been good about working things like that out. And I don’t have any doubt that they’d be good to me on that front here too, so that’s one of the things we’ll figure out before I have to make up my mind.
Here’s the Megyn Kelly conundrum: What she wants is incompatible with her current career trajectory…at least at FNC.
FNC needs her to hold down 9pm, particularly after building her career up over the past decade as “the next big thing”. “The next big thing” doesn’t deserve “next big thing” status if it’s moved out of primetime to dayside or early evening. And it certainly doesn’t deserve anything near O’Reilly money. Historically, nobody pulls down those 9pm numbers during the day. Nobody.
So FNC is really wanting Kelly to be their next face of prime time. To put her back out of prime undermines everything the network has striven for and it also lowers her profile. And you don’t want to overpay for lower returns.
But 9pm is no good for Kelly if The Kelly File is airing live because she wants to be with her children at that hour and 9pm is particularly no good for FNC if it’s taped because it would mean 2/3 of FNC’s prime time programming would be taped and would require pre-emption if some live event transpired; a pre-emption not featuring the star talent that’s supposed to occupy that time.
Can you imagine the hay MSNBC and CNN would make with FNC if 2/3 of its primetime lineup isn’t live? Or, worse, play up that the network’s sole live prime time anchor is Sean Hannity? This stuff just writes itself sometimes.
If you had asked me a week ago where I thought Kelly would wind up I would have told you to bet the bank on FNC. I cannot make the same proclamation today based on this revelation.
FNC is probably still the favorite but this new (to the public anyways) wrinkle about Kelly wanting to re-balance her life throws a big monkey wrench into the works. Now, that rumored CNN offer with wide cross-Turner distribution…but for far less money than FNC would pay…looks more appealing than it did if it gets her life re-balanced. Now, a broadcast network offer doesn’t seem quite as far fetched as before since she wouldn’t have to worry about being live on primetime most nights of the year.
Or, she could stay at FNC in some yet to be determined non-live at primetime role. Or she could swallow hard and stay live in primetime at FNC. Whatever happens, money isn’t necessarily the biggest consideration we might have thought it was. Family may be.