To repeat a point I made last month, Kelly going to CNN or a broadcast network would make everyone happy. Whether you love her or hate her, why would you want her to continue at Fox News? It’s going to be a nearly fully Hannitized outlet for Trump White House propaganda next year. (Bret Baier should be a safe harbor at 6 p.m.) If you like that idea, Kelly hanging around in primetime at 9 p.m. is a turd in the punch bowl. If you dislike that idea, better that she departs for CNN where she can cover Trump how she wants. Except, er … would she be able to cover him however she wants at CNN? Jeff Zucker is a Trump enabler of long standing who’ll be worried about Fox’s yuuuge advantage in access to the White House. Kelly had better make sure her new contract has something in it about editorial independence.
As with all will-she-or-won’t-she stories about her negotiations with Fox, the most interesting question is “who leaked?” Did Kelly’s allies whisper to Drudge about CNN’s interest in hopes of squeezing Fox for more money, or did CNN’s people whisper to Drudge in hopes of drumming up public pressure on Kelly to make the move?
CNN President Jeff Zucker is actively perusing FOX star Megyn Kelly to anchor 8 or 9 PM on his network, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. And Kelly might just say, YES!
“He is moving the Himalayan mountains to get her,” a top insider explains. “But they are tripped up on money. He simply can’t pay her the $20 million a year FOX has on the table.”…
The anchor is “despised” by fellow on-air talent [at Fox]. And FOX insiders describe how it’s gotten only worse since the release of her book, which is expected to end the holidays under 500,000 total copies sold. [Megyn refused to promote her book on both O’Reilly and Hannity, foreshadowing a move.]
Zucker at CNN would compensate her salary with heavy promotion and synergy across all TIME WARNER outlets.
What does “synergy across all Time Warner outlets” mean? They own CNN, a bunch of movie studios, and some basic cable television networks like TBS and TNT. The only big-name news property in the portfolio besides CNN is HLN, which is best known for “Forensic Files” reruns. Are they going to run Kelly interviews with celebrities before Warner Bros. features, between the sneak previews? There is one Time Warner property that might pique her interest, though: HBO. Could Zucker swing a deal that lets her do a couple of specials a year on premium cable, possibly with A-list guests who wouldn’t want to turn down a network that enjoys some Hollywood prestige? (They’ve done news-y programs like “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” for years.) She clearly wants to do the Barbara Walters celebrity-sitdown thing. Why not for HBO instead of a broadcast network?
If she does make the switch, who replaces her at 9 p.m. at Fox? I doubt they’ll move Tucker Carlson up to that slot; O’Reilly, him, and Hannity would be quite a sausage party in primetime. Her successor would probably be a woman. Maybe they’d go in-house with Shannon Bream or Sandra Smith, who sits in for Kelly on her show when she’s on vacation, but neither Bream nor Smith is much of a pugilist in interviews. The primetime bloc needs to be contentious above all things. Maybe they’d go outside the box and bring in … Tomi Lahren? She’s young, pro-Trump, has a following already thanks to The Blaze, and is, shall we say, sufficiently pugilistic for the role. It’d be risky having a newbie in a primetime spot, but I’ve always thought of her as a sort of next-gen Hannity. She’d be a natural fit for the post-Kelly network. Here she is going a few rounds last night on “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah.