The amount of resources at Kelly’s disposal has irked some NBC colleagues, who feel she is sucking up too many of them at a time when a nonstop news cycle has exhausted her fellow NBC anchors and producers. Moreover, there is a lingering question of whether the resources will provide an adequate return on investment. In this regard, Kelly certainly has her supporters. Lack reportedly told affiliates before Kelly’s Sunday show launched that its success would not be measured in ratings. “It’s not going to be perfect on Day One, and we’re not going to be in first place on Day Two—but I’d rather be holding our cards than anyone else’s.” Indeed, the show was not in first place at all and was not infrequently in third place. “The measure of that show’s success is the journalism it produces and not ratings,” an NBC insider told me. “A Sunday night public-affairs show is not a ratings play for a network; it’s an influence play,” this person said.
Maybe so, but another executive with close ties to the industry took particular issue with the way NBC has managed Kelly since her arrival at the network, specifically citing the decision for her to interview Jones, who long asserted that Sandy Hook’s mass shooting was a hoax on his Infowars platform. “Journalistically, to interview him is defensible,” the executive with close ties to the industry said. “But she was going to need that exact demo—moms and minority women—who were the most obviously alienated demographics by her interview of him.” (The NBC insider countered that if the broader population had a general impression of Kelly, it would have come from her public battle with then-candidate Trump, not from the Jones interview.)