Megyn Kelly's awkward attempt to be the white Oprah

Megyn Kelly premiered her 2nd new show on NBC Monday morning and by many accounts, it was an awkward experience. From CNN:

Megyn Kelly launched her daytime makeover on Monday with “Megyn Kelly Today,” conspicuously trying to reintroduce herself in the mold of Oprah Winfrey or Ellen DeGeneres — complete with a caffeinated, cheering studio audience — while establishing distance from her time as a Fox News anchor…

“The truth is I am kind of done with politics for now,” she stated, citing the show’s objective as providing the audience a place to share “a laugh with us, a smile, sometimes a tear, and maybe a little hope to start your day.”…

There she was mounting a charm offensive — fielding questions from the audience, receiving flowers from her husband and warmly yukking it up with the cast and producers of “Will & Grace,” in an interview that wouldn’t have looked out of place on any other daytime talk show or “Access Hollywood.”


In fact, Kelly appeared on Access Hollywood a few days ago to talk about her new show and one of the hosts told Kelly, “I like the Oprah thing for you…” This prompted Kelly to tell her story of meeting Oprah. But according to the Washington Post, Kelly’s debut was more like a network Bride of Frankenstein made up of parts borrowed from various other talk shows:

The debut was like watching a network try to assemble its own Bride of Frankenstein, using parts of Ellen DeGeneres, Kelly Ripa and whatever else it can find. The resultant lovely creature, dressed in a mauve, pussy-bow blouse and skintight pants, moved stiffly and waved her arms around in broad gestures in a bizarre attempt to generate excitement from an audience that was already standing and cheering as duly instructed. She interviewed people nervously and so awkwardly that they were cowed into giving monosyllabic answers. She also never missed an opportunity to talk about herself.

Most of the episode devolved into an intentionally meta hall of mirrors, inviting the audience to admire Kelly as much as Kelly admires Kelly — a morning TV show about the birth of a morning TV show. There was lots of talk about what “Megyn Kelly Today” will be, mostly by way of what it won’t be. (That’s always a bad sign.)…

The hour crawled by. A middle segment featured the “Today” regulars welcoming Kelly to 30 Rockefeller Center, a predawn festivity of studied smarm, with the added delight of seeing Kathie Lee Gifford sit in her makeup chair and play nice-nice with Kelly the way an old house cat would welcome a naive and extra-squeaky mouse to the kitchen.


Here’s the introduction to the new show. As you can see, it took literally two minutes and 30 seconds before Kelly was sharing the death of her father with her audience. She then turned to her career as a lawyer, as a TV anchor (“which was good, until it wasn’t”). “For years I had dreamed of hosting a more uplifting show, but how, where what?” Kelly said. She then explained how she saw her first interview with NBC as a sign from her dad.

Personally, I liked Megyn Kelly at Fox News. But this new show is really something very different and I’m not sure it plays to her strengths. Do people really need another Oprah or another Ellen DeGeneres? I guess we’ll find out soon enough if this new show is a hit or another expensive miss.

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Jazz Shaw 12:31 PM on December 07, 2023