2017 has been a memorable year when it comes to the news, with twists ranging from the firing of Bill O'Reilly from Fox News to the departure of Scott Pelley from CBS Evening News. Perhaps the biggest change, however, came when longtime Fox News host Megyn Kelly moved to NBC for a new show. Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly got off to a pretty strong start in the beginning of June, but the ratings for the most recent episode took a major dip, and it may have everything to do with who she interviewed.
The June 18 episode of Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly drew only 3.5 million viewers and scored a 0.5 in the key 18-49 ratings demographic, which is a significant drop in viewership from the 6.2 million who tuned in for Kelly's first episode on June 4. The latest episode did not win the 7 p.m. ET time slot either, as the U.S. Golf Open Championship won a 1.4 rating and 6.1 million viewers and a rerun of America's Funniest Home Videos came in second with 0.7 and 3.7 million viewers.
Sunday Night did manage to tie a 60 Minutes rerun on CBS in the 18-49 demo, but Variety reports that 60 Minutes crushed with 5.3 million viewers. The low numbers for Megyn Kelly's show are discouraging, and they very well might be connected to the fact that Alex Jones was going to be in the spotlight.
Infowars host Alex Jones is best known for his claims that spin troubling conspiracies and even proven falsehoods. He has stated that the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy was a hoax, and such claims have understandably gone over poorly with many. There was backlash almost immediately after news broke that Jones would appear on Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, with advertisers pulling out to avoid any association with Alex Jones, and people affected by the Sandy Hook shootings writing to NBC to pull the episode. The controversy only increased when Alex Jones himself leaked part of his conversation with Kelly, which he had secretly recorded because he believed he would be misrepresented by the finished NBC product.
All the buzz about the interview could have resulted in extraordinary ratings if folks were curious enough about the controversy to tune in when they might not have otherwise. Instead, it seems that more people cared about the interview before it aired than while it actually was airing. The interview did get people talking about Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly; unfortunately for Kelly and NBC, the conversation wasn't very positive.
It should be interesting to see if and how NBC reacts to the disappointing ratings if they don't bump back up in the coming weeks. Although an exact figure for Megyn Kelly's salary has not been released, she reportedly turned down a huge contract with Fox News for the move to NBC, and NBC has taken strides to try and make major bank off of Kelly's move. If the ratings and viewership don't pick up, the network may need to change things up to try and win an audience. We'll have to see how the numbers rise or fall now that the Alex Jones interview has aired.