Even as Megyn Kelly and her legal team continue to haggle with NBC over her severance package, ratings for the third hour of “Today” have “measurably improved” since Kelly was bounced from the show, The Daily Beast reports.
“This latest development is unlikely to enhance the former Fox News star’s negotiating leverage as her high-powered Hollywood attorney, Bryan Freedman, tries to persuade NBC’s upper management — including NBC News Chairman Andy Lack and his boss, NBC chief executive Stephen Burke — to maximize Kelly’s payout, midway through a three-year contract reportedly worth $69 million,” the report notes.
The report cites weekly Nielsen averages indicating that the week after Kelly’s Oct. 26 exit, total viewership for the third hour of “Today” was up 5%, from 2.522 million during Kelly’s last week on the show to 2.649 million for the week beginning Oct. 29.
“Significantly, this post-Kelly ratings spike occurred despite a slight falloff in total viewers (a decrease from 3,832,000 to 3,747,000) experienced week-over-week by ‘Today’s’ 8 a.m. block, the lead-in to the third hour of the four-hour ‘Today’ franchise,” The Daily Beast reports. “Even more revealing, the target demographic groups most desired by daytime television advertisers — women 18-49 and women 25-54 — also enjoyed immediate upticks in the aftermath of Kelly’s exit. Women 18-49 increased by 10 percent (from 336,000 to 371,000), while women 25-54 spiked by 6 percent (from 465,000 to 495,000).”
The report quotes television news analyst Andrew Tyndall saying: “That absolutely comes as no surprise at all. She was a speed bump placed right in the middle of a four-hour block of programming — dismantling the sense of teamwork on that set and the flow that will get you all the way through from the hard news at 7 a.m. to the light talk through 11 o’clock.”