Megyn Kelly’s daytime series for NBC is expected to land at either 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. this fall, according to multiple reports Friday.
People magazine first reported that Kelly will host the 9 a.m. “Today.” However, a story in the Los Angeles Times later said the network had informed staff of the third hourof “Today” (9 a.m.) that it will be canceled. Variety reported that Kelly’s new program could air at either 9 or 10 a.m., and that both options were under active discussion. If 10 a.m., that would mean the so-called fourth hour of “Today” with Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb would move up to 9 a.m.
A representative for “Today” would not comment.
Either a 9 or 10 a.m. show puts Kelly in the orbit of “Today” — at least theoretically a good place to be because of audience flow from the popular morning franchise. That theory, however, has not panned out for the third hour, which has long been a morning laggard. One challenge has been the WABC/7-produced hit “Live With Kelly.” The other has seen cast turnover. Willie Geist left the third hour in August, and was replaced by Billy Bush, who was fired in October shortly after the old “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced of him and Donald Trump engaged in a lewd discussion about women. Tamron Hall and Al Roker have been co-anchoring the program.
Both options likely hold appeal for Kelly and NBC, and risks too. A 9 a.m. show conceivably means an interview-based program with a little more edge, or even actual news. The problem is “Live”: The post-Michael Strahan version of the show is doing well, and if ABC decides to get serious about finding a replacement, that will draw even more attention away from the NBC newcomer.
A 10 a.m. show sidesteps that significant challenge but also means Kelly would suddenly find herself stuck in the quagmire of daytime TV, where news shows tend not to fare well.
The third hour of “Today” was launched Oct. 2, 2000, and the fourth hour arrived seven years later. NBC and Kelly — former host of “The Kelly File” on Fox News — announced earlier this month that she will join the network later this year. Besides the morning program, she’s expected to host a Sunday news and interview program.