From mega-star to the unemployment line; Megyn Kelly’s embarrassing, and some say brutal, collapse from a high-paid anchor position at NBC could have long reverberations in the industry, and some might be wondering if this disastrous fall from grace was inevitable.
Kelly, who skyrocketed to stardom as a sometimes brash, gutsy and unflappable interviewer at Fox News, is gone from NBC over a flap about wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume. Outspoken people in broadcast news or entertainment occasionally find themselves in boiling water, and quite often they’re the ones who turn up the burner. As noted by The Daily Beast, other high profile people have tumbled fast, including Dan Rather and Matt Lauer, not to mention Kelly’s former colleague at Fox News, Bill O’Reilly.
According to USA Today, Kelly’s future at NBC “remains uncertain,” but she has lawyered-up and the Daily Beast hinted that there might even be a chance she could bounce back to Fox, though that might take no small amount of miracle making.
In a particularly blunt examination of Kelly’s debacle in TIME, writer Judy Berman observes, “Who could have predicted such a debacle? Oh, just about anyone who was familiar with Kelly’s pre-NBC history.”
Later Berman follows up that face slap with a left hook: “So, to many, the salient question today isn’t ‘How could this have happened?’ so much as ‘How did Megyn Kelly get a $69 million deal with a broadcast network in the first place?’”
Like her or not, Kelly is no wallflower. Broadcast news/entertainment may be glamourous, but it can also be rather cutthroat at times. Considering what Berman wrote, one may be compelled to wonder whether some people were simply waiting for the opportunity to push her in front of a Manhattan bus. Her move to NBC was controversial 14 months ago, and her ratings were not so sharp since joining the network, as noted by The Wrap. This might reinforce the theory, put forth Friday by the midday Seattle talk host Dori Monson at KIRO-FM, that ratings and ideology might have had more to do with Kelly’s collapse than the Halloween comment fiasco.
This will take some sorting out, which seems virtually guaranteed since Kelly has hired an attorney, and when the dust finally settles, the damage to her career will be gauged by where she lands, and with how much money.