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TV Critic’s Corner

Megyn Kelly’s departure a ratings boon for ‘Today’

Megyn Kelly (pictured in 2017) was taken off the air by NBC last month.
Megyn Kelly (pictured in 2017) was taken off the air by NBC last month.(ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s still not clear what the terms of the breakup between Megyn Kelly and NBC will be, as negotiations continue. But it’s pretty clear that the network is benefiting ratings-wise from her absence. Kelly, who was still trying to find an appropriate perch at the network, was taken off the air last month after stumbling into an on-air defense of wearing blackface on Halloween.

Since Kelly stopped hosting the third hour of “Today,” that segment of the morning show has been gaining viewers, and the right viewers at that. Overall, the show’s numbers have risen some 4 percent, and in viewers between 25 and 54, the all-important ones that advertisers prefer, the numbers have risen about 10 percent. The third hour is now hosted by a revolving door of NBC anchors, including Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, Jenna Bush Hager, and Craig Melvin.

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NBC paid an awful lot of money — $69 million for a three-year contract — to get Kelly from Fox News. It was a very bad idea, a misguided attempt to grab some of Kelly’s conservative viewers without reckoning with some of her objectionable views about race , and the past year-and-a-half has only borne that out.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.