Megyn Kelly on Her Sunday Night NBC News Show: 'It's Not Going to Be 60 Minutes'
NBC has a lot riding on Megyn Kelly. Starting in the fall, the former longtime Fox News host will host a new daily show at 9am as part of the Today family, but first up: Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly, premiering Sunday, June 4, at 7/6c, opposite the venerable 60 Minutes.
"Megyn is very funny, very empathetic, tough and unflappable," says David Corvo, an executive producer of the show along with Liz Cole."It wasn't as easy in her old format to display the range of her capabilities, including her spirit and her humor. She wanted to do a newsmagazine, and we wanted to invigorate the newsmagazine format, so it was a fortunate agreement on goals."
Kelly's premiere show this Sunday is expected to include some of her conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin from this week's economic forum in St. Petersburg (either from the stage, where Kelly will be moderating a session, or if she can get additional time with him; details are yet to be determined). Also in the first show, correspondent Harry Smith travels to Kenya with Faye Cuevas, a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force reserve who served as an intelligence officer in the Middle East, and is using tools from the war on terror to stop elephant poachers in Africa.
Kelly talked with TV Insider last week about what else to expect with Sunday Night.
How would you describe Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly? The show has veteran Dateline producers, but the show sounds more like 60 Minutes.
It’s not going to be 60 Minutes. I have said before that I see myself as a combination professionally of Mike Wallace, Oprah and Larry the Cable Guy. I think that’s what you’ll see in this show. [laughs]
Where does the Larry the Cable Guy in you come out?
You’ll see! Listen, I have the sense of humor of a 9-year-old boy, which I’ve never been ashamed of showing. For sure, 60 Minutes is incredible: They’ve been doing it for 50 years, and it’s a hugely rated show not just in news but in all of television. Our goal is not to beat 60 Minutes. It’s to do great journalism in a way that’s compelling and dynamic. Our show looks and feels a little different from what’s been seen before. You’ll see some pieces that are a little more cutting edge and more irreverent.
Will it be all filmed stories, or will you be able to react to big events that just broke?
Sure, if a news cycle warrants, we will do that. But the plan is for it to be a taped show with longform journalistic pieces.
Sunday nights are about to get a lot more interesting. And I’m excited to be a part of it! pic.twitter.com/ePAGLwPgRl
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) May 30, 2017
Can you talk about some of the stories you’re already working on?
I’m going to St. Petersburg [this] week to interview Vladimir Putin on stage at his economic forum. [According to NBC News, Kelly will be moderating the plenary session of this forum, and will be onstage with Putin. Kelly's conversation with the Russian Federation president will cover "a wide range of global and economic topics, including international trade agreements, cyber-security " and "rising military tensions." The interview will be "unrestricted," Corvo adds.]
I [also] sat down with [Dancing with the Stars host] Erin Andrews, who for the first time spoke at length about her stalker and her trial. Also, her cancer, which is a story that a lot of people don’t know about. It was really emotional.
I talked to J.D. Vance, who wrote Hillbilly Elegy. This is a deeper dive into the problems of the Rust Belt and how the government can’t solve all the problems there. His pitch is we have to take a hard look at the family structure and how these folks are approaching these socioeconomic problems. He is very open in the book about the abuse he suffered, but we went much deeper than that [in our interview].
Will your trademark Megyn Kelly interviews be a segment of each show?
I don’t know if it will be each show, because when we come back after the fall season I’ll be doing a Monday through Friday show, so there may be shows that I won’t do reporting in, but we have the best team of journalists ever! Harry Smith, Keith Morrison are just two.
Won’t you always be a part of the show as the host?
I will be the host! But hopefully, more times than not, I will have my own segment in the show.
Are you working on your daily Today-adjacent project yet?
I’m working mostly on the Sunday night show. The Monday-Friday show is basically set, though. Other than finding out what the news is, we’re good there. We know what it’s going to look like.
Are you concerned at all about your former Fox News fans who don’t like that you quit the network and called out Roger Ailes for sexual harassment? And, conversely, those—who in these polarized times—simply dislike Fox and might discount its former anchor Megyn Kelly?
I don’t’ think so. Anybody who would have a problem with anything I said about Roger in my book or my experiences with Trump, that would have already showed up in my Fox News Kelly File ratings. And it didn’t. The last full quarter I worked at Fox News, we were the number-one show in all of cable news in the demo, ahead of O’Reilly, ahead of Hannity, ahead of everybody! Throughout the whole year of all that stuff, we never fell. We just got stronger and stronger, so that would have manifested already and it didn’t.
As far as people who don’t like Fox go, I don’t think that will be a problem for me. Most of them are pretty open to individual personalities. I live on the upper West Side of Manhattan, so I’m surrounded by progressives. If I had a nickel for every time someone said, “I hate Fox News, but I love you!" There’s probably a segment on the far left and the far right that doesn’t like me, but if everybody likes you, you’re doing it wrong.
Are you just a wee bit happy that you’ll first go up against 60 minutes when it’s in repeats, so you can get ready for when they have new shows against you after the conclusion of football?
No. We have a summer of NBA finales, golf, all sorts of weird sports things that I don’t follow. It’s going to be a competitive summer for us, no matter what’s out there.
This is the fourth show I’ve launched: I launched America’s Newsroom at 9am on Fox News, I launched America Live at 1pm on Fox News and I launched The Kelly File in primetime, also on Fox.
So I’ve done this before. In my experience, it takes a while to find your sea legs and really start to swim. There’s no pressure from NBC. [NBC News chairman] Andy Lack has made clear he doesn’t expect us to be number one on day one or day two on either show. So I’ve been given permission to focus on the journalism. And that’s what I’m going to do.
Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly, Sundays at 7/6c beginning June 4, NBC