Friday, October 26, 2018

Megyn Kelly's Career Implodes

You probably don’t watch the Today show at 9:00 a.m. so you probably missed an amazing career implosion. You see, Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox News, an up-and-coming star in the network, walked away from Fox and into the arms of NBC. In place of her 9:00 p.m. Fox show, NBC offered her a 9:00 a.m. morning show.

It was a mismatch. Kelly does not have a morning show temperament or personality. She is clever and witty and acerbic. She had real presence on a news channel. But, she was never going to be a lifestyle reporter, testing new recipes and offering decorating tips.

Kelly had been offered a gargantuan salary increase at Fox. Yet, she had burned so many bridges at the network that she had little choice but to depart. On the most obvious level, she had denounced head honcho Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. On the less obvious level, she was negotiating her new contract in public, through orchestrated leaks.

Considering that Ailes had made her who she was, her attack on him seemed to manifest disloyalty and ingratitude. Negotiating in public made it look as though she was disloyal to the network, even that she was working to damage it.

When she left Fox, Kelly had no friends at Fox. Some have recently suggested, that what with her mediocre morning show being canceled, she would return to Fox, the answer from the network was, in so many words: You can’t go home again.

Several other angles deserve mention. Kelly was a friend of Sheryl Sandberg, the high priestess of social media. Thus, she was leaning in. Few women have ever found a better way to blow up their careers, than by leaning in. Whatever else it is supposed to do, leaning in, as a strategy, is self-assertive, a form of macho posturing, the sort you would learn at a hippy retreat.

But leaning in is all about Me. It is a Me first effort to extract concessions and to extort salary raises by accusing one’s employer of being a bigoted sexist.

Recall that New York Times Executive Editor, Jill Abramson, another Sandberg pal, decided one day to lean in to her boss, Pinch Sulzberger. Having discovered that her male predecessor has been paid more than she was, she leaned in and asked for a raise. Sulzberger fired her on the spot.

The Kelly implosion is more complex. I suspected at the time and still suspect that NBC lured Kelly because it wanted to hurt Fox News. Given that Kelly was a star, the anchor of the evening hour broadcasts, the central figure in Fox-sponsored presidential debates, the important point was not filling a gap at 9:00 a.m.-- where there was no real gap to fill-- but damaging Fox News political reporting.

Thus, Kelly fell into a trap. She was a dupe, a tool, used by NBC and by her friends in social media to hurt Fox. Now that she served that purpose, they will happily toss her out.

By allowing people who had an ideologically driven agenda to influence her, Megyn Kelly blew up a very promising career. Hers is a tale of hybris, of overwhelming arrogance that was played by people who understood the game better than she did. When she left Fox Kelly said that she wanted to have more time to bring up her children. Right now, it looks as though she is going to get her wish.

27 comments:

David Foster said...

A lot of people are made so that they can be very successful ** in a specific context**, ie, a certain job in a certain company in a certain industry, but are lackluster or worse outside of it. Others are more transportable.

whitney said...

Trump takes another one down. Is there nothing he can't do

JPL17 said...

"I suspected at the time and still suspect that NBC lured Kelly because it wanted to hurt Fox News."

In which case Kelly's move to NBC was a double fail, since her replacement at Fox, Tucker Carlson, is becoming a superstar himself and sustaining excellent ratings there. Ironically, the only ones hurt by the move appear to be Kelly -- and NBC.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Let's call it justice....

JPL17 said...

"Hers is a tale of hybris, of overwhelming arrogance ..."

I must confess I first thought this was a funny Freudian slip and was tempted to ask, "'Hybris' -- is that 'hubris' when experienced by a female?" But then from a Google search I see "hybris" is actually a word, meaning basically the same thing as "hubris". Learn something every day here.

Anonymous said...


Well hopefully all of those folk; Trump, Fox, Tucker Carlson, Megyn Kelly, NBC, especially all of you bros and sisters here reading this, anyone I might have missed on this list, and the Yip Yips are all having a superhappy funday!

Webutante said...

Megan's 'hybris' was matched only by Andy Lack's poor business judgment. The women at NBC were insanely jealous of her and rightly so as the terms of her contract were made public.

All predictable. But let's move on to more important things: Megan's hair looked ans still looks worse and worse as her downward spiral accelerated. Today she looks mostly unkempt.

Clearly she looked her best at Fox which has the best stylists and hair people.

Anonymous said...

Webutante,


Thank you. I really enjoyed that.

Anonymous said...

If I MUST be sexually dominated by someone, I mind it far less if that someone looks like Megyn Kelly.

Anonymous said...
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Sam L. said...

I don't watch news shows, so my interest is as thin as the air above Mt. Everest.

Anonymous said...

Not for nuttin' was she given the name "Me-again" Kelly by the right wing blogospere

Anonymous said...

First off, MeAgain became quite full of herself over at FOX and thought she was "all that AND a bag o' chips." Pffft. She made some lefty comments before she left FOX, and I had enough of her AND the channel years ago. That said, the schadenfreude was delish when she got the icy reception and lousy ratings at NBC. This was a case of the scorpion being itself. I'm hardly gonna cry a river for someone walking away with the $69M that was left on her contract.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

[Hello. Mediocre-Ish-Platonic-Female-friend.] ... [How-Do-You-Do-Today?]

"Im'a Dancer! My Daddy encourages me to do porno and 'express-myself'!"

[Yes.] ...!?!... [Totally-Normal.]

yip-yip-yip-yip

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Aggie - said...

Since her $69 million contract is going to be paid out, the jaded might wonder if this was part of a plan all along. What could be better than working for a few months to collect $69 million?

Anonymous said...

"What could be better than ... $69 million?"

NOTHING could be better than SUPERHAPPYFUNPARK!

Anonymous said...

Nudge-nudge Nudging at Megyn Kelly's Graping WALL?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Sam L. said...

BAD comment day, eh?

Anonymous said...

This STOOPID DEGENERATE has been removed by a blog administrator.

JPL17 said...

"This STOOPID DEGENERATE has been removed by a blog administrator."

For good reason, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

I just want to tell you how much I enjoy and respect your essays,

Thank you for sharing your insights, I find it helpful.

/Esther

Ares Olympus said...

Wow, fortunately today I'm not the commenter being deleted.

Stuart's conclusion seems obvious enough "It was a mismatch. Kelly does not have a morning show temperament or personality.", but I can see some people who find success are willing to look foolish doing things outside of their strengths. It's a risky approach to life, but if you have the temperament for risk, why not? Maximizing our wealth and satisfying critics are not the only thing we're here for.