After all the outrage and chest-thumping, about 3.5 million viewers watched Megyn Kelly poke holes in Infowars poobah Jones’ conspiracy-theory schtick on Sunday primetime according to early stats – which would be her smallest crowd to date on her new NBC newsmag.
In the news demo, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly clocked a 0.7 rating, also her smallest stats yet for Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.
NBC noted Kelly’s radioactive interview, which had been a top media story for days, outdelivered CBS’s 60 Minutes rerun in the demo. This is known in some quarters as damning with faint praise.
But 60 Minutes stomped on Kelly in overall audience, delivering 5.31 million viewers. Even though it’s the CBS newsmag’s smallest crowd since it competed for attention on Academy Awards night in February.
It’s likely both newsmags got dinged by golf, Fox’ U.S. Open coverage having run over its scheduled time.
About 3.6 million viewers had watched Kelly’s second Sunday Night broadcast the previous week. And that had been a steep slide from the 6.1 million who tuned in for her NBC premiere, when she had interviewed Russian ruler Vladimir Putin. And that premiere, while a big crowd compared to her primetime average on Fox News Channel, was so-so for broadcast especially considering that big “get.”
Kelly’s NBC unveiling had clocked a 1.2 rating in the news demo, 25-54, delivering NBC’s best non-sports crowd in the Sunday 7 PM slot since March 2016. Week 2, she slid to a 0.8.
Kelly’s interview with Jones underwent changes as the call to cancel grew louder. Sandy Hook Elementary families called on NBC News to dump the segment, Jones having called the Newtown, Conn., school-killings a hoax perpetrated by actors to push gun control legislation. Meanwhile, Jones demanded the segment be killed, insisting NBC News’ promo for the interview had been edited to distort his views and threatening to release his secret recording of the full interview — which has yet to surface.
NBC News recruited Tom Brokaw to offer an olive branch to the Sandy Hook elementary school parents for Kelly’s interview with the conspiracy theorist/hatemonger/Sandy Hook denier on Kelly’s Father’s Day broadcast. Brokaw delivered an editorial that concluded the program, arguing that the “reach and the poisonous claims of Jones and others like him” made him an important subject for a new program.
Kelly, meanwhile, began the Jones report with uncharacteristic defensiveness, acknowledging “some thought we shouldn’t broadcast this interview because his baseless allegations aren’t just offensive, they are dangerous.
“But here’s the thing,” Kelly said. “Alex Jones isn’t going away.”