NBC News began shaking up Today’s 9 AM hour today, to make way for its new Megyn Kelly show. Today’s 9 AM staff got the news today, an informed source says, because Tamron Hall, who co-hosts the 9 o’clock hour, had to be told today due to contract talks.
Hall’s contract is coming up and NBC News is in negotiations with her reps. According to the source, the media outlet hopes she re-ups, appearing on Today’s mothership 7-9 AM show, as she does now, while continuing to host her MSNBC show. Her reps say she wants to stay, our source reports – on the other hand, some news outlets are reporting she’s expected to leave when her contract is up, though that could fall into negotiation-via-press territory, in which case it would not be an industry first.
Meanwhile, Hall’s 9 AM co-host Al Roker is expected to focus on his mothership duties.
It is not clear whether Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford will slide from 10 AM Today hosting duties to 9 AM, to make room for Kelly at 10, or if the former Fox News star will move into the hammock time slot herself. NBC News has a while to work out those details because Kelly’s show won’t launch until fall, as we previously reported, which is no surprise since her Fox News contract is up in July. Kelly will, however, officially join the NBC News operation in May, so no surprise if she shows up to wow advertisers at NBC’s May Upfront presentation in New York.
Kelly’s move from Fox News to NBC already was one of the biggest TV news story of 2017, given that she famously asked then-candidate Donald Trump to defend his demeaning remarks about women at the first GOP debate, and will in effect become NBC’s Great Idea for dealing with the third Today hour after the previous Great Idea, Billy Bush, was sacked shortly after being hired when he was caught on tape giggling with Trump about grabbing women by the crotch. Ironic.
NBC News is under some pressure for the high-priced hire of Kelly. Last time NBCU poached a news competitor’s winning lineup — back when it hired not only Sam Champion but Josh Elliott away from ABC’s Good Morning America — it nicked that ratings leader in the process, which helped Today get back on its feet, ratingswise. But MSNBC competitor Fox News Channel did not miss a beat when it lost Kelly to NBC News; Tucker Carlson has improved on Kelly’s numbers since he took over, though some of the credit is due to Trump’s win and inauguration, which goosed FNC all over its schedule.
Kelly already had a chance to shine in the 9 AM time slot; she co-hosted Live With Kelly the morning after Trump’s historic election win and churned up record ratings for that daytime talker, placing it in the No. 1 spot for syndicated programs ahead of Dr. Phil and Ellen. Kelly brought Ripa her biggest crowd since her former co-host Michael Strahan left for Good Morning America.