Some could say 2016 was a banner year for Megyn Kelly. The hard-nosed conservative news anchor released a new tell-all book, covered Vanity Fair and watched her Fox News show The Kelly File reach historic new heights. There’s no question she was the biggest breakout star of Decision 2016 behind Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, of course. However, it looks like 2017 will be a year of new starts. On Monday, it was announced that Kelly would leave Fox News on Jan. 6 for NBC News.
Despite Kelly’s rising stock, her last year at Fox News was a tumultuous one. In late 2015, she rose to prominence after a star-making turn as a moderator at a Republican presidential primary debate. It was there that she took Trump to task for his derogatory comments about women. After that debate, Trump alleged that Kelly had treated him unfairly because she was on her period.
Trump and Kelly continued to feud throughout much of 2016. She even squared off against former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich over Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood audio leak.
However, her clashes with Trump and his surrogates weren’t her only controversy. After Fox News CEO Roger Ailes stepped down amidst allegations of sexual harassment, Kelly revealed she, too, had been a victim.
After Kelly’s story went public, many speculated that she wouldn’t renew her contract. They were right. With only a week’s notice, she addressed her viewers at the end of the January 3 episode of The Kelly File.
“This was a tough decision for me because I love this show, our staff, my crew, my colleagues here at Fox and you, all of you,” she said during her goodbye speech.
Megyn Kelly Will Be Busy In New Role
The head honchos at NBC News know that Megyn Kelly will be a major draw. She’s been tapped to join several projects at the network. She’ll host a daytime show as well as anchor a weekend broadcast. To no surprise, she’ll also take part in political coverage.
On the surface, it seems she’s leaving for greater opportunity. A chance to do more than host a singular news show. However, it’s likely her allegations against Ailes and her ongoing battle with Trump made Fox News an uncomfortable place to work. With her contract end in sight, it was the perfect time to break free.
Now comes her greatest test. Unlike Fox News, NBC’s audience is broader with millions more watching. Their expectations, including those of likability, are higher. Not to mention, NBC attracts a more liberal fan base. Kelly’s political ideology during her 12-year run at Fox News was staunchly conservative. She may have a tough time converting NBC’s established and large audience into believers.
However, if her career success thus far is any indication, she’ll have no problem succeeding.