It seems like it’s Matt versus Megyn over at NBC. Longtime NBC personality Matt Lauer is certainly not a fan of Megyn Kelly. He’s been badmouthing her bigtime to other people at the network according to some sources. However, that is what is getting him in trouble as the executives appear to have issued an ultimatum.
Lauer hosts the first two hours of NBC’s morning show “Today” and Kelly anchors the third hour. Kelly left her popular Fox News show to move to NBC.
Even before Kelly arrived at 30 Rock, there was trouble. Host Tamron Hall thought she was getting the 9 AM slot, but NBC informed her that Kelly would take it. Hall’s contract was up, and NBC was hoping she would renew with the news division, but Hall was so ticked off, she left both NBC and MSNBC where she hosted MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall. Al Roker hosted at 9am until Kelly came on board.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Kelly, who joined NBC this fall. Lauer hasn’t made it easy either, and NBC brass says Lauer needs to get on board with Kelly or he could lose his job. It’s “time to get on board with Megyn’s show or you can find another place to work,” is what Lauer was told, according to an NBC insider.
Lauer isn’t budging. He says that he initially welcomed Kelly with open arms, but became resentful after she turned down his advice about how to succeed in morning television. Lauer said her morning show is very different from the primetime spot she enjoyed at Fox.
NBC executives view Matt Lauer as the face of the Today Show brand, and by him not supporting Kelly, it makes the network look bad.
NBC’s official stance is that all of this is rumor and that Kelly and Lauer get along great. They say Lauer even did a guest spot on Kelly’s show in October and that Lauer is completely supportive. NBC says the tabloids have been fueling the fire since Kelly signed on at NBC and that the feud is phony.
Kelly has struggled with ratings. She also had trouble with two of her very high profile guests, Debra Messing of NBC’s Will and Grace and Jane Fonda. During Messing’s appearance, there was a big time Will and Grace fan in the audience. Kelly asked him if he became a lawyer and became gay to emulate Will, Eric McCormack’s character. Messing was completely mortified that Kelly would ask such a question, and later said she regretted the appearance.
Then came Jane Fonda who was a guest on Kelly’s second day on the new show. Kelly brought up Fonda’s plastic surgery and that set off a firestorm. Fonda is 79 and was appearing with none other than 81-year-old Robert Redford to promote Our Souls at Night, their new film together.
Kelly could have asked these two megastars ANYTHING but she asked Fonda how she had aged so gracefully and what work she had had done. People on set said the temperature dropped several degrees. Fonda gave Kelly an icy stare and said, “Do we really want to talk about that now?”
An insider recently remarked to Matt Lauer that celebrities are being advised by other big names and their agents to not appear on Kelly’s show. Rather than defending his colleague, Lauer apparently commented, “I get it. It’s a big problem for them.” Lauer was referring to Kelly’s show and the insider was apparently stunned that Lauer wasn’t more supportive of his new colleague.
Not only is Kelly struggling for viewers, she is dragging down the famous NBC morning show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. It was recently reported that their ratings are the lowest they’ve been in seven years.
An inside NBC source says “It keeps getting worse. Megyn is killing them. It is a real problem and no one wants to book Megyn’s show. They can keep telling you about all the lunches they’re taking her to, but it’s not helping the ratings.”
NBC’s official stance is to naturally downplay the drama. They say everyone at Today is just fine, and these rumors are from a few troublemakers who are just trying to create drama where there is none. NBC recently had the first place morning show ratings, topping ‘Good Morning America’ in total viewers.