Howard Stern, a media persona who has a good track record at making deals, weighed in on Megyn Kelly?s move to NBC this morning on his Sirius radio show. He started talking about Kelly?s decision to turn down Fox News for less money but more exposure at NBC, but then veered into a very biting description of what broadcast television news anchoring is today:
Howard: It was a bad move. You know what the problem in Hollywood is? And don?t let people fool you ? news people are Hollywood too. Don?t think they?re in some other category, it?s all getting paid for being on TV.
Robin: ? Used to be another category, now it?s the same category.
Howard Stern: There?s no difference between a Kardashian and a News anchor. I mean there isn?t ? it?s just all dollars, and whether or not you can get eyeballs on a TV screen. I would have used NBC to leverage a better deal out of Fox.
Robin: The reason I said it used to be different is because the news was never supposed to be a profit center. And when it became a profit center and they started taking ratings and paid people accordingly, it became show business.
Robin Quivers makes an interesting point here. Broadcast news is not what it used to be in the era of Murrow and Cronkite and the other Wise (White) Men. ?Broadcast evening newscasts like ABC?s World News Tonight are no longer the primary money-maker, and the network?s current evening news anchor, David Muir, does not even carry the title of ABC?s chief news anchor,? writes Mark Joyella for Forbes. ?Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos has that designation.? Profits and ratings are in decline in the hard news divisions at broadcast networks even as the entertainment side of the business thrives.
The line between the news and entertainment divisions at the networks is thinner than it has ever been. And Megyn Kelly is clearly a glamorous star ? she has even been on the cover of Vanity Fair. That having been said, being on the cover of Vanity Fair in this digital age is not quite what it used to be, say, twenty years ago (Graydon Carter will have his work cut out for him in these Trumpian times).
Further along into the discussion, Stern and Robin both said that Fox News was a better fit for Kelly because of the cabler?s opinion-based format. Stern attacked the idea of a daytime news show for Kelly (tough sell) as well as a role in a news magazine, which he criticized as, basically, crime-all-the-time or the vague assisting role on NBC News specials:
Howard Stern: If I was advising her I would have taken the (Fox) deal, I would have used NBC to leverage a better deal ?
Howard and Robin together: ? Out of Fox.
Robin: I always thought she was going to stay at Fox when I heard this stuff was going on because that?s the perfect place for her.
Howard Stern: All the perfect worlds collided too. They got rid of Ailes. So suddenly they are in a panic. They think they need her.
Robin: She had a really good set of credentials to present to get what she wanted out of them.
That having been said, Kelly chose Old Media, into the arms of an Establishment that the Fox viewer loves to hate. The event of Megyn Kelly?s NBC deal itself has a touch of Hollywood about it (it was even covered by the Hollywood Reporter). Does Megyn Kelly, the glamorous transplant from opinion-TV Fox, signal a resurgence of Old Media? Does Megyn Kelly, the glamorous transplant from opinion-TV Fox, signal a further weakening of the line that used to exist between the news and entertainment divisions at the broadcast networks?
Does anyone anymore even care about such questions?