Why Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich Will Help Cable News Ratings

kellyFox News recently announced that America Live host, Megyn Kelly, will be getting her own prime-time show beginning this Fall. For fans like myself, this was great news. I’ve long recognized Kelly as a standout performer on the network, and there’s something almost prideful in watching someone like her rise up through the ranks of their profession through a lot of hard work, real talent, and proven integrity. She’ll be a real asset in her new position.

Though Fox News still dominates the cable news ratings, the truth is that their prime-time lineup (including The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity) isn’t pulling quite as strong of numbers as it once did. Megyn Kelly’s afternoon show, however, has added to its audience over time, and has led the way in increased daytime viewership for the network. Clearly, this didn’t go unnoticed by Fox executives.

Promoting Kelly to prime-time was smart. What she brings to the table is the capacity to bring in new viewers who typically wouldn’t tune into the network during that time because they’re turned off by the often overbearing style of Bill O’Reilly and the overt partisanship of Sean Hannity. Kelly obviously won’t be replacing either of those personalities (my guess is that Greta Van Susteren will be the one taking the hit), but she will surely add some freshness and variety to the line-up.

Kelly has set herself aside as someone who is very much in touch with the concerns of her viewers. She listens to them, and does an excellent job of pinning down guests with the questions people want answers to. It’s clear in her presentation that she researches stories exhaustively, and unlike many in the business, she’s more concerned with getting the story right than being right. Sadly, that’s a real rarity today.

How will that style translate to a time-slot in which much of the opinionated analysis on all cable news networks is loud, animated, and ideologically-driven? I actually think she’ll carve out her own niche quite well.

Likeability and charm aside, Kelly has a genuineness and strong moral presence about her that lets her make a real connection with people. It’s not all that different, really, than how people once viewed Oprah Winfrey. That’s a good thing, and that factor should draw in a prime-time audience more diverse than the one Fox News typically attracts.

Fox isn’t the only news network mixing up their prime-time programming. CNN recently announced that they’ll be resurrecting Crossfire, their once very popular program that pitted opposing sides of the political spectrum against each other, on equal footing, in sharp debate.

The return of this format to prime-time isn’t all that exciting in itself. After all, CNN tried it a couple of years ago with Parker Spitzer, which was a colossal flop. What might make this attempt different, however, is that former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, will be representing the conservative side of the table.

One of the reasons news networks other than Fox have long struggled to attract conservative-thinking viewers is because they don’t feature individuals, in important roles, that conservatives respect. This is primarily due to the liberal bubble of like-mindedness that surrounds the media industry. The industry largely doesn’t understand the conservative viewpoint. They’re hostile to it, and they don’t take it serious enough or lend it enough credibility to accurately represent it.

The acquisition of Gingrich, however, shows that CNN may finally be learning something from their past mistakes. Gingrich is one the most competent and compelling voices for conservatism that we have in this country today. Mitt Romney certainly figured this out, much to his dismay, back during the 2012 primaries.

While most of the media presents the conservative argument as a lone, defensive voice against a merciless onslaught of leftist, bumper-sticker cliches, that’s not what CNN will be getting with Gingrich. Gingrich has become well known as a man who outright rejects the premises and sensibilities of the liberal media culture, and has a knack for taking ownership of the narratives onFrom a Dead Sleep - by John A. Daly big issues.

By making Gingrich one of Crossfire’s hosts (and not merely a guest), I think CNN may finally be giving people like me a reason to tune into their network.

You know, with MSNBC recently falling back into last place among the cable news networks, one would think that they would be announcing big changes to their programming as well. They haven’t, and I don’t expect them to. MSNBC has demonstrated a complete inability to address ratings-slumps and credibility-problems with anything other than a revolving door of snarky, left-wing-media activists dedicated to promoting and defending the Obama administration.

There was a time, after Comcast came in, when I was hopeful that the network might actually mend its ways. That’s clearly not going to happen… And how ironic is it that an entity that has invested itself so deeply in the platitude of “change” absolutely refuses to do so itself?

Their continued losses will hopefully be the other networks’ gains.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series, which is available through all major retailers. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • braniff1

    you know what scares me, msnbc coming in with a 12 million a year for Megyn and telling her tthat she has to drop her beliefs on conservatism. Do you think Megyn would accept a offer like this. I know that Megyn would lose 7 million friends immediately. But of course I speculate because the only thing that could save a msnbc is a Megyn. God knows she brings everything to the table I like, and it is honesty, ethics, morals, and the ability to keep my attention. My wife says she is a super star.

  • Norm

    Kelly only got that time slot because one she is a woman and to she is a parasite stuck to ailes private parts. they lost me wit Bill now the only show i will be watching is Greta.

  • John Glaeser

    To me, both Greta and Megyn are great….why not eliminate Smith’s second show and put Megyn there…why do we need two Smith programs??

  • worker1950

    Mr Daly great article. I agree Megyn Kelly in prime-time is a real plus for the FNC audience – especially for those of us on the West coast. My favorite Fox news hour is ‘Special Reports’ w/ Bret Baier. Having Charles Krauthammer head his all-star-panel is icing on the cake. I DVR the show in order not to miss it when I’m working.

    I agree Greta is probably the most likely to go and I will miss her show. I realize
    I’m in the minority, but I wish her show would replace ‘The Five’. I guess I’m too old to find enjoyment w/ that show. I like both O’Reilly and Hannity. Hannity’s town-hall type shows are really good.

    Mr Ailes is a wise man …. Now if he would only reinstate the FNC public tours – would love to tour the next time I’m in NYC visiting my daughter

    • John Daly

      Thanks for your reply. I think Special Report is the best source of news on television today – hands down.

      I like The Five quite a bit. Gutfeld, Perino, and Tantaros make the show for me. I’m not real big on the others, but I find the formula to be entertaining.

  • Frank P

    In England I keep up with the transatlantic skinny through the medium of Fox News. O’Reilly is a consummate performer; you’re lucky to have him. He’s opinionated, tough – and in his interactions with Dennis Miller (and with Gutfeld and McGuirk) are comic genius. I deplore his bias against the English – but he can’t help that; it’s in the blood. His religious stance is a little flaky, too, but again – he’s Irish, so WTF can one expect?

    But overall, as a TV journalist and passionate advocate of common sense and fair play, he’s streets head of the field. He is a little belligerent – but, it’s necessary for him to maintain the pace of the show and his adversaries, by and large, deserve it. Particularly the two stooges Colmes and Williams. Krauthammer keeps him in check and Megyn doesn’t let him get away with it – and because she doesn’t she has earned his respect.

    The chemistry there is fascinating. He disguises his lust sufficiently to be respectful, but enough oozes in their exchanges for her to recognise and enjoy, I guess. Pleased to hear that she is getting a prime time slot, Pleased for her that is; I shall miss her on America Live, which is served up with dinner here in England. However, I can record her new gig on my Sky box and have her to dinner next day, I suppose. A day late, but worth waiting for. Hope her ‘confinement’ is proceeding smoothly – any news on that?

    Shep Smith is certainly the best ‘breaking news’ link man in the world, imho.
    Slick, smooth and sassy. If only we had the calibre of any of those I’ve mentioned working for the media in Britain. The MSM here is completely in the thrall of Gramci-Frankfort School disciples; moreover most are so stupid that they don’t realise the origins of the brainwashing.

    If O’Reilly reads these comments, I fear Bernie may get shit-canned from his Factor slot for allowing such disrespect to be propagated on his blog about Mr Bill. 😉

    • John Daly

      Thanks for our response. It was very intuitive. I’ve noticed that same dynamic between O’Reilly and Kelly, and I agree that it’s interesting.

  • eevan

    Mr. Daly – I’m not anti-Megan, however, the attributes you made about Megan can all be said about Greta. Greta is also extremely well researched, pins down her guests on the left & right, is tough, but not obnoxious & has a better quality show than O’Reilly or Hannity. However, she is a middle aged woman so, being FOX, they’re going to kick her off for someone who isn’t more talented – just prettier & younger. I watch FOX b/c I have no real alternative, but they are blatantly sexist and that’s a fact.

    • John Daly

      I have nothing against Greta, but I find Kelly’s personality and whit far more appealing. Like I said, she has that “it” factor that Oprah did, which makes for good television.

  • cynd71

    Megyn Kelly is not anyone else! This woman is very well informed and has no problem expressing herself. We delight in all of Megyn’s programs she is up to date on all current events and has such a fine personality and such a beauty!
    Fox knows exactly what they are doing putting Megyn in that slot…
    Cannot wait so I can DVR her shows, and a conservative show at that!!
    Not empty rhetoric as usual, from empty shirts on other cable channels.

  • CindaKay

    I wish I saw the newsroom qualities in Megyn Kelly that so many see. She is smart and pretty, but I think she made a fool out of herself during the elections having zero knowledge of what she was talking about. She was all over the place with her commentary. And that cutsie persona just wears real thin, real fast. She is certainly no Oprah or Walter Cronkite or even Bill O’Reilly for that matter and I’m no fan of his. If she actually had to do news or real analysis she would fall apart like a cheap suit. Prime time opinion on cable is probably where she belongs with the likes of Hannity or Rachel Maddow.

  • Jairo A Puentes

    Megan is the new generation of smart and beautiful women

  • TangoLady

    I really like Megan Kelly and watched her show in the early afternoon. She is smart, articulate and a real stunner. Fox is lucky to get her. Also, O Reilly is always yelling at everyone and is rude. I used to watch him, but I don’t anymore. I like Greta, She lets her guests speak their mind without interrupting. Hannity is okay. but he should be more careful to mention his own thoughts on his program. I watch FOX and great deal, and am looking forward to Megan Kelly. Of course I don’t know how she is able to manage a growing family with so much responsibility at home and work. I just found out that Megan and I have the same birthdate not year. Have to laugh some time!!

  • http://www.idaflo.com IdaFlo

    Can’t watch Shep.
    I like Gretta and watch Bill. I think Sean works hard at being fair, though he is unapologetically biased. But that’s his job.
    Megyn Kelly? She is the new Tim Russert. She shows warmth and kindness, even while asking TOUGH questions with excellent follow-ups.

    Megyn is smart, personable, funny and never backs down.
    What a breath of fresh air in the newsroom.

    • worker1950

      Boy, I thought I was the only one who can’t connect with Shepard Smith – there is something about the cadence of his speech pattern that I find very annoying. I just can’t watch his show.

  • gracie

    Fox only draws half of what CNN and MSNBC draw in internet traffic. Wake up, the way people aquire news is changing. There are many young people who are not wired to traditional cable packages. Since Fox’s demographic is older it makes sense that they have higher cable ratings. Frankly, I think the level of quality at all three cable networks is awful. Roger Ailes is a smart man. He’s replacing a botox faced old lady with a smart hot babe.

  • ernie

    Sean and Gretta should have been pulled two years ago….Sean is way to right for me and Greta is way too boring.

  • Bob Hadley

    CORRECTION: During the Clinton/Monica scandal, Newt made a speech in which he carried on about how outrageously immoral Clinton’s sexual behavior was and vowed not to make another speech from then until election day in 1998 [not 2008] without raising that issue.

  • GailWehling

    I say time for Shep and O’Reilly to go. Give Megyn 2 hrs. I am very sick of Bill’s over talking rudeness and really feel that Shep belongs on CNN!!!

  • DesertLady

    Awesome for Kelly, smart for Fox, and good on CNN. Excellent for We the viewers! Hope Megyn replaces O’Reilly one day in the not too distant future. Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier have been the best things going on Fox News followed by Neil Cavuto (on the daily line-ups). Chris Wallace is the best of the weekend programs, of all networks and cable.

  • souvoter

    Thanks for the into, John. Excellent, excellent move on both parts and such an astute analysis. I never watch CNN because of the never ending bias but I will watch if the news about Newt is true. I would much rather Megyn replace Shep instead of Greta, who is much, much too valuable. I never miss O’Reilly, Hannity and Greta every night. Also America Live with Megyn Kelly. Fox is the only place to get the truth!!!!!

    • Patrick H.

      Frankly, I don’t see why people hate Shepard Smith so much, he’s quite a good news anchor if you ask me and in any case, I’d rather Megyn knock out O’ Reilly and Hannty. O’ Reilly is too bombastic and to me, Hannity really brings nothing new to the table. Get rid of them, give Megyn a 2 hour program and I think you would not only increase the number of viewers in the time slot, but you might also increase the diversity of the viewership base.

  • Anita Augello

    I think Shep Smith is great in the afternoon but Megyn Kelly should replace him in the 7pm time slot. I enjoy appearances by Britt Hume on the OReilly factor but I wish Bill would give him a chance to answer the questions or give his opinion without constantly interrupting him.

    • John Daly

      That’s kind of an ongoing struggle with O’Reilly. He gets the best analysts on to talk about important topics, but then cuts them off right when they’re in the middle of making an important point. Frustrating for sure.

    • Wheels55

      Time for O’Reilly to retire and be the guest on someone else’s show. Maybe on the Kelly Factor.

      • GailWehling

        Love it!!!!!

    • DesertLady

      Exactly! That’s why I would like to see O’Reilly Blowhard replaced. I only ever tune in to his program for the guests in case he ever might let them say something.

  • Van

    Gingrich is not a conservative. He’s smart, articulate, and he can argue the conservative points, but he is not conservative

  • Skip in VA

    OOPPS!! I meant to say Greta, not Gretchen, in my previous post. I hope I’m not coming down with Obamamonia!

    • John Daly

      I knew what you meant. 😉

    • DonaldYoungsRevenge

      I love Greta, she gets great interviews from those living in Washington DC and she is willing to confront them face to face. I cannot stand listening to Shepard Smith. It is time to let him go or cut out his 7 PM slot and give it to Megyn Kelly. Megyn is a hundred times better than Shep Smith. It would be nice to see Britt Hume retire, another boring commentator. Chris Wallace isn’t much fun anymore either. Looking forward to a face lift that was a long time coming.

      • John Daly

        I think Hume and Wallace are both great. I think Shepard Smith is fine at what he does, but he often gets pretty snarky and opinionated for someone who’s supposed to be a hard news guy.

        • Ralph Hahn

          Shep is no more snarky or opinionated than Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams or Scott Pelley. Shep is more animated so he may appear snarky. Prior to his trip to Vietnam which prompted LBJ from running in 1968, Uncle Walter Cronkite delivered the news straight while only friends and experts on body language knew Walter leaned a bit to the left. After he expressed his opinion that the U.S. would never “win” in Vietnam, viewers say they could tell Cronkite was expressing his opinion if he had arched an eyebrow when reading a particular story. Cronkite was inthis late 80’s and early 90’s before he officially towed the liberal line.

        • ernie

          Shep is getting old, but he does add class to his broadcasts. I really like Hume, but Wallace is too dry. Lastly, Brett Baier rocks as well. I’m glad for Megyn.

          • John Daly

            Wait a minute… You think Wallace is dry but Hume isn’t? lol. I’m fans of both. Thanks for your comment.

      • Ralph Hahn

        Shep Smith is the best news anchor in the business. Fox News won’t cancel The Fox Report with Megyn Kelly or any other opinionated talk show host. Baier and Smith anchor ‘newscasts’ although Brett has opinionated panelists at the end of his show. O’Reilly will be there as long as he wants to because his show is the network’s biggest moneymaker. Hannity’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. A change is needed for the 10pm hour. I stopped watching Greta a long time ago because I’m long tired of the phone call interviews with Trump and the video images on Limbaugh that are streamed over the Internet.

  • JohnInMA

    It will be interesting to see exactly HOW Megyn Kelly returns. It was my understanding that the wording in the announcement didn’t necessarily commit to a one hour prime time show of her own. And do they really mean between 8 and 11? Given how popular Kelly and Bret Baier were during the past few election seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised if those two were teamed somehow – not exactly like Hannity/Colmes, but in a pure news sense. And if they are simply looking to fix any 5 to 11 PM deficits, perhaps the 7 o’clock hour is due. Who knows.

    Don’t forget that Newt will also have S.E. Cupp as a partner. Although they have different views (age related??), they are good at stating their positions and rationalizing comments. Will it be enough to change habits and tune in, especially for just 30 minutes a day? Maybe.

    • Skip in VA

      John: Good points. I just don’t see Bret and Megyn as co-hosts; I think they are stand-alone journalists in their own way and wouldn’t be as attractive as co-hosts. For me, the 7:00PM hour just won’t work. I’m usually out until about 7 or 7:30, but that’s just me. I am sure the bean counters at Fox know more about demographics than I do.

      • JohnInMA

        I only suggested 7 o’clock because that hour has almost always been the lowest rated from 5 to 9 PM, and is often beat by Greta at 10. Removing Greta from prime time doesn’t make sense on first thought. But, then again, Greta seems to jump at chances to get out of the DC studio, so perhaps there is some other role for her on big stories and not the daily news.

        What keeps it mysterious is I read that so much of the talent in those blocks of time have fresh contracts, And we are told they are committed to prime time. We shall see.

    • John Daly

      I’m pretty sure Kelly is getting her own show.

      I think S.E. Cupp is alright. I sometimes thinks she gets in over her head, but that might be because she’s usually pitted up against multiple liberals at the same time. I’m kind of annoyed that Van Jones will be involved in the show. I’ve never figured out what that guy is supposed to bring to the table in ANY role he’s had.

      • Skip in VA

        Yeah. I agree that S.E. is alright but I think you’re also right in that she is overwhelmed by the multi-goonies (of which Van Jones is one!) Could it be that Jones is a “token” black liberal picked for this show becuz of his shear lack of credentials?

      • JohnInMA

        I would expect progressive platitudes and hyperbole from Van Jones but not a lot of depth. Some of the clips of him speaking at times seem preacher-like. I’m not saying he isn’t smart, just that he is much more political than analytical in my experience.

        Regarding S.E. Cupp, she was fairly lucid and aggressive when I saw her speaking within the Glenn Beck empire. Perhaps as you suggest she was beaten down by the MSNBC fire hose. I only saw a few clips and never watched in full.

    • DonaldYoungsRevenge

      I think Newt will bring it to the folks over at MSNBC. All those morons at MSNBC are no match for Newt and I don’t think he will bite his tongue when those occasions arise. Newt may not last that long at CNN, his antics may cause the power brokers to have heart attacks.

  • Skip in VA

    Of all the female broadcasters on Fox News, Megyn is my favorite. Kimberly G. is 2nd, followed by Gretchen Carlson. And Megyn has no fear. She will stand up against O’Reilly if she thinks she’s right and takes no b.s. from her liberal guests. I hope she takes Gretchen’s place because I’ve grown a little tired of her; not that I dislike her. Maybe it’s the format.

    • John Daly

      Yeah, Greta’s show just doesn’t interest me. A lot of it is due to the format (she covers court trials, high-profile disappearances, etc), but it also seems awful stiff to me. I can easily picture her show being moved to the weekend or perhaps a daytime spot.

      • DonaldYoungsRevenge

        Greta use to be the high-profile court cases but she has done some great interviews with our representatives in DC and they are usually face to face. I would like to see Greta do some investigative journalism more, she would be great at it.

        • John Daly

          I’m all for more investigative journalism. I can’t think of a time when we’ve needed it more.

      • worker1950

        Agree, agree, agree. Greta’s high profile court shows are way over the top. I refused to watch her Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias, George Zimmerman shows. Maybe it’s in her contract and she has to over-cover the high profile criminal cases. I enjoy most of her regular shows.

        • John Daly

          I think her show’s format is designed more to cover popular stories than important stories.

  • Darren Perkins

    I just wish there was someplace to get real news, unvarnished with no horse in the race so to speak. When you flip the channel off of fox it really is like a whole different reality exists where logic has no sway. Fox is the default because they at least present both sides of an issue before ramming their side down your throat. Megyn Kelly could add a little bit more of an unvarnished flavor to prime time. We will see.

  • Bob Hadley

    Newt is at least as much chameleon as he is conservative. I usually enjoy listening to him though.

    • John Daly

      He throws out a few curve-balls from time to time… No doubt.

    • DesertLady

      Perhaps he is as you say. But, what if, he just points up the fact that Americans who favor and want to hear only black and white on issues, can never be satisfied because there is never just black and white on any issue? It’s all about the shades of gray and all other colours in the spectrum.

      • Bob Hadley

        I’m all for what you just said. That’s one reason why I usually enjoy listening to him.

        What I object to when Newt changes of color (pun intended!) according to the occasion and according to what he wants to accomplish for himself. I also resent his crass hypocrisy

        Name just one example (as Jesse Waters loves to say). It’s a perfectly reasonable request. Just read my post down below. There I give several examples.

        BTW, I wish Jesse Waters would ask me to name just one example of FNC’s conservative bias. I’d give him an earful of examples. :)

        • DesertLady

          You’re right — he is always entertaining. :)

  • Vicky060

    Fox’s evening lineup is weak and could use some shoring up. O”Reilly is an idiot and Hannity is a junior Rush. I choose to watch I Love Lucy reruns rather than these two. Only exception being when Dennis Miller is on. Kelley will help bring down to earth reporting rather than the pompous, ego mania of O’Reilly. Or the rehash of Limbaugh.

    • John Daly

      Miller is the only exception? What about Bernie! 😉

      • Vicky060

        John, your right. I missed Bernie.

        • John Daly

          I figured it was just an oversight. lol.

      • DesertLady

        Me too. Bernie’s another regular guest I thoroughly enjoy listening to.

        • John Daly

          I actually think O’Reilly gets a number of great guest analysts. That’s why it drives me nuts when he talks over them.

    • Wheels55

      I like the Watters World pieces too. It’s just funny.
      I too am turned off a little to O’Reilly – not sure if it just his overbearing style or his endless book selling.

      Kelly is great to listen to and watch (easy on the eyes). I hope her style sets her apart from the rest of the prime time folks and doesn’t make her end up being the same.

      • John Daly

        You know, I don’t mind the whole “man on the street” thing that Watters does, but I must admit that all of the movie clips and one-liners they blast into that segment drive me nuts. They’re annoying.

        • Wheels55

          It’s the movie clips that makes it for me. Showing how dumb most Americans are gets old and kind of depressing. Adding some humor makes it OK.

          • John Daly

            lol. Well, to each his own. 😉

    • sjangers

      It would be nice to see Megyn get the eight o’clock slot. Maybe O’Reilly and Hannity could each get half of the nine o’clock hour. That might encourage O’Reilly to cut back on the bombast and Hannity to cut back on the, uh, Hannity.

    • DesertLady

      He he he! Agreed. I think people like Hannity ‘cuz he’s sorta cute. LOVE Dennis Miller. What a breath of fresh air, and he’s almost always right on the right target of whatever issue. He’s correct more often than Rush, and in his correctness, he’s more correct. I.e. Dennis “nails” it when he covers an issue whereas sometimes Rush waffles around until he gets it right. On the other hand, Dennis doesn’t have to do it and be “on” for three hours a day five days a week.