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NBC Will Tap Megyn Kelly to Dazzle Madison Avenue at TV Upfront

Variety logo Variety 5/10/2017 Brian Steinberg
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NBC News no doubt hopes Megyn Kelly will lure new viewers to its fold with a new morning show and a Sunday-night newsmagazine. But corporate parent NBCUniversal hopes she will also attract something else: advertising dollars.

The former Fox News Channel anchor is expected to make an appearance during NBCUniversal’s “upfront” presentation on Monday morning, according to two people familiar with the situation, along with other NBC News staffers whose identities could not be immediately learned. A spokeswoman for Kelly referred an inquiry to NBC. NBC News declined to make executives available for comment.  During the industry’s annual upfront presentation and discussions, the U.S. TV networks vie for billions of dollars in advertising cash.

Her appearance at the Madison Avenue showcase, slated to take place at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, would mark one of her first broad public appearances on behalf of the Comcast-owned entertainment conglomerate. Her involvement suggests NBCUniversal expects her appeal to win over representatives of marketers likely to range from Apple to Zyrtec, and the millions of dollars they spend in support of video content. NBC News has had a presence over the years at the upfront. In 2016, “Today” co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie took the stage.

NBC News is placing a big bet on Kelly: She will compete with CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sundays at certain times of the year, with a newsmagazine produced by “Dateline” overseers David Corvo and Liz Cole. And she will vie  on the schedule with two of TV’s most enduring personalities — Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest — on weekday mornings.  The TV networks’ morning scrum has always been feistiest during the hours between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., when “Today,” “Good Morning America,” and “CBS This Morning” duke it out for the toast-and-eggs crowd. But the networks’ move to pit Kelly against Ripa and Seacrest could focus new attention on the time slot that follows those programs.

Information about Kelly’s efforts has leaked in recent weeks. She has conducted an interview with the Kardashian family that is expected to be utilized in the opening weeks of her morning program, and is slated to moderate a panel at a business conference in Russia that involves Russian president Vladimir Putin. Kelly is expected to try to get access to the chief of state for use at a  future time.


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