Megyn Kelly Is Ready for Her Morning Closeup

Megyn Kelly Is Ready for Her Morning Closeup

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“I don’t feel this is a risky proposition, because I know myself and know what I can do,” she said. “And I know that I’m about to launch the show that I was born to do. This is what I was meant to do.”

Ms. Kelly, 46, did provide some details about the show. She said she did not plan to talk all that much about politics. Her show will have a mix of celebrity guests — Robert Redford, Jane Fonda and the casts of “This Is Us” and “Will & Grace” will be on during her first week — along with segments dedicated to what she described as “regular people.” There will be a studio audience of about 150 people.

Ms. Kelly said she opened a rehearsal show on Wednesday by touching on the earthquake in Mexico City and the hurricane in Puerto Rico before quickly moving on to discuss the open letter that Serena Williams wrote to her mother, which has gone viral.

In a recent promo for the show, Ms. Kelly said she hoped NBC’s new 9 a.m. hour would be “fun and uplifting and empowering — that makes people feel fists in the air at the end of it.”

Her show on Fox News often felt more like a fist to the face.

Ms. Kelly rose to fame — in conservative and liberal circles alike — for her withering cross-examinations of her guests. Her 9 p.m. show was No. 1 in the time slot.

Ms. Kelly’s competitors at 9 a.m. will include Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, right, on their “Live” show in June with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada.

Credit
Aaron Lynett/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

But she suggested that the job, toward the end, wasn’t bringing her “joy” anymore. (Over the course of a 40-minute interview, she said “joy,” “joyful” or “joyous” nine times.) Still, Fox News was prepared to pay her more than $20 million a year for the job she wasn’t born to do. NBC also made an impressive offer, somewhere north of $15 million.

“If I had sat there saying, ‘I have job security here at Fox News, they’re not going to fire me, they’re going to pay me very well,’ that would have been a decision based on fear,” she said. “Fear of the unknown, fear of failure. And that’s an unhealthy place from which to make any decision.”

Though she had a Sunday newsmagazine show in the summer (and that will return next spring, she said), the centerpiece of her NBC deal is the morning show. Her pivot to the daytime format feels like a reboot after years in the political maelstrom, though she will not call it that.

“I think it’s the presentation of the whole me,” Ms. Kelly said. “It’s not like I am changing. I’m just sharing more of who I am. My friends and my family would say, ‘You’re going to see the Megyn we know.’ For me, it truly is all about pursuing more joy. That’s the reason we are here.”

On a recent appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” she got a crash course on what her new life will look like: dancing in the stands, donning a sumo wrestler fat suit, cooking.

Ms. Kelly on the set of her new show. “If a news show and a talk show had a baby, that’s us,” she said.

Credit
Chad Batka for The New York Times

Ms. DeGeneres is good at producing laughs from her audience. “Megyn Kelly Today” has pledged to do the same.

“Our viewers at 9 want to be informed, they want to be inspired, they want to laugh,” said Jackie Levin, the executive producer of the show and a “Today” veteran. “I think most importantly people want to laugh a little bit more. That’s what we hope to do.”

The competition will be stiff. In the most recent weekly ratings, “Live With Kelly and Ryan” averaged three million viewers, its best viewership in months. And that celebrity-driven morning show has no shortage of stars in the coming weeks, including Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Kate Winslet.

Ms. Kelly acknowledged that ratings were significant (“I understand that this is still a business and the show doesn’t get to stay on the air if it doesn’t rate”) but said she wouldn’t be paying attention to them the way she did with her top-rated Fox News show.

After all, she has her dream job now. And why exactly is this her dream job?

“It’s because I am a person who is searching,” she said. “And always has been. I am searching for my joy and more love and more wellness. Always have been. Finally my job is going to align with my soul, with my heart, with my reason for being. It’s not going to just be a paycheck because it happens to be something I do well.”

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