In a New York Times Magazine profile of Megyn Kelly published Wednesday, Fox News president Roger Ailes contrasted her bipartisan appeal to his other primetime star Sean Hannity‘s more “segmented” show, and boasted that Fox is now “the place most people go to get the truth.”
The profile emphasized that Ailes sees Kelly as the key to expanding Fox’s demographic. Fox News is revealed as reaping a $1.8 billion profit, but its audience is aging beyond the most valuable demo bracket and the network appears to have tapped the well of conservative television watchers. Kelly, who can capsize Karl Rove and riff on maternity leave, is seen as key to wooing a whole new set of viewers.
Hence Kelly’s primetime placement:
In speaking to me, Ailes, while complimentary of Hannity as “a unique personality,” also called his show “segmented.” It is no coincidence that, as part of Kelly’s professional development, Ailes made her a regular guest on O’Reilly, where she had to frequently debate him, stand her ground and occasionally mouth off. Finally he moved Kelly into Hannity’s 9 p.m. slot, bumping him to 10 p.m.
Ailes feels vindicated by Kelly’s high ratings. “They used to laugh at us in the mainstream media,” he said, “but we’re becoming the place most people go to get the truth.”
Another interesting tidbit about her rising star, circa 2013/14:
She was also invited to host the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame awards at the Waldorf-Astoria with Bob Costas. Backstage, Robin Roberts, the “Good Morning America” host, grabbed her by the arm and whispered in her ear, “I get you.” NBC expressed interest in hiring her, as did CNN, which gave Ailes added incentive to award her a prime-time slot.
Read the full profile here.
[Image via screengrab]
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