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NEW YORK — Megyn Kelly Today, the 9 a.m. hour of NBC’s highly profitable Today show, marks the rebranding of the former Fox News host.
The show, a typical blend of news, lifestyle segments and celebrities in front of a live studio audience, debuts Monday and “will be topical, but it’s not going to be all news of the day,” she said earlier this week in a sparse office at 30 Rock she had moved into that morning. “We’ll definitely be talking about major developments out of Washington, but it’s not going to be the Trump channel. I just don’t think that’s what people are looking for.” And besides, despite her 13 years at The Kelly File, “politics has never been something that’s important to me.”
So what will viewers like “Madge from Middle America,” Kelly’s longtime imaginary target, glean if they start watching? “They’ll understand what’s happening in their world, cultural issues, legal issues and a lot of times, personal issues, whether it’s something focused on a person’s marriage, or child-rearing, or quest for happiness or health or finances.”
In other words, not much different from previous versions of Today‘s later hours, also filled with celebrities. Premiere week’s turnout will range from NBC talent — the women of Saturday Night Live and the casts of Will & Grace and This is Us — to Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.
The difference, says NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, is Kelly. Although she’s known for her pointed, sometimes combative questioning of politicians, “she’s really warm, she’s really funny, she’s incredibly quick on her feet, she’s devoted to her family and husband (and) she’s open about things that are going on in her personal life,” he says.
“This isn’t about trying to shoehorn her into a format where she doesn’t belong. This show is a natural expression of what she wanted to do from Day 1. I think the audience will sense that authenticity, even if it’s a side of her they haven’t seen before.”
Kelly left Fox News in January, after the drama of sexual harassment charges against ousted chief Roger Ailes, lawsuits, settlements and Donald Trump’s mockery and attempts…