The debate over whether NBC host Megyn Kelly should have given air time to far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones garnered a lot more attention then her interview with him, one analysis found.
With just 3.5 million viewers, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” came in last place among the four major networks during the 7 p.m. time slot, according to Nielsen Media Research. Neilsen hasn’t released details of its insights, but several media outlets obtained early copies.
Kelly’s new show, which premiered this month, was beat out by an ABC rerun of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” with 3.7 million viewers, a CBS rerun of “60 Minutes” with 5.3 million viewers, and Fox’s U.S. Golf Open Championship coverage with 6.1 million viewers.
In the crucial 18-49 age demographic, Kelly’s interview tied with CBS for a 0.5 rating, but lost to ABC’s 0.7 and Fox’s 1.4.
It’s a major ratings flop for the network, surprising after a buildup to the interview that seemed likely to stir interest.
Jones, who heads the conspiracy website Infowars, is known for propagating outrageous, false stories, including claims that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” and that the parents of the 20 students slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 were actors who helped fake the slaughter of children and school employees. Followers include President Donald Trump, who appeared on Jones’ radio show during the presidential campaign.
The interview with Jones prompted calls for a boycott from those who feared the publicity would expose him and his viewpoints to a new audience.
Kelly’s first two installments of her NBC show fared much better, averaging a 0.7 rating in the 18-49 age demographic and 4.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. Her debut interview with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on June 4 drew 6.1 million viewers, though that was largely considered a ratings failure as well.
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