Megyn Kelly Is Having Her Moment
The THR Power 100 honoree and host of Fox News' 'The Kelly File,' which has bested colleague Bill O'Reilly among viewers coveted by advertisers, has become a standout in a volatile political season.
A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Kelly unquestionably is among the top news anchors on TV. Sure, she has become (along with Bill O'Reilly) the face of Roger Ailes' $15 billion Fox News empire. But the married mother of three also has become — simply in the course of doing her job — the refutation of the toxic misogyny that can pervade social media. When Donald Trump's personal attacks on her — after she questioned his sexist statements about women at the first GOP primary debate in August — unleashed an ugly Twitter barrage, Kelly kept quiet even as the candidate embarked on an on-again, off-again feud with the network.
"Donald Trump rarely apologizes," said Ailes, "although in this case, he should." That debate was watched by a stunning 24 million viewers, a record for a political debate on cable news and still the season's most watched face-off in what has proved to be a blockbuster primary season. The Kelly File — her 9 p.m. program that launched in October 2013 — snapped the 10-year cable news winning streak of her colleague O'Reilly, besting his 8 p.m. show in the critical 25-to-54 demographic in the third quarter for the first time. It didn't hurt that a post-debate installment of her show was watched by nearly 11 million viewers. But in November, Kelly was once again the top-rated program in the advertiser-coveted demo. "I've had contentious showdowns with Democrats and Republicans," Kelly told THR this year. "It's not about politics, it's about penetrating the lens. It's about connecting with that audience."
Other Power Squad honorees: Shari Redstone, Bonnie Hammer, Dana Walden, Elizabeth Banks, Cindy Holland, Kathleen Kennedy, Donna Langley, Nancy Dubuc, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, Shonda Rhimes, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Ilene Chaiken, Taraji P. Henson, Barbara Broccoli