Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly Finishes No. 3 in Its Hour

By A.J. Katz Comment

The opening season of NBC News’s highly-touted newsmagazine Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly came to an end last night after an eight-episode run in NBC prime time.

The program was originally meant to run for around 10 episodes. It is planned to return to the NBC schedule after the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Many wonder if the show will indeed be back in the spring. But if Kelly’s tweet and her sign-off are any indication, the answer to that question is “yes” (at least as of now).

Here’s how Kelly signed off last night:

“That’s all for tonight, and for the summer run of this program. But soon, I’ll be seeing you in the mornings! I’ll be on at 9 a.m., right after Matt and Savannah — on our new show, ‘Megyn Kelly Today,’ starting on September 25th.  And I’ll be back right here Sunday nights in the spring. We are so grateful to you for watching. I’m Megyn Kelly. For all of us here at NBC News… goodnight.”

The opening season of Sunday Night was highlighted by Kelly’s controversial  interview with right-wing conspiracy theorist and provocateur Alex Jones. NBC News’s decision to air Kelly’s interview with Jones in episode three of the series angered many, with the uproar resulting in a number of advertiser pull-outs, NBC’s Connecticut station choosing not to air the show. and Kelly being un-invited from hosting a Sandy Hook benefit. Jones is well-known for pushing a conspiracy theory that the 2012 massacre in Sandy Hook was a hoax. That said, many media critics praised Kelly’s performance.

Then there’s the issue of ratings. Sunday Night co-executive producers told TVNewser prior to the show’s launch that success “wouldn’t be defined solely by ratings performance.” But advertisers often disagree, and ratings for the inaugural season were less than spectacular.

  • Date / Total Viewers 

June 4 – 6,197,000
June 11 – 3,608,000
June 18 – 3,562,000 
June 25 – 3,414,000
July 9 – 3,243,000
July 16 – 3,127,000
July 23 – 2,851,000 (9 p.m.)
July 30 – 3,511,000

  • Season 1 average ( 8 episodes) / 3,689,125

The network averaged approximately 3.7 million total viewers during its 8-week run.

After a nice premiere episode, Sunday Night delivered total viewer declines on a week-to-week basis until the season finale, which delivered the show’s largest audience since June 18 / Alex Jones. The final episode was +23 percent in total viewers from the July 23 installment (which had pushed back to 9 p.m. due to NASCAR overrun). Last night’s finale also delivered the show’s smallest gap with 60 Minutes in total viewers, A25-54 since that June 18 episode.

Aside from the week-to-week decline, here’s how the show fared against its 7 p.m. broadcast competition.

Timeslot comparison

Total Viewers (Live +SD)

Program 6/4 6/11 6/18 6/25 7/9 7/16 7/23 7/30
Megyn Kelly (NBC) 6.197 3.608 3.562 3.414 3.243 3.127 2.851 (9pm) 3.511
60 Minutes (CBS)  6.789  7.882 5.416  7.448  7.429  6.023  7.357  6.040
America’s Funniest (ABC) 3.424 3.942 3.742 3.848 4.495 4.263 4.327 4.260
Bob’s Burgers (1/2 hr, FOX) .958 1.004 .885 .894 .690 .807 .850

*July 2nd is not included in this table because Sunday Night did not air on that date.

Aside from the series premiere, Sunday Night consistently finished third in total viewers behind CBS and ABC. While finishing behind repeats of 60 Minutes is nothing necessarily to be ashamed of, the network must be a bit disappointed that it finished behind ABC and its repeats of America’s Funniest Home Videos in the hour.

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