It is Advertising Week XII in New York City this week, bringing together creatives, executives, marketers and more to discuss the state of the industry. Organizers have tapped several prominent TV newsers to take part in the discussion as well, including Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly who sat down with Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles this morning for a candid discussion about politics and TV news.
“There is no one who is creating more conversation about television news than [Megyn Kelly],” Coles said introducing the FNC star. Kelly quickly mentioned that Fox News is “crushing the competition” from a ratings standpoint and joked about a friendly rivalry with Bill O’Reilly regarding viewership among the key A25-54 demo.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe compared to Fox & Friends:
It’s very popular here in New York, but it’s all New Yorkers. Outside of the West Coast and East Coast urban centers, that show is not very well-watched. The Fox & Friends program that we have, I think that triples their ratings.
On Fox News:
Fox News is a powerhouse. You look at the last presidential debate, there were 24 million viewers. You look at the last election night, we had 11 million viewers. We crushed all of our cable news competitors and most of the networks, as well. What has happened over the last 11 years, since I’ve been there, is Fox News is no longer sort of this “other,” it’s become this behemoth. One of the great thing that our boss Roger Ailes does, is he looks for talent that people can relate to. He’s never looking for the anchor with glasses on the end of his nose talking down to the audience.
On Fox News being conservative:
It’s not that Fox has some conservative bent like our critics would charge. We present the news in a fair and balanced way. There is no question that Sean Hannity is a conservative. Bill O’Reilly, I think he’s a populist, but certainly when it comes to family values he’s more conservative. He’ll surprise you, he did push for minimum wage and he’s against the death penalty. And Greta [Van Susteren], I think Greta is a liberal, although I can’t tell you. That’s the prime time lineup.
Bret Baier who is at 6, no idea what his politics are and he and I have been good friends and colleagues for 11 years. I truly have no idea what Bret’s politics are. Shepard [Smith], I’m pretty sure he’s a liberal guy. So, we’re all over the board. Look at our daytime lineup. Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum could not be more fair. Jenna Lee and Jon Scott are completely right down the middle. It really is fair and balanced. I think we try to tell both sides. The difference with Fox is, unlike many television networks, it’s not dismissive of the conservative point of view.
On Hillary Clinton:
[People that know her] say she’s extremely warm and very likable. I can’t tell you who it is, but somebody you would know, a very-well known military person told me that he loves Hillary. This is a republican. Loves Hillary. That they’ve gone out drinking many times, she loves to have a couple of cocktails and laugh and tell dirty jokes. She can’t go out on the campaign trail and do that exactly, but we should see a little more of that.
What she’d ask Hillary if given an interview:
I want to talk about those e-mails. I really do. We’ve had about 12 different explanations. You want George Washington’s job? You better get out there and tell the full story.
On her law background helping her journalism career:
I truly can see both sides of every argument. Every argument. I mean, I can’t think of one where I can’t see the other side. Variety did a cover piece with me saying, ‘I’m an independent.’ And that’s true. Only because there is really no other party that I can relate to. I’m a soulless lawyer at heart. I like to argue and I like to get to the bottom of things. But I don’t feel in my heart that there are these, sort of, absolute certainties on both sides. Take the abortion issue, I don’t understand how you couldn’t at least understand the other side’s position on this. There are such strong, powerful arguments on both sides. I don’t understand the demonization of the other side.
On whether she’s getting too big for Fox News:
That would be difficult. Because Fox News is a powerhouse.
On what’s next:
That’s a good question. For the first time in my career, it’s not that clear to me what the next step is. When I was a reporter, I thought it would be fun to be an anchor. I became an anchor. I thought, ‘the next big challenge would be to anchor my own show.’ I did that. Obviously the next step was moving to prime time. I think at some point in my career I would have thought doing a morning show would be terrific. One of the network morning shows. But I don’t see that as a diversion from where I am right now. I have a really big microphone at my slot on Fox News and the opportunities my boss has granted me, it’s big. And it’s a privilege.
Coles went on to ask Kelly if she would be interested in doing more prime time specials since Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters have left that role, but Kelly was quick to bring up Diane Sawyer. “Diane still does some interviews and they’re awesome. I love her,” Kelly said. “Yes, I would like to do more of that. Roger Ailes has been very supportive of that.”
After the discussion, The Kelly File host took the time to compliment TVNewser’s recent Out to Lunch video with her good friend Bill Hemmer.