Early reviews of Megyn Kelly's new morning show on NBC haven't exactly been scintillating, and an op-ed in the New York Times on Monday joins the choir, but with a twist. Much of the piece by Batya Ungar-Sargon is spent praising Kelly, or at least the "uncompromising, unapologetic, take-no-prisoners" version of Kelly who became a national figure as a Fox News host. Ungar-Sargon is liberal and thus disagreed with Kelly on plenty of topics, but she genuinely admired Kelly as a tough, sharp interviewer who didn't much care if her interviewees liked her or not. As a result, Kelly became "that most unusual of unicorns: an unlikable woman on television."
It's even more amazing that Kelly managed to reach such heights while at Fox, a network beset by sexual harassment allegations, writes Ungar-Sargon, who was thus looking forward to what Kelly might be able to accomplish at NBC. What a letdown. "Instead of unleashing her, NBC has attempted to transform Megyn Kelly into one of the nice girls of mainstream media, another Kelly Ripa, Savannah Guthrie, or Katie Couric," she writes. And the resulting lame show isn't just bad news for Kelly, whose downfall Ungar-Sargon calls a "tragedy": The "descent into banal harmlessness operates as a cautionary tale to all women: You will have to be likable if you want to go mainstream." Click for Ungar-Sargon's full column.