THIS WAS quite a week of news but when it came to making news, Megyn Kelly versus Jane Fonda gets top billing.
If you’re out of the loop on this diva smackdown, it started in September. Vulture has the details and video so you can catch up.
One of the stories I cite on the podcast is this New York Times piece from this week. Here’s an excerpt, emphasis added.
Ms. Fonda has brought up the interview twice in the last week — during a “Today” appearance with co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, and in a Variety interview over the weekend.
“I was stunned,” Ms. Fonda said of the question. “It was so inappropriate. It showed that she’s not that good an interviewer.”
It was the last line that pushed Megyn Kelly to respond, which Ms. Fonda thought she could drop into her interview without repercussions.
It provided Ms. Kelly with an opening which she blew through when she resurrected “Hanoi Jane” to make her point.
All hell broke loose.
Joy Behar of “The View” called Kelly a “bitch.”
When Sunny Hostin said she’s never seen a “journalist” make statements like the ones Kelly made on her show, Behar asked, “Who’s a journalist?” Then, there was this kicker: “Jane should have just said to her, ‘And how much work have you had, bitch?!’” [The Daily Beast]
Sitting next to Robert Redford, Ms. Fonda was embarrassed at a question she didn’t anticipate from Ms. Kelly. It stung badly enough that over four months later she brought it up again, this time during a popular “Today Show” segment. Sitting next to Lily Tomlin, when the subject of how long they’d known each other came up, Tomlin said she’d known Fonda since before her first facelift. It got a big laugh. But it wasn’t as big as Fonda’s, when she asked if Tomlin was trying to be Megyn Kelly. Hoda Kotb lost it, laughing.
It wasn’t funny to Megyn Kelly. Now she’s sent a message.
Controversy is a ratings magnet. Ask Oprah.
I’ve got a lot to say about it all.
The host has found some ratings momentum lately by remaking “Megyn Kelly Today” into a forum for discussions of workplace sexual misconduct. The ratings for the hour are up 22 percent in total viewers from the number of people who tuned in back in October, and her audience totals last week — averaging 2.9 million — are the highest they have been during her four months on NBC. Ms. Kelly has benefited from the longest ratings winning streak for the first two hours of “Today” in nearly six years — a run that has come after the network fired its former star host, Matt Lauer, after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with a subordinate. [The New York Times]