NBC News is sparing no expense on its new star, Megyn Kelly, and the lavish spending is ticking off some of her new colleagues at the Peacock Network.
Kelly is on a five-day nationwide tour to visit affiliates in major markets, and she is traveling on a charter jet with a support staff of five or six people, including a hairstylist, a makeup artist, a publicist and a security detail.
“People are outraged over her divalike ways,” one network source told me. “They wonder, ‘When does NBC stop throwing money at her?’?”
Kelly left Fox News in January to take over the 9?a.m. hour of “Today,” which launches on Sept. 25 as “Megyn Kelly Today.” Her salary is said to be $18 million a year.
NBC hired new staff, built a new set and will be spending extra on a live audience for the show, which Kelly’s been touting in Dallas, Houston and Denver.
“She’s working sunup to sundown every day — some days, two cities a day,” an NBC insider said, and shooting multiple promos and pieces for the new show.
“It’s a standard affiliates tour, which many new NBC News anchors have done before her. There’s huge excitement for ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ in these markets, and it’s a great thing that the show is covering people and places outside of New York City.”
The insider said most staffers for the morning show were already working for “Today,” and that the expenses for the show’s launch were all budgeted long in advance.
Kelly’s newsmagazine show “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” debuted in June to much fanfare, but had mediocre ratings and ended after eight episodes. It is expected to return after the NFL season and the Winter Olympics.