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Megyn Kelly's attention to sexual harassment helps rally ratings for her NBC morning show


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Megyn Kelly isn’t buying Bill O’Reilly’s claim that no one complained about his behavior, because she says she did but was ignored. Veuer’s Nathan Rousseau Smith (@FantasticMrNate) reports.
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Megyn Kelly may be finding her voice — and more viewers — by tackling the issue of sexual harassment on her NBC morning show.

The former Fox News anchor got off to a rough start with Megyn Kelly Today, but her 9 a.m. ET/PT hour of NBC’s Today show has begun to see some ratings success as she has regularly devoted time to the issue. 

And her show Monday likely captured plenty of eyeballs, being that her guests were three women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. 

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More: ‘Piece of meat’: Trump sexual misconduct accusers appear with Megyn Kelly on ‘Today’

By mid-October and into November, Kelly’s audience began growing, including among the important core news viewing group of those aged 25 to 54, according to Nielsen.

Viewership has increased monthly, and the show is currently averaging 2.7 million viewers in December, Nielsen says.  Today still trails ABC’s Good Morning America in total viewers.

The more recent trends are improvement from where Kelly began. In September, during the first full week for Megyn Kelly Today, the show drew an average of 2.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen, which was down 12% from that same hour a year before when Today’s Take co-hosted by Al Roker along with others including Tamron Hall aired in the timeslot. Since its Sept. 25 launch through Dec. 3, Megyn Kelly Today viewership is down 20% compared to the same hour last year, averaging 2.4 million viewers, Nielsen says. 

Kelly had hoped to steer clear of politics on Today. Instead, she said at the time, the show was meant to provide “maybe a little hope to start your day.”

However, as a growing list of men were publicly accused of sexual misconduct, Kelly began addressing the issue. In October, she did interviews with accusers of her former Fox News colleague Bill O’Reilly, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and NBC political analyst Mark Halperin.

On her Oct. 23 program, Kelly made public an email she sent last year to top Fox News executives complaining about O’Reilly, who had said there had been no complaints about him at the network. She called that false “because I complained,” she said. O’Reilly was fired from Fox News in April after an internal investigation into sexual harassment allegations by several women.

Then on Monday, three women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct — Rachel Cooks, Samantha Holvey and Jessica Leeds — appeared together on Megyn Kelly Today before their news conference where the women planned to request a Congressional investigation into their claims against the president.

“America, as you know by this point is having it’s own ‘Me Too’ moment, as men from the very public worlds of journalism, entertainment and now government are being outed and often punished for sometimes decades of sexual misconduct,” Kelly said on air Monday before introducing her guests. “But does that accountability extend to the Oval Office?”

Listening to the women’s descriptions of the events, Kelly noted that until now “we women have gone along and not made waves and felt like we had no choice but to sort of grin and bear it and get through it.”

Kelly left Fox News in January as the network was reeling from sexual harassment allegations against former CEO Roger Ailes. Her three-year NBC contract, worth a reported $23 million annually, surpasses the estimated $15 million she made in her last year at Fox News.

In her book Settle for More, released just more than a year ago, Kelly wrote about her “year of Trump,” which began when she asked about his attitudes toward women during the GOP presidential primary debate in Cleveland in August 2015. Trump insinuated Kelly was tough on him in the debate because she was menstruating.

Last week, Time magazine named Kelly its Entertainment Person of the Year , a choice in tandem with its naming as 2017 Person of the Year the “The Silence Breakers,” women who have been victims of sexual misconduct. “You are not alone. We are all there with you,” Kelly said on her show Dec. 6. “There truly is safety in numbers.”

More: Megyn Kelly complained to Fox execs about Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment stand

More: Megyn Kelly describes scary, bullying ‘Year of Trump’

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2jwGIWT

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