NBC’s new morning show Megyn Kelly Today kicked off Monday with the host and former Fox News Channel anchor reintroducing herself as a person who’d rather not talk about politics, at least for now.
After joking that the show would be “dissecting the latest tweet from President Trump,” she added: “Oh, no, we will not be doing that. The truth is, I am kind of done with politics for now. … It’s gotten so dark, and I’m, like, over.”
Instead, Kelly, who made her morning debut in a violet pussy-bow blouse over black pants with ruffled ankle cuffs, did everything she could to seem morning-show relatable. She introduced her mother, seated in the audience. She talked about her late father, a college professor who died of a heart attack when she was 15, and about how landing on a show with Today in the title read to her like a message from the man who’d taught her to love the John Denver song “Today,” whose theme, she said, was not to waste a day.
She also pointed out her husband, best-selling novelist Douglas Brunt (Ghosts of Manhattan), before taking a few questions from the audience.
The first, from a man from New Jersey who said he’d also been at one of her book signings, may have felt like a plant — or at least her answers seemed well-prepared — but the second, from “Doug from Philly,” had to be (though Kelly said she was surprised).
Brunt — who grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from the Haverford School — came out of the audience to present his wife with red roses.
“You’ve already made all of us laugh and cry, honey. Congratulations,” he told her.
“That is so sweet because he is not a TV person. Doug, unlike me, likes his privacy. So that was big,” Kelly said as he headed back to the audience, stopping on the way to greet his mother-in-law.
She then went to work for NBC, welcoming the cast of the network’s rebooted Will & Grace — a show she said she’d watched “religiously” in its first run — and the president’s name quickly arose as Kelly asked Megan Mullally whether she could give “any sort of teaser” on how the show would be handling “current events.”
“What do you mean? Everything’s going great,” the actress said sarcastically. Her character, Karen is “best friends with Donny and Melania.”
“And Grace is not?” Kelly prompted Debra Messing, who plays Grace.
“No, Grace is not,” Messing confirmed.
“It doesn’t get full-on political, but it gets political in only the way Will & Grace can,” said Kelly, who told the cast she’d seen a couple of episodes of the reboot. “They skirt around the edges and singe — they don’t burn.”
Later in the show — after an elaborate, largely pretaped welcome from the rest of the Today show crew that included omelet-flipping with Matt Lauer and riding a tandem bicycle through Times Square with Al Roker — Kelly introduced what looked to be a regular feature, themed to her book, Settle for More (not the first time she’d mentioned it). It began with a pretaped piece about Sister Donna Liette, a 77-year-old Catholic nun who works with young people on the south side of Chicago, in areas Kelly likened to “a war zone.”
Liette and the bereaved mothers she’d organized to fight violence then joined Kelly on the show, where a surprise had been arranged for them — a check for $12,000 from Coldwell Banker and a $10,000 gift card from Ace Hardware, whose presentation, just before the last break, got cut short.