Critics ripped up Megyn Kelly's canceled Sunday night news magazine show and are now ripping up her morning talk show, which one critic says makes President Trump the real winner of Kelly's fall from TV stardom.
"It's as if the old Kelly — sarcastic, cutting, sharp — got replaced by a Trump-approved version that grins hard and just wants you to like her," according to a review at The Week magazine. "She won't talk politics! She promises! If this startling about-face tells us anything, it's that Trump, Kelly's tormentor, has won."
Kelly announced she was leaving Fox for NBC in January, altering her unexpected star role in the 2016 campaign as one of Donald Trump's few critics at Fox and as the target of some of his harshest tweets.
After Kelly questioned Trump for calling women "fat pigs" at one of the debates, Trump criticized her and said she was so mad, there was "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever."
They continued to feud during the campaign, until Trump granted her an interview. But even then, Trump surrogates like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attacked her.
Kelly's move to NBC appears to have lowered her star quality. Her new morning show launched Monday, and reviews, even by the mainstream press that once adored Kelly, are abysmal.
The Washington Post called Kelly's first episode, which featured an interview with the cast of "Will and Grace" and a previously-taped segment of Kelly riding a bike to the studio, "a morning-show Bride of Frankenstein" with a host who "never missed an opportunity to talk about herself."
The show's subject matter and tone are a sharp turn from her days as a tough prosecutor of both Democrats and Republicans during Fox's primetime lineup. On the show's premiere, she acknowledged as much.
"The truth is I am kind of done with politics for now," she told her live audience. "Right? I know. You know why. Right? We all feel it. It's everywhere; it's everywhere. And it's gotten so dark, and I'm just, like, over."
It's change that some observers say isn't fitting with Kelly's background as a steely news anchor.
"Everyone wants to be something that they're not," one broadcast industry veteran told the Washington Examiner, referring to on-air TV talent. "The fat funny chicks always want to be the leading ladies. The leading ladies all wanna be funny. Stay in your lane."
Her deal at NBC is said to include a roughly $17 million annual salary, an effective pay cut from the $100 million five-year deal Fox reportedly offered to get her to stay.
In its short history, critics have trashed the show for what they have said are its numerous and fully uncomfortable moments and interviews. On Wednesday's episode of "Megyn Kelly Today," for example, she asked actress Jane Fonda, on set to promote a new movie, if she's "had work done."
Fonda deflected and later told "Entertainment Tonight Canada" she thought it was "the wrong time and place to ask that question."
The Los Angeles Times called the moment "awkward" and said Kelly had been having "a rough first week."
On Monday's episode, Kelly joked with an audience member, who was a fan of "Will and Grace," asking him if it was "true that you became lawyer — and you became gay — because of Will?"