Megyn Kelly looks to trump ratings with first Fox broadcast special

If Megyn Kelly wants to broaden her horizons, now is an optimal time for her to do it.

The host of Fox News Channel's weeknight “Kelly File” program has been one of television's most-discussed journalists in recent months, thanks largely to the situation involving her and presidential candidate Donald Trump, who appeared to go out of his way to malign her often after her questioning of him at last August's Republican debate. One sure sign of the former attorney's heightened profile is her first “Megyn Kelly Presents” interview special for the parent Fox broadcast network at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 17 — and Trump is among her guests.

With longtime Barbara Walters associate Bill Geddie as executive producer and Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes as senior executive producer, Kelly is drawing guests for the hour not only from the political world, but also from the areas of entertainment and “human interest” ... all of whom she has featured to varying degrees on “The Kelly File.” The special also includes Oscar-winning actor-producer Michael Douglas, “Orange is the New Black” co-star Laverne Cox and lawyer Robert Shapiro, who was portrayed by John Travolta in the recent FX series “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

“I was always intrigued by the prospect of doing longer-form interviews on different types of subjects,” she says. “Right now, I'm immersed in politics, because that's just what the story is at the moment if you cover news. There's very little opportunity to do more in-depth pieces on ‘characters,' if you will, people who aren't necessarily atop the news cycle but who the American people find interesting and want to know more about.

“I, of course, have always loved the Barbara Walters specials — and love Barbara Walters,” Kelly adds. “While it's not like I grew up looking at her and thinking I would be her, I've been a fan of the genre, and I think it's a nice way for me to spread my wings a little and try something a little off-page from what I normally do. And I feel like I'm with the master of this kind of special: If anybody knows how to do this, it's Bill Geddie. And it has Barbara's blessing, which is even nicer.”

It was no secret that Kelly had been pursuing Trump for an interview for the special, indicated by the meeting last month at New York's Trump Tower that she requested with him. (Extended portions of the interview will be shown on “The Kelly File” beginning Wednesday, May 18.)

“Obviously, my desire was to put the strangeness of the past year behind me and Trump and see if we could move forward, and just turn a page,” she reflects. “I certainly haven't agreed to change anything about my coverage, nor was that even discussed, and Trump is entitled to feel however he wants to feel about me. It's OK if he's not my No. 1 fan, but I still think it could be quite a moment for the country to see the two of us sit down together. I can't really think of a time where one of the subjects of the story has done the interviewing; that's one of the oddities of this, but also one of the intriguing things.”

Should “Megyn Kelly Presents” perform as all involved hope it will, the host — who notes the show is being made by Fox's entertainment division, not the news division, where she's under contract until next year — isn't sure how frequently she'd like to do future editions.

“It's hard, because I have a real job,” she muses, “and I have three children under the age of 7, and I'm writing a book right now, not to mention that we have a couple of (political) conventions coming up. My plate is very full. I like my children, and I like to see my children ... so we'll see. Right now, we're just looking to hit a single on this. If we can get on base and it's well-received, maybe there will be more. And if not, I've got plenty to keep me busy.”

The Fox interview special "Megyn Kelly Presents" airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 17. Donald Trump, with whom Kelly has had a contentious relationship over the last few months, will be a guest on the network special. Associated Press
Donald Trump will be one of the guests on the Fox interview special "Megyn Kelly Presents," which airs Tuesday, May 17. Associated Press

“Megyn Kelly Presents”

7 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, on Fox

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