Megyn Kelly Pulls in Youth at Fox News

Megyn KellyThis is the quote of the week, and not surprisingly, it comes from Jonathan Chait, “Guess the Median Age of Megyn Kelly’s Audience. Her viewers are so young they can do circles around O’Reilly’s viewers in their wheelchairs.”

You’re a Frankly Curious reader, so I know you want numbers. The average age of Bill O’Reilly’s audience is a shocking 72.1 years old. Well, Megyn Kelly (perhaps because of that hip “y” in her first name) has brought that figure all the way down to 71.7 years old. That’s a decrease of 0.4 years—almost 5 months younger! At this rate, they should make it to that prime 25-54 demographic some time in the year 2525. (If man is still alive!)

I know: you don’t want anymore math. But this is really interesting so let me have another paragraph. The mode of an age distribution is what single age the most people have. Because the distribution of Fox News viewers is screwed heavily to the right (mathematically as well as ideologically), it is not normal. In a normal distribution, the average and the mode (and the median) are the same. But for the Fox News viewers, the mode (and median) is actually even higher. So the best representation of a Fox News viewer is an 80-year-old.

What’s impressive about these new numbers is that Megyn Kelly was specifically put in place of Sean Hannity because she was thought to appeal more to a younger and more feminine audience. And I’ll admit, I don’t hate Kelly the way I hate Hannity. She comes off pretty well in An Atheist in the Foxhole, and I find her pretty and intelligent. She’s also not the pure-partisan that Hannity is. But let’s face it, are young people going to tune into her given that they are just going to be fed the same stream of lies, distortions, and evasions? Anyway, they can watch Rachel Maddow, who is also pretty and intelligent and funny in a very silly, but endearing, way.

Chait ends his brief article in typical snarky fashion, “Her audience agrees with her that Jesus was white because they knew him when he was still alive.” It is in reference to Kelly’s assurance to the kids (who weren’t watching her show) that Santa Claus and Jesus were just white, “That’s just a verifiable fact.” A writer at Slate, Aisha Harris suggested we change Santa into a penguin. I loved the idea. But the point is that what Megyn Kelly is saying in that segment is exactly what Bill O’Reilly would have said. People who at least wanted to try to appeal to a younger audience would have played with the idea of the Santa Penguin. Even if you don’t like it, it’s a fun idea. And you certainly wouldn’t be proclaiming that Santa was a white man (not true) and Jesus was a white man (also not true). Here is Cenk Uygur having far too much fun at Megyn Kelly’s expense:

But at this rate of a 0.4 year decrease in the age of the average Fox News viewer for each new host, they will only need 81 more hosts in the 9:00 pm time slot to reach the middle of that demographic sweet-spot: the 39.5 year old. If they all stay in that slot for 17 years like Hannity did, that will be the year 3407. Keep trying Fox News. You’ll get there eventually.

If man is still alive…

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Megyn Kelly Pulls in Youth at Fox News

  1. Actually, if you follow the link from Chait’s post, Fox has a larger [i]absolute[/i] number of viewers in the 25-54 range than most stations do, even if their average is older. Maybe liberals are more internet-oriented?

    Still, those averages are astonishing. They imply a massive drop in total viewership in the near future.

  2. @Infidel753 – Yeah, that’s always true. It doesn’t matter what category you look at. Every once in a while Maddow would beat Hannity, but it was rare. Hayes never comes close to O’Reilly. I think it is simply the demographics. Older people don’t have as active a life. Also, and I don’t mean this as snark, Fox News is a lifestyle. MSNBC has three hours of center-right programming in the morning. Friday nights they have these awful prison documentaries. And they’ve fired their biggest star, Keith Olbermann (who I know is kind of a jerk, but does anyone think he is harder to work with than Bill O’Reilly is?) and then Martin Bashir. When they were conservative, they fired Phil Donahue, even though he had the highest rated show on the network. And then they keep Chris Matthews, who no one wants to see and who is whatever political brand is popular at the moment. (It is also rumored that he pushed for Donahue’s firing.) I think it is a badly managed network.

    Just the same, they allow for some reasonable programming. Both Ed Schultz and Melissa Harris-Perry do shows on issues that tend to be under-covered in the liberal media. Up with Chris Hayes should have stayed. It is not nearly as good under Steve Kornacki. And as you can see when Kornacki subs for a nighttime show, he is far better than Hayes in the 1 hour pundit format. I would also cancel Morning Joe just because it dilutes the brand. Better to build a show that goes with the rest of their shows. And cancel the insipid The Cycle and give the only good thing about it, Ari Melber, his own show. Maybe "Morning Melber"!

    Now if they would just put me in charge at the network. But nothing in the short term is going to break the [i]Fox News[/i] hold, because it really is just about telling old people that they are right and giving them period doses of outrage. Of course, more and more, MSNBC is going for the same thing.

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