Megyn Kelly's showdown with Alex Jones is a rankings bust for NBC's 'Sunday night'

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Megyn Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was the talk of the TV industry last week, but based on the Nielsen ratings, viewers did not care.

“Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” averaged 3.53 million viewers in its Sunday 7 p.m. time slot, the lowest figure yet since the program premiered on NBC on June 4.

About Kelly's

Megyn Kelly's showdown with Alex Jones is a ratings bust for NBC's 'Sunday Night'

About showdown
A showdown is a duel. The term may also refer to:

Kelly’s program was swamped by a rerun of “60 Minutes” on CBS, which averaged 5.3 million viewers in the hour. In the 25-to-54 age group that advertisers seek on the shows, NBC edged out CBS, with 888,000 viewers to CBS’ 864,000.

ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” had 3.7 million viewers, and in the 25-to-54 demographicit finished ahead of both news programs.

Megyn Kelly's showdown with Alex Jones is a ratings bust for NBC's 'Sunday Night'

NBC News took considerable heat for the Jones interview, which Kelly had vigorously pursued.

Jones, a radio host and operator of the far-right news website Infowars, has repeatedly said the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — which killed 26 people, including 20 children — was a hoax aimed at promoting tougher gun control laws.

Families of the Sandy Hook victims, some of whom say they have been harassed by Jones’ followers, pleaded with the network not to give Jones a platform. A number of advertisers stayed away from the program, and NBC’s Connecticut TV station chose not to run it.

Ultimately, the public didn’t seem all that interested in what Jones had to say. Jones’ followers may have ignored the program because they thought it would be a negative portrayal, which it was.

NBC News added an interview of a father of a Sandy Hook victim and a commentary from its most respected anchor, Tom Brokaw, to the program to debunk Jones’ claims about the shooting.

Kelly received generally positive reviews from TV news colleagues and from some critics for the segment on Jones. Jones and his supporters condemned it.

Based on the tepid ratings, NBC News executives may be asking themselves if it was worth the trouble.

“Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” has now declined in viewership two weeks in a row. It opened with 6.2 million viewers on June 4 with a heavily promoted one-on-one interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It had 3.6 million viewers its second week.

Kelly’s program is slated to run through the summer and then make way for NBC’s NFL games. She is to host her own daily daytime program starting this fall.

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Twitter: @SteveBattaglio