Alex Jones interview draws 3.5 million viewers

  • Alex Jones interview draws 3.5 million viewers

Alex Jones interview draws 3.5 million viewers

The 19-minute segment aired as scheduled Sunday night.

Deadline reports that per early ratings reports, 3.5 million people watched the episode of Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, making it the lowest viewership her new Sunday show has received in its short run. The station's General Manager Susan Tully explained the decision in an internal memo, and cited Jones' abhorrent statements about the deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT in 2012. And that had been a steep slide from the 6.1 million who tuned in for her NBC premiere, when she had interviewed Russian ruler Vladimir Putin.

Yesterday's episode averaged 3.5 million viewers, a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 and a 0.7 rating among adults 25-54, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Over the last few days, we have listened intently to Sandy Hook parents (and) considered the deep emotions from the wounds of that day that have yet to heal", Tully wrote.

The Free Beacon's report said that a previous headline for that story had called the interview an "edited NBC interview", but took that word out later.

The controversy didn't end there.

Alex Jones

To her credit, Kelly was aggressive in her questioning of Jones' public comments during the segment itself, which drew from hours of sit-down conversations with Jones.

Setting the cautionary aspects of dealing with such a personality aside, "Sunday Night" can only be judged by what made it onto the screen, which began with Kelly promising to "confront [Jones] on his notorious lie about the Sandy Hook massacre". Relatives of some of the victims also spoke in the Sunday segment on NBC.

Kelly has been criticized intensely for giving a platform to Jones, who has also called the September 11 attacks an inside job and promoted the false story that a pizza place in Washington, D.C. was the site of a child sex ring.

Lawyers who represent 12 people who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook urged NBC News officials not to air the interview.

ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams praised Kelly, writing on Twitter, "I'm even more convinced that her piece wasn't just OK to do, but important journalism".

Al Tompkins, the Poynter Institute's senior faculty for broadcasting and online, told Forbes that Kelly will need to boost her ratings to ensure her reported seven-figure salary with the network.