NBC's Megyn Kelly on Thursday advised the Academy Awards organizers to reduce the show's focus on politics and pick a host who "hasn’t intentionally alienated half the country."
"I'll say one thing, if the Oscars want better ratings, they should really consider stopping the political speeches," Kelly said to applause on "Megyn Kelly Today."
"Because I think a lot of us don’t tune to get a lecture on politics. We’re looking to have a moment of escapism. We want to hear politics, tune in to cable news," she added.
"And I would also say for the record, maybe choose a host — because the last time around they had Jimmy Kimmel," the former Fox News host continued. "I know a lot of people love Jimmy, but he’s openly said he has disdain for Republicans, that they’re stupid, and he doesn’t want them watching his shows if they disagree with any of his opinions. That does not tend to help your ratings."
NBC weekend anchor and reporter Craig Melvin, a member of Kelly's panel, joked that it sounded like Kelly was "lobbying for an Oscars-hosting job."
"Oh, I don’t want anything to do with that. No, I don’t want anything," Kelly replied. "I just think you have to pick somebody who hasn’t intentionally alienated half the country, right, if you want the numbers to go up from 26.5 million."
Ratings for this year's politically charged Oscars in February, hosted by ABC's Kimmel, plunged to an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers, a drop of 19 percent from 2017, according to Nielsen Media Research.
For context, 20 years ago, the 1998 Oscar telecast hosted by actor and comedian Billy Crystal delivered 57 million viewers for ABC.