NBC News chairman Andy Lack confessed to nervousness about Megyn Kelly's upcoming network morning show, saying the risk is "unnerving" and "a little scary."
Kelly, the former Fox News host, is debuting her daily 9 a.m. ET show "Megyn Kelly Today" on Sept. 25. Her summertime "Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly" newsmagazine program served as a test launch of sorts, but it disappointed, both critically and in the ratings.
Lack signed Kelly away from Fox with an offer reportedly worth more than $17 million a year. Her show will follow Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on NBC's treasured "Today" show, which wins its time slot in the vaunted 25-to-54 demographic.
"Yes, there is risk and it's unnerving and a little scary," Lack told the Wall Street Journal.
According to Lack, "Today" is a $500-million enterprise. "Megyn Kelly Today" will air in front of a live audience in a specially built studio at 30 Rock.
One NBC insider reportedly said last month there is "total panic" at the network about whether she will have success.
Kelly rose to national prominence as host of "The Kelly File" on Fox, where she enjoyed strong ratings and became one of the network's biggest stars.
She particularly drew attention for her interaction with Donald Trump at a Republican primary debate where she challenged him on past derogatory comments he made about women; Trump publicly criticized her often after that.
The question now is whether she can transition from tough-talking primetime host to the more light-hearted nature of morning television. Kelly has said the show will focus on "content that is focused on inspiring and empowering people."
Another NBC staffer told Vanity Fair: "We are just bracing ourselves and hoping it is less bad than the reception of the Sunday show."