The return of Megyn Kelly to the airwaves was an event keenly anticipated by people who had followed her career when she was on Fox News. The fact that the first episode of her new show “Sunday Night” featured an interview with Russian leader Vladimir Putin increased interest to a fever pitch. Kelly has gone one and one with alpha males before, notably with Donald Trump. Trump reacted very badly to a question Kelly had put to him during one of the presidential debates, so much so that a lesser man would have seen his candidacy destroyed. Who could tell what Putin would do?

Putin denies everything to Kelly

Putin was in the rare position of being confronted with a journalist whom he could not have murdered as he has so many Russian reporters. So he fell back on the tried and true tactic of denying everything. Did Russian intelligence hack the 2016 presidential elections? Nyet. What so of meetings did the Russian Ambassador Kislyak and members of the Trump campaign? What meetings were those? Do you have anything on anyone in the Trump White House? Are you kidding? Putin went on to spin a conspiracy theory about the alleged Russian hack being a false flag operation by parties unknown, a classic bit of Soviet-style disinformation. If anyone thought that Kelly was going to extract a confession out of the wily former KGB agent, they were disappointed.

A crooked drug company

The second segment was about a crooked drug company who has been caught bribing doctors into prescribing a powerful painkiller meant for cancer patients for people with back and neck pain, resulting in numerous deaths. NBC did not break this story. The feds have been indicting executives and doctors since December.

However, the story was a classic 60 Minutes-style segment about corporate greed and malfeasance.

Saving the elephants

The feel-good story of the evening concerned a former female military intelligence officer who has moved her family to a Kenyan game preserve to use the skills she honed hunting terrorists to track down poachers who are slaughtering elephants for their ivory.

The story had all the elements that an episodic TV series, like the 1960s-era “Daktari.” The segment veered off into an irritating paean to girl power, noting that a lot of the locals who are fighting to protect the elephants are female. Still, it was the best of the three segments.

How is Megyn Kelly doing?

Clearly, NBC is interested in building Megyn Kelly as a brand, recreating the swath she cut when she hosted her own five night a week show on Fox News. But the network is going to have to do better than a cookie cutter News Magazine that has been done to death on so many other networks for decades.