Is Glenn Beck Leaving Fox News?

UPDATE: Here’s a more recent post about Beck leaving Fox News (mostly).

Below is the original post from March 7.

New York Times correspondent David Carr speculates:

He still has numbers that just about any cable news host would envy and, with about two million viewers a night, outdraws all his competition combined. But the erosion is significant enough that Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don’t want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck.

On the other side, people who work for Mr. Beck point out that he could live without Fox News. Unlike some other cable hosts, Mr. Beck has a huge multiplatform presence: he has sold around four million books, is near the top of talk-radio ratings, has a growing Web site called The Blaze, along with a stage performance that still packs houses. Forbes estimated that his company, Mercury Radio Arts, had more than $30 million in revenue.

There is absolutely no evidence that a break-up is in the works, and I’m not alone in my disbelief of this story. Business Insider‘s Glynnis MacNicol agrees with me:

Let’s start with ratings.  They are down.  Though not down as much in the month of February as they were in January when they dropped a whopping 39% from the year before (something I partially attributed at the time to the nature of that month’s alarming news cycle and the fact it’s sometimes it’s nice to be told the world is not ending.)

In Feb his ratings were down 26% in total viewers from last February — he bounced back to the number four spot in cable news — which as Carr notes can partially be attributed to the Health Care debate that dominated in 2010.  (In fact, while Fox remains unquestionably dominant in cable news, its numbers were down across the board year over year.)  But worth nothing they were on par with his ratings in Feb 2009.

However the idea that Fox News is looking to part ways with Beck over his ratings strikes as less than believable. Beck, whose show airs at 5pm, remains so dominant he beats everyone else in cable primetime except three other Fox shows.

For my reaction to this story, listen to Monday’s KaibCast at this link:

I talk about the Glenn Beck story at the end of the show, but you should listen to the whole thing because it is awesome.


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