Today, Fox News and Glenn Beck announced that they are parting ways, for the most part.
Despite his monster ratings, Fox News is bidding farewell to Glenn Beck as tensions between the incendiary host and the top-rated cable news channel have led to a near-total divorce.
I say near-total because the two sides announced a deal today in which Beck’s production company will produce occasional content for Fox. But insiders say this will amount to a handful of specials and that many senior Fox executives are relieved to be rid of Beck, whose ratings have dropped 40 percent.
Beck, too, has tired of the friction with Fox and is said by people close to him to be happy to end the partnership.
Whatever the genesis, for Beck to give up his daily 5 p.m. program, which at its peak drew more than 2.5 million viewers, is a case study in how even the most successful broadcast personalities can become too hot to handle.
In the end, the man who drew a huge crowd to the Lincoln Memorial, but also became a lightning rod after calling President Obama a racist, lasted less than three years as a daily Fox host. More than 300 advertisers fled the Beck show, but he still delivered a huge lead-in audience for Bret Baier and others who followed him on the Fox lineup.
The advertiser thing was a big deal, but it didn’t hurt FNC’s bottom line because those advertisers were shifted to other shows on FNC. As for the “racist” thing, Beck apologized almost immediately, and I should point out that he said it early in the morning, so he probably wasn’t thinking straight.
Beck isn’t just a cable news personality. Hell, he has his own company, which produces a radio program, an online video channel, a couple of websites, stage programs, books, and plenty of other stuff. For Beck, cable television was a small part of his bottom line.
So what’s next? Beck will probably bring a television show of some sort to his online video channel, which subscribers pay to access. Some have speculated that he will launch his own cable network, a la Oprah, but that makes no sense. He’ll instead blaze his own trail by expanding his online channel thingy.
UPDATE: Beck discussed this on his FNC program Wednesday night: http://www.therightscoop.com/beck-addresses-the-end-of-his-show-on-fox-news/
Below is the press release, if you care to read such a thing.
FOX NEWS AND MERCURY RADIO ARTS ANNOUNCE NEW AGREEMENT
(New York, NY) Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s production company, are proud to announce that they will work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News’ digital properties. Glenn intends to transition off of his daily program, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.
Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News said, “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards. I look forward to continuing to work with him.” Glenn Beck said: “I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News. I cannot repay Roger for the lessons I’ve learned and will continue to learn from him and I look forward to starting this new phase of our partnership.” Joel Cheatwood, SVP/Development at Fox News, will be joining Mercury Radio Arts effective April 24, 2011. Part of his role as EVP will be to manage the partnership and serve as a liaison with the Fox News Channel. Roger Ailes said: “Joel is a good friend and one of the most talented and creative executives in the business. Over the past four years I have consistently valued his input and advice and that will not stop as we work with him in his new role.” “Glenn Beck” is consistently the third highest rated program on cable news. For the 27 months that “Glenn Beck” has aired on Fox News, the program has averaged more than 2.2 million total viewers and 563,000 viewers 25-54 years old, numbers normally associated with shows airing in primetime, not at 5pm. “Glenn Beck” has dominated all of its cable news competitors since launch.
About Fox News
FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour general news service covering breaking news as well as political, business and entertainment news. For more than 100 consecutive months, FNC has been the most-watched cable news channel in the country. Owned by News Corp., FNC is available in more than 90 million homes.
About Mercury Radio Arts
Mercury Radio Arts is Glenn Beck’s fully integrated multi-media production company. Mercury produces or co-produces all Glenn Beck related properties including The Glenn Beck Program, America’s third highest-rated radio show, Beck’s New York Times bestselling books, his live stage-show business, destination website GlennBeck.com, and news and information service TheBlaze.com. Founded in 2002, Mercury has a full time staff of 50 employees and is based in New York, NY.