April 6, 2011, 12:37 pm
Glenn Beck to End Daily Fox News Program
By BRIAN STELTER
1:55 p.m. | Updated | Glenn Beck will end his daily Fox News Channel program later this year.
His departure was jointly announced in a statement on Wednesday by Fox and Mr. Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts.
Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, which have clashed over the making of “Glenn Beck,” 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,” the companies said in the statement.
As expected, a senior Fox News executive, Joel Cheatwood, will join Mr. Beck at Mercury Radio Arts starting later this month.
The joint statement did not specify an end date for Mr. Beck’s show, called “Glenn Beck,” which has been telecast at 5 p.m. on Fox News since early 2009. Asked if Fox News had a rough end date for “Glenn Beck,” a spokeswoman referred back to the statement. Mr. Beck’s contract with Fox ends in December.
The statement was briefly posted on The Blaze, a Web site owned by Mr. Beck, but it was then taken down. Representatives for Fox and Mr. Beck did not immediately explain why.
Mr. Beck is a hugely popular figure on Fox News, averaging 2.2 million viewers each weekday, though his ratings have fallen somewhat in the last year. He is beloved by his fans for speaking out against what he sees as threats from progressives. His opponents — and there are many — condemn him for his conspiratorial views and apocalyptic predictions.
Almost immediately after Mr. Beck’s announcement, the progressive group Media Matters for America, which combats Fox on a daily basis, said it was “no surprise” that he was leaving, given that many advertisers had shunned Mr. Beck’s show ever since he labeled President Obama a racist in the summer of 2009. (Fox said that the advertisers simply moved over to other programs on the network.)
Color of Change, the group that spearheaded an advertiser boycott of Mr. Beck, asserted that the program lost “over 300 advertisers.” James Rucker, the executive director of the group, said in a statement, “Fox News Channel clearly understands that Beck’s increasingly erratic behavior is a liability to their ratings and their bottom line, and we are glad to see them take this action.”
Mr. Beck has been contemplating an exit from Fox for some time. Two of the post-Fox options he has considered, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web. His company has been staffing up — making Web shows, some of which have little or nothing to do with Mr. Beck, and charging a monthly subscription for access to the shows.
Mr. Beck also hosts a syndicated radio show in the morning. He was estimated to earn about $32 million in total revenues in 2009, the first year that he worked at Fox.
In the statement on Wednesday, Mr. Beck said he would be starting a “new phase” of a partnership with Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News. “I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News,” he said.
Mr. Ailes said in the statement, “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.”
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