Accuracy in Media

The New York Times‘ David Carr writes that Fox News is contemplating life without Glenn Beck, as Beck’s ratings have begun to slide.

Beck, who started at Fox News in 2009, quickly rose from an initial 2 million viewers to nearly 3 million in less than a year, becoming a stiff challenge to fellow Fox Newser Bill O’Reilly. His latest ratings show a 26% decrease since last February, to about 2 million viewers and a steeper 32% drop in the key A25-54 demo, which advertisers crave.

Yet even with this drop, Carr notes that Beck still outdraws all his competition combined and that the show is highly profitable for Fox- making it harder for the network to consider dropping him when his contract expires in December.

Beck has been an asset to the network overall by taking the 5 p.m. dead zone time slot and making it popular, for which Fox should be grateful.

But as Carr notes, Beck may no longer need Fox as much as he did two years ago, and the two sides haven’t always gotten along with each other:

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.

How could a breakup between Mr. Beck and Fox News — a bond that seemed made in pre-Apocalyptic heaven — come to pass? They were never great friends to start with: Mr. Beck came to Fox with a huge radio show and had been on CNN Headline News, so he did not owe his entire career to Fox and frequently went off-message. The sniping between Fox News executives and Mr. Beck’s team began soon after he went on the air in 2009.

While the ratings drop should be cause for some concern at Fox News, the fact remains that Beck is still very popular with conservatives. He will continue to be a thorn in the side of liberals like Chris Matthews- which I for one won’t complain about.

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