Glenn Beck is obsessed with the coming apocalypse, but the real end times on the horizon may be for his nightly show on Fox News, reports David Carr at The New York Times. Senior Fox News executives tell Carr that the network is "looking at the end of [Beck's] contract in December and contemplating life without [him]." Why? The conspiracy theorist has lost a third of his audience since last year, particularly in the younger demographic; he has drawn the ire of conservatives like William Kristol, and, says Carr, his show has "turned into a serial doomsday machine that's a bummer to watch." Could Fox News really be preparing to part ways with Beck?
It would be no surprise if it were true: Carr's tale of tumbling audience figures and exasperated executives certainly rings true, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. But there's more. Beck's radio show has been dropped in "several major media markets," his book sales have drooped, and "advertisers have abandoned him in droves." It's this last item that may be of particular concern to Fox — Beck "can't get and keep any nationally recognized advertisers." That is unsustainable.
"Fox News considers a post-Beck era"
This sounds like a negotiating tactic: Beck's ratings are actually still pretty good, says Glynnis MacNicol at Business Insider. In fact, he beats every other prime time show on cable, "except three other Fox shows." It's far more likely that this story has been planted deliberately as an "opening salvo" in Fox's contract negotiations with Beck. The idea that he's about to be canned over ratings is "less than believable."
"Sorry NYT, but this Fox News is trying to get rid of Glenn Beck because of ratings story doesn't sound entirely believable"
Still, Beck's appeal is on the wane: Beck's audience is diminishing because his apocalyptic shtick has become depressing and demonstrably inaccurate, says Chris Rovzar at New York. Other Fox hosts draw those who "believe in America." The only people tuning in to Beck are those who "don't believe in anything — except, perhaps, God and the end of days." That audience of "diehards" will only continue to decline.
"David Carr: Some Fox execs contemplating life without Beck in 2012"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How to live a long life, according to science
- The 7 best Halloween-themed editorial cartoons
Subscribe to the Week