Glenn Beck will be leaving his Fox News program to pursue “a variety of projects” for the network and its web properties. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts announced via a statement Wednesday that controversial political commentator and author Glenn Beck will end his daily Fox News program by the end of 2011, reports Business Insider. Beck’s contract with Fox expires in December. Beck reportedly will work with Fox News to produce a “variety of television projects,” as well as content for Fox News’ digital properties.

End date for ‘Glenn Beck’ not specified

The “Glenn Beck” program has been a weekday fixture on Fox News since early 2009, telecast at 5 p.m. While ratings have fallen in the past year, Beck still averaged 2.2 million viewers daily, a testament to the number of people in the U.S. who believe that radical progressives pose a socialist threat to the fabric of the country. Critics condemn the self-proclaimed “rodeo clown” for his apocalyptic conspiracy theories, many of them involving Hungarian-American financier George Soros.

Beck went too far with Soros, Judaism and Obama critiques

Theories as to why Glenn Beck is leaving his Fox News program abound. Business Insider suggests that the decision came from Fox News President Roger Ailes, who privately was tired of being unable to reign in Beck’s verbal excesses, yet publicly recognizes Beck’s influence and doesn’t want to burn any bridges. As Beck has already begun to post exclusive content to his Glenn Beck Insider website, the transition to producing such programming for Fox wouldn’t be much of a stretch. However, as an anonymous Ailes employee once told the media, when Ailes says “I look forward to continuing to work with him,” the real meaning is “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Many believe it was all Beck’s fault. His statements against George Soros, which have been closely tied to comparisons Beck has made between reform Judaism and radicalized Islam, drew the ire of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. Furthermore, the Christian Science Monitor suspects that Beck’s “Obama is a socialist” or “Obama is a racist” tirades have turned more people off than Fox News realized.

Fox desires absolute control of its stars

Unlike Fox News’ peanut gallery of interchangeable talking heads who try to stir controversy but will ultimately come to the master like dogs when rebuked, Fox News cannot bring media mogul Glenn Beck to heel quite so easily. But that doesn’t mean Roger Ailes cannot be moved to action by the tale of the advertising tape.

Advertisers have turned away from Glenn Beck in droves. The Fox News program has lost more than 1 million viewers over the past year, going from an average of 2.9 million in January 2010 to 1.8 million in January 2011, reports the Christian Science Monitor. New York and Philadelphia no longer air Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio program, and big-time advertisers like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Walmart have abandoned the Glenn Beck Fox News show. The sound of all that advertising revenue lost was deafening.

Sources

Anti-Defamation League: http://www.adl.org/PresRele/DiRaB_41/5983_41.htm
Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/glenn-beck-fox-news-fired-ratings-2011-4
Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2011/0406/Why-is-Glenn-Beck-leaving-his-Fox-News-show
New York Times: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/glenn-beck-to-end-daily-fox-news-program/

Has Glenn Beck peaked?

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