Monday, March 07, 2011

New York Times: Fox Officials "Contemplating Life Without" Beck

by Media Matters staff

In a March 6 article, The New York Times' David Carr reported that Fox News officials are "contemplating life without" Glenn Beck, whose contract expires in December. Carr further reported that since last August, Beck has "lost over a third of his audience on Fox -- a greater percentage drop than other hosts at Fox."

From the Carr's article:

Mr. Beck, a conservative Jeremiah and talk-radio phenomenon, burst into television prominence in 2009 by taking the forsaken 5 p.m. slot on Fox News and turning it into a juggernaut. A conjurer of conspiracies who spotted sedition everywhere he looked, Mr. Beck struck a big chord and ended up on the cover of Time magazine and The New York Times Magazine, and held rallies all over the country that were mobbed with acolytes. He achieved unheard-of ratings, swamped the competition and at times seemed to threaten the dominion of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity at Fox.

But a funny thing happened on the way from the revolution. Since last August, when he summoned more than 100,000 followers to the Washington mall for the "Restoring Honor" rally, Mr. Beck has lost over a third of his audience on Fox -- a greater percentage drop than other hosts at Fox. True, he fell from the great heights of the health care debate in January 2010, but there has been worrisome erosion -- more than one million viewers -- especially in the younger demographic.

He still has numbers that just about any cable news host would envy and, with about two million viewers a night, outdraws all his competition combined. But the erosion is significant enough that Fox News officials are willing to say -- anonymously, of course; they don't want to be identified as criticizing the talent -- that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck.

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