Glenn Beck‘s ascension in the talk radio and TV news stratosphere had a pulpy blend of polarization, right wing Muscle Milk, and a pint of vitriolic I.P.A. The longer Beck stuck his neck out the more feathers he ruffled; the more feathers he ruffled the more people watched; and the more people watched the more he stuck his neck out.
Yet here we are today wondering if the future of Glenn Beck is simply a dark abyss. There are reports that since last summer, Beck has lost a third of his audience, or in more dramatic math, a million viewers. Granted, Beck is still drawing a would-be healthy two-million viewers. MSNBC and CNN might consider hiring Charlie Sheen as a political pundit to achieve those numbers at 5p.m. on a weeknight.
For those of us who actually enjoyed the edge without the aftertaste, David Von Drehle of Time magazine put it best when he told the New York Times that Beck ain’t that funny anymore.
So if the Beck machine is still cashing out with good ratings despite being unfunny then why is there all of this Beckity Beck Beck talk? Fox execs have been allegedly rumbling that they aren’t thrilled about the excessive nature of his rants. It’s possible they’re displeased that GB is playing with so many others in the media sandbox. Between his radio program, his website TheBlaze.com , this, and books, Beck is reportedly raking in more than $30 million a year.
Beck’s contract with Fox runs out in December and a few reporters think Fox is posturing. Not to let him go, but to have some negotiating powers. Beck may never be able to de-perch the Hannitys and the O’Reillys of the world from their ratings clouds in the sky but it is unlikely MSNBC and CNN will be able to catch him in in time slot.
It’ll be interesting to see who blinks or better yet, who asks to “hug it out” first.