NEW YORK – Fox News Channel on Wednesday said it was dropping Glenn Beck’s afternoon talk show, which has sunk in the ratings and suffered financially due to an advertiser boycott.
Fox and Beck said the show will end later this year.
Fox News and Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts, said they will work together to create other projects for Fox television and digital.
Beck was a quick burn on Fox News Channel. Almost immediately after joining the network in January 2009, he doubled the ratings at his afternoon time slot. Fans found his conservative populism entertaining, while Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert described Beck’s “crank up the crazy and rip off the knob” moments.
He was popular with Tea Party activists and drew thousands of people to the National Mall in Washington last August for a “restoring honor” rally.
Yet some of his statements were getting him in trouble, and critics appealed to advertisers to boycott his show last summer after Beck said President Barack Obama had “a deep-seated hatred for white people.”
More than 400 Fox advertisers told the company they did not want their commercials on Beck’s show.
Viewers also began turning away. Beck’s 5 p.m. ET show averaged 2.7 million viewers during the first three months of 2010, and was at just under 2 million for the same period this year, the Nielsen Co. said. His decline was sharper among younger viewers sought by advertisers.
Increasingly, the show began to be dominated by Beck standing in front of a chalk board giving his theories about the world’s troubles.
However, Beck has built a powerful brand for himself with a radio show and digital properties. A key Fox executive, Joel Cheatwood, is joining Mercury Radio Arts later this month.
“I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News,” Beck said in a statement. “I cannot repay Roger for the lessons I’ve learned and will continue to learn from him and I look forward to starting this new phase of our partnership.”
One of Beck’s most prominent critics — David Brock, founder of the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America — said that “the only surprise is that it took Fox News months to reach this decision.”
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