THE CROW'S IN THE OVEN
OK, OK, I was wrong about Beck -- he "intends to transition off of his daily program" at Fox "later this year," according to a joint announcement by Fox and Beck's company Mercury Radio Arts. The announcement says Beck and Fox "will work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News' digital properties"; we'll see if that really happens.
I still say Beck was doing better at a non-prime-time hour than anyone else is likely to do, and Fox had to be somewhat pleased with that, despite Beck's ratings drop. But Beck is the kind of guy who always thinks he's moving onward and upward, building a bigger and badder media empire -- here's his new message board/news site, here he is co-authoring a self-help book. I bet he wanted Fox to pay him what he seemed to be worth when his ratings were 2.8 million a day rather than 2 million, and Fox just didn't see any justification for that. He doesn't work out of the Fox building, he has far more control over his own content than other Fox headliners, and so I imagine he's seen as a pain in the ass more than he is as a failure. And I'm sure Roger Ailes sees it as a penis-measuring contest, and he's the only one who gets to win those.
Beck, I think, is about to move into his Apple Records phase -- you know, when the Beatles thought they could get clear of all the short-haired men in suits and control their own destiny. Beck's a better businessman, but I suspect he thinks he can do far more on his own than he'll actually manage. He's not going to matter as much doing Special Video Reports or whatever the hell he's planning -- what's made him compelling, and terrifying, is that he does that crazy stuf every day in your living room, and you get to watch.
As for Fox, I always expect worse. What'll replace Beck? Megyn Kelly with a bullwhip? Donald Trump's conspirarama? Erick Erickson? (Somehow #3 scares me the most.)
Favorite reader reaction at Beck's Blaze, from Hauschild at 1:30 P.M. today:
Man, the only two programs I look forward to are no longer viable – Two and a Half Men and Glenn Beck.