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Friday 1 July 2011

End Of An Era – Beck Barks Out

Yesterday at 6PM Eastern Time, a turbulent two and a half years ended with the last appearance by the increasingly wayward Glenn Beck on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). Beck managed to mention some of his favourite people – God, Jon Stewart and Hitler – before quietly walking off the set. He also made numerous references to his new web based offering.

Beck’s calculation in leaving Fox – one can enjoy hours of debate on whether he jumped or was pushed – is straightforward: he still has his nationally syndicated radio show, there are the books and personal appearances, and he will be hoping to “leverage” his personal brand via whatever medium will have him. In any case, there will be few money worries: Beck is already very comfortably off.

In the meantime, Fox will be able to distance themselves from Beck’s past notoriety, including the infamous incident on Fox and Friends when he called Barack Obama “a racist”, who had “a deep seated hatred of white people”. This moment of misjudged candour led to an advertiser boycott, losing the network millions of Dollars’ revenue.

Fox will also be able to steer well clear of Beck’s future adventures, which include another rally, this time in Israel – in August. No doubt hoteliers will love Beck for bringing them business at a time of year that is a little too warm even for tourists. But Fox now have a problem with replacing Beck in that 5PM Eastern slot.

And here I can claim some prescience: the first of the front runners in a recent piece on the HuffPost is Megyn Kelly, at present on maternity leave following the birth of her second child. Back in April I backed her as a “credible outsider” who had taken on board the True Fox Way.

And there is another reason for the smart money to follow Ms Kelly: the Beck show will initially be succeeded by a “round table” format hour to run over the summer months only. That is consistent with Fox management waiting for Kelly to return.

You read it here first – again.

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