So reports the NY Times and the press release at Glenn Beck.com confirms it. Mercury Radio Arts and Fox will co-develope and otherwise collaborate on a variety of new properties in the future, but Glenn Beck’s eponymous TV show will not be among them.
For the author of a forthcoming book on right wing conspiracism (which quotes Glenn Beck extensively), the news sent a chill down my spine. What’s next, Sarah Palin giving up politics and going off, Greta Garbo-like, into voluntary seclusion? Roger Ailes releasing a CD of old Wobbly tunes? Ann Coulter foreswearing meanness? I don’t think so.
Reading the mostly ecstatic readers’ comments after the New York Times story (“proof positive that Americans do have the ability to regenerate brain cells. Hooray for America!”; “thank God this particular chicken has left Fox’s henhouse”) it’s worth remembering that Beck was a big star on syndicated radio before he came to Fox and that he fully intends to remain a big star even if he’s no longer a Fox personality. Beck thinks of himself as a mogul anyway and Fox has never been his cash cow. Exactly one year ago, Forbes reported on Beck’s growing business empire:
“He has managed to monetize virtually everything that comes out of his mouth. He gets $13 million a year from print (books plus the ten-issue-a-year magazine Fusion). Radio brings in $10 million. Digital (including a newsletter, the ad-supported Glennbeck.com and merchandise) pulls in $4 million. Speaking and events are good for $3 million and television for $2 million.
What with Beck’s declining ratings, advertiser boycotts, and on-air meltdowns, today’s news comes as no suprise. But Beck and his conspiracy theories aren’t even close to fading away. Even if he doesn’t relaunch himself on TV, perhaps on a cable station of his own, he will still command a significant audience through the radio, the web, and rallies, not to mention books. And if you’ve read Alexander Zaitchik’s Uncommon Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance, then you know that unrenewed contracts are very much business as usual for him.