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Glenn Beck and Fox News may part ways

Published: Monday, March 7 2011 3:15 p.m. MST

The New York Times reports of a growing rift between Glenn Beck and his television employer, Fox News.

Since last August, when he summoned more than 100,000 followers to the Washington mall for the "Restoring Honor" rally, Mr. Beck has lost over a third of his audience on Fox — a greater percentage drop than other hosts at Fox. True, he fell from the great heights of the health care debate in January 2010, but there has been worrisome erosion — more than one million viewers — especially in the younger demographic.

He still has numbers that just about any cable news host would envy and, with about two million viewers a night, outdraws all his competition combined. But the erosion is significant enough that Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don't want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck.

The article notes that Beck, whose company Mercury Radio Arts is estimated to be banking over $30 million annually, would likely weather a divorce from Fox News thanks to his radio show and other revenue streams such as book sales.

Apparently Beck's disagreements with Fox executives have been brewing for quite some time.

How could a breakup between Mr. Beck and Fox News — a bond that seemed made in pre-Apocalyptic heaven — come to pass? They were never great friends to start with: Mr. Beck came to Fox with a huge radio show and had been on CNN Headline News, so he did not owe his entire career to Fox and frequently went off-message. The sniping between Fox News executives and Mr. Beck's team began soon after he went on the air in 2009.

There are signs, though, that the relationship between Beck and Fox News could still be salvageable.

On Wednesday's show, Mr. Beck went to some lengths to demonstrate gratitude and fealty to Fox News.

"Two years ago, I was on a cable channel that no one was watching at the time, doing a show that no one was watching, and I was about to leave television. And then I had the opportunity to come and work here," he said. "If you're going to do news or commentary, the only place, I think in the world, the only place that really makes an impact is Fox."

e-mail: jaskar@desnews.com twitter.com/askargo

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