It has been speculated for months and now it is official -- Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News. Both Beck and the network confirmed on Wednesday that his show will end when his contract expires later this year.
Beck was a rising star at the network when he began in January 2009. Ratings for his show went through the roof. But after making controversial comments like saying that President Obama has "a deep-seated hatred for white people," advertisers began boycotting his show. At last count some 400 Fox advertisers said they wanted nothing to do with Beck's show.
Then ratings started to suffer. Over the first three months of this year, the Nielsen Co. said Beck averaged two million viewers per day, down 700,000 from the same period a year earlier. The decline was sharpest among much coveted younger viewers.
Given all of that, this announcement is no shock. However, Beck said his company, Mercury Radio Arts, will continue to work with Fox to create other projects.
In a statement, Beck said:
"I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News. 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."
There has been talk that Beck could start his own television network, like Oprah Winfrey did this year. There are marked differences between the two broadcasters -- analysts point out that Oprah is universally loved and has shown she can make money for her advertisers. Beck, on the other hand, is loved by just a small, some would say fanatical, portion of the public and has proven to be an advertiser-repellent.