Glenn Beck managed to lose roughly a million of his Fox News viewers in 2010, and his slide has continued into 2011. Beck’s viewership numbers have gotten so bad that he has been only able to top 2 million viewers three times in the month of January. Beck has seen his ratings decrease by half, and there seems to be no end in sight for the viewer exodus from his program.
Fox News averages about 1.2 million daytime viewers, and 2.4 million primetime viewers. Glenn Beck’s total viewership numbers remain above the daytime average, but well below prime time. For the first three days of this week, Beck had total viewership numbers of 1.9 million, 1.974 million viewers, and 1.99 million viewers. For this week, Beck’s program is second lowest rated show on Fox News, trailing on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.
The week before Beck pulled viewership numbers of 1.63 million, 1.78 million, 1.76 million, 1.968 million, and 1.865 million. As Media Matters pointed out, “Between November and the first three weeks of January, Glenn Beck has lost, on average, nearly 500,000 viewers.” Those kinds of numbers aren’t viewer erosion. They are viewer emergency evacuation. One year ago at this time Beck was drawing almost 3 million viewers a night, now on a good night he may draw 2/3 of that amount.
Glenn Beck ended up averaging 2.25 million viewers for 2010, but he hasn’t gotten that kind of viewership on a nightly basis since before the midterm elections, and the truth is that 2.25 million represented a substantial decrease from the heady days of 2009 when he averaged almost 3 million viewers a night. Beck’s show has been a slow slide for quite a while, and theories abound as to why. It could be that Glenn Beck is one trick pony whose singular message has bored viewers. Basically since Beck is repeating himself daily, he is no longer appointment viewing.
It could also be that viewers have stopped paying attention to Glenn’s Chicken Little act. There are only so many times that even the most devoted viewer will listen to and believe that the sky is falling only to realize that nothing has happened. Beck’s endless warnings and prophecies of doom will eventually be tuned out by even his most loyal viewers when it comes to pass that he has not been correct about anything.
In my opinion, Beck’s decline in popularity is directly related to the improved economy. It is not a coincidence that Beck skyrocketed to fame when the nation was still reeling from an economic collapse. Fear and anger were the moods of the day. At its peak, Beck’s viewership numbers were higher than the network average. He was attracting many casual non-Fox viewers. Beck’s message was able to play into and exploit the fears of these viewers, but as the economy has gotten better, the fear and anger have subsided, and these people have stopped watching Glenn Beck.
Because he has established himself as a proven conservative brand name, I doubt that Fox News will replace him, but the days of Beck being a force on cable news are in the distant past. Beck’s program is only pulling a few hundred thousand viewers more than Rachel Maddow show, which is available in fewer US homes.
Glenn Beck has tried frantically to reinvent himself as everything from a religious leader to a therapist. Nothing has brought his audience back. His audience has left him, and I don’t think they will ever be back.