Glenn Beck has been in denial about his ratings slide for weeks now. First, he claimed that there is no ratings decline for his Fox News show, and then he claimed that the weather was to blame for his 33% drop in viewership. However by attracting only 1.7 million viewers on Friday, Beck hit a new all time low which is now 50% off of his peak audience of 3.4 million.
On Friday, Beck pulled an all time low of 1.776 million viewers, and while this is good enough to handily win his time slot, this marked a new low which has quickly turned into a free fall since January. At the close of 2009, Beck was still averaging 3 million total viewers a day. At his peak, Beck could draw 3.4 million plus viewers a day. There was talk of him eventually supplanting cable news king Bill O’Reilly.
The story for Glenn Beck last week was the same as it has been for all of the other weeks over the past few months. He starts strong on Monday, but he loses viewers on each of the following days of the week. Last Monday, Beck had 2.3 million viewers. By Tuesday, he had 2.1 million viewers. On Wednesday and Thursday, he had 2 million viewers, and by Friday he was down to 1.77 million viewers. What should be most troubling to Fox News is that Beck did not have one below average day. He had three. Beck’s average number of viewers had fallen to 2.2 million viewers, but on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, he was under that.
The root of the problem remains Glenn Beck himself. Beck fancies himself to be a political leader now, not an entertainer. On his radio show on April 20, Beck said, “When we were, and I’ve never told this story before, when we were starting the TV show, there were things that I did that I wouldn’t do now because I had to be more of an entertainer to get people to go what is this show at five o’clock? I never said anything I didn’t believe, but I may have said things in an entertaining fashion.” The problem is that viewers don’t seem to like the new serious Glenn Beck.
In reaction to the ratings drop, Beck has tried to spice things up by adding lots more God into his program in an effort to bring back the Evangelicals, and he started the gimmick Founders’ Friday which comes complete with a studio audience. Since Founders’ Friday led to his lowest numbers ever, I would say that it isn’t working. Beck has gone to the three Fox News G’s (God, Guns, and Gimmicks), and yet his audience continues to erode.
While Beck refuses to admit that he is losing viewers, Fox News is saddled with a program that generates no ad revenue, and sagging viewership totals. If Beck’s show starts pulling under the 2 million viewers a day Fox News averages on a consistent basis, changes will be made. Whether he wants to admit or not, Glenn Beck has a real problem here. His viewers are slowly eroding away. The Beck fad appears to be over, and what Fox News has left is redundant, repetitive, one trick pony of a host.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association