Friday, February 20, 2009

Why Glenn Beck Is Not Good For Fox News

Look, I'm not naive. I understand that at the end of the day TV news, like all of TV, is about selling soap. If you deliver eyeballs then climb aboard. I suppose Glenn Beck delivers eyeballs. I haven't paid attention to ratings but he probably does pretty well. I mean, it's 5 o'clock so they probably don't expect O'Reilly or Hannity numbers and I'm sure he is way more than meeting their expectations.

That being said, I think Fox has made a really bad decision. Not by putting him on the air, but by putting him on the air in the timeslot they chose. They've got him sandwiched between Neil Cavuto's very reputable largely-financial program in the four o'clock hour and Special Report, a very insightful political program during the Brit Hume era and just as sold with the new host whose name escapes me at the moment. It's like making a sandwich with a couple of slices of really good bread and rancid olive loaf in between.

No, the problem is that Glenn Beck is not a serious person. At least, he is not a person that serious people take seriously. He's a paranoid alarmist. I'm okay with that, I just think it needs to be in a different slot. It belongs in the opinion block Fox runs in the evenings.

The problem, of course, is that Fox doesn't have room for him. They've got three solid winners in prime time and they are not going to displace one of them for Glenn Beck. My personal opinion is that they shouldn't have signed him. The only reason I can think of for them to sign him is if they feel like one of their three prime time shows are long in the tooth or that one of their big 3 is about to bolt. If so, then they sign Beck up and stick him at 5pm just to hold him in reserve for when he is needed in prime time. If they wanted to do that they should have just given him a weekly show on the weekend. Of course, Beck may not have wanted that.

At the end of the day, I don't think Glenn Beck's ravings bring a lot to the Fox News table. Frankly, they just don't need him.

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