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Wednesday, April 6

Glenn Beck takes the next step in building his media empire

This comes as no surprise to Beck watchers:

PRESS RELEASE, April 6, 2011:
NEW YORK— FOX News and Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s production company, are proud to announce that they will work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the FOX News Channel (FNC) as well as content for other platforms including FOX News' digital properties.

Glenn intends to transition off of his daily program, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.

Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of FOX News said, “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards. I look forward to continuing to work with him."

Glenn 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."

Joel Cheatwood, SVP/Development at FOX News, will be joining Mercury Radio Arts effective April 24, 2011. Part of his role as EVP will be to manage the partnership and serve as a liaison with FOX News.

Ailes said, “Joel is a good friend and one of the most talented and creative executives in the business. Over the past four years I have consistently valued his input and advice and that will not stop as we work with him in his new role."

"Glenn Beck" is consistently the third highest rated program on cable news. For the 27 months that “Glenn Beck” has aired on FOX News, the program has averaged more than 2.2 million total viewers and 563,000 viewers 25-54 years old, numbers normally associated with shows airing in primetime, not at 5pm. “Glenn Beck" has dominated all of its cable news competitors since launch.
Glenn's enemies will try to portray the news as a sign that he was eased off Fox. If anything it's the other way around:
Warning Shots? Glenn Beck To Poach Fox News Bigwig, Suggesting Big Plans

Colby Hall
March 21st, 2011

Mediaite has learned that Beck has planned to hire a Fox News bigwig to work within his production company, revealing, perhaps, much bigger and more innovative plans than anyone had previously thought.

A source close to the situation tells Mediaite, “There is a strong indication that Glenn Beck has bigger plans for his TV future than anyone thought, as it looks like Joel Cheatwood, SVP of Production/Development at Fox News, will be joining Mercury Radio Arts very soon to work closely with Glenn on his next creative idea.”

While no deal is officially done, indications are that Cheatwood will soon be joining Mercury.
By bringing on a senior television executive with Cheatwood’s track record, Beck seems to be telling to the television world (and perhaps his current employer) that his vision for his future in broadcasting is not entirely reliant on Fox News, the cable network that undoubtedly helped bring Beck from a lackluster 0.4 rating, while on HLN, to a robust 1.5 rating. Yes, Beck’s ratings have come back to earth from the astronomical (unsustainable?) numbers of late August of 2010, yet the number of viewers he regularly gets at 5pm is still impressive.
Regardless of how you feel about his politics, there are very few personalities in the news and information arena with as high a profile as Glenn Beck, and now more than ever, established brands are crucial to breaking through the mass media clutter, and attracting viewers.

Add to that Beck’s radio, web, publishing, and stage reach, and it’s not unfair to say that Beck enjoys a significant marketing platform that would certainly be attractive to a wide variety of networks and programming services looking for a cornerstone — a rising tide that would theoretically lift other boats.

Beck and Mercury have often been ahead of the digital curve, and have already built a robust subscription streaming business with Insider Extreme, something that would certainly hold appeal to the next iteration of video consumption a la Netflix.

Further, Beck has already started building programs to his network in which he doesn’t star, such as other programming on Insider Extreme, like the 4th hour with his radio co-stars Pat and Stu, as well as the new online show featuring S.E. Cupp, and let’s not forget our good friends at TheBlaze.com.

The hiring of Cheatwood makes the most sense in a scenario in which Glenn Beck is no longer on Fox News, an indication that all of the smoke surrounding this relationship reveals a deeper fire suggesting that the relationship is coming to an end.
The logical next big step for Glenn Beck would be his own cable channel, but that could be a few years down the line.


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