Yesterday, TV ratings for April 2010 came out, showing that Fox News had “finished first in viewers and key demographics for 100 months in a row. In prime time, Fox News averaged about 1.9 million viewers for the month of April. That beat the combined audiences of MSNBC, CNN and HLN.”
To celebrate, Fox News placed a full-page ad in the print version of the Washington Post today declaring the network “The Most Powerful Name In News.” (It didn’t run in our copies of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.) The ad features Fox personalities Bret Baier, Shep Smith, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Susteren. But what’s most interesting is who is NOT in the ad: Glenn Beck, who appears on air between Smith and Baier.
Glenn Beck has seen his audience fall almost 30% since the start of the year, from about 2.9 million viewers in January to 2.1 million in April.
While the Beck sensation may be slowing, the decline in his audience has hardly made a dent on the lead he enjoys for his 5 p.m. festival of emotions. His rivals should hold off a little on popping the Champagne.
So why did the network leave Beck out of the ad? It’s not like the shot was too crowded — there’s even an open spot for him to be photoshopped in between Smith and O’Reilly, in front of the giant #1. He was also just named one of Time’s top 100 influential people. Additionally, three of the people in the ad — O’Reilly, Hannity, and Van Susteren — aren’t even considered part of the Fox “news” operation, which runs only from 6:00-8:00 p.m. each evening.
Beck has claimed that network executives stand behind his controversial, incendiary antics, with one vice president even reportedly telling him that he is the “key” to surviving a “global economic holocaust.” However, the fact that today’s ad leaves him out may indicate that Fox is finally getting frustrated with the fact that he is draining advertisers, with some sponsors abandoning the entire network because of Beck.
It’s hard to be a “rodeo clown” these days.