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Why is Glenn Beck leaving his Fox News show?

Glenn Beck, a Fox News fixture since January 2009, announces that his daily talk show will end this year. Analysts suggest viewers and advertisers tired of his conspiracy theories and antics.

By Staff writer / April 6, 2011

Glenn Beck speaks at his 'Restoring Honor' rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Aug. 28, 2010. Beck and Fox News announced the end of his hour-long daily talk show on Wednesday. Its ratings had fallen by over a million viewers over 2010, according to The New Republic.

Alex Brandon / AP / File

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Washington

It’s the end of an era: Glenn Beck is leaving his daily talk show on Fox News later this year, he and Fox announced Wednesday. The show, called “Glenn Beck,” had seen a precipitous decline in ratings over the last year, and Mr. Beck’s departure was not unexpected.

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Not long ago, the populist rabble-rouser of the right and self-described “rodeo clown” was flying high. Beck began at Fox a little more than two years ago, in January 2009, having jumped from CNN Headline News. Coincidentally, that was right before the birth of the tea party, and he quickly became one of the movement’s leading advocates. In March 2009, he launched the successful 9-12 Project, which sought to promote patriotic values. And last August, he drew tens of thousands of people from around the country to a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, called “Restoring Honor.”

But over the last year, “Glenn Beck” has lost more than a million viewers from its 5:00 p.m. show, going from an average 2.9 million in January 2010 to 1.8 million in January 2011, according to The New Republic. Beck’s radio show has been dropped in several big cities, including New York and Philadelphia. TV advertisers started fleeing, including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart.

What went wrong? Analysts suggest that Beck’s antics got to be too much – the tears, the conspiracy theories, the “Obama is a socialist” drumbeat.

“In recent months, it seems, Beck’s theories became so outlandish that even conservatives – both viewers and media personalities – were having a hard time stomaching them,” writes TNR’s James Downie.

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