Glenn Beck’s last show on Fox News aired Thursday. Much of it had a good-bye-to-all-that valedictory tone. For instance, the talk host ran an opening video composed of quick clips of past shows – Glenn singing while wearing a Viking headdress, Glenn letting fake snakes out a can, Glenn talking in front of a photo of a big field of sunflowers, etc. It was, as Mediaite opined, “like the video you’d play on the last day of summer camp (‘Remember that time Glenn won Capture the Flag? Aw, I’ll remember you guys forever!’)."
But the colorful conservative populist did take a few shots at favorite targets in his final hour on traditional TV – like Jon Stewart, the Comedy Central host who’s been feuding with Fox News. Beck noted that his opening monologue typically runs about 21 minutes, while Stewart’s takes six. To help fill that time Beck has two writers, while Stewart has dozens.
“It’s easy to speak from the heart,” said Beck, who’s been known to tear up on air.
But OK, we get it, the Fox gig is over. It’s on to the next thing. What’s the plan now for a guy whose ratings have declined 23 percent over the past year but can still command two million viewers at five in the afternoon?
A THREE-SIDED CHALKBOARD. GBTV, that’s what. Beck is starting up a two-hour Internet streaming show for paying customers in the fall. Like Oprah, he’s apparently tired of being anybody’s employee, and he’s going into the media production business himself. Rest assured that the production values on his new net venture will be cutting edge. Instead of the school chalkboard Beck used on Fox to outline his theories – such as George Soros’s plot to bring down America – his new show willl feature a fancy new three-sided spinning chalkboard designed by GBTV’s staff. He showed off the design on a preview video.
“Yes, we buy chalk by the case,” he said in his final Fox appearance.
A CLOTHING LINE. It’s true. Beck is aiming to do for relaxed sports clothing what Paul Newman did for salad dressing – use it as a means to create lots of cash for charity. His clothing line will be called “1791 – The Original Blueprint”. (The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, took effect in 1791.)
Beck said on his GBTV preview video that he’s going to attempt to manufacture his snappy-looking shirts in America to try and help create jobs in some distressed communities. The logo, which is featured prominently on the stuff he shows off to the camera, is a skull and crossbones, with a crown over it. You can see it on the clothing line’s own prototype web site.
MERCURY ONE. This is what Beck termed his big project – a charity that will help communities prepare for and/or recovery from disasters, natural and otherwise. He hasn’t fully described this yet, though we’re sure he’ll fill in the blanks once his new web show goes live in September. Beck says on his preview video that Mercury One will involve such things as stockpiling bottled water and chain saws, say, at locations in the tornado belt where they might need them. The project will have its own logo, which looks a little like a Purple Heart with the word “charity” written on it, superimposed on a drafting compass.
All this together is why he’s leaving Fox after only 29 months, Beck said.
“This show has become a movement. It’s not a TV show and that’s why it does not belong on television anymore. It belongs in your heart. It belongs in your neighborhood.”
Access to all of GBTV will cost $9.95 a month. Access to only Beck’s daily show will be $4.95 a month.