NEW YORK (Reuters) - Glenn Beck and cable channel Fox News are ending his daily TV show after falling ratings, a loss of advertisers and months of controversy over inflammatory remarks by the conservative U.S. host.
Beck, 47, “intends to transition off of his daily program,” called “Glenn Beck,” later this year, Fox News and Beck’s production company, Mercury Radio Arts, said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
Fox said Beck will “develop and produce a variety of television projects” for Fox News and other platforms in the future, but did not give details.
Beck’s nightly show currently draws about 1.9 million viewers, dwarfing the ratings for other cable news shows in the time slot. But audiences are down 30 percent from a year ago.
Some reports estimate about 300 companies have either pulled their ads or declined to run commercials on his show in the past 18 months after campaigns by black and Jewish groups.
Both Beck and Fox had hinted a split might be coming as some of his opinions have proved particularly controversial, such as when he claimed that U.S. President Barack Obama had “a deep-seated hatred for white people.”
In January, several hundred rabbis called on Fox News to sanction Beck for repeated use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery and for airing attacks on World War Two survivor and financier George Soros.
The group Jewish Funds for Justice said it delivered 10,000 petitions to Fox News late last year demanding the cancellation of Beck’s show.
“Fox News is dumping Glenn Beck because he has been rejected by Jews, by Christians and people of conscience from across the political spectrum,” Simon Greer, president of Jewish Funds for Justice, said on Wednesday.
Beck, a favorite of the Tea Party political movement, has been one of the most popular voices on Fox News, culminating in a public rally in Washington last year attended by tens of thousands of Americans in a conservative show of strength.
But he has also made scathing comments on topics ranging from Islam to global warming.
David Brock, a spokesman for Media Matters for America, which often criticizes Fox News, said in a statement the “only surprise is that it took Fox News months to reach this decision” after he lost the support of advertisers.
Some commentators have speculated Beck may want to start his own cable channel. An author of several bestselling books, he launched his own news website last year, “The Blaze,” saying it was time to “do something” on his own. Forbes magazine estimated Mercury Radio Arts made $32 million in 2009 to March 1. 2010.
But a possible run for political office did not seem likely, experts said.
“He has an extraordinarily successful career and has for many decades, primarily in radio and now in TV most recently, and that’s a good function for him,” Karen Hanretty, who has worked for the campaigns of Republican actors-turned-politicians Arnold Schwarzenegger and Fred Thompson, told Reuters.
Beck also has a syndicated radio show that reaches 10 million weekly listeners and is heard on more than 400 radio stations across the country.
Beck said in a statement on Wednesday that he is looking forward “to starting this new phase of our partnership” with Fox News.
Editing by Jill Serjeant