April 6, 2011 / 6:32 PM / in 7 years

TV host Glenn Beck to leave Fox News daily show

NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) - Conservative U.S. television host Glenn Beck is leaving his daily television show with cable channel Fox News, amid falling ratings.

The controversial 47-year-old radio and television host “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 show draws an average of about 1.9 million viewers, dwarfing the ratings for other cable news shows in the time slot.

But his ratings for the first quarter of this year are down 30 percent in average viewership. In the coveted cable news demographic of viewers ages 25 to 54, his ratings have fallen nearly 40 percent.

Beck, a libertarian and a favorite of the Tea Party political movement, was a key speaker at a huge “Restoring Honor” public rally in Washington last year.

But his scathing comments on topics ranging from global warming to political conspiracy theories have proved controversial and seen him lampooned by other U.S. TV hosts, notably Jon Stewart at Comedy Central.

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.

In an open letter to Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, which owns Fox, the rabbis also demanded an apology from Fox News chief Roger Ailes for characterizing Beck’s Jewish critics as nothing more than “left-wing rabbis.”

Time magazine television critic James Poniewozik told Reuters on Wednesday that in the past, Beck’s Fox News show succeeded because the host knew how to “put on a spectacle,” but that has changed recently.

“I get a sense watching the show that it’s become more sort of just sour and joyless,” Poniewozik said.

Beck said in a statement on Wednesday; “I cannot repay Roger (Ailes) 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.”

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.

Reporting by Christine Kearney and Alex Dobuzinskis, editing by Jill Serjeant

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