Fox Cancels ‘Beltway Boys’

One of those shows I used to watch but haven’t in years, Fox News’ Beltway Boys, which starred Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke, has been canceled, Paul Bedard reports, with network execs believing it had “run its course.”

Theirs was a fun mix of the week’s politics, a peppy version of some of the other Saturday media political reviews. They talked about “hot stories,” the week’s big events, and sized up personalities in the “Ups and Downs” segment.

While it’s now off the air, those in the know say that Barnes and Kondracke remain hot properties within the Fox family and will stay on to discuss political issues during special broadcasts and Bret Baier’s nightly Special Report.

My guess is that Fox is desperately trying to attract a younger demographic.  Kondracke turned 70 Tuesday and Barnes graduated high school in 1960, putting him in his late 60s.   I wonder whether there’s a long-term future for these sort of shows.  I grew up on them but the ability to quickly find what I want on the Internet has long since destroyed my patience for sitting through 30 minutes of chit-chat interspersed with commercials.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Raoul says:

    Too bad- I always enjoyed Mort’s controlled frowns at Fred’s pronouncements.

  2. bystander says:

    “Barnes graduated high school in 1960, putting him in his late 50s”

    59(late 50s) – 49 (years ago) = 10 years old when he graduated. I guess Fred WAS a prodigy.

  3. Greg says:

    Barnes would be 66 or 67 if he graduated from high school in 1960.

  4. Pug says:

    My guess is that Fox is desperately trying to attract a younger demographic.

    Maybe they’ll replace the doddering old Beltway Boys with John Stewart. That whole Red Eye thing doesn’t seem to be working out that well.

    Isn’t the typical Fox News viewer over 70?

  5. odograph says:

    There was an NPR bit yesterday about us all losing our ability to mono-task.

  6. James Joyner says:

    bystander and Greg: Yeah, my math was off. I graduated in 1984 and added 14, rather than 24, years to my own age. But, yeah, Barnes graduated five years before I was born.

  7. Bithead says:

    grew up on them but the ability to quickly find what I want on the Internet has long since destroyed my patience for sitting through 30 minutes of chit-chat interspersed with commercials.

    Hmmm. That doesn’t seem to bode well for online talkshows, such as what one would find on BTR, does it?

    There was an NPR bit yesterday about us all losing our ability to mono-task.

    And what were you doing while listening to it?
    [/snark]

  8. Wayne says:

    I like the show but it did seem too much like the title, a couple of beltway insiders discussing politics. We are already saturated with that type of information. Maybe they can replace it with “Outside the Beltways Boys”. Have a couple of people from Flyover Country discuss politics from that perspective.

  9. James Joyner says:

    That doesn’t seem to bode well for online talkshows, such as what one would find on BTR, does it?

    People seem to like them right now, although almost all of our 12,000ish weekly listeners download for later rather than listening live. But I don’t listen to these shows and seldom watch BlogTalkingHeads and similar productions.

    Maybe they can replace it with “Outside the Beltways Boys”. Have a couple of people from Flyover Country discuss politics from that perspective.

    The problem is that anyone good enough at it to hold an audience soon becomes an “insider,” in the sense that they’re reading the same stuff. Part of what gives one an “outside” perspective is a cursory familiarity with the subject matter.

  10. Bithead says:

    That doesn’t seem to bode well for online talkshows, such as what one would find on BTR, does it?
    People seem to like them right now, although almost all of our 12,000ish weekly listeners download for later rather than listening live. But I don’t listen to these shows and seldom watch BlogTalkingHeads and similar productions

    First I wasn’t picking on your show James, but rather addressing the problems with the genre. In my estimation you’re far more represtitive in reaction to those kind of shows than you give yoursself credit for. And for the record, I’d include vid, such as PJTV in that problem estmiation.

    And that point interests me, for obvious reasons, but some less so, as well. Example, how much of their current popularity is medium driven and not message driven, I wonder?

    As to the ‘Beltway Boys’ show istelf, I suspect the two stars being regulars on the far more popular ‘Special Report’ creates a situation where BB is simply a rehash of Baeir’s panel.

    The problem is that anyone good enough at it to hold an audience soon becomes an “insider,” in the sense that they’re reading the same stuff. Part of what gives one an “outside” perspective is a cursory familiarity with the subject matter.

    Correct. I would suggest, as an example, that the now-first-circle bloggers…. the Sullivans, the Reynolds’, the denizens of The Corner and a few others. To varied dgrees, they’re certainly insiders, at least from the perspective of most of us.

  11. Wayne says:

    Sorry for the long Post.

    “The problem is that anyone good enough at it to hold an audience soon becomes an “insider,” in the sense that they’re reading the same stuff. Part of what gives one an “outside” perspective is a cursory familiarity with the subject matter.”

    Yes and no. There is tendency when once someone becomes a member of a group they tend to adopt some of that groups attitudes. Therefore when someone gets involved in political process thinking, there is a good chance they will fall into that mentality. I’ve seen this with city councilmen. Some get in because they are against wasteful spending. Often once elected they realize that some of the wasteful spending isn’t wasteful. Also it is harder to say no to someone’s face than when you one of the audience plus a human impulse of wanting to help people out. Also you find yourself outnumber by those that been doing that spending for a long time and there is that naturally tendency of wanting to fit in. Then there is the “if they helping there groups, why not help my group”. Often it has nothing to do with the actual knowledge but individuals losing their way. A person who is strong enough not forgets where they come from and hold their principles, is rare but great.

    There are many who a familiar enough with the inside the beltway (ITB) process and mentality to discuss it intelligently but are familiar and grounded enough with outside the beltway (OTB) mentality and principles to bring that perspective to politics. I wouldn’t have them live in Washington though. Thinking the OTB thinking is solely due to ignorance is ignorant and make many of the ITB people snobs. Often it has more to do with differing philosophy and values than knowledge.

    One of those aspects is the ITB putting so much value in winning an election or gaining political points. OTB people often care more about nominating someone who represents their principles and what is right and wrong not how it will play in the media. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a couple people like that.

  12. Wayne says:

    One more thing, from a rating perspective, there would be good chance of success since this OTB interests are not being fulfill on T.V. now. Closest show to it is O’Reily.