Headline News Hires Glenn Beck

Conservative radio talk host Glenn Beck is joining CNN’s Headline News.

Photo: Glenn Beck is heard on about 200 radio stations.CNN Headline News is continuing to bet its future success on opinionated chat shows, this time by hiring an up-and-coming conservative radio host for a new prime time program. The upcoming addition of Glenn Beck, who is heard on about 200 radio stations, is the latest of several major changes at Headline News. In a move away from its heritage of showing a nonstop succession of half-hour news updates, the Atlanta-based network is focusing on shows meant to keep viewers watching longer.

The best-known and most successful effort has been the creation of “Nancy Grace,” a legal debate show that launched in February 2005, starring a fiery former Fulton County prosecutor. Love her or hate her, Grace has nearly tripled Headline News’ ratings in the 8 p.m. time slot.

The network wants more of that sort of success and believes Beck, with his strong views, fits the Grace mold.

I’ve listened to Beck’s radio show a few times and he is controversial without veering into Michael Savage territory. Media Matters, perhaps not surprisingly, disagrees on this score and provides some examples of his more outrageous comments. Most, even on their surface, are perfectly defensible.

I’m not sure I understand CNN-HL’s new business philosophy but, then, I long ago stopped watching that that channel and much television news in general. This appears to be working for them, as the ratings boost from Grace’s program (which I have never seen) indicates.

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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. Two words: Andrea Thompson.

  2. James Joyner says:

    But they hired Thompson to be a news reader back when they were doing the 30 minute loop format. Given that she had to keep her clothes on at all times, her talents were not put to good use.

    On the other hand, they’re apparently hiring Beck to be a talking head. He’s been successful at that on the radio so it’s not inconceivable that he could translate those skills to TV.

    The better example might be Rush Limbaugh, whose short-lived TV show was an awkward Reader’s Digest version of the radio program.

  3. Grogh says:

    “The better example might be Rush Limbaugh, whose short-lived TV show was an awkward Reader’s Digest version of the radio program.”

    The main reason Limbaugh’s TV show was awful was because it was produced at the height of his drug abuse. I remember at the time thinking that he had the mannerisms of alot of speed addicts I have known in the past. After learning that he was a heavy drug user, it made sense.

    You can hide that stuff MUCH easier on the radio–when he hit TV, it was clear something was wrong.

  4. Just Me says:

    I listened to his show for a few years, up until I started working full time again-now I catch it here and there.

    Beck likes to be politically incorrect-although it isn’t in a sleazy way, but I am not sure he is going to translate well to TV. I enjoy listening to talk radio, but admit I don’t do much TV watching and probably wouldn’t make much effort to watch this either.

  5. McGehee says:

    The main reason Limbaugh’s TV show was awful was because it was produced at the height of his drug abuse.

    I don’t think so. The timeline of Limbaugh’s painkiller addiction doesn’t stretch back that far.