At 5 p.m. EST today, controversial commentator Glenn Beck will host his final episode of The Glenn Beck Show on Fox News. For Beck, this not only signals and end to an era, but also the beginning of a new one. His transition will be nearly seamless, as he will jump to his internet network GBTV right after his final remarks on his cable news show.
Following his last Fox show this evening, Beck will do his post-TV interview on GBTV at 6. It will be hosted by GBTV correspondent Raj Nair.
In April, Beck announced that he would be leaving the Fox New Channel. The specific reasons for the exit seemed to be different, depending on who you asked (and it still seems to be a topic that falls into partisan lines). There is no arguing that his ratings have fallen. Beck was also hit with advertiser boycotts based on some of his controversial statements.
So what's next for Beck? He definitely has big aspirations, as he has said that his new internet network GBTV is "the future" of media. He has said that "the traditional confines of media no longer apply."
Right now the network is still in its infancy, with only a few programs running each day. At 9 a.m., his radio program airs and at noon he airs an "overtime" segment featuring special guests. The Glenn Beck Show on GBTV, his equivalent to his Fox show, will begin on September 12th at 5 p.m.
Is the internet ready to challenge traditional broadcasters? Or, as Jeff Jarvis noted, the internet may be able to support a star. Time will tell whether or not Beck's GBTV succeeds (and to what degree), but one thing is for sure: He is one of the first major players to step into the online area. And his career trajectory following his switch from cable to online will probably serve as a model for others to debate making the change.
If he is successful, will it put pressure on other personalities to make the shift to online? If successful, it will show other personalities in various fields - politics, sports, entertainment - that they can take their loyal fanbase from TV to the web.
If GBTV fails, one has to wonder if it will say more about online broadcasting as a medium or simply Glenn Beck's inability to maintain an audience.
GBTV will be running a subscription model. Nothing will be for free. GBTV will cost $4.95 per month and GBTV plus (more content) will run $9.95 per month. Forbes estimated that if only 50,000 people sign up for the basic service, Beck will take in more than he currently makes with his Fox News gig.
Only time will tell whether or not people follow Beck to GBTV. Love him or hate him, people will be watching to see how he fares.