Pajamas Media commented Monday on persistent reports that media mogul Glenn Beck has been in talks with Time Warner to take over the Headline News Network and, in effect, make it a cable version of his highly successful internet TV operation, Blaze TV. In a way it would constitute full circle for Beck, who first came to national prominence as a commentator on HLN. The Wrap suggests that the deal, if struck, cannot come a moment too soon for Time Warner, which is looking at buyouts and involuntary layoffs at both CNN and HLN.
CNN was the very first cable news network, but has been struggling in recent years thanks to vigorous competition from Fox News and the fact that many people are turning to the Internet for their news. CNN, along with MSNBC, is seen as too liberally biased in its reporting and is thus losing viewers to the more “fair and balanced” Fox News Network. Management at Time Warner thus far seem to be at a loss about what to do about it.
Beck, whose on air commentary has often been seen as bizarre by his critics and illuminating by his supporters, started his career as a radio DJ in the early 1980s. He struggled with substance abuse and suicidal impulses before joining the Mormon Church in 1999. Around that time he became a nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host.
His big television break took place on HLN in 2006, where he spent two years before joining Fox News in 2008. He left Fox News in 2011 to form his media empire, based in Texas, which included an internet subscription network called Blaze TV, which now also airs on the Dish Network. The operation has netted Beck tens of millions of dollars with a 300,000 person subscription base.
Sadly it has been reported that the Beck deal for HLN has fallen through. He had previously attempted to by Al Gore’s Current TV, a low rated cable channel. Gore choose instead to sell his network to Al Jazeera. The new Al Jazeera USA network has an average of 17,000 viewers and in now embroiled in a legal battle with Gore over fraud and breach of contract accusations.