Glenn Beck stepped down from his Fox News show on Thursday after two and a half tumultuous, controversial years at the network.
He kept the chalkboards to a minimum, and shed no tears. He also shied away from too many specific recollections about his show. Instead, he broadly reminisced about what he said he had learned from the experience, repeatedly praised Fox News for allowing his show to air and professed his excitement for his next step: the Web TV channel known as "GBTV."
Beck said that the reason for his departure from Fox News was simple: there was more that he wanted to do. The show, he said, was really a movement "that belongs in your home. It belongs in your neighborhoods. Not really television." He repeatedly directed viewers to his website, where the next chapter of his professional life will be centered.
The show featured many of the things that made Beck famous—long monologues, high emotion, mentions of God and Hitler—but, in some ways, was hardly representative of the show that made him, for a few years at least, a cultural icon and a lightning rod.
Beck's impassioned, grandiose, often inflammatory style and his embrace of the Tea Party movement sent his notoriety skyrocketing, and made him the most polarizing personality on an already-polarizing network. He drew high ratings (even when his show's popularity fell, it was still the fourth most watched cable news program) and a large following; his rally on the Washington Mall in 2010 was evidence of his ability to move masses.
However, Beck often drew equally heated criticism for his highly controversial comments and elaborate, chalkboard-laden explanations of the world. Most famously, he called President Obama a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people," accused liberal billionaire George Soros of being at the center of a destructive global order, and warned that the so-called "Arab Spring" would lead to a new Islamic caliphate.
Scroll down for a recap of Beck's farewell show.
Beck and Fox News each benefited from their relationship—his popularity, and its ratings, both grew. But, as the criticism of Beck increased—and as an aggressive campaign caused up to 400 advertisers to drop their support of his show—both sides grew weary. Tensions between Beck's camp and Fox News spilled out in public, and the two groups eventually decided to sever their ties.
Now, Beck is setting out on his own, like so many of his media peers these days. He will be starting his own Web TV channel called GBTV. On his Thursday radio show, Beck said that he would immediately launch the channel following the end of his Fox News show.
"I'm so sick and tired of being in the system," he said. "I’m not going to play the game anymore.” It remains to be seen how successful Beck's new venture will be. With the vast majority of his income coming from outside Fox News, though, and with a growing media empire, he is more well-positioned than most.