Saturday, March 28, 2009

Will Glenn Beck dethrone Bill O'Reilly?

Glenn Beck's star has risen since moving to FoxNews. You could argue that Beck has even been outshining Bill O'Reilly with his own brand of outrage, theatrics, populism and good humour. It was this combination of traits coupled with his bullying presence that made me consider O'Reilly as a perfect template for the 'pro-wrestler' pundit. Glenn Beck has shown he is equally formidable, just cut from a different mold. Instead of the belligerent kind Bill O'Reilly or Mark Levin typify, Glenn Beck is of the shrewd, weaselly variety. His wrestling equivalents would be Ric Flair or Chris Jericho.

One of Bill O'Reilly's more interesting traits is his self deprecating and jocular side. He has played this up in recent years with his sparring with David Letterman and regular segments with now-conservative comedian Dennis Miller. I always found the "jovial" Bill O'Reilly a little awkward, his size, booming voice and quick temper whilst having the potential for good dead-pan instead comes off forced.

Glenn Beck on the other hand, with his constant voice inflections and facial contortions has a more natural comedic style about him. This also softens his potential for gravitas. Glenn is so natural with his theatrics (he "cries" on air frequently) that it's sometimes difficult to separate whether he is showing genuine emotion or just playing one towards a given topic. With Bill O'Reilly there is no question about his earnestness or conviction to what he says. To be fair, Glenn does play it straight with heartfelt monologues to his audience.

Glenn like Bill also has his own comedy segment. Partnering with humorist Brian Sack, Beck convincingly demonstrates his comedy chops.
- Find all of Brian Sack's appearances on Glenn Beck at his website.

In this exchange on 'The O'Reilly Factor' between Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, Bill plays the voice of reason. Happily conceding he's not the crazy one.

VIDEO: Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck on Revolution and Depression
GLENN BECK: Alright let's just lay all the cards out on the table, I'm full fledged crazy nuts. You know it and I know it so here it is. This is what's coming America - Depression and Revolution. That's what's coming
BILL O'REILLY: Alright -
GLENN BECK: They're gonna eat the rich and they're starting with you...
(Glenn cracks up laughing)
BILL O'REILLY: Why am I putting this man on the air, so are you selling muscats now?... It's not Glenn Beck anymore its Huey-Newton Beck
Watch an example of Glenn in his full glory, displaying a myriad of facial expressions and presenting Obama's "Socialist America" with his brand of theatre.

VIDEO: Glenn Beck on Obama's "Change" - Socialism

Ratings have already hinted that Glenn Beck might soon usurp Bill O'Reilly. I have talked previously about how Bill O'Reilly has pivoted more to the center, in anticipation of a popular Obama presidency. It seems, at least ratings wise doing the opposite is proving to be more rewarding.

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