Two of Glenn Beck’s top executives have reportedly left his organization to start a new digital venture.
According to a CNN report, “the departing executives are Chris Balfe, who was Beck’s CEO, and Joel Cheatwood, who was president and chief operating officer.”
Balfe has reportedly been Beck’s “right-hand man for more than a decade,” and that is why his “exit raised some eyebrows at the time.”
CNN noted that in January Beck promoted Betsy Morgan, who had been at the left-leaning Huffington Post and CBS before she joined Beck’s organization, to be TheBlaze’s new CEO.
The report noted that “questions persist about whether TheBlaze will be able to succeed as a cable TV channel,” and the departures come as Beck is trying to moderate his image and “change what he and his company are best known for.”
As CNN noted, the “biggest cable provider in the country, Comcast, and the biggest satellite provider, DirecTV, have so far declined to carry the channel.” Previous reports indicted that executives believed TheBlaze was too dependent on Beck, a personality who once called President Barack Obama a racist. Industry executives also reportedly felt that “there’s no other must-see TV on the channel.”
Last year, Beck tried and failed to strike a deal with CNN. During that time, he attempted to moderate his image for television executives. He apologized for his inflammatory comments about Obama. As Breitbart News noted, Beck started positioning himself toward the political center, bashing Americans who were against illegal immigration during last summer’s border crisis. Trying to distance himself from politics, he also proclaimed on CNN that he would rather be Walt Disney than Edward R. Murrow or Rush Limbaugh.
In 2011, the two executives who left were instrumental in helping Beck launch what is “now credited with being one of the first direct-to-subscriber streaming video businesses.” Their new venture is reportedly in “stealth mode” as they talk to potential investors.