His Fox News program is coming to an end. I think Mike Church is exactly right: Beck was attempting to break out of the conventional Republican mold set by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. For a while, the puppet shows and conspiracy theories were amusing, but once the novelty wore off, Beck had no substance to fall back on. There’s a market out there for something other than the conservative-movement mulch shoveled up by Hannity and Mark Levin, but it requires more depth than Beck is capable of.

As for Fox News, for all that it seems to be an indomitable ratings titan, its demographics are notably gray, as are those of talk radio. The political right is in for a significant philosophical change — in what direction remains to be seen — as the Republican-radio and cable-news generation heads into the sunset.