One of the writers at Pam’s House Blend suggests that Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News Channel has dwindled to just 4:30 of revenue-producing ads per hour, compared to an industry standard of 22 minutes per hour. If that were true, cancellation would seem imminent.

Glenn BeckFor those who wish to see Beck’s paranoid rants exiled to local public-access channels, the revenue-ad claim may prove to be overly optimistic.

A look at the cable TV shows for sale on iTunes suggests that many hour-long cable TV shows run 42-47 minutes with ads omitted — leaving just 13-18 minutes for a mix of revenue-producing ads and free plugs for the network’s own programming. Here are some examples:

  • Bravo’s shows such as Top Chef tend to run 44 minutes. Much of the remaining 16 minutes consists of relentless Bravo ads for other network shows, mostly the obnoxious Housewives.
  • Battlestar Galactica’s episodes on SyFy tended to run 43:30 in the final season. The remaining 16:30 included numerous ads for other network movies and shows such as Stargate.
  • Mad Men on AMC runs 47:30 without commercials.
  • Project Runway on Lifetime — available via torrents or the network’s web site — runs 42:40 with the remaining 17:20 occupied in part by ads for Lifetime’s admittedly frightful roster of shows.

So I suspect that industry standards vary — partly due to recession, and partly due to different standards on the different networks as well as the popularity of each show.

Glenn Beck may be crazy, but his show probably is not in imminent danger.