Ever notice how Bill O’Reilly likes to mock Glenn Beck when he has him do a drop-in on The Factor?  He wants us to think he’s just palling around, but I think he’s doing it for another reason — he doesn’t want Beck to get out in front of him.

Tell you what I mean.  Several years ago, I was part of a senior management team at an aerospace company — a typical corporate environment where most of the top dogs either wanted to be a superstar or play it safe and fly unobtrusively under the radar.

I was working on a temporary special media relations project with our sister company — a well-known rocket engine manufacturer in West Palm Beach,  whose VP of Public Relations was a Bill O’Reilly — someone who’d take credit for his own birth if he thought he could get away with it.  You know the type.

While working on the project, I came up with a brilliant idea.  OK, maybe not brilliant, but a pretty good one nonetheless. I was all set to go with it, when the VP pulled me back, cautioning, “Don’t get out in front of me.”  Turns out I had entered the “no-spin” zone.  Not long after that, he implemented my idea but took full credit for it.  I never trusted him again.

O’Reilly wants to keep a grip on Beck’s collar for two reasons.  One, the Bloviator doesn’t have very many friends.  My guess is people put up with him because they have to.  They like their job and the paycheck that comes with it.  But that’s where it ends. I mean, come on.  Would you want to hang out with someone who disdains what anyone else has to say because he’s — insert a derisive sniff here — the expert know-it-all who has no problem arrogantly reminding you of that?  So O’Reilly hangs on to Beck, going so far as to arrange a “Bold and Fresh” tour for Beck and him.

Think about it… Beck had just come off a series of book tours and his Christmas theatrical performances.  I’m guessing he was roped into this — oh joy — yet another tour.  Bet that was the last thing on his Christmas list of things to do following a grueling year.

Next, Mr. Inside Edition has been around long enough to know talent when he sees it, and he knows Beck is a superstar.  O’Reilly wants to be right there to remind “the Beckster” and his viewers that he was the “stand up guy” who helped Beck get his start at Fox.  Taking credit for his birth.  Getting the idea? (See paragraph 2 above).

In short, O’Reilly needs Beck more than Beck needs the pompous one.  The jackanapes pinhead Factor-gear-hawker sees the handwriting on the wall.  He’s reached his zenith, his career has crested.  And he ain’t getting any younger. On the other hand, Beck’s career is like one of those rockets my former company used to test fire in the Florida swamps:  throttled up and ready to soar.

Take a look at this to see what I mean:

Glenn Beck ratings skyrocket, Olbermann up, Maddow down, has anyone seen CNN?

March 18, 2009, 2:45 am · 124 comments

Source: MediaBistro, Nielsen Media Research

The biggest news in cable news this week is the remarkable rise of Glenn Beck at Fox.

Note: here’s a more current article on the ratings: O’Reilly-Hannity-Beck go 1-2-3 in cable news ratings again, Fox destroys competition again

Top 10 cable TV shows for 03/13/09

His Friday night special drew huge numbers and leapfrogged his show above long-time #2 Sean Hannity. What was CNN thinking when the let this guy get away?

As for the rest of the cable news pack, some were up a little, some were down a little. And Larry King continues to be CNN’s last man standing.

Beck has taken the 5 o’clock dead zone and set it on fire.  How much longer before Roger Ailes changes the line-up to maximize Beck’s popularity and Fox’s prime time numbers?  Here’s another of my brilliant ideas (?) — dump Shep at 7p ET (send him packing to CNN where he’d be a better fit, or to one of Fox’s local yokel affiliates), move O’Reilly into the 7pm slot to lead-in to Glenn at 8pm.  Leave Hannity where he is, and slide Greta into the 5 p.m. slot.   Look at the numbers in the chart above. Am I on to something?  “What say you?”