Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld New nighttime alternative to left-wing late-night comedy – Deadline

Fox News recently purchased a Hollywood Boulevard billboard and local spots during Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and other late-night shows to promote its late-night newcomer Greg Gutfeld with the phrase: ” Cancel culture has just been canceled. “

Even though the news channel presents the show as an alternative from the right, Gutfeld’s biggest challenge is the same that all other shows face: being funny, night after night.

As many have noted, Fox News programming Gutfeld! – as the April 5 show calls it – is another example of how the network has broadened its nightly doses of opinion in the post-Donald Trump presidency. Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch suggested last month that the network’s work during Joe Biden’s presidency would be to act as the loyal opposition, while outlets like Newsmax ran for disgruntled voter Trump .

Fox News extends agreement with anchor Bret Baier

But it’s one thing to add another political voice among Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham or a new iteration of The five, the popular panel on which Gutfeld appears; it will be another to have the nocturnal comic impact of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel Live !, especially with young viewers

“I don’t really think about these shows, because whatever I could predict, I just lose interest,” Gutfeld said in an interview last week. “So I already know that they share the same assumptions. In a way, they are there to please their peers, and not necessarily the public, whom they cannibalize.

He’s made those shows occasional targets on the Fox News show he’s hosted on weekends since 2015 and, before that, on the overnight show. Red eyes from 2007.

Gutfeld said they are adding a handful of more writers and planning more segments recorded, which could pick up the pace. The show will have a studio audience and “more experimentation”. He says they will go beyond politics to other topics. “It could be looser, because you have five opportunities a week, 25 segments, to try something,” he said. “It’s exciting. This is where you start to eat into traditional conventional assumptions, traditional conventional talk shows.”

Jon Macks, comic writer and political consultant who wrote Monologue: What makes America laugh before bed, said it would be “interesting to see a late night show that leans to the right but does not tilt to the right.” But he has to focus on having more of an entertainment edge, just being fun.

“The question for me becomes this: what does it bring that is not already there?” he said. “If this is just a political commentary with humor, I don’t know if that is enough. Is this a fun show with a bit of politics? It might work.

Fox News highlights the numbers Gutfeld got on Saturday night: until mid-March, he averaged 1.87 million viewers. Weekday evenings, Late Show with Stephen Colbert collected 2.44 million, Jimmy Kimmel Live! attracted 1.63 million, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon raised 1.38 million and The Late Late Show with James Corden collected 914,000.

Gutfeld! replaces the newscast Fox News @ Night, which averaged 1.2 million viewers in March, versus MSNBC The 11th hour with Brian Williams with 1.35 million. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, which starts at 10 p.m., averages 998,000.

Gutfeld’s show will start half an hour earlier, at 11 p.m. ET, concurrent with Comedy Central. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and what he does on Saturday night has a lot more in common with HBO Real time with Bill Maher, featuring guests and panelists discussing the news of the day, which people like Tonight’s show, who depend on a constant flow of famous guests.

“He’s got an area that no one else touches,” said Dave Berg, who was a co-producer of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and author of Behind the Curtain: An Insider’s Perspective on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show.

He said Gutfeld “is not just a political commentator. He understands humor. He understands satire. He understands a good joke and how it works. He also said that Gutfeld understands pop culture in a way that many others on the right don’t.

The late-night universe itself became more overtly political during the Donald Trump years, as Kimmel and Colbert thrived on a nocturnal regime of humor at the president’s expense, sometimes abandoning comedy in favor of serious commentary. This was the case with Kimmel as he fought against the GOP’s attempts to repeal the health care law. Colbert, meanwhile, led a fundraiser for Biden. In the aftermath of election night, moved, he described Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Gutfeld may offer another perspective, but Berg said the challenge will always be booking entertaining guests.

“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be really tough,” he said. “It will always be difficult to attract them because Fox News does not fly well in Hollywood.”

Gutfeld, however, does not aim to attract A-listers promoting their latest blockbuster. He said he planned to tap into other areas, like podcasting, for guests, “that’s where I think the most interesting people are.” He cited as an example Dave Rubin, the political commentator who animates The Rubin Report on YouTube and BlazeTV.

“The most interesting people aren’t on TV – outside of Fox, of course,” Gutfeld said. “They show up on these podcasts where they’re allowed to speak freely, and I think that’s kind of the direction we could go in terms of guests.”

He said he would pick on other late-night hosts with his satire “because it’s fun and there are risks.” I will not be invited to any event with my peers, and I was the same when I was in magazines. He says Bill Maher, who has denounced what has now been dubbed “the culture of cancellation” for years, “should be an inspiration to the rest of these comedians who share his political outlook, his progressive politics.

Gutfeld comes from a different background than the other hosts, he grew up in the Bay Area of ​​California and attended the University of California at Berkeley, and after college got a job with the curator. American spectator. But he did not follow the path of the political commentator, but health and fitness, working first for Prevention and later as editor at Men’s health. He was one of the first contributors to The Huffington Post, and meanwhile bolstered his profile with appearances on Fox News and then the show Red eyes.

Gutfeld dismisses the idea that the Conservatives are no fun, calling it “really a little lazy.”

“If somebody says, ‘Tories aren’t funny,’ well I don’t think they know what a Tory or a Libertarian is, because if you go back in history and watch some- some of the great comics, they would. don’t pass the rally like a liberal, ”he said. “The goals have been moved so that being a leftist actor is not specifically funny and also not to take risks.”

The new show will be in front of a studio audience – because of Covid, it’ll start out small – and feature some of the weekend show’s regulars, like Tyrus and Katherine Timpf. Gutfeld’s recent broadcasts have exploited the Biden administration in the search for material, from what he considers flattering media coverage, to press secretary Jen Psaki’s propensity to use the phrase “circle back” .

The news media is a frequent target, sometimes even others on Fox News, as when he criticized the ruling office for their Arizona call for Biden on election night as premature, although the call turned out to be correct. More recently, Gutfeld criticized Meghan Markle, following her interview with Oprah Winfrey, for acting as a victim and blaming her issues on race. “Markle can cynically exploit the racial obsession embraced by the Western media, but the tabloids would have stalked her whether she was white, black or brunette,” he said.

Gutfeld defends the promotional emphasis on “cancellation culture,” which has been at the top of the network’s programming agenda this year, on everything from Dr Seuss to the recent departure of a Teen vogue editor.

“It’s a very small group of people. It’s just that they’re standing still, and my concern has always been, if you remove the debate, what’s left? Said Gutfeld. “… And if you decide, no, you know what, it’s racist, or it’s racist. Or just be around an idea or bring up an idea, saying, “I believe in border law enforcement”. Well, you know, it sounds very xenophobic. Redefining beliefs as fully racist is one way to cool the debate, because no one wants to step in and be the person who says, “No, I’m not racist.” So it has become the club, the hammer that is used is on each nail.

But “canceling culture” can also be in the eye of the beholder. When pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6, many leftists saw it as the ultimate “culture of cancellation,” an effort to wipe out the votes of millions. The results had already been certified, dozens of court challenges against the Trump campaign had been filed and voters had voted. Trump’s own attorney general William Barr said in December that the Justice Department had not found widespread electoral fraud on a scale that could affect the outcome.

On his show, Gutfeld condemned the violence from the Capitol siege, but suggested that the media, not Trump, played a role in their mistrust. Gutfeld berated what he saw as a lopsided cover of the Capitol seat in relation to the unrest last summer after the death of George Floyd.

“They made an industry of division and anger,” he said. “Could they have been accomplices? If the media are a civic institution as they claim to be, shouldn’t they behave as such? What if we don’t call half of America racist rubies? What if we had pushed for more transparent elections? What if we take the concerns of fraud suspects seriously? Would it have been this far and so bad where people violated the Capitol?

Yet when it comes to the media, isn’t Fox News doing exactly that, exploiting “division and anger”?

Gutfeld said the characterization was “unfair.”

“The lie of polarization is that we live in a polarized country, but in reality what is happening is that there was only one pole for a very long time and now there is. of them. And the people who have been sitting on this pole forever, that kind of liberal assumption that everyone agrees with us and that we are the right and sophisticated elite, now they have to fight to defend their ideas, and they call it “ polarization. ”

“I don’t think they’re equal, but I can understand that when someone turns on Fox and says, ‘Wow, these people are mad at these people.’ I can see that. “

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