In the hotly contested late-night television wars, there’s a new king of late-night — Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld, who says of his rivals, “While they cover their asses, we’ll just continue kicking them.”
Last week, when Gutfeld took his NYC program on the road to Nashville, he averaged 2 million viewers, making him the second-highest-rated late-night show, beating out NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” (1.5 million) and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (1.4 million).
According to Nielsen Media Research, he was beaten by CBS’ Stephen Colbert, who drew 2.2 million viewers last week.
However, on Sept. 29, the irreverent presenter outperformed Colbert, whose show Gutfeld dubbed “Sesame Street for Democrats,” with 2.1 million viewers to his CBS rival’s 1.9 million.
Since its debut six months ago, the satirical comedy show “Gutfeld!” has shown double-digit growth across the board, even among the critical younger demographics sought by advertisers.
Gutfeld exclusively told Page Six, “With a fraction of the staff and budget, we’ve managed to rout the sullen competition in mere months. And it’s not like we care—we’re just out to have a great time, make people laugh, and do stories on woke BS that none of these other shows have the guts to tackle.
“The more unique we are, the more these other shows continue to feel and sound the same. While they cover their asses, we’ll just continue kicking them.”
Gutfeld also had a go at Colbert, who in June welcomed his fully-vaccinated audience by dancing with others in the audience dressed as vaccines: “Also, we won’t be dressing up as dancing syringes any time soon. we’re a late-night show, not Sesame Street for Democrats.”
Gutfeld, 57, debuted his show on April 5 and made it obvious that he was going after the same demographic that watches the major three networks’ hosts.
Colbert and Kimmel have spent the last two years slamming conservatives and former President Donald Trump, while Gutfeld provides a fresh take on current events and pop culture.
“If you cannot tell the other late-night shows apart, join the club,” Gutfeld said just before his show debuted in April. “They’re as bland as string cheese and not nearly as appetizing. It’s the same jokes, the same assumptions, probably the same writers, all reading the same columns from the same hacks in the New York Times. So we aren’t going to be like them.”
One significant point of difference has been coverage of the coronavirus emergency. “Don’t listen to those maniacs; everybody loves you,” Kimmel said at the end of a May interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, while Gutfeld dubbed the doctor “Grouchy Fauci” and “Professor Know-it-All” while pointing out alleged inconsistencies in his messaging about mask-wearing and the origin of the virus a month later.
“Those hosts, sadly, are just different slices of the same white bread,” Gutfeld told Newsweek on Tuesday, Oct. 5, referring to Colbert, Kimmel, and Fallon. “Gutfeld! is just so different from them that when viewers discover it, it’s like a blast of refreshing cool air on a grossly humid, hot day.”
Gutfeld also claimed that not having Hollywood celebrities as guests gave him an advantage over the other shows.
“Our ratings success is pretty amazing, given the size of our staff being a mere fraction of theirs, and our complete disinterest in celebrity means we don’t try to attract viewers with various stars and starlets pushing assorted banalities,” he told Newsweek. “Also, I’m just better looking, so there’s that.”
Gutfeld’s ratings triumph occurred the same week when Fox News outperformed the broadcast networks in primetime, owing to its coverage of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Nielsen, Fox News had 2.98 million total viewers in primetime for the week, compared to 2.68 million for NBC, 2.49 million for CBS, and 2.37 million for ABC.