How Fox News Is Trying To Compete With Jimmy Fallon And Stephen Colbert

Fox News is getting into the late night game, but not with another news or panel show. The network is in fact trying to compete with the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and other late night hosts in delivering its own brand of comedy, with regular Fox News contributor Greg Gutfeld as host. The new show is called Gutfeld! and will be unlike anything else available on the popular but controversial news channel.

Greg Gutfeld's new comedy show will premiere on April 5, and Fox News is going mainstream to try and attract an audience for Gutfeld! courtesy of its advertisement. The network paid for a billboard advertising the show on Hollywood Boulevard, with Gutfeld telling The Five that the billboard is actually across from Jimmy Kimmel's studio, where he films Jimmy Kimmel Live! for ABC.

Deadline also reports that Fox News purchased local ad spots that air during Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on NBC, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. The tagline for the new show is "Cancel culture just got cancelled!" to indicate that Gutfeld's conservative approach to the news on Fox News will be carried over to his comedy show. Gutfeld commented on the other late night series, saying:

I don’t really think about those shows that much, because anything I could predict, I lose interest in. So I already kind of know that they share the same assumptions. In a way, they are there to please their peers, and not necessarily the audience, which they cannibalize.

Episodes of Gutfeld! will air every weeknight, starting at 11 p.m. ET on Fox News, to put it in direct time slot competition with Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and airing before the major network late night shows hosted by Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel. While the prospect of a cable late night show competing with the biggest names in the late night game may seem unlikely, Gutfeld's numbers with episodes of his Saturday night Fox News show attracted an average audience of 1.87 million viewers through mid-March.

To compare with the late night weeknight numbers, Late Show with Stephen Colbert attracted 2.44 million, Jimmy Kimmel Live! scored 1.63 million, and the once-dominant Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with 1.38 million. Of course, comparisons between a Saturday night cable TV show and nightly late shows are a bit like apples and oranges, especially when there are weekend shows like HBO's also-controversial Real Time with Bill Maher and even Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that are arguably more similar.

That said, Greg Gutfeld's Saturday numbers definitely indicate that there's a Fox News audience that tunes in for his brand of commentary, and could definitely mean solid viewership numbers when he adds some nightly comedy to the mix. The show will film episodes in front of a studio audience, although COVID precautions mean that the audience will be small to start. The goal is reportedly to go beyond politics and explore other topics with the nightly show, with Gutfeld saying:

It could be looser, because you have five opportunities a week, 25 segments, to try something. That’s exciting. That’s where you start chipping away at traditional, conventional assumptions, traditional, conventional talk shows.

Whether or not Gutfeld! will become Fox News' next big hit remains to be seen. The late night game became significantly more politics-based during the presidency of Donald Trump. The new series premieres on Monday, April 5 at 11 p.m. ET on Fox News. For some more viewing options as the weather begins to warm up, check out our 2021 premiere schedule for what's on the way this spring.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).