Greg Gutfeld’s late-night dominance isn’t a mirage.
The host of Fox News’ “Gutfeld!” just staved off his high-profile competitors for the sixth straight week. That means any repeats or vacation retreats can’t explain away the show’s success.
It’s a hit. Period.
“Gutfeld!” offers something other late-night shows don’t – jokes aimed at Team Biden and the progressive agenda. And, given President Joe Biden’s rickety approval ratings, that matters.
It’s clear other networks could have served up their own “Gutfeld!”-like show but refused to engage with Red State USA. They left money on the table and continue to do so by failing to clone the “Gutfeld!” model.
The shocking rise of “Gutfeld!” holds other consequences.
Late-night TV isn’t just a place for yuks and, in the Trump era, bald propaganda. The platforms give stars all the promotional space they need to push their films, TV shows and music.
When Tom Hanks drops by “The Late Show” it’s not to jibber jabber with Stephen Colbert. He’s got a product to push, and Colbert is more than happy to shill on its behalf.
That mutual agreement serves both parties. And, hopefully, gives audiences an entertaining chat along the way. That unspoken pact has served Hollywood well for decades.
It’s even more vital for stand-up comedians.
The ultimate win for a comic in the Johnny Carson era? Landing a five-minute spot on Carson’s “The Tonight Show.” If Carson summoned the comedian to his couch for a post-set chat, even better.
Today, right-leaning stars lack access to this promotional bonanza. Kirk Cameron won’t be invited on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to discuss “Lifemark,” his pro-life drama. Robert Davi can’t request a 10-minute interview with Seth Meyers to share details behind “My Son Hunter.”
Woke-crushing comics like Ryan Long won’t be pining for Jimmy Fallon’s approval, either.
Now, they can tell their jokes, their way for Gutfeld’s approval.
“Gutfeld!” taps a rich network of subversive stars for his nightly panel. Yes, you’ll see the usual conservative pundits along with show regulars Kat Timpf and Tyrus.
The show also invites comics like Jimmy Failla, Michael Loftus and Terrence K. Williams on to crack wise about the latest headlines. Many viewers may not have known their names before “Gutfeld!” They lack access to late night podiums or industry bibles like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
They know them now.
A platform previously off-limits to conservative talent is now wide open. Plus, the show regularly pulls in 2+ million viewers a night, meaning plenty of folks are exposed to their wit and wisdom.
This matters as a wave of right-leaning product rolls off the assembly line.
Breitbart News is joining the fray, distributing “My Son Hunter” with the promise of more to come. Pure Flix and Angel Studios also deliver content lacking the Hollywood stamp of approval.
Other indie projects, from Nick Searcy’s “Capitol Punishment” to the aforementioned “Lifemark,” now can ring up “Gutfeld!” producers with a chance of getting an invite for their key talent.
Why is this so important?
If a Daily Wire movie comes out and no one hears about it, the web site may roll up its Hollywood-style red carpet. It’s not enough for conservatives to make original content, especially since many critics are openly hostile to their efforts.
Audiences need to hear about them and, even better, see them framed in a positive light.
That’s the power of a late-night showcase. It explains why traditional platforms refused to air a right-leaning show for so long. The NBCs, Hulus and Comedy Centrals of the world feared such a show would let libertarian stars shine.
Now, they’re seeing that happen in real time, and there’s nothing they can do about it.