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On April 5, Fox News Channel will once again dip its toes into the late night TV water, and it is turning to an old hand to help it do so: Greg Gutfeld, the co-host of the channel’s popular afternoon panel show The Five, and The Greg Gutfeld Show on Saturday nights.
“If [The Five] is like sitting around a dinner table with your friends, this is like sitting around at a bar,” Gutfeld tells The Hollywood Reporter of his new 11 p.m. program Gutfeld!.
But while Fox News is marketing the show as a competitor to late night stalwarts like The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, or The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (including a billboard by Jimmy Kimmel’s studio at the El Capitan theater in Los Angeles, or local ad buys on all the late night shows), Gutfeld says he is grading his success against himself.
“I am basically competing against my past. I want this to be every bit as successful as a Saturday show, and I wanted the Saturday show to be as successful as The Five,” he says, adding that he wants to see what people stop him on the street to say they love his show.
Gutfeld’s first challenge is finding a way to fit into a schedule not known for its humor. The channel’s first attempt at a late night franchise, The Half Hour News Hour, fizzled after just a few episodes in 2007. Though it would find success (with Gutfeld as host) with Red Eye, its subversive late-late night 3 a.m. program.
In his new timeslot, Gutfeld’s lead-in will be conservative opinion host Laura Ingraham at 10 p.m., and after his show there is a news hour at midnight.
“I don’t want people to finish watching Laura and then go, oh it’s time to watch the wacky hour! I don’t want that,” he says. “I want to be in their universe, so whatever the story is is going to dictate what we do, and oftentimes those stories aren’t funny, so I am going to have to deal with that.”
It’s a change for Gutfeld, who often brings sarcastic banter to The Five, and who says he originated a segment called “Animals Are Great” “strictly to annoy people.”
“I told the producer at the time, I want to create a jingle that is really annoying, like a Barney jingle, and that was it. And then it became super popular,” he says.
Gutfeld says his daily show will be an evolution of his weekly program, though he will take some cues from Red Eye, which he hosted from 2007-2015.
“When you are doing a show once a week you take fewer risks,” he says “When you up the frequency, you create a chemistry… You could do something really stupid or weird, and if it doesn’t work, eh, you’ve got other stuff. And if it does work, that’s amazing. I think what I am really looking forward to is that I look forward to the adventurism, where something organically happens because you take a risk that you wouldn’t ordinarily take.”
That doesn’t mean he won’t take a few cues from the late night competition, however, citing Fallon’s “Slow-Jamming the News” segments, or James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke.”
“Those are million dollar ideas, because you get it immediately,” he says. “That is something we should probably look at, and we are tinkering with some things.”
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