Late night may be shut down during the WGA strike, but there’s still one host who’s proudly still on the air as his TV peers continue to picket: Greg Gutfeld.
“I have the No. 1 late night show,” Gutfeld said Monday during Fox’s 2023 upfront presentation. “I also have the only late night show — sorry — right now, so you don’t have a choice in this matter. And I am for no choices. “
Gutfeld’s comment to Fox News’ “The Five” are correct. He does have the most-watched show on late night, largely because his is the only show still airing new episodes. On May 2, the WGA officially announced it was going on strike. Shortly after the strike was ordered, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “Saturday Night Live” all reported that they would be going dark out of respect to the strike. That left “Gutfeld!”
Because the writers for “Gutfeld!” are non-union, the series has been able to air new episodes throughout the strike. Though its host joked that the Fox show is the No. 1 late night program because it doesn’t have any competition, that’s often the case even when Colbert and company are in the mix. Since its re-launch two years ago, “Gutfeld!” often outpaces its broadcast late-night competitors in terms of total viewers. In April, the series averaged 1.8 million total viewers, which was higher than either “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” or “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.” The series has also bested “Late Night With Stephen Colbert” three times now in terms of total viewers. That being said, due to its shifted airtime and the demographic frailties around the series, it’s not a perfect comparison.
Gutfeld’s gloating stood in stark contrast to the rest of Fox’s upfront presentation, which was largely professional when it came to discussing the WGA strike. During the upfront, CEO of Fox Entertainment Rob Wade said “While we hope the writers’ strike end soon, we’re more than prepared to lean in to serve our audiences and a fantastic schedule of original unscripted content.” Similarly, on a conference call with press earlier Monday, Wade said “Obviously, nobody wants this strike,” and “our thoughts go out to the writers at a moment.”