Fox Digital celebrated a television first at the end of August, crowning Greg Gutfeld the new king of late-night. The program Gutfeld! outpaced CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for the first time, averaging 2.19 million viewers. It is the only occasion a cable outlet has overtaken legacy broadcasters in the late-night time slot. This ratings bonanza comes on the heels of some rather startling changes at the Democratically controlled news purveyors and appears to signal a transformation is underway, though exactly what kind is uncertain.
Leftist Media Sharpens the Axe
A change of ownership at CNN, along with the resignation of longtime chief Jeff Zucker, started the ball rolling at the Atlanta-based cable outfit. New owner, Warner Bros. Discovery Media (WBDM), was quick to note the ratings free-fall which beckoned the beginning of the end for some of the most outspoken cable show progressives, including Brian Stelter. WBDM sources tell Liberty Nation that CNN is tasked with rehabilitating its “fake news” image and tacking to the political center. At the very least WBDM’s personnel changes indicate it is making overtures toward this goal.
Meet the Depressed
Meet the Press has enjoyed a long and proud history, first debuted by the National Broadcasting Company in 1947. However, host Chuck Todd has managed to run it into the ground with a total market share of 21% in his time slot. Now there is scuttlebutt that Todd could be facing the NBC guillotine. The show’s executive producer, John Reiss, has been reassigned, and insiders suspect this may be the death knell for the former Democratic operative. Unabashedly leftist in his commentary, as are most of his guests, Mr. Todd sports an arrogant style and attitude that has turned off viewers both figuratively and literally.
Todd is so loathed by conservatives that his getting the boot may spark a new national holiday for many on the right.
Then there is the on-again, off-again situation with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, which appears to be buttoned up for the time being, but the network had to cough up big bucks to make that happen. Maddow is set to remain on the cable outlet through 2024 for a cool $30 million per year with a show that airs only on Monday. Still, she can’t seem to overtake Fox’s Sean Hannity, who bested her, 2.98 million viewers to 2.61 million, in the August ratings war.
Meanwhile, Greg Gutfeld, who also appears on Fox’s blockbuster The Five, has done more with a lot less than the other late-night kings he managed to dethrone. Fox Digital boasted, “The success of ‘Gutfeld!’ has come without heavily promoted Hollywood celebrities and fewer resources than legacy late-night shows, but viewers have been drawn to the quirky roundtable format, which provides a platform to a blend of trusted regulars and newcomers.”
Mr. Gutfeld – who offers viewers a humorous, if irreverent persona – is unapologetically conservative, often at the expense of his leftist late-night counterparts. Launched in April of 2021, Gutfeld! has managed to slay NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Colbert was the last man standing until Mr. Gutfeld beat him in the ratings war last month.
However, it cannot go unnoticed that the progressive networks – both cable and broadcast – are experiencing a bloodletting of market share, which turns into fewer advertisers and, thus, less money. A business can only sustain losses for so long before it either changes or is forced to shut its door. This may be why the Stelters, and perhaps even the Todds, of the airwaves are going down.
At its basic level, television is nothing more than a ratings game. If the audience doesn’t like the host, there isn’t much that can be done to fix that other than remove and replace them as rapidly as possible. Viewers seem to be telling the network honchos that they have had enough of the leftist talking points and are tuning out. Until now, the legacy networks haven’t been listening to the silence of those who are fed up with the progressive noise. But as the saying goes, money talks. Like it or not, they can adapt or face a long, expensive death at the hands of their viewers.