Greg Gutfield leaving “Red Eye” to host weekend primetime FOX News hour; stand-up comics to guest host late-night talker

FOX News announced late Thursday that Greg Gutfield, the former lad mag editor who launched the cable network’s late-night talker, Red Eye, in 2007, would leave the program to develop a new one-hour weekend show in primetime for the Republican-leaning news/opinion channel. Gutfield already also is a co-host on weekday talker, The Five.

“We are confident that Gutfeld’s distinct perspective and knack for humor will start a valuable dialogue and be a refreshing addition to the weekend lineup,” said Bill Shine, senior exec VP of programming for Fox News Channel, in a prepared statement.

Rotating hosts will anchor Red Eye after Gutfeld signs off from that program tonight. The hour is pre-taped and airs at 3 a.m. Eastern weeknights, which isn’t quite so “red eye” at midnight on the West Coast. It attracts almost 500,000 viewers on its best nights.

Among the contenders to replace Gutfield are stand-up comedians Tom Shillue and Sherrod Small, both of whom already are regular substitute hosts and often even appear together on the roundtable panel. Shillue guest-hosted last night’s show (note: a repeat from Tuesday). (Disclosure: I was a guest on the Red Eye panel once back in 2008).

Last night’s show opened with light ribbing of Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, caught spending taxpayer money for his own personal entertainment, in part because of his own Instagram feed. Shillue defended Schock, joking that $40,000 for 12 private plane fights was “a good deal,” while others defended Schock by joking that good-looking people don’t have to play by the same rules, that you didn’t see his more charitable Instagram selfies, and that his life isn’t as full of debauchery as you might have expected. If The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore aims to “Keep It 100,” then Red Eye is more about keeping it 180. Point, counterpoint.

The other stand-up who’s felt comfortable sitting down in Gutfield’s chair has been Jim Norton, who already co-hosts morning radio with Opie on SiriusXM and hosted a talk show recently online for VICE.

Shillue is Jim Gaffigan’s regular opening act on tour, has appeared in multiple national TV ad campaigns, and put out 12 stand-up albums in 12 months in 2013. He also appeared in this week’s episode of Broad City on Comedy Central. Small, a cousin of Chris Rock, is co-host of the Race Wars podcast with comedians Kurt Metzger and Kaytlin Bailey.

Here’s footage from Small’s first time guest-hosting, back in 2013, when he sought out tips.

And here is Shillue from last October, offering a final commentary on technology and our humanity. He’s for it.

With all of the upheaval in late-night TV over the past year, it’ll be interesting to see if a comedian — and which comedian, at that — earns the reins of an hour on FOX News.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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