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Tipsheet

CNN's Attempt to Challenge 'Gutfeld!' Is Failing Miserably

AP Photo/Ron Harris

At the end of January, CNN announced it would begin airing the "Overtime" segment from HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday nights at 11:30 starting February 3 — putting Maher up against the bottom half of MSNBC's "11th Hour With Stephanie Ruhle" and Fox News Channel's late night juggernaut "Gutfeld!"

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The Nation speculated last week that CNN made the decision to bring the longtime HBO host to its air for "Maher’s low-cost, low-risk, durable presence to give the network a foothold in answering Fox’s right-wing late-night breakout hit, Gutfeld!" while noting that "Greg Gutfeld, the show’s namesake host, tops not only his cable rivals but also the broadcast network shows of Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jimmy Fallon." Apparently, The Nation has discovered out that "the best path to challenging Gutfeld! is to not veer left." No kidding.  

But it turns out — like many other attempts by CNN boss Chris Licht to turn things around at the network — inking a deal to bring Maher's "Real Time" after-show segment to CNN has so far failed to draw viewers away from FNC's "Gutfeld!" as CNN's shakeups continue to fall short in reviving the network's dwindling ratings. 

In its first broadcast on February 3, CNN's airing of "Overtime" drew 376,000 total viewers and just 89,000 in the coveted 25-54 age demographic for the 11pm hour, per Mediaite. In the same time period, "Gutfeld!" had 2,087,000 total viewers and 396,000 in the 25-43 demo — a significant win for FNC over CNN's attempt to challenge Greg Gutfeld and his panelists' dominance in the time slot. 

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Then, in the second "Overtime" broadcast on February 10, things got even worse for CNN. With just 339,000 total viewers from and 65,000 in the 25-54 demo, Maher drew an even smaller audience than in the first installment. Fox News Channel, on the other hand, saw "Gutfeld!" again wallop its competition on CNN with 1,934,000 total viewers and 286,000 in the 25-54 demo.

Why CNN thought it could, after failing to recoup lost viewers with its shaken-up schedule earlier in the day, suddenly take on Greg Gutfeld and the late night show that regularly beats even broadcast network counterparts, is a head-scratcher. 

Despite the fact that Maher has, at times, been seen as something of an accidental ally to conservatives due to the left's radical lurch, his "Overtime" segments so far haven't done anything to make viewers want to click over from FNC to CNN. In his February 10 installment of "Overtime," Maher insulted Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders' appearance for supposedly not matching her age, even though Sanders is the youngest governor in America at present. Naturally, yet Maher didn't have anything to say about the appearance of older Democrat governors — just more of CNN's lazy bias that fails to draw viewers. 

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Over on "Gutfeld!" however, things are going swimmingly and the show's success was featured in a spot during Sunday night's broadcast of Super Bowl LVII, heralding FNC's win with Greg Gutfeld, "the new king of late night."

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