Larry Wilmore Calls Nightly Show Cancellation the 'Unblackening' of His Comedy Central Time Slot
It’s time to say goodnight to The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore: Comedy Central has canceled the series just over a year and a half after its Jan. 19, 2015 debut, the network confirmed to Entertainment Weekly on Monday. The final episode will air Thursday, and @Midnight will then take over the 11:30 p.m. time slot.
“We thank Larry and The Nightly Show staff for their tireless efforts across the past two years and the conversations the show generated by addressing social issues of great importance to the country, always challenging people’s attitudes, perceptions, and bias,” Comedy Central said in a statement.
Comedy Central president Kent Alterman alluded to the show’s ratings on Monday, telling the New York Times the show “hasn’t resonated.”
“Even though we’ve given it a year and a half, we’ve been hoping against hope that it would start to click with our audience, but it hasn’t happened and we haven’t seen evidence of it happening,” said Alterman.
In a separate statement, Wilmore, who was previously a correspondent on The Daily Show, said he’s “really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and our fans to have had this opportunity.”
“But I’m also saddened and surprised we won’t be covering this crazy election or ‘The Unblackening’ as we’ve coined it,” he continued. “And keeping it 100, I guess I hadn’t counted on ‘The Unblackening’ happening to my time slot as well.”
Wilmore is also currently an executive producer on ABC sitcom black-ish, which he served as the showrunner for until The Nightly Show began, and recently co-created upcoming HBO comedy Insecure with Issa Rae.
The Nightly Show replaced The Colbert Report when Stephen Colbert left the network to host CBS’ The Late Show. The Daily Show‘s Stewart pitched the idea for the series as “a show that exists in between news and punditry, or ‘fake news’ and punditry,” he told EW in 2014.
“The Daily Show is a parody of the news. The Colbert Report is a parody of punditry. This would exist in the middle of that, for voices that were not necessarily as prominent in the dialogue,” Stewart continued. “I always view The Daily Show as the mothership or the nuclear reactor that we all feed off. So this was a chance to give those voices a chance to pilot a mothership.”
The show was originally titled The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore until they discovered Fox already had a pilot with the same name. “I actually ended up liking The Nightly Show a lot, because then I thought, ‘Well, people can now define their own notion of the show,’ ” Wilmore told EW in 2015. “People ask me what it is, and I say, ‘If you’re watching The Daily Show, and it feels like it’s getting a little darker, you’re probably watching The Nightly Show.”
Wilmore hasn’t directly commented on the cancelation on social media, although he did post lyrics from The Beatles’ “Two of Us” Sunday night: “Two of us riding nowhere / Spending someone’s / Hard earned pay / You and me Sunday driving / Not arriving / On our way back home.”