Comedy Central has canceled Larry Wilmore’s late-night talk show “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.”
The network’s president, Kent Alterman, told multiple outlets that the show “hasn’t resonated.”
“The Nightly Show” launched in January 2015 as a replacement for “The Colbert Report” in the 11:30 p.m. ET slot after “The Daily Show,” when Stephen Colbert left the network to host CBS’ “The Late Show.” Wilmore, who previously appeared for years as the “Senior Black Correspondent” on “The Daily Show,” often explores the intersection of race and politics. In each episode, his opening commentary dissects current events and pop culture, before he invites a panel of comedians and pundits to offer their own opinions. The show ends with its trademark “Keep it 100″ segment, in which Wilmore asks the panelists a challenging question and then judges the frankness of their answers.
“The Nightly Show” never picked up the solid viewership of its predecessor, which ran for nine years and averaged 1.12 million viewers ahead of its series finale. “The Nightly Show” brought in around 1 million viewers for its premiere episode, which boasted a Jon Stewart-hosted “Daily Show” as its lead-in, but failed to maintain that audience. Deadline reports that “The Nightly Show” averaged between 600,000-800,000 viewers while Stewart was still on air, but has hovered between 400,000-550,000 viewers since Trevor Noah took over in Sept. 2015 (as”Daily Show” ratings declined as well).
Earlier this year, Adweek pointed to a September 2015 segment featuring Bill Nye to explain why “The Nightly Show” had struggled to hold on to viewers. The segment, about the possibility of liquid water on Mars, was criticized because “The Nightly Show” panelists frequently interrupted Nye and questioned whether they should even care about the subject. The segment came up repeatedly during Wilmore’s Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) in February.
Wilmore has also had a successful career in television comedy writing. He created “The Bernie Mac Show” and co-created the claymation comedy “The PJs” with Eddie Murphy. Wilmore also served as the showrunner for “Blackish” for part of the first season.
This year, Wilmore came under fire for his controversial speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner. He closed his speech by facing President Barack Obama and saying “Yo, Barry, you did it, my nigga.” He later told The Washington Post that he had “kept it 1,000″ at the dinner, borrowing from “Nightly Show” parlance.
In a statement, Wilmore borrowed another phrase from his show: “The Unblackening,” referring to the replacing of Obama.
“I’m 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. And keeping it 100, I guess I hadn’t counted on ‘The Unblackening’ happening to my time slot as well,” he said.
This Thursday’s episode will be “The Nightly Show’s” last. “@Midnight,” a pop culture game show hosted by Chris Hardwick, will take the 11:30 p.m. time slot for now as Comedy Central looks for a permanent replacement.
Video: Comedy Central has canceled Larry Wilmore’s “Nightly Show,” the network president saying that the late-night show “hasn’t resonated.” Here’s why else the show didn’t make it. (By Nicki DeMarco / The Washington Post)