Comedic veteran Larry Wilmore will say goodbye to The Nightly Show viewers on Thursday night, less than two years after the pilot episode aired.
Comedy Central announced Monday that the network will air its final episode on Thursday at 11:30 p.m. According to The New York Times, Comedy Central’s president Kent Alterman said the show did not resonate with a core audience and had difficulty in ratings.
According to Nielsen, within the first year, viewership fell to an average of 992,000. In 2016, the show tallied 776,00 viewers a night. That number significantly differs from Wilmore’s predecessor Stephen Colbert, who pulled in an average of 1.7 million viewers. Until a replacement is found, the network’s show @midnight will take Wilmore’s spot, while The Daily Show will remain at the 11 p.m time slot, The Times reports.
“I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, and our fans to have had this opportunity,” Wilmore said in a statement. “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.”
Wilmore’s executive producer Rory Albanese thanked the show’s staff on Twitter and said he would miss working with such a diverse and talented group.
Wilmore, known for his role as the “senior Black correspondent” on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, snagged the 11:30 time slot in January 2015 at Stewart’s urging. But before his days on Comedy Central, Wilmore was a fixture in comedy as a writer for In Living Color, and as creator/executive producer of The PJs with Eddie Murphy and The Bernie Mac Show with the late Bernie Mac.
In the midst of an election season like no other, Wilmore kept us laughing with segments aimed at exposing the events compacted by race and politics. From his segment “Keep It 100,” to his choice of guests, Wilmore always pushed the plight of Black America to the forefront, tackling issues like police brutality and the n-word, which many late night hosts shied away from.
The announcement comes just days after CBS defended their fall lineup, which includes six White heterosexual men in lead roles. When asked about the lack of diversity at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills last week, CBS’s entertainment president Glenn Geller said the network would need to “do better,” but quickly quipped that overall, shows on CBS were more diverse than they were last year.
It’s not enough to say that you will do better, especially if you know better. After continued pleas from minorities over the last two years to see Black and brown faces on TV, in print, and on the big screen, it’s disappointing to see Comedy Central delete a desperately needed voice in American comedy and politics.
We will miss The Nightly Show in this wild election year as a watchful eye on politics and race relations. Thank you, Larry. We’ll continue to keep it 100 for you.
SOURCE: The New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty