Comedy Central’s talk show lineup will soon look a bit emptier. According to Variety, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore will air its final episode this Thursday, August 18th.
Wilmore had hosted the half-hour comedy since 2015, when Stephen Colbert’s absence left a void for a late-night talk show for a host with a strong voice. Wilmore was selected for the prestigious spot, and The Nightly Show proved to showcase the host’s unflinchingly direct reports on everything from police brutality to the Starbucks holiday cup.
Wilmore had also been a regular presence on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart before helming his own program, and the two shows share a similar humorous but intellectual take on the news of the day. Wilmore’s team even experimented with the format by adding a roundtable segment to the traditional sketch/monologue talk show made popular by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. These roundtable discussions had personalities in the comedy, political, and media-related worlds, and were open to discuss various topics that were salient within the news cycle. It was clear to both audiences and critics alike that Wilmore and his team were invested in making The Nightly Show a different kind of talk show, but unfortunately their efforts ran short.
Comedy Central decided to cancel Wilmore’s brainchild after the series failed to garner ratings with their core demographic. With The Daily Show with Trevor Noah receiving weaker ratings since Jon Stewart’s departure, the network had to make the tough call to end The Nightly Show, but it appears they did so quite hesitantly.
Kent Alderman, the president of Comedy Central, spoke to Variety about his reluctance to see The Nightly Show end: “We’ve been monitoring it closely as for a year and a half now and we haven’t seen the signs we need in ratings or in consumption on digital platforms. We’ve been been hoping it would grow,” Alterman said.
But as the seasons passed and the views made a steadier decline, the network was forced to admit that The Nightly Show couldn’t hold the attention of the much-needed young adults that make up most of Comedy Central’s demographic.
Fortunately this does not spell the end for Larry Wilmore himself, as he continues to work on his writing and showrunning capabilities. His new HBO comedy Insecure, which he co-created and executive produces with Issa Rae, is set to premiere on October 9th.
In the meantime, @Midnight will be given Wilmore’s former 11:30 p.m. time slot, and no other talk shows are being considered for the immediate future.