The Larry Wilmore Show, which had come about under Michele Ganeless’ time as Comedy Central president, and which she had described as “a panel of diverse voices, a panel of underrepresented voices” that was something that wasn’t “being done right now,” has just been canceled under new network president Kent Alterman. He said in a statement that it “hasn’t connected with [their] audiences in the way that [they] need it to.”
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.
Allegedly it came down to numbers — which had plummeted since Jon Stewart’s iteration of The Daily Show stopped being the lead-in to The Nightly Show — and a matter of 15 members from The Nightly Show being up for new contracts. Alterman’s defense of the decision to THR was that it “hasn’t connected with [their] audience in ways that we need it to…Sadly, we’ve been hoping against hope that it would start to resonate in any of those quarters and we just weren’t seeing evidence of it. As much as we like Larry and the uniqueness of the show and the voices that are on the show — not just in terms of ratings — it hasn’t resonated in terms of our fans engaging with show with consuming or sharing content or having a dialogue about it on social platforms.”
The Colbert Report used to fill the same slot, and had a viewership of almost double what The Nightly Show now has. (According to the New York Times, it was the demographic of “young men” — which is the network’s biggest demographic — who particularly don’t watch the show; I’m guessing “white” also fits into that demographic).
Wilmore has spoken to THR in the past of a disinterest in making content oriented towards virality — arguably one of the show’s many strengths — saying that he was trying to strike a different tone than shows like The Tonight Show. Only 1.5 years into its run, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore will end this Thursday at 11:30; as for what’s next for the slot, Alterman said, “We’re totally open to women and in whatever form of diversity would come, we’re open to it for sure.”
Temporarily, Chris Hardwick’s @midnight will temporarily take over at 11:30 p.m.