Despite being smack dab in the middle of one of the craziest and divisive election cycles in recent memory, if not ever, Comedy Central has surprisingly canceled The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. The final episode will be this Thursday, at which point @midnight will take its 11:30 p.m. timeslot.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t connected with our audience in ways that we need it to,” Comedy Central’s president Kent Alterman admitted to the Hollywood Reporter, “both in the linear channel and in terms of multi-platform outlets and with shareable content and on social platforms as well.” (That’s alarming news for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which doesn’t rely on cheap viral gimmicks like The Late Late Show with James Corden‘s “Carpool Karaoke” and literally everything on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.)
While Wilmore told the Reporter he was “really grateful” to Comedy Central for “this opportunity,” he also didn’t mince words about taking away a diverse voice in an overwhelmingly white late-night landscape. “I’m also saddened and surprised we won’t be covering this crazy election or ‘The Unblackening’ as we’ve coined it,” he said. “And keeping it 100, I guess I hadn’t counted on ‘The Unblackening’ happening to my time slot as well.”
The pre-election timing of the cancellation is unfortunate, but it apparently came down to contracts. “Comedy Central is said to have been faced with a looming decision to sign Wilmore and what insiders say amounted to be about 15 members of the Nightly Show‘s on- and off-screen staff to new contracts,” according to the Reporter. But The Nightly Show‘s ratings have been so dire, Comedy Central apparently decided it wasn’t worth it. @midnight‘s promotion to 11:30 p.m. is just a temporary fix — Alterman said he’d “consider everything,” including “women and in whatever form of diversity would come,” for a permanent solution. When asked about Colbert’s availability, he responded, “I’m pretty sure he has a job right now.”
Chris Hardwick is already on the phone.
(Via the Hollywood Reporter)