“The Nightly Show” has been canceled. Larry Wilmore’s replacement for “The Colbert Report” will not be renewed for a third season. The series debuted last year and had help from its lead-in, “The Daily Show,” which was then hosted by Jon Stewart.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the last episode of the Wilmore-hosted program will air Thursday at 11:30 p.m.
Network president Kent Alterman said ratings – 0.2 in the 18-49 demographic – and lack of viewer engagement influenced the decision.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t connected with our audience in ways that we need it to,” Alterman told THR. “Both in the linear channel and in terms of multi-platform outlets and with shareable content and on social platforms as well.”
Wilmore shared the news with his staff Monday, and in a statement, he was clear about his disappointment in the decision.
“I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, and our fans to have had this opportunity,” Wilmore said. “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.”
The series served as a voice of the Black community, and though Wilmore mentioned early on it wouldn’t always discuss race, it was a topic that got airtime on the show. Regarding the election, the long-time Comedy Central employee tackled Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his questionable views.
Podcaster Roderick Morrow pointed out Wilmore’s role in showcasing Trump’s problematic ways. He dismissed the praise Stewart earned for calling out the candidate, as the “Nightly Show” host did it weekly since Stewart’s run ended.
Wilmore and Noah do the job every day of the week and then Stewart comes in and it goes viral. LOL https://t.co/3JqMQqMVDY
— Rod TBGWT (@rodimusprime) July 22, 2016
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah is now the only leading Black late-night talk show host.
Alterman insisted he is committed to the South African comedian and brushes off talk of his low ratings. “Daily” averages 0.3 in the 18-49 age demographic – just 0.1 more than “Nightly.”
“Trevor has been resonating increasingly,” the executive said, mentioning his ability to create moments that go beyond the program. “All of the original shows that we shot at the conventions were so strong, and they really resonated with our fans.”
Those who worked on Wilmore’s program have spoken out about the cancellation.
Panelist Mike Yard made light of the news.
The worst part about @nightlyshow being cancelled is I now have to move out of my white neighborhood.
— Mike Yard (@mikeyardcomedy) August 15, 2016
Comedian Rory Albanese, who produced “Nightly,” expressed sadness for the show’s end, calling it “extremely necessary.”
Sad to say @nightlyshow has been cancelled. I'm very proud to have been a part of a show that has been funny, diverse & extremely necessary.
— Rory Albanese (@RoryAlbanese) August 15, 2016
Wilmore tweeted lyrics to The Beatles’ song “Two of Us.”
"Two of us riding nowhere
Hard earned pay
You and me Sunday driving
On our way back home"
— Larry Wilmore (@larrywilmore) August 15, 2016
Viewers were stunned by the decision.
Ti. shared she will miss the lesser-heard media point of view complete with the hashtag #BlackHostsMatter.
— Ti. (@tbradford1980) August 15, 2016
Actress Malinda DeRouen said the show had a”distinct style and voice that I relate to.”
— Malinda DeRouen (@MalindaDeRouen) August 15, 2016