Nightly Show Cancellation Raises the Wrong Questions

Comedy Central has announced that The Nightly Show starring Larry Wilmore has been canceled. The show is one of a number of comedic spinoffs of The Daily Show. The Daily Show has quite a track record for creating new stars and has launched the careers of Stephen Colbert, Ed Helms, Steve Carrell and others.

The Nightly Show focused on the black perspective in America. Many people said that it was an important show as it shined a light on the African American experience in the United States. And yet, it averaged just 700,000 viewers per week. That’s far less than The Daily Show, even though that show is struggling mightily under new host Trevor Noah.

There was a bit of an outcry over the cancellation. This reminds me of another recent moment in our culture, when people took to the internet to complain about how there are no Black Widow action figures in the Avengers toy line. Every male from Iron Man to Hawkeye was there.

It was explained by Marvel and toy executives that they don’t make Black Widow action figures because female action figures don’t sell. This provoked outrage and a storm on social media. The company quickly relented and began making Black Widow figures.

In both cases, people are claiming that they want something, but then when it is offered they don’t actually take it. Clearly many of the people complaining about the cancellation of The Nightly Show didn’t watch it. Black Widow action figures are, in fact, the lowest-selling figures in the line. Action figures are primarily bought by boys. Clearly, there aren’t that many girls interested in buying the Black Widow.

It is nice to feel the need to be inclusive and to consider others. But to harangue a business for simply not wanting to lose money on something doesn’t feel right. They shouldn’t be punished for simply adhering to reality.

To me, the question people should be wondering about is why nobody watched The Nightly Show rather than complaining that it got cancelled. For me, I didn’t watch the show because I just don’t think Larry Wilmore is funny. He is likeable and he can be amusing, but I don’t think he is suited for the host role.

Obviously, other people had similar feelings. That is not Comedy Central’s fault.