Larry Wilmore was one of the first correspondents of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart to leave the shelter of Stewart’s comedic wings after Stephen Colbert exploded onto the scene with his Colbert Report. Wilmore’s The Nightly Show held its own in Colbert’s former time slot, but ratings have dwindled since Stewart’s retirement, and Comedy Central has decided to pull the plug on The Nightly Show.
In a statement to Mashable, Comedy Central said that “production on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore will cease after its August 18 episode.” Much to the chagrin of Wilmore himself, who expressed regret that he “won’t be covering this crazy election.”
Comedy Central president Kent Alterman told The Hollywood Reporter that “it hasn’t connected with our audience in ways that we need it to,” which is no surprise considering Wilmore’s The Daily Show alumni competition. John Oliver, another of Stewart’s hatchlings, has gained a following to rival Stewart’s own, especially after his medical bill payoff stunt, and longtime The Daily Show cast member Samantha Bee has been dubbed Stewart’s “real heir,” thanks to her show Full Frontal and its energetic and biting commentary on the political environment. Pile those on top of Stephen Colbert, arguably the most successful of Stewart’s veterans, and it becomes difficult — or in Wilmore’s case, impossible — to stand out in such a crowd.
The cancellation marks the end of Wilmore’s 10-year career with Comedy Central. He will continue to work as executive producer on ABC’s Black-ish, and also HBO’s upcoming Issa Rae comedy Insecure.
The decision makes The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah the only black voice left in late-night television. Alterman says he remains committed to Noah despite initial drops in ratings, which are similar to Stewart’s experience when he filled Craig Kilbourn’s seat at the Daily Show desk. As for filling Wilmore’s time slot, Alterman says, he is “totally open to women and in whatever form diversity would come, we’re open to it for sure.”