“The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” will call it a day after Thursday’s episode.
Comedy Central has canceled the half-hour series that replaced “The Colbert Report” on Jan. 19, 2015, making “Nightly” the first of the recent wave of late-night newcomers to shutter.
Wilmore informed his staff of the cabler’s decision on Monday.
In the near term, Comedy Central will slide Chris Hardwick’s pop culture quiz show “@Midnight” to the 11:30 p.m. slot that follows “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
Comedy Central president Kent Alterman said the decision was made because “Nightly” had failed to gain ratings traction with the cabler’s core demo of young adults, nor were there positive signs for the show in key social media metrics. Alterman made a point of praising Wilmore and the distinctive approach he brought to commenting on the day’s news.
“We hold Larry in the highest esteem, personally and professionally. He brought a strong voice and point of view to the late-night landscape,” Alterman says. “Unfortunately it hasn’t resonated with our audience.”
Alterman called it a “business decision” to pull the plug.
“We’ve been monitoring it closely as for a year and a half now and we haven’t seen the signs we need in ratings or in consumption on digital platforms. We’ve been been hoping it would grow,” Alterman said.
Wilmore didn’t hide his disappointment in having to bring the show to an abrupt end this week, particularly before the climax of the presidential race that has yielded so much material.
“I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, [executive producer] Jon Stewart, and our fans to have had this opportunity,” Wilmore says in a statement. “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.”
Comedy Central is developing a project with “Daily Show” contributor Jordan Klepper that could be a potential successor to “Nightly” in the post-“Daily Show” slot. But Alterman says it’s unlikely that any new program would be set before the start of the year.