No Joke: Comedy Central Cans Larry Wilmore

Network president says ratings just aren't there
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2016 10:57 AM CDT
No Joke: Comedy Central Cans Larry Wilmore
In this Jan. 10, 2015, file photo, Larry Wilmore speaks at the Viacom 2015 Winter Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour in Pasadena, Calif.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Larry Wilmore is no more in Comedy Central's 11:30pm slot after Thursday night, Wilmore informed his staff Monday, per Deadline. The Nightly Show, which debuted in January 2015, didn't grab young adults and hadn't had much impact on social media, Comedy Central President Kent Alterman tells Variety, adding Wilmore's "strong voice and point of view" simply didn't strike a chord with viewers. "We didn't feel that we see enough traction to justify doing another year," Alterman says of the show created and executive-produced by Jon Stewart. Per Nielsen, both Wilmore's show and Trevor Noah's Daily Show have struggled in the ratings, the New York Times reports, but Wilmore has lost more than half of the audience he was handed from Stephen Colbert's The Colbert Report, and Alterman says Noah is doing just fine and gaining ground with young viewers.

While Wilmore expressed his gratitude to the network for the opportunity he's had—he was also a correspondent on Stewart's Daily Show for years—he seemed shocked it pulled the plug before Election 2016. "I'm saddened and surprised we won't be covering this crazy election or 'The Unblackening,' as we've coined it," he said. Alterman says "ideally" they would've kept Wilmore on until November, but because one-year contract renewals for Wilmore and other network contributors had to be decided on before the election, they had to make a "business decision." As Comedy Central brainstorms on what will appear after Trevor Noah for the long term—Alterman says a decision likely won't be reached until next year—@midnight will slide into the 11:30pm slot for now. (More Larry Wilmore stories.)

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