Larry Wilmore’s Comedy Central series The Nightly Show comes to a bittersweet end after the channel announced Monday that they’d decided to cancel the show after a little over a year and a half of being on air. The last episode is slated to run Thursday, with the Viacom-owned network planning to slot in Chris Hardwick?s game show @Midnight at 11:30 p.m. until a permanent replacement is found.
The news wasn’t at all surprising from a strict ratings standpoint, since The Nightly Show wasn?t able to register with viewers. It constantly brought poor ratings performance and even during the most recent quarterly ratings period (April?June), Wilmore?s broadcast averaged just 153,000 viewers aged 18 to 34, a massive drop-off from the 278,000 millennials who regularly tuned in to The Daily Show on TV during the same period.
Part of the reason why the show wasn?t renewed was because it lacked the ability to live on the internet according to IBTimes. The popular strategy of today?s late night show use ?viral sketches? that can be shared on social media. This apparently attracts more viewers from the internet onto the small screens to bring in favorable ratings. Comedians like Jimmy Fallon, James Corden and John Oliver have mastered this art and as such their shows are pretty much successful with the millennial audience.
On the other hand, Wilmore instead aimed for unfiltered conversation from underrepresented voices. He brought a fresh perspective to the white male dominated late night comedy game and spoke on variety of issues from skewering race relations in America to diverse topics such as difficulties black women face in dating.
His old-school model of sit-down discussions mimics Real Time with Bill Maher where he discussed on a broad range of topics with a panel of guests. But Wilmore’s show was a nightly panel discussion usually featuring guests combining largely of women and people of color which didn?t get as much attraction as mainstream night shows with discussing white problems in general.
However, Wilmore’s nightly panel discussions, along with his monologues and sketches did represent a unique and assured voice and will surely be missed by the underrepresented voices he brought on screen.
The Nightly Show airs one last time this Thursday, August 18 at 11:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.