NEW YORK — “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” will air its last episode this week after Comedy Central announced Monday the show will be canceled.
A statement from Comedy Central expresses their gratitude for the show and the conversation it has sparked about national social issues in its year and a half on air. The final episode will air Thursday night.
“Production on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore will cease after its August 18 episode. We thank Larry and the Nightly Show staff for their tireless efforts across the past two years and the conversations the show generated by addressing social issues of great importance to the country, always challenging people’s attitudes, perceptions and bias,” the station said.
Wilmore expressed his sadness over the cancellation in a statement reported by The New York Times.
“I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, and our fans to have had this opportunity,” Wilmore said. “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.”
The show had a signature segment, called “Keep It 100,” which encouraged guests to give honest answers when asked tough questions, especially about race relations and political issues in the U.S.
Executive producer Rory Albanese confirmed the show’s cancellation on Twitter.
The Times reported that Comedy Central’s show “@midnight” will fill Wilmore’s 11:30 p.m. timeslot. “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” will remain in its 11 p.m. slot.
Kent Alterman, president of Comedy Central, told the Times the cancellation comes after a year and a half of waiting for the show to “click” with an audience.
“Even though we’ve given it a year and a half, we’ve been hoping against hope that it would start to click with our audience, but it hasn’t happened and [we’ve] haven’t seen evidence of it happening,” Alterman told the Times.
Alterman said he hopes to have a replacement for “Nightly” some time next year.
The show’s cancellation comes during an unpredictable campaign season, something that Comedy Central’s late night shows have traditionally taken advantage of.
Despite Wilmore’s unceasing commitment to tackling difficult issues like race, police brutality and political controversy on his show, ratings have fallen off due to the show’s inability to draw an audience, particularly among Comedy Central’s most prized demographic: young men.
Wilmore’s exit leaves a hole in the late night world, which has been upended the past few years with new hosts taking over their respective TV institutions.
Wilmore, along with Trevor Noah, host of “The Daily Show”, are two of the most well-known late night hosts who are African American.