Larry Wilmore's series premiered in January 2015 and was celebrated for showcasing diverse perspectives. However, even with the November election looming, The Nightly Show failed to bring in enough viewers, getting only a 0.2 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.
"We just didn't feel like we had enough traction to sign up for another year. It wasn't about the election; it's about another year of the show," Comedy Central president Kent Alterman said. "Sadly, we've been hoping against hope that it would start to resonate in any of those quarters and we just weren't seeing evidence of it. As much as we like Larry and the uniqueness of the show and the voices that are on the show — not just in terms of ratings — it hasn't resonated in terms of our fans engaging with show with consuming or sharing content or having a dialogue about it on social platforms."
When responding to the cancellation, Wilmore didn't hide his disappointment in Comedy Central's decision. "I'm really grateful to Comedy Central, [executive producer] 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."
Before landing his own late night series, Wilmore was the "Senior Black Correspondent" on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He currently executive-produces black-ish and HBO's upcoming comedy Insecure, starring comedian Issa Rae.
Comedy Central will air Chris Hardwick's game show @midnight in The Nightly Show's 11:30 p.m. time slot while the network looks for a permanent replacement. And while Alterman shut down the possibility of former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams as an option ("Jessica is more interested in developing a half-hour weekly scripted show"), he did promise that Comedy Central will look at more than just straight, white men. "We're totally open to women and in whatever form diversity would come," he said. "We're open to it for sure."