It is a very sad day in the world of "fake news." Deadline reports that Comedy Central made the decision to cancel The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore , a show created and executive produced by Jon Stewart and hosted by Wilmore. The Nightly Show was doing poorly in the ratings, but had a few classic viral moments like his coverage of the arrest of Bill Cosby among many other bits. It's so upsetting that this show only had two seasons to get in its stride, and then didn't even get the chance to make it to that stride. But I like to think there's still hope for the show — like maybe it could find new life on the internet. Because what Wilmore is saying and doing needs to be heard and seen.
The worst part about this cancellation is that it comes two months before the 2016 presidential election, a prime time for comedic fodder. Wilmore spoke of the decision with Deadline, "...I'm 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.”
As watchers of the show know, "The Unblackening" refers to a concept Wilmore coined in regards to Donald Trump's desire to "make America great again." Washington Post describes it as "Wilmore's pithy way of describing his sense that so many white Americans are eager for more than an end to Obama's presidency but what they sense is the ascendancy of non-white Americans, their concerns, interests and experiences." This type of dialogue is something the world still needs to hear — perhaps via some sort of internet series?
While Deadline reports that Comedy Central president Kent Alterman praised Wilmore for having "evolved the show," he also admitted,
"But unfortunately, it hasn’t been resonating with our audience; it’s been struggling for quite a while as far as connecting with our audience. We stuck with it for a year and a half but ultimately we didn’t feel that we see enough traction to justify doing another year.”
And I feel that, that sounds logical to me. But I'm hopeful that The Nightly Show can experience an online rebirth. People always love something a bit more once it's been taken from them... right? After Wilmore's seriously on point hosting gig of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (“The president's hair is so white, it keeps saying 'All Lives Matter.”), it became pretty clear that he is one of the voices we need to navigate our way through this dark time. He is honest and hilarious, characteristics that Jon Stewart proved with The Daily Show are the ones we need to cut through the nonsense and red tape of politics and get to the core of the issues.
The show's last episode will air Thursday, August 18, and Wilmore will probably be on to bigger and better things, though I wish he would consider taking the show on the road (or more accurately, to the web). The comedian left two comedy series for The Nightly Show — he served as executive producer and showrunner of the Emmy-nominated Black-ish and co-created HBO's series Insecure — so he will surely be in high demand.
I don't know where Wilmore will go next, but I am hopeful that he continues doing the jokey news thing because he kills it. Trevor Noah is all well and good on The Daily Show, but Wilmore has a unique voice that still needs to be heard.