Late-night tv took a major hit on Monday when Comedy Central announced it was cancelling The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore in the middle of its second year.
Comedy Central’s president, Kent Alterman, said the show was cancelled because it “hasn’t resonated.” Alterman explained to The New York Times, “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 haven’t seen evidence of it happening.”
While the show’s rocky ratings have been known for a while, the show’s sudden cancellation is still a bit surprising, especially with the presidential elections just around the corner. Unfortunately, it was just bad timing. According to the New York Times, Larry Wilmore’s contract along with other staff members was ending soon so the network had to decide whether or not to renew.
The show’s announcement in 2014 (pre-Trevor Noah announcement) was a welcome one in comedy. Especially in late-night, diverse voices are rare. To have a late-night comedy show helmed by a black man and the first black woman late-night showrunner was HUGE and frankly, very needed. I think that’s why Monday’s news did not sit well with fans and celebrities alike.
Even some in the political world were unhappy.
I hope the cancellation of the Nightly Show won’t deter similar shows, with a wide array of voices, from being made, especially since there are so many mediocre white TV shows and movies that are allowed to fail without consequences. When it comes to media featuring underrepresented communities, such as people of color or women, there is an unfair burden for mainstream success. (See: Ghostbusters) The rare times we do get chances in media, there simply is no room for failure or mediocrity. The saying among people of color, “Work twice as hard to get half as much” is no joke. It’s frustrating this system is still in place in 2016.
The last Nightly Show airs this Thursday. Let’s all watch the hard working staff and crew keep it 100 one last time. And who knows, maybe Netflix will save the day? Fingers crossed.