Comedy Central announced the cancellation of the late-night news show yesterday (August 15). The last episode will air on Thursday (August 18).
"Unfortunately, it hasn't connected with our audience in ways that we need it to, both in the linear channel and in terms of multiplatform outlets and with shareable content and on social platforms as well," Comedy Central president Kent Alterman told The Hollywood Reporter (THR). Alterman said that contract renewal timing, moreso than getting Wilmore off the air before the 2016 elections, influenced the timing of the cancellation.
Wilmore, a longtime correspondent on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," expressed his disappointment with the decision to THR: "I'm really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and our fans to have had this opportunity," he said. "But I'm also saddened and surprised we won't be covering this crazy election or 'The Unblackening' as we've coined it," he added, describing one of his show's segments. "And keeping it 100, I guess I hadn't counted on 'The Unblackening' happening to my time slot as well." Wilmore also works as an executive producer on ABC's "Black-ish" and Issa Rae's upcoming HBO comedy "Insecure."
"The Nightly Show" premiered in January 2015, preceding the introduction of shows like "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and Marc Lamont Hill's "VH1 Live!" and offering the only prominent late-night voice of color during the initial growth of the Black Lives Matter Movement. We honor Wilmore's contribution to the late night pantheon (which positioned him to give one of the most controversial White House Correspondents' Association Dinner speeches ever) with these five segments:
"State of the Black Protest"
"The Nightly Show" premiered with a bang, linking racial justice activism and the Oscars nominations' erasure of performers of color (before any other late-night program picked up on either) in this monologue from the first episode.
"Soul Food Sit-down: Bernie Sanders"
As problematic as we found this segment, we can't deny the humor behind Wilmore's continuous loud chewing while asking the former Democratic presidential candidate about his populist platform. This segment, more than any other, displayed Wilmore's talent for placing White political figures in uncomfortable positions.
"#HashItOut with Franchesca Ramsey: Piers Morgan Slams Beyonce"
Wilmore possesses an undeniable talent for empowering the people he works with, whether it's with the show's "Keep it 100" panel contributors or in segments like "#HashItOut." Correspondent Franchesca Ramsey's recurring segment often attacks the ignorance behind social media action against Black cultural personalities. In this segment, she responds to Piers Morgan's criticism towards Beyoncé's "Lemonade." The results are...well, just watch.
"Enough Already: Confederate Flag in South Carolina"
Barely a week after the White supremacist Charleston massacre, Wilmore injected humor into this unmitigated and exasperated appeal for the removal of the Confederate flag at public sites.
"Meet Donald Trump's Black Supporters"
Wilmore challenged a handful of Black supporters of Donald Trump's inflammatory presidential campaign in this interview. Note how his disbelief widens right until the end, when he proclaims, "I still don't get it."
What "The Nightly Show" segments do you love? Let us know in the comments.