The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore

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The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.png
GenreComedy, news satire, talk show
Created byJon Stewart
Directed byAndre Allen
Presented byLarry Wilmore
StarringHolly Walker
Ricky Velez
Mike Yard
Rory Albanese
Grace Parra
Jordan Carlos
Franchesca Ramsey
Robin Thede
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes259 (list of episodes)
Executive producersLarry Wilmore
Jon Stewart
Rory Albanese
Production locationsHell's Kitchen, New York City, New York
EditorsNick Mougis
Duncan Pettigrew
Amanda Sprecher
Running time22 minutes
Production companyBusboy Productions
DistributorViacom Media Networks
Original networkComedy Central
Picture formatHDTV 1080i
Original releaseJanuary 19, 2015 (2015-01-19) –
August 18, 2016 (2016-08-18)
RelatedThe Daily Show

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore is a 2015–16 American late-night panel talk show hosted by Larry Wilmore that aired for two seasons on Comedy Central. The show was a spin-off of The Daily Show, which featured Wilmore as a recurring contributor. It aired Monday through Thursday at 11:30 PM (ET) following The Daily Show. It served as a replacement for The Colbert Report, which aired in the same time-slot from October 2005 to December 2014.

The show has been described as a combination of The Daily Show and Politically Incorrect. It featured Wilmore's scripted take on the news, followed by a panel discussion and later in most episodes a game with his guests. The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore received a generally positive reception from critics, but ratings fell after Jon Stewart left The Daily Show.[1]

The show premiered on January 19, 2015. It was canceled on August 15, 2016, due to poor ratings performance. The final episode aired on August 18, 2016.[2]


The set of The Nightly Show

The 11:30 PM (ET) time-slot for Mondays through Thursdays on Comedy Central had previously been occupied by The Colbert Report, hosted by Stephen Colbert as another spin-off of The Daily Show, and premiered on October 17, 2005. In 2012, Comedy Central renewed Jon Stewart's contract to host The Daily Show through the end of 2015 and Colbert's contract to host The Colbert Report through the end of 2014.[3] Colbert intentionally had his contract synced up with David Letterman's contract to host Late Show with David Letterman for CBS, so they would both expire at the same time;[4] in the event Letterman chose to retire, Colbert would be available to take over the show.[5] On April 3, 2014, Letterman announced on his show that he would retire in 2015.[6] On April 10, 2014, it was announced that Colbert would leave Comedy Central at the end of 2014 and replace Letterman as the host of Late Show on CBS beginning in 2015.[7] The final episode of The Colbert Report aired on December 18, 2014. Jon Stewart pitched the idea to Comedy Central of giving Wilmore a show to air during the 11:30 PM time-slot after his show. According to the network president, Stewart said it would be the ideal time-slot for a show with a different format that would "provide an opportunity for the underrepresented voices out there".[8] The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore was produced by Stewart's production company, Busboy Productions. Stewart, Wilmore, and former The Daily Show showrunner Rory Albanese served as executive producers.[9] Wilmore had been slated to be showrunner on the ABC sitcom Black-ish (on which he is now billed as a consulting producer), but had to decline so he would be available to host The Nightly Show.[8]

On May 9, 2014, it was announced that Wilmore had been selected to host a show to air in the 11:30 PM time-slot for Mondays through Thursdays on Comedy Central beginning in 2015.[8][10] Wilmore, like Colbert, had been a long-running cast member on The Daily Show prior to getting a spin-off.[11] He had worked as a contributor on the show since August 2006; he served as the "Senior Black Correspondent" and also ran "Wilmore-Oliver Investigates" alongside John Oliver. The original title of the show was going to be The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore, which was suggested by Jon Stewart. It was later changed as a result of receiving backlash from Fox as they intend to use the same title for an upcoming series based on the 2002 film of the same name, Wilmore later stated he was happy with the title change.[12]

The show was taped at NEP Studio 54, NEP Broadcasting's West 54th Street studio that was also used for The Daily Show until July 2005[13] and for The Colbert Report throughout its entire run.[14]

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore was the third late-night show to be hosted by a cast member from The Daily Show, behind The Colbert Report and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which is hosted by John Oliver for HBO.[15] Samantha Bee followed Wilmore as the fourth Daily Show alum to host a show with the debut of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee in February 2016 (although her show airs in prime-time, not late-night).

Bill Nye incident[edit]

During a panel on September 29, 2015, about NASA's discovery of water on Mars featuring Bill Nye, comedians Ricky Velez and Michelle Buteau continually interrupted Nye and denied interest in the discovery. Nick Venable of called the telecast "insipid", adding "if anybody out there is watching The Nightly Show for science information – and that's a long shot since the show's ratings aren't that strong anyway – then you're doing it wrong."[16]

Vox's Alex Abad-Santos described the incident as "the segment that made me stop watching The Nightly Show" and "one of the most unpleasant viewing experiences in recent memory."[17] "Nye’s genuine, earnest explanation is met by Velez yelling," Abad-Santos noted.[17] "I’m not worried about Mars. Why would I be excited about Mars? I’m barely excited about Earth," Velez yelled. "Trump is first in polls right now!"

When Wilmore did a Reddit AMA in February 2016, outrage over the Nye segment dominated most of the discussion, with more than 1,000 comments specifically criticizing the show's treatment of Nye, characterized by Adweek's David Griner as the moment that many thought the show "turned away from Stephen Colbert's legacy of intellectualism."[18] In response, Wilmore was surprised by the outcry, "It was just a conversation," he wrote on Reddit. "People are allowed to have a point of view. Bill Nye had a great time on that panel. He's been on the show a couple of times. People are allowed to have opinions. For the life of me, I really don't understand why people are so upset that someone would disagree with Bill Nye. I was on Bill's side of that, but still, who cares? It's just a conversation."[18] Bill Nye has since appeared on the show, making light of the incident.[19]

Otto Warmbier[edit]

In June 2017, Wilmore came under fire for comments he had made in an episode of The Nightly Show originally broadcast on March 1, 2016.[20] When reporting on the case of Otto Warmbier, an American college student arrested in North Korea for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda sign, Wilmore had repeatedly ridiculed Warmbier. While showing footage of a tearful Warmbier giving his testimony, Wilmore referred to Warmbier as "Otto Von Crybaby" and suggested Warmbier thought he had "Frat Bro Privilege." Warmbier was subsequently sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. He died on June 19, 2017, having been being medically evacuated from North Korea to the U.S. in a comatose state, after 15 months in prison.[21] In a podcast on June 22, 2017, Wilmore offered an apology for his earlier remarks.[22][23]

Writers and contributors[edit]

Jon Stewart was the creator and served as executive producer with Larry Wilmore. Robin Thede served as head writer for the first season and a half of the show, the first black woman to hold that position on a late-night talk show.[24] Beginning with episode 233, Michael Pielocik served as the head writer. He was one of the writers before that. The other 14 writers of the show were Rory Albanese (also Executive Producer), Jordan Carlos, Lee H. Ellenberg (episodes 213–259), Bobby Gaylor, Jack Helmuth, Franchesca Ramsey (episodes 169–259), Tim Siedell, Owen Smith (episodes 244–259), Wayne Stamps (episodes 225–259), Sasha Stewart, Robin Thede (also former head writer: episodes 1–159), Jeremy Weiner (episodes 213–259), Colleen Werthmann, Matt Whitaker (episodes 117–259) and Larry Wilmore (also Executive Producer). Former writers: Cord Jefferson (episodes 1–196), Amy Ozols (episodes 1–236; also former co-executive producer), and Holly Walker (episodes 1–218). Tom Ruprecht is a former writer (episodes 1–159) and head writer (episodes 160–232).

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore featured a cast of contributors to help add different perspectives to the show and aid in comedy bits.[25][26] The contributors included Robin Thede, Rory Albanese, Holly Walker, Felonious Munk, Jordan Carlos, Ricky Velez,[26] Mike Yard,[26] Grace Parra[27] and Franchesca Ramsey.[28] Shenaz Treasury was a contributor between January and May 2015.


The show's format has been described as a combination of The Daily Show and Politically Incorrect. Episodes would begin with a scripted take on the news by Wilmore, followed by a panel discussion led by him, in which he discussed a particular predetermined topic with his guests. In the first three months, there were four panelists. In April 2015, the number of people on the panel changed to three and writers/contributors began appearing more on the panel. Beginning in November 2015, the panel would include two writers/contributors and one outside panelist. The roster changes with each show, but often featured comedians, journalists, politicians, and authors. Sometimes the opening news segment would be omitted in favor of a longer panel discussion.[29] The end of Monday episodes of The Daily Show used to feature Jon Stewart talking to Wilmore leading into The Nightly Show, a practice also used during the early years of The Colbert Report.

On the format, Wilmore said "I'm not interested in doing a show where I give my opinion and people react to my opinion. Our show is more about the discovery of things. I want people who will teach me something." He also predicted that some people might change their minds on certain issues after hearing the different arguments in depth.[25]

Recurring segments[edit]

  • Keep it 100 – Wilmore challenges each guest to answer a controversial question completely honestly on the spot. Guests whom Wilmore and the audience believe to be answering honestly receive "I Kept It 100" stickers, even if the panel or audience may not necessarily agree with what was said, while those whom the audience suspects of overthinking their answer, waffling, or being less than honest are presented with a bag of "weak tea", displaying the show's logo. Occasionally Wilmore asks the audience to submit their own "Keep it 100" questions to him via social media, one of which is selected by staff of the show and presented to Wilmore in the following episode, who does not get to see the question in advance before answering on the spot during the taping. During February 2016, the show had a special Keep It 100 – Black History Edition, which highlighted the history of discrimination that black people faced.
  • Nightly! Nightly! – Grace Parra reports like an entertainment reporter on serious topics.
  • Blacklash 2016: Unblackening – News about the 2016 presidential election.
  • Pardon the Integration – Mike Yard (who is black) and Rory Albanese (who is white) debate controversial subjects (for example reparations) and are required to switch sides midway through and advocate the other side's position. At the end, because of the changed viewpoints, Alabanese and Wilmore are convinced that Yard is a racist.
  • Carlos Jordanson – Hillary Clinton aide
  • #Hash it Out with Franchesca Ramsey
  • Resident Blegghead with Felonious Munk[30]Felonious Munk poses as a sesquipedalian academic, confusing both Larry and the audience by using unnecessarily large words to make simple points.
  • Mike Yard's The Y Files – Mike Yard's conspiracy theories
  • 2 Chainz Explains - Rapper 2 Chainz tries to clarify a seemingly complicated issue.



Initial reviews[edit]

Upon its debut, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore received generally positive reviews. On Metacritic the first season currently holds a 69 out 100 rating, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[31] Brian Lowry of Variety wrote that the show's premiere "showed promise," commenting, "Wilmore exhibited a quickness and light touch about sensitive topics, yet struggled to bring much coherence or flow to the overpopulated discussion that took up most of the premiere."[32] David Kallison of The A.V. Club concurred with this sentiment, remarking, "He is more traffic cop than travel guide in this first episode, but his inherent wit and quickness shines through regardless," deeming the debut a "triumph."[33] USA Today's Robert Bianco opined that "Wilmore already seemed completely comfortable as the show's host, as well he should be," calling it a "solid start."[34] Don Kaplan of the Daily News said the program was a "welcome addition" to late-night television, summarizing, "While the program as a whole has room to grow, Wilmore's comedy is sharp, solid and filled with keen observations and strong enough to have earned him the distinction of being the only high-profile black voice in late night television."[35]

The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman wrote that the show's premiere was: "predictably strong [...] the slight nitpicking should not obscure the fact that overall Wilmore was funny; his show was smart and thoughtful, has a bright future and seems an excellent fit with Stewart and the Comedy Central brand."[36]

Wilmore paid a special tribute to Colbert during the closing of the first episode by thanking him for "making 11:30 special." Following the debut of the first episode Stephen Colbert praised The Nightly Show on Twitter, saying he was impressed, and using the hashtag "keepingit100."[37]


The debut episode was watched by 963,000 viewers in its original broadcast in the United States.[38][39] The show averaged 417,000 viewers a night in the key demographic of viewers ages 18 to 49 within its first three months. In March, the show's total viewings were down 38% from the average total of 1.24 million viewers received by The Colbert Report.[40][41]

By June 2015, the show's total 676,000 viewers average was down 45% from the average total of 1.24 million viewers received by The Colbert Report.[42] The show's average 230,000 viewers in the key demographic of ages 18 to 49 a night was down 45% from the 417,000 viewers its first 3 months averaged.[42][43]

In August, International Business Times reported that Nightly's ratings were in a "freefall" due to losing its Daily Show lead-in audience (Daily had gone on a seven-week hiatus before Trevor Noah's debut as host) and lacking online viral hits.[1] Nielsen showed Wilmore's ratings down 40% since Stewart's departure as Daily Show host.[1]

Average live viewers: [44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Willens, Max. "Larry Wilmore Ratings Struggle: 'Nightly Show,' Lacking Viral Hits, In Freefall Following Jon Stewart’s Finale." International Business Times. August 26, 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  2. ^ "Comedy Central Cancels Larry Wilmore's Late-Night Show". The New York Times. August 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert Extend Contracts With Comedy Central". The Huffington Post. July 25, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  4. ^ Couch, Aaron (October 30, 2014). "Stephen Colbert will take over for David Letterman in 2015". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ Carter, Bill (April 10, 2014). "Colbert Will Host 'Late Show,' Playing Himself for a Change". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  6. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (April 3, 2014). "David Letterman to Retire From CBS in 2015". Variety. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  7. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (April 10, 2014). "Stephen Colbert Will Take Over for David Letterman". The Wire. Archived from the original on December 20, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Carter, Bill (May 9, 2014). "A Successor to 'Colbert' Is Named". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  9. ^ Kenneally, Tim. "Former 'Daily Show' Showrunner to Executive Produce Larry Wilmore's Comedy Central Show". TheWrap. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  10. ^ Carter, Bill (November 19, 2014). "Late Success for Latecomer to Late Night 'The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore' Premieres Jan. 19". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  11. ^ Rose, Lacey (May 9, 2014). "UPDATED: Larry Wilmore will host a new weeknight show, "The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore," set to premiere in January". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  12. ^ Kenneally, Tim. "Larry Wilmore's Comedy Central Show Gets New Title, Premiere Date". TheWrap. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Mnookin, Seth (October 2007). "The Man in the Irony Mask". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  14. ^ Gary Levin (November 20, 2014). "Comedy Central sets date for Colbert replacement". USA Today. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  15. ^ Milliken, Mary. "John Oliver to debut 'Last Week Tonight' on HBO in late April". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  16. ^ Venable, Nick (October 2015). "Watch Bill Nye Repeatedly Get Interrupted As He Tries To Say Profound Things". Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Abad-Santos, Alex (August 16, 2016). "Watch: the segment that made me stop watching The Nightly Show". Vox. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Griner, David (February 16, 2016). "Larry Wilmore's Ratings Are 55% Lower Than The Colbert Report, and This Clip May Prove Why". Adweek. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  19. ^ J.D. Durkin (February 25, 2016). "Bill Nye Returns to Defend Larry Wilmore From Criticism: 'Let That Sh*t Go!'". Mediaite. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  20. ^ "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore: Frat Boy in North Korea & Football Hazards". IMDb. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  21. ^ Rosenberg, Ayssa (June 21, 2017). "What we can learn from the harshest responses to Otto Warmbier's captivity". Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  22. ^ Wilstein, Matt (June 22, 2017). "Larry Wilmore Apologizes to Otto Warmbier's Family". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021.
  23. ^ "The Situation in North Korea, Patriotism vs. Criticism, and Kumail Nanjiani on Arranged Marriages and 'The Big Sick'". Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air. The Ringer. June 22, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  24. ^ Nolfi, Joey (June 7, 2016). "Nightly Show writer Robin Thede makes impassioned plea to diversify television". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  25. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia (January 11, 2015). "Larry Wilmore: 'Nightly Show' Will Blend 'Daily Show,' 'Politically Incorrect' Formats". Variety. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  26. ^ a b c Rivera, Joshua. "'The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore' announces its cast of contributors – exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  27. ^ Friedlander, Whitney (November 5, 2015). "TV News Roundup: Peter Gallagher Joins 'New Girl,' 'Luther' Special Sets Premiere". Variety. Archived from the original on November 9, 2015.
  28. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. "'The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore' Taps Franchesca Ramsey as Newest Contributor and Writer". Shadow and Act. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  29. ^ Hibberd, James. "Larry Wilmore explains new show format, talks title change". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  30. ^ Munk, Felonious. "Munk Comedy Videos". Munk Comedy.
  31. ^ "The Nightly Show Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  32. ^ ""The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore" TV Review on Comedy Central". Variety. January 20, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  33. ^ "Review: The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore: "January 19, 2015" · TV Club · The A.V. Club". Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  34. ^ Robert Bianco, USA TODAY (January 20, 2015). "A good 'Nightly' with Larry Wilmore". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  35. ^ "'The Nightly Show' tackles racial themes with laughs: review". Daily News. New York. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  36. ^ Tim Goodman (January 19, 2015). "'The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore': First Impressions". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  37. ^ Finn, Natalie (January 21, 2015). "Stephen Colbert Weighs in On The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore After Series Premiere: Tip of the Hat or Wag of the Finger?". E!. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  38. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (January 21, 2015). "Larry Wilmore's 'The Nightly Show' Launch Logs 963,000 TV Viewers Monday Night". Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  39. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 16, 2015). "Late Night TV Ratings For April 6–10, 2015". Archived from the original on April 18, 2015.
  40. ^ The staff of Mediaite. "Wilmore's Nightly Show First 3 Months Down Nearly 40% from Colbert". Mediaite. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  41. ^ Garcia, Tonya. "LARRY WILMORE'S 'THE NIGHTLY SHOW' IS DOWN ALMOST 40% FROM COLBERT IN THE RATINGS". madamenoire. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  42. ^ a b The staff of tvbythenumbers. "Late Night TV Ratings For June 1–5, 2015". tvbythenumbers. Archived from the original on June 15, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  43. ^ Bibel, Sara (June 29, 2015). "Late Night TV Ratings For April 6–10, 2015". Archived from the original on April 18, 2015.
  44. ^ "Live Viewers Charts". August 2, 2016.

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