Comedy Central announced Monday that Thursday would mark the Nightly Show‘s final episode, with @Midnight slated to take over the 11:30 p.m. slot until a permanent replacement is found.
“I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and our fans to have had this opportunity,” Wilmore said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
Comedy Central president Kent Alterman told the magazine that the Nightly Show “hasn’t connected with our audience in ways that we need it to” both in terms of ratings and viral content. Early on, the show’s viewership benefited from following Stewart’s Daily Show, but after that host left that program, The Nightly Show‘s ratings dropped to its current 0.2 in the 18-49 demographic. With key contracts set to expire, including Wilmore’s, Comedy Central opted to cancel the show.
Wilmore served as the Daily Show‘s Senior Black Correspondent from 2006 until hosting The Nightly Show in January 2015. When asked whether Jessica Williams, another former Daily Show correspondent, could replace Wilmore at 11:30 p.m., Alterman said Williams is more focused on a scripted weekly half-hour program. However, Alterman added, “We’re totally open to women and in whatever form of diversity would come, we’re open to it for sure.”