Comedy Central is shaking up its late-night TV lineup, bringing bad news for fans of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. After a year and a half on the air, the politically minded show has been canceled by the network, reports Deadline. The final episode will air on Thursday, August 18.
The Nightly Show — which is created and executive produced by Jon Stewart — served as a replacement for fellow Daily Show spinoff The Colbert Report, but its ratings never took off. In fact, the show’s audience has declined since losing its Stewart-led lead-in last year. The Nightly Show averaged between 600,000 to 800,000 live viewers when Stewart hosted The Daily Show, but that number has dropped to between 600,000 and 800,000 since his retirement.
The cancellation comes in the midst of a heated presidential election, which disappointed Wilmore. “I’m really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, and our fans to have had this opportunity, but I’m also saddened and surprised we won’t be covering this crazy election, or ‘The Unblackening’ as we’ve coined it,” said the host, according to Deadline. “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 explained that the cancellation came now because deal renewals for Wilmore and many of the members of his creative team were fast approaching. He commended Wilmore’s “very strong and unique point of view,” but also noted that the viewership just wasn’t there.
“It’s been struggling for quite a while as far as connecting with our audience,” said Alterman. “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.”
The fate of the 11:30 p.m. ET/PT time slot is up in the air. In the short term, The Nightly Show‘s 11:30 p.m. ET/PT slot will be filled by Chris Hardwick’s now oddly named @midnight, but the move is only temporary. In the meantime (and perhaps beyond), viewers will have to look elsewhere for late-night political humor.