Larry Wilmore debuted Comedy Central’s new Nightly Show on Monday, and the veteran writer, comedian and Daily Show correspondent brought a solid sampling for his first time at bat.
The series premiere attracted 963,000 viewers at 11:30 p.m. and a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Any disappointment over Wilmore not cracking 1 million viewers should be taken lightly. The premiere happened on the tail-end of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, with a modest 1.2 million lead-in from The Daily Show. Comedy Central’s late-night block, like all of TV, also has been bringing in more and more viewers with time-shifting — and Wilmore stands to grow significantly after people sample throughout the week.
The first outing has been greeted warmly by critics, with The Hollywood Reporter‘s Tim Goodman writing, “As for first impressions, I liked it. Wilmore himself is a smart, funny performer who is no stranger to The Daily Show crowd. Most viewers to his show probably knew what to expect for the most part.”
“The Nightly Show” replaces “The Colbert Report,” whose host will succeed David Letterman at CBS in September.
Wilmore was the “senior black correspondent” for the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and is a respected comedian, writer and producer who says that he is ready to mix it up on late night TV, according to blackamericaweb.com.
“If ‘Politically Incorrect’ and ‘The Daily Show’ had a kid, that would be ‘The Nightly Show,’ Wilmore quipped to a group of journalists who visited the ‘Nightly Show’ set on the Friday before the show’s Monday debut.
“I’m not interested in doing a show where I give my opinion and people react to my opinion,” Wilmore continues. “Our show is more about the discovery of things. I want people who will teach me something. We’ll have people on who maybe get their minds changed after covering certain issues.”
Wilmore first joined “The Daily Show” in 2006 after an award-winning career in television writing and producing in the early 90s. hecreated the critically-acclaimed and Emmy-award-winning “The Bernie Mac Show,” which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2002, and co-created the animated show “The PJs” with Eddie Murphy.
He has also written for shows such as “In Living Color,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.” He was a consulting producer on NBC’s “The Office,” and appeared in a few episodes.
Most recently, Wilmore served as executive producer/showrunner for the launch of ABC’s hit comedy “Black-ish,” but bowed out for “The Nightly Show.”
The inaugural guests on Monday were Senator Cory Booker, Talib Kweli and comedian Bill Burr. Other scheduled “Nightly Show” panelists for the month of January include John Leguizamo, Jon Lovett, Soledad O’Brien, David Remnick, Frank Rich, Ilyasah Shabazz, Matt Taibbi, and Baratunde Thurston.
article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)