From the moment Stephen Colbert announced the end of The Colbert Report and his subsequent transition over to hosting CBS’ The Late Show, many wondered just who Comedy Central would select to take over his 11:30pm late night timeslot. The job ultimately went to Larry Wilmore, a veteran writer and producer in Hollywood, who became famous on-screen for his stint as The Daily Show’s “senior black correspondent.” Wilmore’s resume prior to TDS included writing for popular comedies like In Living Color and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as well as creating The Bernie Mac Show.
While some were surprised at Wilmore being given the job, one man who had the utmost confidence in him was former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, the credited creator of what would ultimately become The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Stewart pitched Comedy Central on both the series idea and Wilmore serving as host, and was instrumental in The Nightly Show getting picked up. Unfortunately, Comedy Central opted to abruptly cancel the late-night talk show earlier this week, after less than two years on the air. Reasons cited by the network for the cancellation include low ratings, and lacking levels of social media engagement.
Wilmore hasn’t been shy about discussing his impending departure from Comedy Central in the days since, although he seems to have reached the acceptance stage of grief at this point. This pattern continued via an interview conducted with EW following the taping of last night’s penultimate Nightly Show episode. Among the topics discussed were the plans for tonight’s final airing, allowing Wilmore to reveal that Stewart himself will appear as a guest during Nightly’s send-off:
“We’re just going to be simple [Thursday] night. We’re gonna do a little reminiscing. I’m going to talk to all the contributors – although Mike Yard and Ricky Velez unfortunately aren’t going to be here because they already had plans to be away. But everybody else should be around. Jon Stewart is going to drop by, and I’m going to talk to him. So he’ll be popping in.”
While Stewart has yet to publicly weigh in on The Nightly Show’s cancellation, it makes perfect sense that he would show up to say goodbye to Wilmore, considering the the long relationship between the two. This will mark a fairly rare TV appearance for Stewart since his departure from The Daily Show last summer, which was then taken over by South African comic Trevor Noah. Stewart made a few appearances for WWE around last year’s SummerSlam, popped into his old TDS stomping grounds last winter, and recently joined his old pal Colbert during the latter’s Late Show coverage of the Republican National Convention.
As for what’s next for Wilmore, the now former host seems ready to head back to the world of episodic scripted TV, possibly back to his old jobs of writer and producer. Wilmore is also open to another late night gig, should one be offered, although he intends to take some time and consider what he really wants to do going forward. With The Nightly Show done, it’ll be interesting to see both where Wilmore lands next and what Comedy Central chooses to do with the 11:30pm slot.
The Nightly Show series finale airs tonight at 11:30pm EST on Comedy Central.