While CBS moved at a jaw dropping pace to replace David Letterman with Stephen Colbert after the former announced his retirement from The Late Show, Comedy Central took a comparative eternity to replace Colbert and the Colbert Report before revealing last night that they had eschewed the oft-speculated candidates to stay in-house with a surprising but logical choice.
A comedian, an award-winning writer, a producer and The Daily Show's "Senior Black Correspondent," Larry Wilmore will take the Monday-Thursday 11:30pm baton from Colbert (whose show shuts down on December 17th) in January when The Minority Report makes its debut.
Created and co-produced by Daily Show host Jon Stewart and his Busboy Productions shingle (Stewart also co-created and produces The Colbert Report), The Minority Report will “offer a comedic look at news, current events and pop culture from unique perspectives not typically on display in late night television," according to Comedy Central.
As for who will join Wilmore on the show (assuming there are panelists) and what the full composition of the show will be, right now that is anyone's guess. With that said, one can easily imagine an arrangement where Daily Show correspondents and contributors get a chance to expand their footprint on the network by appearing on both shows.
Specifically, up and comer Michael Che and long time Daily Show correspondents Aasif Mandvi and Samantha Bee, for whom an expanded role might serve as a consolation prize for getting passed over for the 11:30 hosting gig, assuming that they actually were in the running and/or interested in the job - a detail that we sadly don't get to know.
Be honest, from a purely gossipy and guilty pleasure standpoint, these smooth late night transitions are a bit dull, aren't they? It's just more fun when we can at least compare the person who got the job to the people who didn't.
But honestly, it's hard to think of anyone on those speculative lists that are as qualified as Wilmore - the co-creator of The Bernie Mac Show, a writer/producer on The Office, and a Daily Show contributor who consistently delivers hilarious and thought-provoking commentary on race, sidestepping (but also sometimes playing with) the awkwardness and tension that the topic can inspire.
Pushing that all aside, though, the finest example of Wilmore's aptitude for this job might be his Showtime specials: Race, Religion, and Sex. There, Wilmore worked the crowd, did stand-up, and talked to a diverse panel of guests from inside and outside of the comedy world. Could that show inform the direction of The Minority Report?
We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, what are your thoughts about Larry Wilmore replacing Stephen Colbert? Let us know in the comments.
The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore premieres in January 2015 on Comedy Central.