Title: The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
Host: Larry Wilmore
Nightly players: Shenaz Treasury, Ricky Velez, Mike Yard
Production company: Busboy Productions
Produced by: Larry Wilmore, Jon Stewart
Created by: Jon Stewart
Format: 30 minute panel talk show
Broadcast information: Comedy Central, weeknights, 11:30 p.m.
Tapes: Weekdays, originating from studios at 513 W. 54th Street, New York City.
In the spring , after it was announced Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman on CBS’s Late Show and bring an end to The Colbert Report, Comedy Central and Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s Busboy Productions began looking for a new program to follow The Daily Show.
Larry Wilmore, who first appeared on The Daily Show’s as the show’s “senior black correspondent” and became one of the program’s breakout satirical voices, was named the host of the new program.
Wilmore, born and raised in Los Angeles, got his start in stand-up comedy and with small roles on television and film. His big break came when he stepped behind the camera and applied his sharp wit to writing and producing.
He started as a staff writer on In Living Color, a sketch comedy show on Fox led by Keenen Ivory Wayans and Damon Wayans. Success on the show led to more writing opportunities, including writing for Sister, Sister, an ABC sit-com starring twin sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry, now a co-host of The Real.
Wilmore created and produced The Bernie Mac Show, for which he won a writing Emmy. Wilmore also created and produced Whoopi, the short-lived NBC sit-com starring Whoopi Goldberg.
Finding the right name
Without question, there are a lot of people wondering if The Nightly Show can have the same sort of impact that The Colbert Report had. Some may have thought the show was taking some short steps when it changed its name early on. But there was good reason for that.
The Nightly Show was originally titled The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore. Because another network planned to develop the 2002 Tom Cruise movie titled Minority Report into a television show, Wilmore and Busboy chose to change the name to avoid legal and brand issues.
In short, they wouldn’t be able to refer to the title in short. No Minority Report or The Minority Report. Hard to do when you want to be quick and conversational.
Wilmore later told The New York Times that he preferred the new name.
“It was never intended to be a show only about minorities,” he said in the report. “It’s a show about underdogs, and that happens in a lot of different forms, whether it’s race, gender or whatever.”
In a conversation with MSNBC, he added that he wants to “elevate new and overlooked voices,” some of whom will be minorities. Many will simply be fresh and thought-provoking.
Wilmore added the new title allows the show to define itself, rather the original title, which, while creative, tended to define the show.
Familiar format feels fresh
Viewers of The Nightly Show will likely sense the program is a bit of a callback to another successful Comedy Central talk show that, in many ways, still exists today. That show, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, proved that panel talk shows that mixed politics and comedy could have both popular and critical appeal.
The Nightly Show puts a fresh spin on the panel talk show, less recreating the genre than showing it can do the genre really well.
It also combines some of the best aspects of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, that being the opening “newscast” – those first 10 minutes or so when the host comments on current events, weaving comedy and criticism together in an entertaining and enlightening way.