Noah Trevor is a flop. Larry Wilmore’s just the fall guy. Canceling The Nightly Show is like a demented father who punishes an older brother because of mistakes the younger brother made. “Do you see what you made me do!”
As much as I love Larry Wilmore he’s way too intellectual for a late night Comedy Central time slot. Actually, for Comedy Central, period. (Jon Stewart was always an accidental find and didn’t really graduate from gags to biting commentary until the Iraq War, but really altered his view after 9/11 which changed how Stewart approached comedy.)
Wilmore’s also guilty of the one bigotry still acceptable in broadcasting: he’s too old. He didn’t have any appeal to the 18–35 males (read mentally 14) core that are Comedy Central’s advertisers. Which leads to the most eye-popping sentence of 2016, “given [ratings] numbers’ increasing inadequacy for measuring a show’s true cultural footprint.”
Anyone in a broadcasting suite who read that ended up on the floor laughing hysterically. That’s ‘show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser’ territory. In short there is no such thing. In any advertising driven media, ratings matter. The Stewart-led Daily Show’s cultural imprint was accompanied by key demo audiences that made any show jealous (David Letterman would outdraw Stewart’s Daily Show by 4x, but in the key 18–34 demo was almost the same). P&G wasn’t shelling out for YouTube afterglow, it was getting prime beef during the DS broadcast.
So Wilmore must now find a new gig. He should be on PBS. They could use someone to offset the dour Charlie Rose. Too bad his biggest fans likely wouldn’t stay up that late to watch.