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Comedy Central Cancels 'The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore'

The late-night humor and talk show, which premiered in January 2015, will conclude its run Thursday, the network announced Monday.
White House Correspondents' Dinner Party
Comedian Larry Wilmore speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on April 30, 2016 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington.This is President Obama's eighth and final White House Correspondents' Association dinnerOlivier Douliery-Pool / Getty Images

Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" is coming to an end.

The late-night humor and talk show, which premiered in January 2015, will conclude its run Thursday, the network announced Monday.

Larry Wilmore waves as he is introduced at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton.Susan Walsh / AP

The program, which filled the slot vacated by Stephen Colbert when he jumped to CBS, sought to explore current events and larger life issues as presided over by Wilmore, who previously had served as "senior black correspondent" on "The Daily Show."

But audience acceptance of "The Nightly Show" never approached its "Daily Show" lead-in, neither during the regime of Jon Stewart nor that of his successor, Trevor Noah, who took over last September.

Related: Mixed Reaction as Wilmore Drops N-Bomb on Obama

Comedy Central president Kent Alterman praised Wilmore and his team for "crafting a platform for underrepresented voices." He said the show had steadily improved, "but unfortunately it hasn't resonated with the audience in a way that it would need to for us to continue."

With the end of "The Nightly Show," which Stewart also produced, Comedy Central's internet-based game show, "@Midnight with Chris Hardwick," will air a half-hour earlier. Its current midnight slot will be filled by repeats of other Comedy Central shows.

"I'm really grateful to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart, and our fans to have had this opportunity," Wilmore said in a statement. "But I'm also saddened and surprised we won't be covering this crazy election, or 'The Unblackening,' as we've coined it. ... I guess I hadn't counted on "The Unblackening" happening to my time slot as well."

Though the end of "The Nightly Show" eliminates a rare black-hosted program from the mainstream airwaves, Alterman dismissed any suggestion that race played a role in the show's ratings failure or that a minority host might not be considered in the future.

Said Alterman conclusively, "We're all in with Trevor Noah," who is black.

"We feel so solid about Trevor and what 'The Daily Show's' doing," he elaborated, and noting that, at 32, Noah is a millennial "and native to the social media, multi-platform landscape," declared that total views of "The Daily Show" across all platforms from Noah's premiere until now are up 22 percent from what they were a year ago with Stewart as host.

Related: Trevor Noah Brings 'A Different Perspective' as 'Daily Show' Host

As for what will permanently follow "The Daily Show," Alterman said the network would be in no hurry to launch a replacement.

"We're just gonna begin development and see where we go," he said.

And in response to past criticism aimed at Comedy Central, as with other networks that have largely stuck with men in hosting roles, Alterman said women, too, would be considered to headline the new show.