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With tonight's launch of Peacock's Wilmore, Larry Wilmore isn't seeking closure for The Nightly Show

  • Comedy Central abruptly canceled The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore less than three months before the 2016 presidential election. Now, with less than two months before the 2020 presidential election, Wilmore is returning to late-night with Wilmore. The Peacock show, he says, isn't closure for The Nightly Show. Instead, it's the latest stop in his journey in the entertainment industry that his found him in recent years serving as mentor to emerging talents on Black-ish and Insecure, which he co-created with Issa Rae. “Being on camera isn’t that important,” Wilmore tells The New York Times. “It’s fun, but when it went away, I didn’t miss it. I don’t do this for the attention. I do this for the expression.” Wilmore says his show will launch tonight with modest production values from a studio with no audience. “We have zero budget,” Wilmore says with a chuckle. “I almost owe them money at this point.” Wilmore appearing in several Peacock fundraising videos during the pandemic helped pave the way for his return to TV. Dan Shear, Peacock’s executive vice president of comedy development, says that those segments had been persuasive indicators that Wilmore “needed to have a place in the cultural conversation — with everything that was going on in the world, it just felt really important to have him on the air right now.” Shear didn't hold The Nightly Show's cancelation against Wilmore. “It’s a well-known fact that he hadn’t been on the air during the 2016 election,” says Shear. “That felt like such a loss for the audience that he wasn’t there through that.” Reflecting on his Nightly Show experience, Wilmore says Comedy Central really wanted something more akin to The Colbert Report. “I’m interested in keeping it 100 percent real, and whatever comes out of that expression can be on the show,” he says. “I’d rather keep a conversation going that might not be as funny, but if I’m just doing some silly bit, that doesn’t make sense.” Unlike his Nigthly Show experience, Wilmore is ready to walk away from his Peacock show when it's done after 11 episodes in late November. “Is it going to get picked up? No,” he says. “This is going to be done, and then we’ll sit down at the right time and say, Is this something we want to do as a permanent thing?”

    TOPICS: Larry Wilmore, Comedy Central, Peacock, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Wilmore, Dan Shear, Late Night