Keeping It 100, Here’s Why Larry Wilmore’s ‘Nightly Show’ Was Canceled

Numbers don’t lie — but they also don’t tell the whole story

Larry Wilmore never really stood a chance.

The newly canceled “Nightly Show” was not only burdened with the gargantuan task of filling the “Colbert Report’s” shoes — it had to do so without all that many Jon Stewart lead-ins to boot. (“Nightly” ended up following Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show” for something like 143 of its 259 episodes.)

Plus, Wilmore got off to a rough start, having to drop his initial title of “The Minority Report” to a bad Fox broadcast adaptation, settling with the cutesy-but-not-so-clever “Nightly Show.”

But what’s in a name? Surely not 962,000 total viewers per night, which was the massive per-episode chasm between “Nightly” and “Colbert.” Now we’re truly getting somewhere.

We can still drill deeper than that in terms of a breakdown, however.

From Sept. 28 to July 31, “The Nightly Show” averaged just 724,000 total viewers per night. Comparably, from Sept. 30, 2014 to July 27, 2015, Stephen Colbert‘s final season had pulled in 1.686 million total viewers per night.

Bear in mind, that measured period ended almost five months before “The Colbert Report” did, so this wasn’t a finale boost. All told, that’s a 57 percent gap — and Wilmore’s the one with the election-year assistance.

The numbers look even worse in some of the important advertiser demographics. Among those 18-49, Wilmore plummeted 63 percent from his predecessor. For millennials — those 18-34 — the gap grew to an ugly 68 percent. When isolating only the youngest adults — ages 18-24 — Wilmore fared 70 percent worse than Colbert.

Of course, it’s not all about linear viewers these days. Just ask those youngest millennials.

Unfortunately, the 54-year-old Wilmore fell shy on social media as well. “The Nightly Show” has just 100,000 Twitter follows, and its bald host’s following is only a hair higher than that.

Compare those figures to Noah’s 4.3 million followers, with “The Daily Show” clocking in even higher. Still wondering why one new Comedy Central host is safe and the other is not? We didn’t think so.

Hopefully Wilmore has better luck as executive producer of HBO’s upcoming “Insecure.” Considering he created “Black-ish,” we’d say the kid’s still got a chance in this business.

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