In this entertainment desert of decent, funny, and smart TV programming, there is a bright spot.
Starting on MLK Day (ahem), comedian Larry Wilmore breaks the color line on late night TV (well, Arsenio kinda did that, but it’s been like 20 years since we cared) with his “Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” on Comedy Central.
“The Nightly Show” replaces “The Colbert Report,” whose host will succeed David Letterman at CBS in September.
Wilmore was the “senior black correspondent” for the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and is a respected comedian, writer and producer who says that he is ready to mix it up on late night TV.
“If ‘Politically Incorrect’ and ‘The Daily Show’ had a kid, that would be ‘The Nightly Show,’ Wilmore quipped to a group of journalists who visited the ‘Nightly Show’ set on the Friday before the show’s Monday debut.
“I’m not interested in doing a show where I give my opinion and people react to my opinion,” Wilmore continues. “Our show is more about the discovery of things. I want people who will teach me something. We’ll have people on who maybe get their minds changed after covering certain issues.”
Wilmore first joined “The Daily Show” in 2006 after an award-winning career in television writing and producing in the early 90s. hecreated the critically-acclaimed and Emmy-award-winning “The Bernie Mac Show,” which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2002, and co-created the animated show “The PJs” with Eddie Murphy.
He has also written for shows such as “In Living Color,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.” He was a consulting producer on NBC’s “The Office,” and appeared in a few episodes.
Most recently, Wilmore served as executive producer/showrunner for the launch of ABC’s hit comedy “Black-ish,” but bowed out for “The Nightly Show.”
The inaugural guests on Monday will be Senator Cory Booker, Talib Kweli and comedian Bill Burr. Other scheduled “Nightly Show” panelists for the month of January include John Leguizamo, Jon Lovett, Soledad O’Brien, David Remnick, Frank Rich, Ilyasah Shabazz, Matt Taibbi, and Baratunde Thurston.
As for debuting on January 19th, which also happens to be the date the country honors Martin Luther King, Jr., Wilmore had this to say: “I had a dream that a brother needed to work on that day.”
The Nightly Show will air at 11:30pm ET weeknights on Comedy Central.
Watch how they built the set of “The Nightly Show” below: