May 09, 2014 4:40pm PT by Lacey Rose, Michael O'Connell
Comedy Central Picks Stephen Colbert Replacement (Exclusive)
Comedy Central has found its heir for The Colbert Report.
With host Stephen Colbert departing at the end of the year in preparation for his new show at CBS, the cable network has tapped Larry Wilmore as his replacement, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The 52-year-old writer-actor, who has been with Comedy Central's The Daily Show as its "Senior Black Correspondent" since 2006, will get the 11:30 p.m. half-hour beginning in January. A twist on the former occupant's title, the show is called The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore.
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April's announcement that Colbert would take over David Letterman's vacancy at CBS' Late Show left a big opening at Comedy Central. The network had lost Daily Show contributor and summer 2013 fill-in John Oliver to a deal at HBO in October.
“We are thrilled to be expanding our relationship with Jon Stewart and Busboy Productions, and are looking forward to the world getting to know Larry Wilmore even better," said Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless. "He’s a spectacular talent in front of and behind the camera. The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore follows in the Comedy Central tradition -- bringing new perspectives to the day's events and breaking ground in the world of late-night television.”
The job means an East Coast move for the L.A.-based Wilmore, who will relocate to New York to tape his new series. “I’m beyond excited to have this chance to continue my relationships with Comedy Central and the brilliant Jon Stewart," said Wilmore. "I love the city of New York and promise to only wear my Laker T-shirts when I’m layering.”
Wilmore, who is repped by UTA, 3 Arts, and Tom Hoberman, created The Bernie Mac Show and The PJs and has a sprawling TV résumé as an executive producer. He was to serve as showrunner of the new ABC sitcom Black-ish, picked up to series on Thursday. He'll stay on with the Anthony Anderson comedy until a succession plan is in place.
Prior to the February launch of Jimmy Fallon as host of The Tonight Show, which has benefited from hefty buzz and a big marketing push, both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report were late-night's top performers in the adults 18-49 demographic. Colbert also continued to gain clout over his tenure as Stewart's lead-out, recently ending The Daily Show's Emmy streak as outstanding variety show.
In the wake of Colbert's departure, a swirl of potential replacements including network breakout Amy Schumer and Daily Show vets Samantha Bee and Aasif Mandvi were floated in the press. Others suggested that the network could slot stalwart Tosh.0 in that time period between Daily Show and Chris Hardwick's @Midnight. That the cable network ultimately selected a minority, something sorely missing from a late-night landscape dominated by white males, is both significant and savvy.
As for Minority Report executive producer Stewart, the neighboring anchor also extended a welcome to Wilmore: “While Larry Wilmore is a brilliant comic and showrunner, this is all just a complicated ruse to get him to move to New York and turn him into a Knicks fan.”