Larry Wilmore Pitches 'The Nightly Show': A Mix of 'Daily Show' and 'Politically Incorrect'

“I had a dream that a brother needed to work on that day," he joked of his Comedy Central show's Martin Luther King Day launch
Comedy Central / Screengrab
Larry Wilmore

If The Daily Show is a cousin to nightly news, and The Colbert Report is a cousin to opinion news, Larry Wilmore suggested his Nightly Show will be a cousin to discussion news.

On hand to promote the forthcoming entry at the Television Critics Association's press tour Saturday, the Daily Show veteran said his half-hour talk show should feel like a cross-section of The Daily Show and Politically Incorrect when it launches on Martin Luther King Day. The comedian used a question about whether there was any significance to the latter date to showcase the humor that his audience can expect: “I had a dream that a brother needed to work on that day,” he deadpanned, before acknowledging that irony was, indeed, intended.

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The half-hour series had been the brainchild of Jon Stewart, who was looking to fill a gaping hole left by Stephen Colbert at 11:30 p.m. Stewart's pitch: a nightly panel discussion that focuses on underrepresented points of view, be it those of women, African Americans or others not commonly heard on late night TV – and who better to host it than Wilmore, best known to Comedy Central viewers as the Daily Show’s "senior black correspondent." (Stewart will serve as an executive producer on the series, as he did on The Colbert Report.)

Among the other differentiating characteristics of Wilmore's Nightly Show: the series’ guests, which won’t be the usual carousel of celebrities hawking their latest film or book. “I can’t compete in the glamour booking race,” Wilmore told reporters, and, it seems, he doesn't want to. Instead of traditional sit-down interviews that populate the landscape's other late-night shows, Wilmore will be booking relevant voices, whether they belong to stars or to average people, to contribute to a nightly panel discussion, and he said he's more interested in discovering new voices than he is in offering a platform for predictable ones.

"Rather than have your normal kind of pundits like you'll see on shows where it's on the left and the right and you already know what they're going to say and you already know what their conclusion are, we'll have people on whose minds may get changed," he said, with his executive producer Rory Albanese noting that If the night's discussion is about a strike, for instance, they'd want to get someone on who was actually striking, rather than a media-savvy delegate for the strikers.

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To be sure, the run-up to The Nightly Show's Jan. 19th launch hasn't been without hiccups. In fact, Wilmore's show has already had to undergo a name change, ditching its earlier title, The Minority Report, after receiving a few legal letters from Fox, which is rebooting a potential TV series of the same name. Though he says he considered Meet the Rest, a title that garnered big laughs in the Pasadena ballroom, he ultimately settled on The Nightly Show because it was both descriptive and vague. Plus, Wilmore joked: "If you’re watching The Daily Show and it’s getting a little darker, it's probably The Nightly Show."