TV Ratings: Larry Wilmore’s ‘Nightly Show’ Makes a Solid Entry

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jay Leno Speaks Candidly About Bill Cosby and Hannibal Buress.

Jay Leno spoke enthusiastically about the state of the comedy industry during a Q&A session on Wednesday at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference.

debuted Comedy Central’s new on Monday, and the veteran writer, comedian and Daily Show correspondent brought a solid sampling for his first time at bat.“I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe women,” the former Tonight Show host said at the annual NATPE conference in Miami, Variety reports. “You to go Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man. Here you need 25.” Leno then remarked about how the most recent accusations against Cosby began getting traction after a video of comedian Hannibal Buress calling Cosby a rapist during a standup routine went viral. “On any other media that would have been edited,” he said. “People are getting news unfiltered now.” Cosby’s legal team has repeatedly denied allegations from more than 15 women that the former Cosby Show star, 77, drugged or sexually assaulted them. Last night, the program – only in its second day on the air – took a major risk in tackling the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby head-on. “Tonightly, we’ll be talking Cosby,” host Larry Wilmore said in the cold open for the show. “We’ll be asking the question, did he do it? The answer will be yes.” If there was any fear that he would not be able to match his night-show predecessors, Wilmore and his staff of writers quickly eradicated them.

Comedy Central’s late night block, like all of TV, has also been bringing in more and more viewers with time shifting — and Wilmore stands to grow significantly after people sample throughout the week. The half-hour, home to Stephen Colbert for the last nine years, built on the 11 p.m. success of Jon Stewart and helped make the cable network a late-night destination that’s rivaled the broadcast networks. And then a lot of times now with people they have to filter the story to suit sponsors or whatever it might be. “I think this whole Cosby thing,” added Leno, “Hannibal Buress started it. Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made the controversy part of their opening monologue at this year’s Golden Globes, and comedian/director Judd Apatow said he “absolutely would like to see [Cosby] in jail” or “at the very least, go in [his] mansion and disappear for the rest of [his] life.” During a lighter note in the Q&A, Leno described comedian Larry Wilmore’s new late-night show, The Nightly Show on Comedy Central, as “terrific.” “Wilmore brings a different perspective,” Leno said.

Wilmore took 30 minutes to discuss the story from all angles – the allegations, the influence of his television shows, the hecklers – and succeeded. Most viewers to his show probably knew what to expect for the most part.” Colbert’s success in the time slot, which sometimes even rivaled his lead-in, wrapped on a high note in December. But because somebody would put the news out raw and unfiltered — which I think is fantastic — it was a great thing.” “I came into work one day and they said, ‘Oh you’re being replaced.’ OK, I’m out.

Although the accusations and conversations surrounding Cosby were reignited by Hannibal Buress, a black comedian, the conversation has been directed in what Cosby might consider “white media”. Late last year, Cosby was interviewed by the New York Post and said, “Let me say this: I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that, you have to go in with a neutral mind.” Many construed the comments as a call to “black media” to remain patient and support Cosby in the face of the allegations, implying that this was a matter created in the eyes of the white media. I said OK because everybody from The Tonight Show had been there a long time. … I like to keep the same people all the time … so I said I’ll do a 10 o’clock show, and we had a two-year guaranteed contract. “The idea behind that show was we were never going to win primetime,” said Leno, “but when reruns came around we would be the only ones doing original programs and we would make money then. We did OK We did as well as we could have hoped. “The thing that got me was — and I never saw this coming — suddenly scripted programmers were protesting: ‘Oh, Jay Leno you’re taking away our jobs.’ It never occurred to me that we would take away scripted. The most interesting part of the night came in the form of a roundtable discussion featuring a mix of comedians, writers and members of the media, including Jamilah Lemieux from Ebony magazine, writer Baratunde Thurston, and comedians Kathleen Madigan and Keith Robinson.

Lemieux made a pointed statement, saying, “I’m supposed to grow up and be a Huxtable.” The sentiment is one likely felt by many, especially black, middle class Americans. Lemieux, a graduate of Howard University (the influence for The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World) said she once felt like she let Cosby down when a past relationship did not work out and she became a single mother. Later, during the Keep It 100 segment, Wilmore asked Thurston if he would criticise Cosby even though it might brand him an Uncle Tom and make him “lose his black card”. The lines between Wilmore’s comedy and his personality were blurred, such as when he said, “There’s a statute of limitations on the charges, but there’s no statute of limitations on my opinion and I’m telling you that motherfucker did it.” Looking at the first two episodes of the show, it is clear that Wilmore’s agenda as a show host will be singular, relevant and necessarily on-point.

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