Larry Wilmore explained to critics the format of his new Comedy Central talk show and talked about the behind-the-scenes trouble of having to change his original title—The Minority Report.
At the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour on Saturday, the Daily Show veteran said his upcoming series—which will take over the 11:30 p.m. spot vacated by The Colbert Report—will be a cross between The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Politically Incorrect. The first part of each episode will be a scripted show with Wilmore giving his take on the day’s news, just like Stewart. But the second half will be a panel show with celebrities and guests taking on the day’s big issue.
As for the title, it has been previously reported that Wilmore’s original title, The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore, was changed in response to Fox developing a TV series based on the 2002 sci-fi thriller Minority Report (a project that actually got a pilot order yesterday).
“It became a bit of the mess,” Wilmore said, who noted his team was told they could, in fact, use the original title, but only if they called the show by its full name—The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore—in every single usage. “Even if you’re tweeting or on Tumblr, you always have to refer to that long title [or] somebody would sue you,” he said.
The show’s executive producer Rory Albanese joked that if that’s the case, the team should just go big: “Let’s just call it Star Wars With Larry Wilmore.”
Wilmore said there was some upside to the change. “We loved [the original] title, but sometimes you have to un-define what that title already means to people.” Whereas the new title, The Nightly Show, is so general, “the show gets to define what it is.”
Also, Wilmore said the title could be seen as a racial joke. “If you’re watching The Daily Show, and it looks like it’s getting a little darker, you’re probably watching The Nightly Show.”
The Nightly Show launches on Jan. 19.