I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — when it comes to late-night TV shows, the first episode out of the box is usually very different from the way the show will look and sound a few months later. I hope that’s true of “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” which has the unenviable task of trying to fill the gigantic shoes of its time slot predecessor, “The Colbert Report.”
One thing that should change soon is the not-so-round-table discussion that filled the middle of the show. It looked like every guest panel on every boring cable news show, albeit with more diversity. Four guests is way too many for a segment that doesn’t even last ten minutes. Bill Maher’s panel has only three people, but they get 30-40 minutes to hash things out. On Wilmore’s show, the time constraint got in the way of anyone saying anything particularly funny or smart. I’d much rather have seen Wilmore talking one-on-one with guest Senator Cory Booker than having him compete for limited airtime with his co-panelists.
Speaking of the other panelists, I don’t know what to make of Shenaz Treasury, one of Wilmore’s “contributors.” She didn’t add much last night and is obviously a television rookie who needs more direction. When introduced, she turned away from the cameras to wave at the audience, a move that must have frustrated the TV director, who couldn’t get a head-on shot of her. If she’s going to be a regular, someone needs to tell her to ignore the studio audience and play only to the host and the home audience.
This is all first-show nitpicking, granted, but with help from executive producers Jon Stewart and former “Daily Show” honcho Rory Albanese, I’m hopeful Wilmore and his “Nightly Show” crew will get better over time.