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Larry Wilmore to replace Stephen Colbert

Writer-comic Larry Wilmore of "The Daily Show" has

Writer-comic Larry Wilmore of "The Daily Show" has earned Stephen Colbert's coveted Comedy Central time slot following Jon Stewart each night. (Credit: AP / Frank Micelotta)

Larry Wilmore -- the "senior black correspondent" at "The Daily Show" -- will be correspondent no more: Comedy Central has handed him Stephen Colbert's host gig, in a new show titled "The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore."

The show launches in January, and per Comedy Central, will be "a comedic look at news, current events and pop culture from unique perspectives not typically on display in late night television."

And so the guessing game of Who will Replace Colbert ends, and in the most logical way imaginable -- Wilmore, a gifted insider, gets the big job, just as Colbert before him did, and both with -- to use Comedy Central's words -- "unique perspectives" on the news.

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Both are also -- besides performers -- writers, and Wilmore has an even more interesting part to his resume: he's an actor, who appeared memorably in "The Office" and elsewhere, and who is attached to Anthony Anderson's "Blacvk-ish" (he'll stay with the show for now.) He created "The Bernie Mac Show,"  and was a writer with "In Living Color." 

Wilmore is also -- just to point out the obvious -- black in one of the whiter parts of TV, late night. As host, he'll join an army of one out there, Arsenio. Wilmore's subject is frequently race, and the manifold absurd ways it is channeled through American life and culture; there's no overt anger in his comedy, but the subtext is occassionally angry (as if it could be otherwise), so that'll be interesting to see how that will be applied in a full 30-minute show. It's not that Wilmore willl have enough material -- he'll have an endless supply -- but whether a.) he'll fill every show with it; or b.) branch off into other places as well. I hopefully speak for all late night comedy/talk show fans by suggestiong that Plan B sounds more promising... 

By the way, Colbert's start date at "Late Night" has not yet been determined, but I think nothing should be read into the fact that Wilmore starts up in January when Stephen ends. David Letterman's last edition could be anytime after that point, although a sweeps period (February or May) would seem most likely and logical. 

Meanwhile, back to Wilmore: He's a shrewd, understated and ironic comedian, and ... thoughtful, as if comedians are supposed to be "thoughtful." (Of course they are, from Louis C.K. to Stewart.)

Check out some clips; the first a radio interview with Leonard Lopate ... then, one from possibly his first TV appearance ... and his congressional correspondent's dinner performance. Together, they might give you the slightest flavor of what to expect, and he'll almost certainly channel parts of his "TDC" persona as well.

This promises to be a terrirfic show.


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