BET hasn’t had a full-fledged late-night talk show since Mo’Nique went nightly back in 2009-2011.
The network is diving back in this fall with Robin Thede’s The Rundown. BET is giving The Rundown an initial 24-week order; it’ll air weekly for a half-hour, with a launch date and time to be announced.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, and interviewed both Thede and Chris Rock about the show. Rock will executive produce; he previously EP’d Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell for FX/FXX.
We previously saw Thede as the head writer and contributor on-air for Larry Wilmore’s The Nightly Show on Comedy Central from 2015-2016.
Speaking of which, here are a couple of her segments from last year:
Here are excerpts from the THR interview with Thede and Rock about making The Rundown for BET:
The late-night landscape is very competitive and hard to cut through. How will The Rundown differ and stand out?
Rock: You get the natural thing of there’s no other black woman in late night! But that’s not enough to carry a show — but it absolutely will help; it’s not going to be a hindrance, I’ll say that. You essentially have seven guys doing a version of the same show, so you have a handful of networks not addressing 55 percent of the audience. It’s odd. That’s not even counting color or ethnicity. I like all those guys, but find it really hard to believe. Here’s the weird thing — and it’s a network thing — all those guys are great, but are seven white guys funnier before you get to any woman or a Latino? I don’t think so. By the time they offer something to someone who is a minority, they’re too big for the job. That’s the problem. They never really take a shot with new talent when it comes to a woman or a minority. I’ll get an offer for a late-night show now, but the reality is I probably should have gotten it in 1995. That’s when Conan got it. That’s when white guys get it — on the ascension. But no one really makes that jump. So they’ll offer Ellen The Tonight Show now when reality is they probably should have offered her The Tonight Show in 1992. Take a chance. George Lopez, they gave him a talk show 10 years after they should have given him a talk show. They waited until he was the most famous Mexican guy in the world and then he gets an offer. Michelle Wolf is as funny as can be and should have her own show. So I have to hand it to the good people at FX for taking a chance with Kamau. It’s not the black thing, it’s that they took a chance — and that’s rare.
Robin, what did you learn from your experience on Comedy Central’s Nightly Show and how will that impact what The Rundown will be?
Thede: The show starts to become what your audience wants it to be. People start to tune in for your opinion on the things that matter to them. Social media plays a big role in that. There’s the phenomenon of “black Twitter,” and other shows treat that as a thing they put in the case and observe. Whereas The Rundown, I think we can integrate that more into the lifeblood of the show because that’s how we communicate because we haven’t had a late-night show to satirize everything that’s going on in politics and pop culture — that is our late-night show, and now we’ll actually be able to see it on screen.
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