Free New York

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Episode #741: A Different Tone
First Broadcast: 8/22/16
Tonight, we eulogize the late "The Nightly Show," Larry Wilmore's current events TV program which was canceled by Comedy Central this past week. The network's reasoning was like so:

"Unfortunately, it hasn't connected with our audience in ways that we need it to ... both in the linear channel and in terms of multiplatform outlets and with shareable content and on social platforms as well."

To me, this seems extremely shortsighted. While the lack of connections on "social platforms" might be a potentially valid complaint for a pure entertainment program, I think what Comedy Central failed to realize is that "The Nightly Show" became a more or less bona fide news program, and TV networks have a decades-old tradition of treating their news programs as, for lack of a better term, "loss leaders," keeping them for their institutional value as long as they didn't go over budget. That, and, as Jon Stewart told Wilmore, "You gave voice to underserved voices in the media arena." That sort of discussion is badly needed because: 1) Round table talk shows often don't include the voices of ordinary people, especially people of color, who deserve to have their opinions heard as much as anyone else; and 2) "The Nightly Show" presented this national conversation in way that, I think, made it accessible for white people, and if the relationships between white people and people of color are ever going to improve in this country, then that conversation needs to reach the widest audience possible. Canceling "The Nightly Show" silences some of that conversation for now. But perhaps more positive developments await us further down the line. The show will be missed.

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So, what is Free New York anyway? The simple answer is that it's a this neat little public access TV show on Manhattan Neighborhood Network which I co-produce with the tremendous help of my camerawoman/editor/everything else, Kim. The complicated answer is that it's a project of mine to broadcast opinions and events which don't always appear within "the mainstream media" (like The New York Times, the major networks, local radio, etc.), and so far I think it's been working.

If you think I'm doing a good job--or not--and you feel like sending me snail mail, the address is:

Free New York
P.O. Box 20945
Tompkins Square Station
New York, NY 10009

You can also email me at, which should get to me a lot faster than the snail mail.

And now, the "Thought of the Moment" . . .

Check back later. I'm sure something will turn up.
Previous thoughts can be found here.

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