The comedian and writer Robin Thede is about to become television’s only black woman late-night TV host when her new program debuts Thursday night on BET.
The Rundown with Robin Thede will cover politics, pop culture, and commentary on the news of the day. Thede is best-known as the former head writer on the Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, where she later became an on-screen contributor.
Although the show will be aimed at a black audience, Thede, who is also serving as the show’s executive producer alongside Chris Rock, said she hopes the show will resonate with a wide range of audiences.
“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% of the audience,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
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.
This will be the first time a black woman has hosted a late-night show since Mo’Nique helmed a show on BET, which ran from 2009 to 2011. But Thede isn’t the first black woman to host a show in the late-night slot (a space that has for decades been dominated by white men): Wanda Sykes hosted a weekly program on Fox and Whoopi Goldberg had a syndicated program in the mid-1990s, according to Variety.
After Samantha Bee, Thede also becomes only the second woman late-night host currently on the air. It’s a dismal commentary on diversity in TV, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.