NBC is ending A Little Late With Lilly Singh after a two-season run. The host will segue into a first-look producing deal with NBCUniversal’s Universal Television Alternative Studio and develop unscripted projects for the company. Singh will also turn her attention to scripted and is developing a comedy series at Netflix with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.
“I’m excited to take this next step in my relationship with NBCUniversal and launch a new partnership between my company Unicorn Island Productions and Universal Television Alternative Studio,” Singh said Thursday. “This is a career step that I could only dream of when I started out as a creator, and I look forward to working alongside their team to create projects that bring underrepresented voices to the forefront.”
Added Toby Gorman, president of Universal TV Alternative Studio: “We are thrilled to bring even more laughter to Universal Television Alternative Studio by partnering with Lilly Singh. Time and time again, Lilly has proven herself as a creative visionary and storyteller who captivates and engages audiences. We look forward to seeing what exciting projects come to life for everyone to enjoy.”
Singh’s show ran for two seasons on NBC. The series returned for its second season Jan. 11 with a new showrunner — Neil Punsalan (Comedy Central’s Doing the Most With Phoebe Robinson), who replaced Aliyah Silverstein — and a largely new writing staff as well as a new set that saw the host abandon the traditional desk-and-couch set-up for a house in Los Angeles that gave Singh more room to move around and try new things.
Singh said in a statement (read it in full, below) that she had a desire to pivot to longer form content focused on underrepresented stories, which she noted was difficult to accomplish while hosting a nightly series.
Singh replaced Carson Daly in the slot that airs after Late Night With Seth Meyers. Sources say NBC is rethinking the 1:30 a.m. time slot and will be moving away from original talk programming.
Singh was one of few women in the late-night space. The end of her series leaves Samantha Bee and her TBS show, Full Frontal, as the only woman to host a late-night series for a major linear network. (Amber Ruffin hosts a series on NBCU streamer Peacock.)
Singh was a surprising choice to replace Daly after his nearly 20-year run. The YouTube star with north of 30 million followers on social was the only woman to host a broadcast late-night show. She was also the first bisexual woman of color to front a late-night series.
The news comes as NBCUniversal TV and Streaming’s new exec regime is beginning to make moves. Frances Berwick and Susan Rovner now oversee a content group that includes NBC, Peacock and six cable networks. NBC is poised to present its 2020-21 schedule to ad buyers later this month.
Here’s Singh’s statement:
Two years ago, I embarked on the wild journey of late night TV. I knew this show was about more than me, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity and support. Today, I write to you from a similar place of deep gratitude to share some news.
I’m going to focus on the slate of projects my company Unicorn Island Productions is developing, and we’re saying goodbye to A Little Late with Lilly Singh. I have a desire to make longer form content telling underrepresented stories, which is difficult to execute on a nightly show.
This leads me to two very exciting announcements!!
I’m thrilled to share that NBCUniversal and I have taken the next step in our relationship by signing a first look deal between Universal Television Alternative Studio and Unicorn Island Productions. I’m excited about bringing even more diversity to screen in an even bigger way.
I also get to share the news that I am developing a comedy project with the wonderful folks at Netflix. It will be Executive Produced by the talented Kenya Barris and his team at Khalabo Ink Society, along with writers/executive producers Nell Scovell and Diya Mishra. And ya girl is starring in it!
This is just the beginning; I can’t wait to share more with you but this is all I can tease for now. I’m beyond grateful for your support past, present and future.
And to the Late with Lilly crew, I’m so proud of the progress we made in diversifying late night. We’ve given 21 people their late-night debut this season! That’s pretty incredible and it’s been a true honour.