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Last Comic Standing Returns to NBC for a Fourth Seasonby Dale Sherman -- 01/19/2006
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In a surprising move, on January 18, Senior Vice President of Alternative Programming and Development at NBC, Craig Plestis, announced that Last Comic Standing would be returning to NBC this summer. “Last Comic Standing will be an exciting addition to our summer schedule,” said Plestis. “The show gives unprecedented Exposure to talented comics and provides countless laughs to our viewers in the process.”
As many readers and fans know, NBC had a very bumpy relationship with the program in its third season, forcing the creators of the series to come up with a rushed “Season One vs. Season Two” contest that failed to draw in the rating numbers NBC demanded.
After forcing the producers to drop an episode to end the show a week earlier, NBC refused to air the finale just days before it was to air, even though ratings were not as bad as the program that replaced it (reruns of the short-lived computer animated series, Father of the Pride). NBC did finally agree to have a half-hour finale filmed to wrap the series up for their viewers, only to shift it to Comedy Central after already announcing they would air it on NBC. The final straw was NBC then announcing the winner in a voiceover several days before the finale aired, thus making the point of watching the final show moot.
In a flash of logic that seemed to have come out of nowhere, NBC has suddenly remembered how well the series did for them in the summer months of 2003 and 2004 (both seasons averaged 8.3 million viewers overall, and the second season was the #1 show in the summer of 2004 for the coveted 18-49 year old demographic) and thus will be bringing it back.
No mention is made yet of when the series will appear this summer, or for how many episodes, but it was stated that talent scouts will be going to see performances around the country soon. Plestis also stated that an online component will be added this season, where prospective contestants can have their stand-up aired on NBC.com and internet viewers can then vote for one comic from those shown to be a contestant on the program this summer.
Major details as to where try-outs (if any) will occur this year, air-times, number of episodes are still to be determined as of this writing. NBC.com has no details on their website as of this writing.
It is known that Peter Engel will continue to serve as executive producer of the program. But what about the host? Creator and longtime host Jay Mohr told RealityNewsOnline: "Last Comic Standing is indeed coming out for a fourth installment. So far the network is ordering eight episodes. I don’t know how they plan on making it work in eight weeks, but that’s why they work for a network and I don’t. I do not know yet if I will be hosting, producing or sitting art home and getting a check for nothing at this time. I will know more on that as the days tick by."
It is true that no host has been named at this time. If not Mohr, one would think that it would likely be one of the winners or finalists from a previous season, many of whom, we have learned, have sent inquiries to NBC. Sources also tell us that some comedians from the other seasons will be involved with the show, possibly as guest judges, but the extent of this involvement is not yet known.
More details, as always, when they can be confirmed.
You can e-mail Dale about this column or his other projects at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also click here to buy his book, The Urban Legends of Rock and Roll: You Never Can Tell, or any of his other books. Dale also writes weekly recaps for the Ohio Valley Wrestling shows at their official website.
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