NBC said today he will return to the network as the final comic mentor on Last Comic Standing on Thursday at 10 PM. In the episode, the final five comics are flown to meet surprise guest Leno in Las Vegas and ask him questions about stand-up comedy. He answers, shares personal stories and anecdotes and gives advice before the next stand-up routines that whittle the contestants to four. The season finale is August 14.
Jay Leno has kept himself busy since departing as longtime host of The Tonight Show in February, from hosting his car show Jay Leno’s Garage (it was nominated for an Emmy) to surprising Arsenio Hall to announce (prematurely, it turned out) that The Arsenio Hall Show had been renewed, He also was inducted into the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame in March, and the next month he had a street named for him on the Universal lot.
Kicking off NBC’s TCA presentation, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the renewal of summer reality series America’s Got Talent, American Ninja Warrior and Last Comic Standing. The pickups join the recent renewal of medical drama Night Shift, which turned from a summer burnoff to a breakout, tying CBS’ Extant as the highest-rated new series debut this off-season.
Greenblatt underscored NBC’s ratings success during the season, reminding everyone that the network finished 2013-14 as No.1, and did so again for the summer. NBC has won every week other than the two that ABC had with the NBA Finals, which Greenblatt in a lapse called “the NBC finals.” Last Comic Standing returned for an eighth cycle this summer after a four-year break, the second time the show has been revived. AGT is in its ninth season, averaging a 3.1/10 in adults 18-49 and 12.4 million viewers. Last Comic Standing is averaging a 1.7/6 in 18-49 and 5.1 million viewers. American Ninja Warrior, which is shared with corporate sibling Esquire, is delivering a 1.8/6 in 18-49 and 5.3 million viewers.
UPDATE, 8:14 PM: No joke — the strike is over. After a day-and-a-half labor action on the part of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, the postproduction crew of Last Comic Standing now have a union contract, I’ve learned. With that over, everybody is heading back to work tomorrow on the soon-to-debut NBC reboot. The roughly 15 editors, assistant editors and other briefly striking post employees have won the health and retirement benefits plus vacation and holiday pay they sought when they walked out on Monday. A day of picketing today outside the Glendale postproduction facility of the NBC Studios show also saw significant wage increases for the assistant editors. Last Comic Standing is set to premiere on May 22.
PREVIOUS, APRIL 21, AM: Just more than a month before its reboot is set to debut, NBC‘s Last Comic Standing today has been knocked down by a labor action. About 15 editors and assistant editors walked off the job today in a no-joke strike organized by the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, I’ve learned. Hired by NBC Studios on a non-union basis, the editors are seeking a union contract that includes industry-standard health insurance and pension benefits. Read More »
Twitter is not a comic’s best friend, the producers and judges of NBC’s exhumed Last Comic Standing said today at NBC Press Day. “I want to see you on stage with that mike, then I’m going to get it,” judge Keenen Ivory Wayans said. “I don’t know where the jokes come from when they’re online. It’s not real to me unless I see you with a microphone.”
“I enjoy it, because I like to provoke people and get them pissed off,” judge Roseanne Barr jumped in. “The whole heckler thing is why I got into it. I like being fast with the retort…I like to block people too.”
Next month, NBC returns Last Comic Standing, with new judges Barr, Wayans, and Russell Peters, new host JB Smoove , new format, new celebrity guests, and invitation-only auditions. This reality television talent show aired its first seven seasons from 2003 to 2010. Last November, NBC announced the show’s latest 13-episode order. Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz of Push It Prods. executive produce for Universal Television through their deal with the studio, along with The Marriage Ref‘s Javier Winnik. Read More »
NBC‘s reality series Last Comic Standing resumes its search for America’s funniest comic on May 22 at 9 PM with new judges Roseanne Barr (Roseanne), Keenen Ivory Wayans (In Living Color) and Russell Peters (Notorious) and JB Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm) tapped as host. The network is promising innovative format changes, surprise celebrity guests and unexpected twists in 13-episode Season 8, which will open with invitation-only auditions. Last Comic Standing features the top 100 comics in America vying for 20 spots. These 20 will then compete in a semifinal round and the best of the best will emerge, with the top 10 moving into the challenge rounds. In this phase, they will compete in different comedy disciplines, such as sketch, improv and stand-up, proving themselves both individually and in teams. The series will air Thursdays at 10 PM following the premiere. Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz of Push It Prods. executive produce for Universal Television through their deal with the studio, along with The Marriage Ref‘s Javier Winnik.