Executive producer Wanda Sykes and her team have locked up their celebrity judges and premiere date for the upcoming season of Last Comic Standing. The 13-episode eighth season premieres on May 22 for two hours at 9 pm EST, airing for one hour at 10 pm in following weeks. Comedian J.B. Smoove will take over hosting duties each week on the nationally-televised stand-up comedy competition. Sticking to the standard three-person judges panel, producers have settled deals with Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Russell Peters to judge and critique the comics. “We are ready to bring back the funny with this relaunch of Last Comic Standing,” said late night programming president at NBC Entertainment, Paul Telegdy. “With Keenen, Roseanne and Russell set as our new judges, J.B. as host…there will be plenty of laughter all summer.” Part of the grand prize for the winner includes an NBC talent deal and a half-hour scripted project to be developed by Universal Television.
Back in January we reported that producers were planning formatting changes for the show. One of which was to ditch the open call American Idol-style auditions, instead sticking to closed auditions in LA (and for select comics, sans tryout). Another big change was to give each up-and-coming comic a veteran comedy mentor a la The Voice, according to sources close to the show. There’s no word yet on if Roseanne, Keenen, and Russell will act as mentors “claiming” each comic or if that aspect will be announced and introduced later on in the season. If it’s the former, I hope they won’t “steal” a comic by buzzing in the middle of their punch line.