After being left hanging in limbo for several days, NBC has announced that the finale of the suddenly shunted show will now air on cable network Comedy Central, but that despite being a new previously unbroadcast episode, Last Comic Standing 3's finale will still air on Saturday, October 16 at 8PM ET/PT in the television black hole that the cable network had previously utilized for encore episodes of Last Comic's current week's broadcasts.
Most network programmers might feel that landing the opportunity to preempt an hour of Comedy Central's standard all-repeat weeknight primetime programming lineup (featuring such fare as six-year-old MADtv and South Park repeats) in favor of an hour of first-run original network programming might be a coup that should be exploited, but clearly not those at Comedy Central (which interestingly enough, isn't part of NBC-Universal's own NBC/CNBC/MSNBC/Bravo/USA/Scifi conglomerate but is instead part of Viacom's CBS/UPN/MTV/SpikeTV/Showtime family.)
For those viewers who are unavailable to watch Saturday's broadcast, Comedy Central will repeat Last Comic 3's finale broadcast at the nearly as inconvenient time of Sunday, October 17 at 11AM ET/PT.
The winner of Last Comic 3's contest, which features finalists Dave Mordal, Rich Vos, John Heffron, and Alonzo Bodden, will win a $250,000 cash prize. While not specifically addressed in NBC's announcement, it appears that the network still plans to disclose the identity of the show's winner during this evening's Father Of The Pride marathon. As of late Tuesday morning, NBC.com's Last Comic 3 show page was still urging viewers to "watch the Father Of The Pride marathon tonight to find out who is the Last Comic Standing" -- an announcement that would make Saturday's finale broadcast anti-climatic at best.
While NBC's antics have made it clear that a fourth edition of the Emmy-nominatedLast Comic Standing series on NBC is unlikely, the news that Comedy Central would be airing the finale has given rise to rumors that -- similar to the way its sister network VH1 picked up The Surreal Life after it was axed by The WB -- the comedy channel might be interested in directly broadcasting future editions of the series. However, not only is it unknown whether Jay Mohr and his co-producers are interested in continuing the show as a cable production, but Comedy Central's decision to air its exclusive finale broadcast in the program's normal Saturday evening time period (rather than use a primetime weeknight broadcast as a ratings "trial balloon" of sorts) would seem to indicate any such interest is somewhat remote.
For Canadian viewers, the prospect of witnessing the finale is much dicier. Last Comic Standing 3 aired on Canada's Global TV, but -- like NBC -- Global has chosen to air the marathon of Father of the Pride. Although Global's decision is surprising considering the parallels between Pride and "banned-in-Canada" Joe Camel, a bigger problem for Canadian fans is that Comedy Central does not air on Canadian cable systems.
At least Last Comic Standing 3 did not experience the technical difficulties that beset Endemol's LCS rip-off, Kings of Comedy, in the U.K. According to the BBC, the live phone lines for deciding which comic should be booted failed after the October 7 show, and producers resorted to asking audience members -- many of whom were friends of the comics -- to pick a boot, which turned out to be Scott Capurro. Endemol defended its decision based on time pressures. Said a spokesperson, "It was a live show and we felt the fairest decision would be to let the studio audience vote; we had to think quickly."
By contrast, NBC has had much longer to deal with the issues presented by the Last Comic Standing 3 finale but doesn't seem to have done any better at decision-making.