'Last Comic Standing' finale suffers ratings drop, while winner Dat Phan and others book future gigs
By Wade Paulsen, 08/06/2003
The votes are in, but were there enough of them? E! Online reports that the ratings for NBC's 2-hour Last Comic Standing finale declined from the ratings of the final performance episode the week before. The finale drew 8.2 million viewers, down from the 8.5 million who had watched the final performances (which placed the show 19th in last week's Nielsens). Although the finale won its time slot in the preliminary ratings, it also drew a smaller audience than the weekly average of 8.3 million viewers. Considering that Last Comic Standing, unlike most reality shows, declined in the ratings as it went along, dropping from a 9.7 million viewer premiere, a second edition can politely be described as questionable.
In the final telephone vote, Dat Phan from San Diego polled 35% of the overall votes to win. Ralphie May (28%), Rich Vos (18%), Cory Kahaney (12%) and Tess Drake (7%) trailed in the voting, although perhaps not in the final performances. As the winner, Dat receives a NBC development deal and his own Comedy Central special, plus a spot on the August 6 Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Meanwhile, the comics have booked several appearances of their own. Dave Mordal, who was eliminated in a controversial head-to-head matchup with Dat, appears on Comedy Central's Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on August 7. Rich and Cory are sharing the bill at the Improv at Harvey's Cabaret in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, beginning August 12, and Dat will be at the Improv in Tempe, Arizona beginning August 21. Tess is relegated to an appearance at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas, on August 18, and Ralphie doesn't have any announced bookings at this point (maybe he needs some cheap gas before he's ready to tour).
Show host Jay Mohr distinguished himself by outdoing the vote-count controversy on Fox's American Idol. Mohr's long pause after reading Rich Vos' name led Rich, the other contestants, the stage crew and the audience to believe that Rich had placed fourth, and everyone reacted appropriately -- except that the pause was apparently just for effect, and Cory had placed fourth instead. As a poster on the RealityTVWorld.com message boards noted, Mohr seemed to have "no sense of live TV." Good thing his next role is in a movie; he may need a new career.