NBC has announced that this summer's fifth edition of Last Comic Standing will return with a new host, new talent scouts and, as last week's casting call announcement had already indicated, a new mission -- "to find the funniest comedian in the world."

ADVERTISEMENT
Last Comic Standing 5 will be hosted by Bill Bellamy, the series' third host in its last three seasons. 

Last Comic Standing's first three installments were hosted by Last Comic creator Jay Mohr.  However Mohr, an outspoken critic of NBC's handling of Last Comic 3, the hastily-assembled Fall 2004 edition that the network later pulled from the air with only one episode remaining, did not return to host last summer's Last Comic Standing 4 revival. 

While Mohr retained a consultant credit and made a "bridge re-building" guest appearance on Last Comic 4's finale, comedian Anthony Clark served as the show's fourth season host.  Given his hosting performance had been panned by many viewers, Clark's departure is not unexpected.

Bellamy first gained notoriety on HBO's Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam in the early 1990s.  Later, he served as an MTV VJ and also hosted programs including MTV Jams and MTV Beach House for the network.  Bellamy's also appeared in several movies and television shows, including Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday film and Fox's short-lived Fastlane series.  He's currently the host of Bill Bellamy's Who's Got Jokes?, a Last Comic Standing-like reality series that airs on the TV One cable network.

NBC has also tabbed three of its former Last Comic Standing contestants to serve as the show's new talent scouts.  Last Comic Standing 3 winner Alonzo Bodden as well as Last Comic Standing 2 contestants Ant and Kathleen Madigan will serve as scouts for an expanded casting search that will supplement stateside audtions in Los Angeles, New York City, Minneapolis, San Antonio and Tempe with international stops in London, Montreal and Sydney.

Last Comic Standing's fourth season fared well for NBC, ranking as last summer's No. 4 series among the Adults 18-49 demographic.  Overall, the show averaged 8.1 million viewers.   Last Comic Standing is produced by Peter Engel Productions, Magical Elves and NBC Universal Television Studio.