NBC has announced that it will complete its multi-city search for the nation’s best male and female professional and aspiring comedians (18 years of age and older) with open auditions in five cities. The talent search has begun with a series of auditions across the country that will determine the laugh-out-loud contestants who will compete in the network’s upcoming “Last Comic Standing” series hosted by actor/comedian Jay Mohr (“Mohr Sports”). Successful searches in Chicago and St. Louis have already been completed.

The new series has an eight-episode commitment and will provide a new spin on reality television as it features a nationwide talent search for professional and non-professional comedians (both female and male). Once the selection is narrowed to 10 finalists, after the semi-finals in New York and Los Angeles and the finals in Las Vegas, the program will then follow the comedians as they live together in a house and compete for the ultimate prize - an exclusive talent contract with the network.

The following is an updated schedule of remaining regional searches:

January 5 - Atlanta, GA - 11 a.m. at The Cotton Club at The Tabernacle

(152 Luckie St. - 404/659-9022)

January 7 - Houston, TX - 11 a.m. at City Streets

(5078 Richmond Ave. - 713/840-8555)

January 12 - San Francisco, CA (location TBD)

January 16 - New York, NY (location TBD)

January 25 - Los Angeles, CA (location TBD)

The series will be broadcast in the spring or summer of 2003.

Last Comic Standing: Funniest Person in America” is from Peter Engel Productions in association with NBC Enterprises and Giraffe Productions. Peter Engel, Jay Mohr and Barry Katz are executive producers and Rob Fox (“Real World,” “The Osbournes”) is co-executive producer.