Exclusive: ‘Office’ Regular Robinson New ‘Last Comic’ Host

NBC makes it official: “Last Comic Standing” will be back this summer

EXCLUSIVE

"The Office" regular Craig Robinson is getting a promotion: NBC has named him the new host of "Last Comic Standing."

After a two-year hiatus, NBC has officially decided to bring back its comedy star search for a seventh season this summer, TheWrap has confirmed. Open casting calls will take place in Los Angeles and New York next month.

Robinson is featured in the much buzzed-about upcoming feature "Hot Tub Time Machine." He’s played warehouse foreman Darryl Philbin on "The Office" since the show’s start and has had roles in comedy hits such as "Knocked Up" and "Pineapple Express."

"He’s someone whose time has come," NBC alternative programming chief Paul Telegdy told TheWrap. "He’s a brilliant stand-up… and someone we believe in as an NBC talent. We also think he’s just funny as all get-out."

Plus, Telegdy noted: "He’s a classically trained pianist."

Telegdy said the "Comic" revival will try to bring "credibility" back to the selection process on the show, which attempts to find superior stand-up talent.

"Stand-ups will figure heavily in the judging panel," he said. A likely mix of two male and one female stand-ups is being finalized, he said.

"Last Comic" has been on and off NBC’s schedule grids since launching in summer 2003. The network tried to do back-to-back versions of the show in 2004, leading to its being shelved in 2005. It then returned in summer 2006, doing well enough to come back in 2007 and 2008.

Bill Bellamy hosted the 2007 and 2008 editions of "Last Comic."

Peter Engel Productions and Universal Media Studios are once again producing "Last Comic," with Engel and Barry Katz back as executive producers. Joining as an EP this season: Jayson Dinsmore, a former executive in NBC’s alternative department.

Casting for "Last Comic" will take place March 6 at the Improv in Los Angeles and March 21 at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York.

Entertainment Weekly first speculated NBC was talking about return of "Last Comic" late last year.