Laffer preems late July

D.L. Hughley is joining Comedy Central’s latenight lineup.

Cabler has made a 13-week, 39-episode commitment to “Weekends at the D.L.,” a half-hour talker hosted by Hughley that will air Friday-Sunday at 11 p.m.

With “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” running Monday-Thursday, pickup gives the laffer net seven nights a week of new original programming. Comedy Central is eyeing a late July premiere date.

“Along with our Friday night standup specials — a staple for us — ‘Weekends’ will give people a destination and a reason to tune in,” said senior VP of programming/head of development Lauren Corrao. “This is a great alternative programming move that no one has ever done before.”

In the last six months, Comedy Central has been aggressively looking to capitalize on the heightened buzz of “The Daily Show” and enhance its latenight offerings. Cabler has developed at least two showbiz satires for the time period in addition to talkers hosted by Hughley, Adam Carolla and Greg Giraldo.

Comedy Central is said to be nearing a decision on which project will win the coveted 11:30 p.m. slot post-“Daily Show.”

“Weekends at the D.L.” will be a more traditional talkshow for the network, though Corrao said Hughley’s got a distinct kick-back, urban vibe that execs hope separates him from the latenight pack.

Hughley will kick off each episode with a monologue and will be accompanied by a live band. Three guests will then share the stage with the comic in a spirited round-table discussion about the day’s headlines in pop culture. Comic will also star in several humorous field segments throughout each show.

“It’s news during the week and party on the weekends,” Corrao said. “In the pilot episode, Tracy Morgan dropped by, and then Jenny McCarthy, Cedric the Entertainer and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell weighed in on everything from the Pat O’Brien scandal to Michael Jackson. It’ll definitely be timely, but center more on entertainment news than hard news.”

Hughley was one of four candidates up for the “Late Late Show” job that went to Craig Ferguson last fall. Soon after he inked a development deal with Comedy Central to develop a latenight talker.

Robert Morton is on board to exec produce the series alongside Hughley’s managers at 3 Arts Entertainment, Michael Rotenberg and Dave Becky.

Hughley last partnered with Comedy Central on the special “Shocked and Appalled.”

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