Peacock stands by 'Standing'

“Last Comic Standing” hasn’t laughed its last after all.

NBC has ordered a new season of the Emmy-nommed comedy talent hunt, penciling it in for a summer launch. Peter Engel (“Saved by the Bell”) will return as exec producer.

First two editions of “Last Comic” were solid ratings performers for NBC in 2003 and 2004, with the show’s second season ranking as the Peacock’s top-rated series of the summer.

Flush with that success, NBC brass ordered producers to hastily assemble a third edition of the show for fall 2004. Skein had to be put together in just a few weeks, forcing the winner of season two to defend his crown barely days after winning it.

Quickie production was a predictable ratings disappointment, and “Comic” was not renewed for a summer 2005 run. NBC reality chief Craig Plestis remained a supporter of the skein, however, and the net has now decided to give the standup showcase another turn at the mic.

“Standup is an area we owned with this show for two summers in a row, and we think we can do that again,” Plestis said, adding the new “Comic” would feature “some new twists and turns.”

Casting is already under way, with open calls expected to be held throughout the country. Applications also will be accepted via NBC.com.

NBC isn’t saying who will host the next installment of “Comic.” Jay Mohr fronted the first three editions but was vocal in his displeasure about the net’s handling of the skein’s third season.

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