Laughs has earned a reprieve and then some, receiving an additional order for 20 late-night stand-up showcases that air on a group of FOX TV stations late Saturday and/or Sunday nights.
It has been airing “remix” episodes with old and new bits the past few Saturdays after already having received a four-week extension last month.
Laughs airs on FOX or MyNetwork stations in 11 markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix. In many of those markets, the initial airing is going up against part of Saturday Night Live.
Host/executive producer Steve Hofstetter told The Comic’s Comic:
“This is just an extension of what we had, not a new season. The markets are staying the same for now, as is expected – this is still the first season (just the second half of it). If the show continues to do well, it will be packaged and sold, which is standard for shows looking to be syndicated. A limited run to test viewership, then a longer run while we get our ducks in a row, then the effort to sell it around the country (and who knows beyond that).”
The remixes will include new and old footage, he explained, so they won’t be strict reruns. “Some of the comedians’ clips will be the same, some of them won’t be,” he said. “My intros will be different. My co-host (Alexys Gabrielle) will have different segments as well. It’s a way to take the 60-year-old industry standard of re-runs and turn it on it’s head. I can’t take credit for that idea – that one came from the top. So, if things continue to go as planned, instead of 26 new episodes in a season, and a bunch of re-runs, we’d have 26 new episodes and some re-mixes.”
Much had been made about the budget for Laughs, with even Hofstetter joking in initial promos that he had no money to spend on it despite its affiliation with a major broadcast network.
It does remain a non-union show (with SAG-AFTRA issuing a “do not work” notice to its membership), but Laughs has begun paying its performers something.
Hofstetter clarified that for The Comic’s Comic today: “Budget is the same as it was last week, but more than it was in the beginning. The budget went up some when we were extended the first time (after episode 113). Everyone who has ever done the show is getting paid, and anyone who says otherwise is ignorant or lying. We are licensing content (not hiring people for appearances), which allows comedians to retain rights to their footage – which no other show allows.”
You can see plenty of that footage on YouTube, too. Roll it.