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NATPE: Bunim-Murray Plans Laugh Off

A new first-run comedy/game strip from prolific reality producer Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP) and distributor October Moon Television has come at the 11th hour for this week’s NATPE convention.

Laugh Off

, featuring unknown comedians competing for the chance to gain national exposure, resulted from major-market station groups "telling us that they are very concerned about the lack of A-level sitcoms coming off the networks," says October Moon President Chuck Larsen.

With 4-8 p.m. the most profitable daypart for stations and none of the majors stepping up with new first-run sitcoms for fall, BMP (The Real World, Road Rules) wanted to offer a show that can run adjacent to comedies and game shows, according to Larsen.

The cash-plus-barter series would mark the return of BMP to syndication. It previously produced the NBC Universal first-run strip Starting Over, which ended its three-season run last year.

On Laugh Off,two contestants face off in three comedy rounds. The studio audience chooses the winner, with the champion returning for up to five days. In sweeps months, there will be Grand Champion matches, and stations will have the marketing opportunity to have local competitions.

The pilot episode is hosted by Jimmy Pardo, who has appeared on Becker, The Naked Truth, The Surreal Life, Late Friday and That ’70s Show.