After finding mainstream success as a cast member on Arrested Development, Will Arnett has become a television comedy mainstay in recent years. Even after Arrested Development was cancelled at the end of season 3 (it has since been picked up for season 4, which will air on Netflix) Arnett has made numerous guest appearances and in 2011 scooped up a leading role as Chris Brinkley on NBC’s Up All Night.
However, after just two and a half seasons, Up All Night appears to be in danger of getting axed. The original showrunner, Jon Pollack, departed the series last year and creator as well as executive producer Emily Spivey also called it quits as of a month ago. To make matters even worse, Arnett’s co-star Christina Applegate announced last week that she would be leaving the show mid-season, citing creative differences. Now, we might be able to put the final nail in Up All Night’s coffin, as Arnett has joined a new comedy pilot over at CBS.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Arnett will play Jack, a recently divorced man who is forced to deal with marital problems between his parents, in a new comedy pilot from Greg Garcia (Raising Hope). The new show looks like it’s starting to pick up some steam, as it also cast Margo Martindale as Jack’s meddlesome mother this week.
Martindale is perhaps best known for her Emmy-winning role as Mags Bennett on the FX series Justified, but is starting to become even more familiar as Claudia on FX’s new series The Americans - not to mention Nick’s (Jake Johnson) mother on New Girl. Now she’ll have an opportunity to star on a network show with another solid comedic talent – assuming the Arnett pilot gets picked up.
And with things looking as bleak as they are for Up All Night, Arnett’s new pilot is more likely to make it to air. He is currently in second position for the new show, meaning that he is committed to Up All Night if NBC decides to solider on, but considering the circumstances and Arnett’s willingness to follow Applegate in jumping ship, it’s hard to imagine NBC sticking with the program.
Although NBC hasn’t given up on their show entirely and is reportedly looking at replacing Applegate with Lisa Kudrow, Garcia doesn’t seem too worried about building a show around Arnett in the meantime anyway. Not only has he been active in casting, but he has also already secured veteran director James Burrows (Wings, Frasier, Friends) to helm the pilot.
Even in television, a death can give way to new life. And if Up All Night does perish, let’s hope that this new comedy takes full advantage of its freshly acquired talent.