Just a few months ago, some distressing news arrived for fans of the NBC series Up All Night as the producers had decided to make a big change in the middle of season 2. The single-camera comedy starring Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph was being retooled as a multi-camera show with a live audience.
NBC had said, "We know what the multi-camera audience does for the live episodes of 30 Rock, plus after seeing both Maya and Christina do SNL within the past few months, we knew we had the kind of performers — Will Arnett included — who love the reaction from a live audience.” Well it's not going to be that simple, as the foundation of the series has been shaken even harder.
Deadline has word that Christina Applegate decided to leave the series (in the middle of the current second season) via Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. Applegate herself made a statement, saying:
“It’s been a great experience working on Up All Night, but the show has taken a different creative direction and I decided it was best for me to move on to other endeavors. Working with Lorne Michaels has been a dream come true and I am grateful he brought me into his TV family. I will miss the cast, producers and crew, and wish them the best always.”
NBC has yet to comment on the situation, and that's because they're busy trying to figure out what to do about this debacle. Just last month, series creator and executive producer Emily Spivey left the series as well. The writing seems to be on the wall for Up All Night's cancellation.
While the series was still preparing to shoot the final five episodes of season 2 in front of a live audience, a new report says that they will only shoot one. In addition, producers aren't sure what to do about Applegate's immediate departure. There have been talks of having Friends star Lisa Kudrow replace Applegate, but such a drastic change for just one episode seems more troublesome than graceful.
The best option would arguably be for writers to play with the medium by poking fun at the cast change and more - but it's still not ideal, since the truth is lingering behind every joke. If anything, it's upsetting that a show like Up All Night won't get a proper send-off.
What was once a promising comedy series has now turned into a mess. While Up All Night never clicked with audiences enough to pull in massive ratings, it certainly doesn't deserve such an unceremonious demise. Frankly, I feel bad for Will Arnett, who can't seem to catch a break on TV since Arrested Development was canceled years ago. Thankfully, that series is coming back in May and should be a welcome avenue for the actor.
It's not clear when Up All Night will return but stay tuned for updates.