NBC Series on Death Watch Deadline, THR
A troubled NBC series appears to be dead, with the network apparently abandoning plans to take the comedy in a new direction.
Nellie Andreeva writes on Deadline.com that “Up All Night” may have already aired its last episode. “The network’s plans to revamp the modestly rated single-camera sophomore as a multicamera were dealt a major blow late last week when star Christina Applegate departed the project,” Andreeva reported Saturday. “After originally planning five multicamera episodes to close out the season, NBC early this week trimmed that scenario to one episode, without Applegate, to be helmed by uber multicamera director James Burrows. Now I hear that episode is being scrapped too.”
Andreeva reports that at least one of the show’s two remaining stars -- Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph -- “told the network they were uncomfortable going forward with the series, which, in addition to Applegate, recently lost its creator, Emily Spivey.”
Former “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow emerged last week as a possible replacement for Applegate, as previously reported, but Andreeva reports that talk about bringing in someone new never went anywhere. Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter says Arnett is being courted by CBS to star in a new sitcom written by Greg Garcia.
“In addition, sources tell THR that co-star Maya Rudolph has informed NBC that she is pregnant with her fourth child with director Paul Thomas Anderson,” The Hollywood Reporter notes. “These sources say the show's writers planned to incorporate the pregnancy into the revised version of the series, but that issue could now be moot. The show's writing staff is said to be seeking new jobs.”
Andreeva notes that even with “Up All Night’s” personnel issues, the biggest problems may have been with its concept. “When production on the single-camera version was shut down after 11 episodes the first week of November, it was supposed to be for a three-month hiatus, followed by the taping of five multicamera episodes,” Andreeva writes. “But as speculation swirled last month about what the new ‘Up All Night’ might look like, NBC had not settled on a concept yet.”
It was rumored that “Up All Night” would be transformed into a workplace comedy, filling a void left by the conclusion of “The Office.” But Andreeva notes: “The show’s search for a new identity certainly was not helped by the heavy behind-the-scenes turnover. Linda Wallem, who oversees the multicamera version, is ‘Up All Night’s’ third showrunner following Jon Pollack and Tucker Cawley. ‘Up All Night’ creator/executive producer Spivey left the show last month.”
The series has not officially been canceled, but as Andreeva notes, “The hopes of continuing it are fading quickly. In a sign that the show is likely over, I hear NBC offered Rudolph a part in one of its highest-profile pilots for next year, the Victor Fresco comedy starring Sean Hayes, which is directed by Burrows.”