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TV shows often change stars for better or worse, but very rarely do they change their entire format. When NBC’s Up All Night returns, it will no longer be a single-camera sitcom like the network’s other Thursday shows. Instead, the sophomore comedy with Christina Applegate will get a live studio audience and will go multi-camera.
Variety first reported the move, noting that Up All Night, which also stars Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett, will finish the first 11 episodes of season 2 in December. When the cast and crew go back to work in February, the show will have the new format for the last five episodes, bringing season 2’s total to 16.
According to Deadline, Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels, who also holds the same position for Up All Night, came up with the idea for a change. Michaels saw how well the 30 Rock live episodes had done, so he believed the change could also do Up All Night good.
“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,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt told Deadline. “We think we can make a seamless tradition to the new format. Also, we’re committed to the multi-camera form and this will give us another show to consider for next season in this new format.”
This is a very rare move for a sitcom, although it often happens between the time a pilot is produced and when it is picked up for a series.
Up All Night will now have more in common with CBS’s big hits like Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, than the comedies NBC has become known for in recent years.
Up All Night centers on a couple (Arnett and Applegate) raising their daughter while juggling their friend's (Rudolph) needs.