It looks like we may have already seen the final episode of NBC’s comedy series Up All Night. The network’s plans to revamp the modestly rated single-camera sophomore as a multi-camera were dealt a major blow late last week when star Christina Applegate departed the project. After originally planning five multi-camera episodes to close out the season, NBC early this week trimmed that scenario to one episode, without Applegate, to be helmed by uber multi-camera director James Burrows. Now I hear that episode is being scrapped too. Sources point to problems with the talent — I hear at least one of Up All Night‘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. The talk about a possible replacement for Applegate (Lisa Kudrow was a name that emerged early on) never went anywhere.
But as crucial for the demise of the show if not even more so were problems with the 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 multi-camera episodes. But as speculation swirled last month about what the new Up All Night might look like, NBC had not settled on a concept yet. As of mid-February, the show’s writing team is still working on scripts and the concept is still being tinkered with. With The Office, Parks & Recreation and Community performing the best among NBC’s comedies and at least two, The Office and 30 Rock, departing this season, the rumor was that Up All Night, originally a show about parenting, would transform into a workplace comedy. The show’s search for a new identity certainly was not helped by the heavy behind-the-scenes turnover. Linda Wallem, who oversees the multi-camera 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. While I hear Up All Night is not officially dead and NBC is still mulling potential scenarios while holding the cast, 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. It is one of four muti-camera pilots Burrows is directing this season, along with three at CBS (Friends With Better Lives and untitled Greg Garcia and Tad Quill). Arnett too has been getting a ton of interest for pilots over the past week, mostly from CBS and ABC as well as cable networks. He is said to have started talks for CBS’ untitled Greg Garcia project that would dovetail with Arnett’s real life as it centers on a recently divorced man.