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The Strange Saga of 'Up All Night'

By February 25, 2013

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Up All NightWay back in May 2011, NBC picked up a pilot called Up All Night, about a career-oriented, socially active couple forced to change their ways while raising a new baby. It featured Christina Applegate as publicist Reagan, Will Arnett as her lawyer husband Chris, who'd decided to stay home and raise their daughter, and Maya Rudolph as Reagan's boss Ava. Before making it on the air, the show was retooled, and Reagan was changed from a publicist into a TV producer, with Ava now the host of a popular talk show that Reagan produced.

The show that debuted was mediocre, but it scored decent ratings and developed a small fan following. When it was on the bubble for renewal at the end of its first season, NBC decided it needed to be retooled yet again, and when the second season premiered last fall, Ava's talk show was canceled, Reagan was staying home with her daughter, and Chris was starting a contracting business with Reagan's previously unseen brother. Reviews of this new version were mostly bad, fans lost interest, and ratings went down.

At this point, most shows would just get canceled, but NBC was determined to make Up All Night work, so they announced the radical decision to retool the show one more time, turning it from a single-camera series into a multi-camera show filmed in front of a studio audience. The show went off the air following its 11th episode of the season in December 2012, to give producers a chance to make changes for a planned five-episode tryout in the multi-camera format.

But now it seems like that won't be happening. First creator Emily Spivey left, and then star Christina Applegate announced earlier this month that she would also be leaving the show thanks to its new creative direction. Somehow NBC still planned to go ahead with one multi-camera episode, but the latest word is that Arnett has signed on for a new pilot from My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope creator Greg Garcia, Rudolph has revealed she's pregnant with her fourth child, and NBC may have finally given up trying to make the show work, bringing to an end one of the oddest sagas in TV comedy history.

Photo courtesy of NBC

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