Up All Night, which was one of the only bright spots — dim though it was — in last season’s crop of new sitcoms on NBC, suffered from deteriorating ratings as the season went along, in part because the show ostensibly about parenting turned too much focus on Maya Rudolph’s talk show in an effort to capitalize on Rudolph’s post-Bridesmaids success. That plan, however, backfired, and those of us who tuned in for a witty take on parenting were increasingly disappointed.
Flash forward one year, and NBC decided to go in a completely different direction with the show, steering the focus away from Maya’s talk show (which was cancelled), introducing a new character, and refocusing the show on home stories. The result: Up All Night receives the lowest ratings on an already dismally low-rated Thursday night block of comedies. It’s also not any funnier than it was.
So what does NBC do? Do they cancel the show like any reasonable network? Of course not, this is NBC we’re talking about.
After the 11th episode of the season (in December), NBC has decided to put Up All Night on hiatus for three months so it can convert the show from single-camera comedy to a multicamera comedy filmed in front of a live studio audience, i.e., with audience laughter. In other words, they want to turn Up All Night into a CBS show.
I hate laugh tracks, and being filmed in front of a studio audience is is the same result. Considering how dismal the ratings for Up All Night are, I have no idea why they didn’t decide to simply put the show out of its misery. People didn’t return to the show after one format change, why would NBC think they’d do so for a second? And why is NBC so invested in the show to begin with? There’s great talent involved — Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph — but it’s become an increasingly generic comedy, scarce on laughs. However, as Variety notes, this is part of NBC’s new strategy to broaden its comedies, like they’ve done with Up All Night and Animal Practice, one of which has already been cancelled, while another is on its way. Smart move, NBC!
The good news, however, is that a three-month hiatus is just enough time to sneak in the final 13 episodes of Community. That’s not been announced yet, but it would make perfect sense to return Community to its former night to complete its run.