August 3, 2011

THE SKED: “Up All Night” 2.0

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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UP ALL NIGHT is a crucially important piece of new programming for NBC this fall, as you can tell from Mitch Metcalf’s Fall Promo Analysis, where it’s the network’s most-promoted new show.  Not only does NBC need new hits in general, but they’re hoping that this starry (and not inexpensive) sit-com can blaze a trail for them past Thursday and into Wednesday night comedy.  And there was nothing terribly wrong with the show in its original version–my Pilot Report is here.  But yesterday, at their Press Tour gathering, the network announced a reshuffling of some important series elements.  In the original pilot, Christina Applegate’s character worked at a PR firm, with Maya Rudolph as her boss and best friend.  In Version 2.0, the workplace will be a daytime talk show, with Rudolph as the host and Applegate the show’s producer.
So why the change?  A variety of reasons, no doubt, but one may well have been to accommodate Rudolph’s broad (and funny) style of performance, which seemed a bit odd in an office context  but could make more sense for a character in showbiz.  Also, the talk show format allows for weekly “guests,” which can help introduce quirky characters and occasional celebrities for each new episode.  It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if the change was made partly because focus testing groups reacted unenthusiastically to the original workplace scenes.  Another reason, although likely the least important, is that it removes the overlap between Up All Night and Free Agents, which airs immediately after Up and is also set at a PR firm.  (Not to be cruel, but Free Agents isn’t likely to hang around long enough for that to be an issue.)  In any case, the PR agency of Up All Night is dead and gone; long live its talkshow.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."