'Up All Night' to Change Into Multi-Camera Sitcom
Monday, October 29, 2012
When the NBC comedy Up All Night
begins the second half of season 2 in the spring, it's going to look
very, VERY different. In a supremely surreal change of structure, the
show will take an extended hiatus during the winter and transform itself
from a single-camera comedy into a multi-camera, traditional sitcom.
If you're not familiar with the terms, single-camera comedies are free of a laugh-track and have more of a documentary feel (Modern Family, 30 Rock, The Office). Multi-camera sitcoms are the traditional, live studio audience, laugh-track shows (The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Whitney).
The change is a dramatic shift for the show, but also a last-ditch effort to see if it can work. Up All Night has struggled in the ratings and creatively. According to Deadline, the decision was made by executive producer Lorne Michaels and is partly due to the success of stars Maya Rudolph and Christina Applegate on Saturday Night Live. The change is designed to add more energy to the show.
While I generally loathe the idea of multi-camera sitcoms, it might be for the best. Up All Night has never seemed to find it footing as a comedy. It has incredibly funny actors, but it's, at best, mildly amusing. Perhaps the new format will give the stars a chance to do more comedic work.
The shift will occur after the 11th episode, which is slated to air in December. Going from one style to another mid-show is very unusual. The only slightly similar instance I can think of was when ABC's Sports Night decided to drop its laugh track partway through season 1 (though the basic look and feel of the show remained the same).
The move will also expand NBC's multi-camera sitcoms to three, with Whitney and Guys with Kids. In recent years, CBS was the only network that actually tried doing multi-camera sitcoms.
It's likely the change in style will also result in a change in time slot. Multi-camera sitcoms don't work in NBC's Thursday night block (just ask Whitney last season).
Are you excited for Up All Night's dramatic change or worried that it will kill the show?
(Image courtesy of NBC)