• Fri, Feb 8 2013

Christina Applegate Leaves Up All Night, NBC Officially Tanks Itself

Up All Night

Well, it’s official. 30 Rock‘s tanking storyline this season was actually a nonfictional account of what NBC has been doing to itself this year. There have been plenty of signs that the network was going downhill, but today we learned of the straw that broke the camel’s back: Christina Applegate is leaving Up All Night.

This isn’t the first weird decision that’s been made about this show recently. It was announced that the single-camera show would switch to multi-camera format. Putting aside the fact that single-camera comedies, with their laugh tracks and fake sets, have rarely made me laugh since Friends, switching a show’s shooting style, like moving back the release date of a movie, doesn’t bode well. When I heard that news, I resigned myself to the fact that the show wouldn’t get renewed. Based on Applegate’s quote about the matter, it looks like she agrees:

“It’s been a great experience working on Up All Night, but the show has taken a different creative direction and I decided it was best for me to move on to other endeavors.”

There are apparently whisperings that the show could look to replace her with someone like Lisa Kudrow, which could be the news that rings most true for Jack Donaghy’s comment that NBC has to “make it 1997 again through science or magic.”

Apparently the show hasn’t even filmed the five live-audience episodes it had planned, and something tells me those are never going to be made.

I’m sad to hear this news, because I really enjoyed Up All Night, even though a few changes this season made the show weaker than it was in its first year. I still had hope it would find its footing again, but now I’m certain it’s over.

This is just another bad decision in NBC‘s recent bad decision pile. The network delayed the Community premiere at the last minute, and has given that show the short end of the stick for years, although it came back last night strong with great ratings and a funny episode. It was also recently reported that the network wanted to move away from their current “brand” of comedies. Jennifer Salke, NBC president, said:

“We don’t want a narrow brand in the sense of some of those shows that we inherited here, which we’re huge fans of, [but] have a very narrow audience.”

It sounds like the network wants to move away from refreshing, critically acclaimed comedies like 30 Rock, Community and Parks and Recreation and focus more on derivative, formulaic, ratings-heavy sitcoms. I know ratings are important, but it’s really disappointing that so many creative, forward-thinking people in the TV business are missing out on the opportunity to make great comedy because everyone’s so focused on beating Two and a Half Men.

Did this all start when Conan O’Brien was ousted from The Tonight Show and Jay Leno proceeded to waltz back into our lives as if he had never left?

All we can hope for now is that Tina Fey will create another sitcom. Fingers crossed.

(Photo: TV Equals)

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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