Christina Applegate is not stupid. No siree. The star of NBC's Up All Night is now the ex-star of NBC's Up All Night, as she has decided to quit the show, according to Deadline Hollywood. Lisa Kudrow (Friends) is rumored to be a potential replacement. Have a fun time explaining that one, writers.
Good for Applegate, I say! The comedy was launched in 2011 with a fairly safe premise: Applegate and Will Arnett playing new parents in a single-camera comedy about the challenges of balancing a professional life with a new baby. It had a good cast, it had the tried-and-true-so-it-was-overtried-but-still-okay premise, and it bridged the gap between NBC's ideas of smart comedy and broad comedy.
And then NBC changed its mind.
Up All Night has undergone more transformations than a tweaky Gobot. Right after the pilot was filmed, NBC attempted to piggyback on the success of Bridesmaids and gave co-star Maya Rudolph a much bigger role, turning her character from a PR executive to the host of a major daytime talk show with Applegate's character her producer. When that didn't work, NBC decided to cut out the talk show and focus on more domestic stories. And in late October last year, NBC blew the whole thing up and decided to—in the middle of its season and during a multi-month hiatus—turn the show into a multi-camera comedy (none of those episodes have been filmed yet). Series creator and producer Emily Spivey left the show early this year, just the latest in a string of personnel changes the show has faced.
NBC, what the heck are you doing? Why don't you just kill the show? It wants to die. It's begging to die. "Kill me now," it pleads, having given up any hope of turning itself around. Passersby avert their eyes when they see it, children point and look at it in horror, and the stench is unbearable. Kill it. It's the humane thing to do. I know NBC wants the cast, but instead of stringing them along through a series of production makeovers, euthanize the show and develop a new show around the actors. If I were Applegate or Arnett, I'd take a job at Arby's before working with NBC again. I don't know if there are any contractual issues keeping Applegate from giving pilot season a shot, if there aren't, she'll be scooped up before the end of next week. And good for her, she deserves better than the career torture she's been through in the past two years.
On the plus side, if NBC does decide not to move forward with Up All Night, the chances will (slightly) increase that NBC's other comedies might live to see another season.