Up All Night Will Switch to Traditional Multi-Cam Sitcom After Extended Winter Hiatus

Up All Night a multi-cam sitcomNBC’s Up All Night is shifting comedic gears, converting from a single-camera comedy (à la Modern Family) to a traditional multi-cam sitcom (in the style of The Big Bang Theory) come spring 2013.

RELATED | Up All Night Casts Alphas Beauty as Ava’s New BFF

Per our sister site Deadline, the sophomore series starring Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph will air the last of its single-cam installments aka Episode 11 sometime in December. The show will then go on an extended three-month winter hiatus as its sets are reconfigured to accommodate the multi-cam set-up.

Production will resume in February on five multi-camera episodes — to be taped in front of a live studio audience — boosting the Season 2 total to 16 half-hours.

Deadline says the idea for the switch came from Up All Night exec producer/Saturday Night Live overlord Lorne Michaels, “who was looking for a way to infuse the show with more energy” and got the idea after seeing both Applegate and Rudolph’s most recent SNL hosting appearances.

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105 Comments
  1. M says:

    This show sucks. Just admit defeat and move on already.

    • Robert Taylor says:

      I think NBC is going to bend over backward to do anything and everything possible to make it a hit show. The cast is filled with some of the best comedic talents on television and it has Lorne Michaels as producing pedigree. They don’t want to let the team go… and yet the show just isn’t funny.

      They’ve had, what, five major makeovers to the show since the pilot? First turning Maya into Oprah, then turning it into a work/home sitcom, then getting rid of Maya as Oprah, then adding in the brother, and now this?

      • Don’t forget when they introduced that new Excecutive producer or whatever that guy was was for the “Ava” show.

        • tht19 says:

          The show is awesome it does not need these changes. However, I doubt these will make it any less awesome. If anyone needs a reminder just watch the season 1 finale which was one of the best half hours of tv ever.

      • Greg Green says:

        Happy Days went down hill in quality when they switched to a live audience multi-camera
        format. and yet somehow managed to get away with it Perhaps it wasn’t as bad as WELCOME BACK, KOTTER at the time. The choice of filming in front of a live audience with a “sweetened
        laugh track” will tell the tv audience when something is supposed to be funny! good luck with that.
        Today’s audiences won’t stick around
        after at 3 month haitus and format change. Anybody remember NBC’s TATTINGERS, then
        re-worked into NICK AND HILLARY??? Thought Not!

        • TV Gord says:

          Yep, I remember Tattingers and the awful Nick and Hillary. I also agree that Happy Days became horrible with a live audience, but it also became a number one show, so no one cares that we thought it sucked. I doubt that will happen with Up All Night, though. I think it’s going to both suck AND drop in audience. We won’t see a season three, unless they have some long range plan to pair it with, say Whitney or Guys with Kids, and want them to be similar in tone.

      • Kristina says:

        It’s weird, I love every actor in the show, but it’s just not that funny. I don’t think I laughed once last week. I really, really want to like it, and I keep watching it so I guess it doesn’t outright suck, but I don’t love it.

        • CJ says:

          I think they put good actors in roles that are a bad fit. Everyone in that show have been successful playing selfish, sometimes unpleasant people, but now they have them playing what are supposed to be likable people we want to succeed. It just doesn’t work that way.

        • Aprilcot says:

          This describes exactly how I feel about this show.

      • gdv says:

        The cast is way too talented to be in such a boring show. Why not split the talent up and NBC will have 3 new (and probably good) sitcoms!

  2. Tom says:

    They just signed the death certificate. Most ridiculous idea that NBC has had, and that’s coming from a network that decided to replace Animal Practice with Whitney instead of Community.

    • rowan77 says:

      I’m scratching my head at that one too. Perhaps NBC is punishing the new Community showrunners. NBC did say that they wanted the new showrunners to make the show less esoteric and more mainstream – which was something Dan Harmon was not willing to do. But the new showrunners announced they also will not change the creative direction of the show and will continue along Dan Harmon’s path. That must have pissed off the network.

  3. Summer says:

    ….No.

  4. Wait, WHAT? I think the folks over at NBC have mistaken Halloween for April Fools.

    Are you kidding me?

  5. AT says:

    TBH, I can’t tell whether a show is “single” or “multi”, so I don’t see how this will affect whether people like and want to watch the show.

    • Alex says:

      You’ll know the difference. Multi-cam shows have laugh tracks or studio audiences. It will give the show a VERY different feel.

      • CJ says:

        That’s not what makes a multi-cam show feel different–the big change will be filming it on a traditional set (front door-staircase-living room-dining room-kitchen-backdoor), with almost every scene taking place in the same room.

      • CJ says:

        And scenes in a supermarket only show 2 aisles, scenes in a restaurant only show 3 tables, outdoor scenes are in unrealistic turf corners with a tiny tree to the side, etc. The upshot is, the show looks like a play instead of realistic.

    • Jacob says:

      Huh? Multi-cam: Laugh Track. Single-cam: No laugh track. It’s that simple.

    • Grayson says:

      Multi-cam is when a show is shot like a typical sitcoms – Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Whitney, etc… for current stuff, but older shows like Friends, Full House, and Frasier are also good examples. They’re obviously shot on a set, don’t have a variety of angles because of how the set is, well, set up, and are less cinematic in quality.

      Single cam shows are less obviously on a set, and they tend to show the room the show is being shot in from different angles – everything isn’t so obviously set up from left to right. The quality isn’t as cinematic – it feels more like a tv show than a movie in terms of quality, film stock used, etc – and doesn’t have all the trappings of seeming as though it’s been set on a stage. Examples include things like 30 Rock, or Modern Family, where the house or workplace they’re in feels less like a stage and more like an actual place being used for the setting – and sometimes, that is the case. It also means that it’s easier for them to shoot outdoors, instead of using a fake outdoor set – such as outdoor scenes used on Modern Family versus, say, the backyard sets on Boy Meets World, Full House, and other shows.

      • Thank you Grayson for explaining Multi vs Single cam. So let me see if I get this right. Multi is all on a set. Single has both on set and outdoors/full rooms/angles. A laugh track/studio audience has no bearing on which one it is but usually if it’s Multi it has one and Single doesn’t. Neither do the amount of scenes. But if there are a lot esp not in the regular rotation it’s probably Single. For instance, most (all?) cop dramas are Single.

        Personally, Two and a Half Men’s laugh track is soo annoying. It “only” laughs and so often and so loud that you can’t really hear the whole joke. I hope they don’t overdo it by telling us to laugh the whole time. I really wish there was more studio audiences. The action doesn’t have to be live but actual human laughs instead of producer using 50’s old laughs saying when we should laugh is not organic enough. SNL and Late Night Talk Shows can fill their audiences every night/week. Why can’t tv shows?

    • dude says:

      Everyone knows the difference, they just don’t know the terminology. Single-camera is short like Happy Endings, Modern Family and Community while multi-camera is shot like a traditional sitcom such as The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother with a laugh track and sets that look like sets.

      • TV Gord says:

        How I Met Your Mother is shot like a multi-cam show, but they use a laugh track. They don’t have an audience.

        • Lisa G says:

          HIMYM shows its final product to a real audience and records their laughter for the track. It’s the only way they can do it and be “authentic” since they have so many jump cuts and flashback/forwards.

          • TV Gord says:

            Funny, I’ve never heard of anyone actually going to one of those showings.

          • rflairfan says:

            NPH said they used to show the final product to an audience but havent done it for several seasons. The just put it in themselve now.

          • Guy says:

            I’ve heard that they show a group of the people who work on the show’s friends and family. I’ve always found HIMYM to be a show with the most realistic laugh track anyway.

          • TV Gord says:

            You’ve got to be kidding, Guy. The fake laugh track is part of the reason I stopped watching last season. That, and it wasn’t funny anymore.

  6. K says:

    It’s going to suck even more now. I didn’t think it could be possible… NBC is legitimately the dumbest network.

  7. This has got to be the dumbest move in the history of TV right?

  8. Joel says:

    Why spend so much money changing a show that will be canceled after these five episodes anyway?

  9. Hmmmm says:

    This won’t help. Silly.

  10. marge says:

    So basically is this doesn’t work then the show is a goner.

  11. Alison says:

    They will RUIN this show! TERRIBLE idea!

  12. Amanda says:

    that is a bizarre move

  13. Dizzle says:

    This will definitely play to Maya Rudolph and Christina Applegate’s strengths. I hope they get Jimmy Burrows on board to direct a few/all of them, he’s the multi camera king!

    But what will NBC do on Thursdays at 8 in the interim? Launch two new comedies against Idol and Big Bang Theory? Yeeeeeesh.

  14. mike says:

    I think that lorne was just looking for a way to convince NBC to keep it a round for a little bit longer

  15. samantha says:

    the reason the show needs more energy is because it’s not as good as season 1. never should have changed the show’s dynamic. changing cameras isn’t going to help.

  16. @Bostonsportz says:

    AWFUL!!!!!!! This will ruin show!

  17. Gee, I hope they add a laugh track!

  18. Predicting it now: COMMUNITY will return to Thursdays 8/7c in January, 30 ROCK’s final episodes at 8:30, then 1600 Penn will debut. NBC should treat UAN’s return as a new series, promote the hell out of it, premiere it after THE VOICE’s spring edition. I love its cast and everyone involved, but I haven’t found the show funny or interesting enough to watch. Maybe this format will be for the better? Time will tell. Could be one of the small screen’s most under seen train wrecks of all time!

  19. Well bye bye, Up All Night. It was fun while it lasted.

  20. The only other show I can think of that’s done this is Happy Days.

  21. Gertrude says:

    I think the past few years have demonstrated that single-camera sitcoms, however much critics and TV snobs like them, do not connect with the large audiences networks want. Multi-camera shows don’t have to be junk; NBC’s “Must See TV” shows were all multi-camera and nobody ever called “Cheers,” “Seinfeld” or “Frasier” dumbed down garbage.

    • Gertrude says:

      (Modern Family being a notable exception!)

    • First of all, there’s no reason for such hostility. Second of all, nobody called Cheers, Seinfeld or Frasier garbage because those were multi-cam sitcoms that were actually funny.

      You can’t POSSIBLY compare one of those shows with trash like Guys With Kids, Whitney, or Two and a Half Men. The TV landscape is changing. They might not have universal appeal, but single-cam sitcoms are what’s hot these days. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s all a matter of taste.

      There’s been such a huge differentiation of taste and preference among television viewers in the past 10-15 years with the introduction of many new cable channels and new technologies that have opened the doors for development of so many new sub-genres of television shows. You don’t have 10 channels on your TV anymore and have limited viewing options every night. The audience has been diluted – people don’t just watch broadcast networks anymore, and the term appointment television is no longer in people’s vocabulary. Even if the networks decided to flood their schedules with multi-cam sitcoms, they wouldn’t attract 25 million viewers like they used to. It’s a fact. The problem is that people say the ratings are dropping because the networks are pushing for single-cam sitcoms, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    • Theo King says:

      Your theory doesn’t hold up. Malcolm in the Middle and Scrubs started out successful, kind of pioneering the format, My Name is Earl did have a strong first Season and The Office had been a big success until Carells departure.
      I’m pretty sure that even CBS could have a big single camera hit, if they wore trying.

  22. SirLordJ says:

    I’m glad NBC’s not just giving up on the show, but this show’s a mess.

  23. Next thing you know, AMC will convert Breaking Bad into a multi-cam sitcom about your typical loving family man who happens to cook meth for a living with his clumsy and charming younger buddy.

  24. Sarah says:

    WHAT? How could that be any better than already changing so many aspects from season 1. Season 1 was amazing. Cutting out The Ava Show and adding in random brother has been changes for the worst and this is a nail in the coffin, I hate to say. It’s such a shame, I was so fond of this show.

    • Silver17 says:

      THIS. NBC totally screwed over what was a fun show last year. They should’ve never killed The Ava Show and the mom in the workplace/stay at home dad angle. That is what really made it fun and different from other shows on TV. Christina Applegate’s character navigating through balancing work and motherhood and trying to keep her marriage fresh-that is what I was watching for! They were doing a great job with it! Once they added the brother, made Reagan a stay-at-home mom, and lost the zany antics of the Ava workplace (especially her HILARIOUS assistant MIssy!), they lost me as a viewer.

  25. Greg says:

    Was a much more interesting show when it revolved around the talk show, this season is so boring.

  26. Michelle says:

    This is the weirdest and dumbest thing I’ve heard in a while. If Whitney and Guys with Kids were bringing in CBS sitcom-level ratings, then the change might make sense. But that’s not the case and so there’s no reason to believe that multi-cam = higher ratings. Also how many times are they going to tweak this show? First, Ava was supposed to be a background player, then they expanded her role and split the action between work and home, and then this season they changed again to focus more on the home stuff. And now they’re changing the format entirely? I’m kind of glad I already gave up at the show at the start of this season and now with the transition to multi-cam/live studio audience/laugh track, there is zero chance I’ll ever come back.

  27. joaopedromillan says:

    Ok, so i’m done with this show.

  28. julia says:

    I think it is a cute little show, but if they add the “live studio audience” crap, I will not be watching. To me, that is one of the dumbest decisions ever.

  29. LC says:

    Here’s an idea NBC: drop this awful show already and put COMMUNITY BACK ON THE AIR! Don’t keep us waiting until January! This is so unfair. They’ll just put us back on Thursdays and it will kill us off trying to compete with all the other shows.

  30. Community fans – placing Community on Wednesdays @ 8, before Guys With Kids, would be just as dumb of a move as this one. So, just be quiet and patient. The show will be back where it was – Thursday nights, once 30 Rock ends its final season.

    (And this coming from another Community fan.)

  31. I wonder if they’re doing this for financial reasons instead of creative. Multi-camera shows take a lot less time and money to shoot. Still pretty damn bizarre. I hope they have an actual studio audience instead of a phantom laugh machine like How I Met Your Mother.

  32. flutiefan says:

    i like this show a lot, and i feel this will just ruin it beyond repair.

    • tripoli says:

      I really like it too. I’ve even grown to like the new brother character, although I think it was unnecessary to add him and get rid of Missy, who was often hilarious. I’m going to start preparing for the inevitable cancellation. Seems the show is doomed, no matter how much the mess with it.

  33. Ashley says:

    This is the WORST idea I’ve ever heard. I will not watch the show in that format. Eww!

  34. thiagofls says:

    I think this very desperate measure is doomed to fail, simply because it won’t address the show’s main problem: the writing just isn’t very funny. They just keep wasting three very talented comedic actors on scripts that barely draw a couple of chuckles, and the more “relatable” they try to make the show, the more pedestrian it gets.

  35. Michael says:

    it’s not the camera work; it’s the writing.

    • Lorie says:

      I was thinking the same thing! Season 1 was so funny, and now, I barely recognize the show. Great actors, but awful writing. I’m done.

  36. Jon says:

    Crap is crap, no matter how hard you try to dress it up. Up All Night still stinks.

  37. cjeffery7 says:

    it’s weird that they’re putting so much effort into a show that probably every other network would just cancel after this season is over. although NBC does have a history of hanging onto things it probably shouldnt, business-wise (chuck, community).
    season 1 was charming. i lost interest in season 2 cause the dynamic totally changed w/ chris going back to work and reagan losing her job and eva not being on eva anymore… it worked before, i’m not sure why they changed it up so drastically.
    if they hype it properly it could give the show a temporary boost in ratings. we’ll see if it sticks. as someone who enjoyed it and gave up on it, it’s a gimmick that will bring me back to at least see if it’s any better/different.

  38. Kalee says:

    Maybe this will make the show actually funny again. Maybe.

  39. David4 says:

    They are building new sets for 5 episodes? That’s a waste.

  40. Morgan says:

    I have once read on Deadline “hybrid” sitcom (It’s for a new pilot on ABC if I’m correct for next season), does anybody know what hybrid mean ?
    About UAN, I’ve watched the first half of the first season and it was kind of OK but I dropped it, I think NBC is making a mistake, I don’t see this working. They need better solutions for their Thursdays night.

    • Guy says:

      The only sitcom today I can think that’s sort of a hybrid is How I Met Your Mother, where they shoot it all multi-cam but have a polished product to show to audiences (if they even do that anymore, see above). Typically, a hybrid sitcom is just as it sounds: some multi-camera scenes and some single-camera ones fused together, just like Girlfriends used to be, for example, where they’d have a scene in a studio and then show a clip they obviously filmed outside with one camera. I don’t watch The Game anymore, but they used to do this A LOT. Think the season 4 finale of Friends in London, where they shot 2/3 in a studio and 1/3 on the streets of London.

      The ABC pilot you may be thinking about could be the Rebel Wilson comedy that CBS rejected as multi-cam but ABC is developing into single-cam.

  41. CJ says:

    You can officially count me out. I stuck with this show the first season in hopes that it would find a groove, and while the season 1 finale was great, I never felt like the show found the groove I was hoping for. The changes they’ve made in season 2 have not really improved the show in my opinion, and in all honesty I have forgotten each episode as soon as it ended. Completely boring and unmemorable. Last week, I deleted this show from my DVR, and with this news, I am confident I made the right choice. It’s sad, because everyone involved in this show is so fantastically talented, but it just doesn’t work, unfortunately.

  42. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Ucky. Well, I’m done with that show!

  43. Becks says:

    hmm…this is….interesting? I’m curious to see what a multi-cam show on NBC will look like

  44. DeadManDann says:

    ….. This is the stupidest thing I’ve heard in awhile. Way to murder your show, NBC.

  45. Babybop says:

    I really liked last season, and have been disappointed with this season because of the sudden, random changes. The whole dynamic has already changed, and now you’re changing the dynamic even more by doing this? A live audience will not improve this show.
    Don’t get me wrong, there are many multi-cam shows that I love (Big Bang Theory is one the best shows on right now IMO) but switching to multicam is the nail in the coffin for this show.

  46. rflairfan says:

    I can’t stand shows any more that have a laugh track or audience. They seem so loud compared to older shows like Cheers, Friends and so on. If I did watch this show this would make me stop.

  47. Shifty says:

    The best energy this show had was the Ava-show-workplace pull on the reluctant new mom, and now that’s gone. And are we really supposed to buy Will Arnett as a laid-back handyman, palling around with the boring brother all day? Why? And the edgiest character, Missy, is now gone.

    I don’t care how many cameras they try, this show has already been ruined.

  48. ChrisGa says:

    I thought last season was great and Rudolph especially is a comedic genius. But I tuned in to the first ep of this season to check it out and jettisoning the talk-show setting and going for more family-oriented made it a lot less funny so I’ve officially tuned out.

  49. Eric says:

    No!!!

    This move has the potential to ruin the series. Good job, NBC. First you cancel Chuck, don’t pick up Mockingbird Lane, and now this. Why don’t you just go ahead and cancel Community and The New Normal? That way I won’t need to tune in to your fine network anymore.

  50. Derek Johnson says:

    High risk/high reward move

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