NBC Hopes to Save Up All Night by Ruining It; Show Will Switch to Multi-Cam, Live Audience Format Mid-SeasonS

Because you were focused on other things last week, it's possible you missed some crazy news coming out of NBC, involving a total retooling of Up All Night, a sitcom about Maya Rudolph sharing screen time with other people, including a baby.

According to a report in Variety, the network plans to put the show on a three month hiatus after production wraps on the eleventh episode of its second season later this week. (That episode will air in December.)

When production resumes in February, everything will be new and terrible: the show will switch from a single-camera format (the kind used by Arrested Development, 30 Rock, et al.) to a multicam format (think The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men). It will also be filmed in front of a live audience (read: live laugh track).

On the one hand, this is good news for people who like Up All Night: the episodes that will be filmed in February (for air in April) weren't part of the original 11-episode order, so it's like season 2 is getting five bonus episodes. On the other hand, it's like someone saying "I got you some more of those cookies you like!" and then handing you a box of gluten-free caraway seed crackers.

NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt says the switches are intended "to infuse the show with more energy." He also holds up the once-per-season live episodes of 30 Rock as an example of a show where a multicam format works well, forgetting that it is not multicam format people enjoy about the live episodes of 30 Rock, but rather the novelty of seeing an episode of 30 Rock performed live.

"We know what the multi-camera audience does for the live episodes of '30 Rock,' plus after seeing both Maya and Christina do 'SNL' within the past few months, we knew we had the kind of performers — Will Arnett included — who love the reaction from a live audience."

Variety notes that the switch is a sign of NBC's recent attempts to "broaden its audience" by including people who need to be told when to laugh by an off-screen laughing audience cue.

Multicam shows are also cheaper to produce.

[Variety // Image via Getty]