The series follows Reagan (
Christina Applegate), a producer on her best friend Ava's (
Maya Rudolph) talk show, and Chris (
Will Arnett), Reagan's supportive, stay-at-home husband, as they try to adjust to life with their newborn baby Amy.
The second season focuses on the cancellation of Ava's talk show, and Chris starting a business with Reagan's brother Scott (
Luka Jones). Reagan also struggles to adjust to her new role as a stay-at-home mother.
Development and production
The series was based on creator
Emily Spivey's life when she went back to working on Saturday Night Live after giving birth to a baby boy. Due to the nature of her job, she was required to take care of the baby and work late nights. She decided she wanted to make a show based on those extremes.NBC executives were "supportive and excited" about the new series. On February 1, 2011, Up All Night received a pilot order, written by creator Spivey and directed by
James Griffiths, under the title Alpha Mom. The series was officially picked up for 13 episodes at the NBC
upfronts on May 15, 2011 under its final title, Up All Night.
After the success of
Maya Rudolph's movie Bridesmaids, Up All Night went through some retooling which now has her character Ava as a talk-show host and Reagan as the show's producer, instead of them being PR executives. Spivey said the character change allowed Ava to be more fun. Some media critics compared the character change to Rudolph's impersonation of
Oprah Winfrey on Saturday Night Live. The series was later given a full-season pickup on October 4, 2011. On November 21, 2011, NBC added two additional episodes to season one, bringing the total to 24 episodes.
It was also the last show to be produced by Universal Media Studios, along with Free Agents and Whitney.
In October 2012, it was announced that Up All Night would go on hiatus eleven episodes into its second season to convert from a
single-camera setup to a
multiple-camera setup shot in front of a live audience. During the hiatus, series creator Emily Spivey and star Christina Applegate left the show and Will Arnett was cast in a
CBS pilot, which eventually became the two-season series The Millers.
After months of rumors of cancellations,Up All Night was officially canceled by
NBC on May 9, 2013 after two seasons and was not renewed for a third season.
Cast and characters
Main cast and characters
Christina Applegate was the first cast member to sign up for the series
Christina Applegate as Reagan Brinkley, a producer for the Ava show, who goes back to work after giving birth. Applegate was interested in the series early on, especially because she had recently had a child. Applegate was also offered several other roles for the pilot season. Applegate was the first cast member signed on to the series. She is credited as a producer for the series.
Will Arnett as Chris Brinkley, a former lawyer and now stay-at-home dad. Arnett was the third main cast member to sign on to the series.
Maya Rudolph as Ava Alexander, the host of the Ava show and Reagan's best friend. Rudolph was the second main cast member to sign on to the series Rudolph had previously worked with the series creator on SNL and Spivey had wanted to work with Rudolph before the series plot was established.
Jennifer Hall (Season 1) as Missy, Ava's assistant. Hall was the final member to sign on to the series and was initially a recurring actor. She was officially added to the main cast list in the fifth episode, "
Mr. Bob's Toddler Kaleidoscope". Due to retooling of the show for the second season, she did not return as a series regular.
Luka Jones (Season 2) as Scott Chafin, Reagan's laid-back brother, who moves back to town with his son after going through a divorce. Jones joined the main cast at the start of season two.
Recurring cast and characters
Matt Braunger as Gene Marden, Terry's husband and Reagan and Chris's next door neighbor.
Jean Villepique as Terry Marden, Gene's wife and Reagan and Chris's next door neighbor.
Jason Lee as Kevin, Reagan and Chris's next door neighbor who dated Ava.
Molly Shannon as Nancy, Amy's babysitter. Shannon was initially a one-time guest star, before the producers asked her to appear in another episode. Her second episode aired in early 2012. She is a former cast member of Saturday Night Live and previously worked with Michaels on the series.
Up All Night premiered in the 10:00 pm timeslot behind America's Got Talent with Free Agents following it. The following week it was moved to its regular timeslot at 8:00 pm, and was eventually the only comedy after Free Agents was cancelled. Starting January 12, the series was moved behind NBC's hit series, The Office, switching timeslots with Whitney. Some media critics have said that the goal for moving the series was in order to make it more of a ratings success, like The Office.
The performances are spot-on, the jokes are great, if a bit understated, and the situation in this situation comedy actually feels credible. In a year when a large number of new sitcoms passed off hackneyed conventions as hip cultural satire, Up All Night rang surprisingly true.
Up All Night has received mostly positive reviews from critics. The first season currently holds a score of 64 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating generally positive reviews. Many critics said that the series felt like two different shows in one.HitFix reviewer Daniel Feinberg gave the series pilot a positive review, but disliked the office settings and the writing for Rudolph's character commenting that "Will Arnett and Christina Applegate are playing parents, but Maya Rudolph is playing a sitcom character". Despite this, the performance of the main cast members has received praise from critics. Some critics compared Rudolph's role to her impersonation of
Oprah Winfrey while she was on SNL, which Rudolph firmly denied saying "I have yet to see the similarities between my character and Oprah". Some publications declared it among the best TV shows of 2011, new or old, including Slant Magazine and
Hanna Rosin has praised the show in particular for slowly subverting the sitcom archetype of the father incompetent at managing the household.
Chris started out as an idiot who stayed home with the baby because he had nothing better to do. In early episodes, he propped up the infant on the couch so he could play his video games or watch hockey, and didn't really notice when she tipped over. But over time he has morphed into the sane, sensible parent we all want to be. Now his role is to check his wife's crazy competitive instincts and to never renege on a promise made to his daughter. In fact, the show's main innovation is creating a reliable stay-at-home dad whose wife still wants to sleep with him.
The show then went further, she recalled, by then assigning the usual role of a sitcom dad to Reagan. "[She] turned into a version of
Ralph Kramden, prone to tantrums and meddling," Rosin writes. "Like the classic doltish dad, she creates elaborate schemes to fix domestic problems but only winds up making everything worse. And then Chris swoops in,
Alice-style, to make it all better."
During its first season, Up All Night was a moderate success in the ratings by network's standards (at the time, NBC was the fourth highest-rated network out of five networks). The series had ranked[when?] as NBC's fourth highest rated scripted series after The Office, Smash and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. The series also ranked as one of the most digitally recorded series of the season.[which?] Due to the moderate success, the series was given a full season pick up alongside Whitney. The cost for an ad for the series was approximately $82,617 per 30-second commercial.