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UP ALL NIGHT -- "Baby Fever" Episode 120 -- Pictured: (l-r) Maya Rudolph as Ava Alexander, Christina Applegate as Reagan Brinkley, Will Arnett as Chris Brinkley UP ALL NIGHT -- "Baby Fever" Episode 120 -- Pictured: (l-r) Maya Rudolph as Ava Alexander, Christina Applegate as Reagan Brinkley, Will Arnett as Chris Brinkley

fiascos

The Bizarre Up All Night Melissa Etheridge Twist That Almost Was

Up All Night's slow demise has been an object of curiosity for some time. The series reinvented itself a few times over, adding first a talk-show element for Maya Rudolph's Ava, then adding and subtracting cast members, then burning through showrunners, before somehow — insanely? — deciding to become a multi-camera comedy. Then star Christina Applegate announced she was done. Then came word that the revamped multi-camera version would be a show-within-a-show. Welcome to fiasco town, population: Up All Night. It gets crazier. From TV Guide:

[New show-runner Linda] Wallem and the writing staff began brainstorming ideas for the multi-camera version. One pitch placed a portal between the two worlds — the single-cam and multi-cam versions — that only baby Amy could see. Another idea put Wallem and her real-life partner, [Melissa] Etheridge, in front of the camera, perhaps with the action taking place in their living room.

Ultimately, a script was written in which Applegate, Arnett and Rudolph played actors portraying the characters Reagan, Chris and Ava on a fictional show called Up All Night. Off the show-within-a-show, Arnett's character would live at home with his mother, and Applegate's would be dating. Rudolph's real-life pregnancy was being written into the storyline — and included a "who's the daddy?" twist.

So, in the span of about two years, Up almost went from a working-mom single-camera comedy to a Melissa Etheridge baby-portal sitcom. Oh, NBC, will wonders never cease?

Photo: Colleen Hayes/NBC