The Bizarre Up All Night Melissa Etheridge Twist That Almost Was

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 Photo: Colleen Hayes/NBC

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?

Up All Night’s Bizarre Melissa Etheridge Twist