‘Up All Night’ Takes a Page From ‘Happy Days’

Series transitioning to multicam format

"Up All Night" is switching from a single camera to multicam format, making a transition formerly made by the classic sitcom "Happy Days."

The series, which stars Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as harried new parents and Maya Rudolph as Applegate's self-absorbed boss, will shut down for three months after taping its final single-camera episode next week. It will use that time to convert its stage and set for the show to be recorded in front of a live audience with multiple cameras.

It will go back into production in February on five multi-camera episodes, bringing the total number of episodes for this season to 16.

All of the season's 11 remaining single-camera episodes will air by December, and the multicam episodes will return in April or May. The show has earned only passable ratings since debuting last season.

There was no word on what will fill the show's 8:30 Thursday timeslot in the interim, but NBC has "Community" in its bullpen. The planned Friday debut for "Community" was delayed earlier this month.

The series' creator, Emily Spivey, is a veteran of the three-camera format thanks to her work on "Saturday Night Live." Showrunner Tucker Cawley worked previously on the multicam "Everybody Loves Raymond." NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said the network and executive producer Lorne Michaels agreed the format change would "infuse the show with
more energy."

"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," Greenblatt said. "We think we can make a seamless tradition to the new format. Also, we're committed to the multi-camera form and this will give us another show to consider for next season in this new format."

NBC pointed to "Happy Days" as a precedent for the shift. The show's first two seasons were filmed using a single-camera setup and laugh track, but one episode of Season 2 ("Fonzie Gets Married") was filmed in front of a studio audience with three cameras as a test
run.

From the third season on, the show was shot with three cameras. Tom Bosley or another cast member would usually inform viewers that it was filmed in front of a live audience.