'Up All Night' Creator Talks Season Finale, Early Challenges and Ratings Pressure
The former "Saturday Night Live" writer tells THR how she weathered the NBC comedy's first season and what to expect if it gets a second.
As NBC’s Up All Night heads into its season finale on Thursday, its creator Emily Spivey is taking some “chill out time” on the East Coast, visiting family and giving herself a break to rest up. She definitely deserves it.
After many years of writing for the network’s late night sketch show, Saturday Night Live, Up All Night was her first experience with creating and running a scripted series. Based on her own life as a mother returning to work after having a child, Spivey says that she experienced some déjà vu.
“In a way it was a lot like giving birth,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “There was a parallel between me having a baby in real life, and then sort of giving birth to this show and these characters. It’s a ball. It’s a ton of work, but it’s been really, really rewarding. And I’m so blessed to get to work with those great actors, and we just felt like a family. It’s been a lot of fun.”
THR spoke with Spivey about Thursday’s season finale, the show’s early reinvention and how she deals with the ratings pressure.
The Hollywood Reporter: What can fans expect from the season finale?
Emily Spivey: Well, I’m super, super proud of it. We all had so much fun working on that finale. I think they’re going to be laughing, but also with tears. I don’t want to reveal what it is, but it sort of sheds a light on Reagan [Christina Applegate] and Chris’ [Will Arnett] history a little bit in terms of their marriage and things like that. There’s singing… There’s going to be some flashbacks.
THR: When planning the season finale, what notes do you want to hit?
Spivey: Well, I think for us we wanted to round out sort of seeds that we had planted even just in the pilot. So I think in watching the finale, hopefully you’ll see sort of how everything sort of wraps up in a way that’s similar to the pilot but also speaks to the progression of this couple throughout the season and making it a year with the baby and all that kind of stuff. We wanted to hit a note with the baby, but we also wanted to hit a note with them as a couple. So, hopefully we were able to wrap it up kind of nicely.
THR: NBC’s ratings are generally lower than the other networks. What kind of environment was that for creating a new series?
Spivey: Well, everyone at NBC, and I’m not just saying this, was so lovely and so helpful. It was, honest to God, like an amazing experience. Like, [programming executives] Rebecca McGill and Edwin Chung and Vernon [Sanders], they were helpful and funny and inspiring. And so honestly, yeah, I wish that more people were watching NBC right now, but I’m really proud of the work that I did with NBC, and I’m really proud of the show, and so I think that’s what’s important. I’m hoping that it gets to go on and we get to do another season, but yeah, it was such a great experience.
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