'Up All Night' Creator Addresses Plot Changes, Maya Rudolph's New Role

"A talk show for Maya's character Ava is just more fun," executive producer Emily Spivey told reporters Monday afternoon at TCA.
Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett and Christina Applegate at TCA

NBC's Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett, is going through some changes.

Originally set in a public relations firm, the decision to retool the series' plotline, centered on new parents (Applegate and Arnett) as they try to balance their home and work lives, was a deliberate one.

"A talk show for Maya's character Ava is just more fun," executive producer Emily Spivey told reporters Monday afternoon at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour. "It seemed like a natural progression."

She added: "Once we started talking through it, it just happened to be more fruitful" in terms of story. Spivey, who worked closely with executive producer Lorne Michaels, Rudolph and was close with Arnett through his wife Amy Poehler, said that Applegate's character Reagan will now serve as the show's producer.

With three days of reshoots for the pilot, Spivey said that the new workplace environment will be in "a daytime talk show" format, "more on the Oprah track" in terms of being "inspirational for women."

"When people say daytime talk show, the first word is Oprah," Rudolph said. "Anyone that's doing daytime talk holds her in high esteem. ... This character's journey is trying to get there. She's got a long way."

Michaels, who had a hand in the casting and the pilot process for Up All Night, said that though the setting has changed for Applegate and Rudolph's characters, the dynamic doesn't. "The dynamic doesn't change much," he said. "The office part of it changes a great deal between Christina and Maya's character ... they're partners in a different way."

In terms of where the show was going in future episodes, Spivey revealed an Applegate suggestion that she was going to incorporate that involves Arnett and Applegate's alter egos deciding what "to call the baby's no-no place."

Here are some other highlights from the panel:

  • "I wouldn't say that that's what the show is about that we're neglecting the child," Applegate joked when asked about the poster in which she, along with Arnett and Rudolph, are seen smiling with a screaming baby in the background.
  • "I have a question: How many of you are playing Angry Birds right now?," Applegate asked the reporters
  • Michaels said that he is always trying to revive the variety show tradition.
  • "We want the baby to thrive obviously and get bigger," Spivey said when asked whether they'd be seeing the baby grow up during the series' run. "She definitely has to grow up cause I think at every stage of development, there's something hilarious." Rudolph deadpanned: "I heard they're not so hilarious at 13 so we can stop there."

Up All Night premieres Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. before moving to 8 p.m. the following week.