'Up All Night' gets live audience, more episodes

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Up All Night jokes are going to sound funnier next year — sort of. NBC is adding a live studio audience to its struggling sitcom.

The network has ordered five more episodes of Up All Night, extending the comedy’s current run from 11 to 16 episodes. More interestingly: The show is switching from single-cam format to multi-cam. For those not versed in production-speak, single-cam is more cinematic-looking and uses more locations (think The Office, 30 Rock, Arrested Development). Multi-cam is typically shot on an indoor set in front of a studio audience, and feels a bit more like a play (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory). Both formats have a distinct feel and it’s very rare for a comedy to switch from one to the other.

For viewers, the biggest difference will hearing the show’s audience laugh at jokes.

“This was an idea we and [executive producer Lorne Michaels] came to in order to infuse the show with more energy,” said NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. “We know what the multi-camera audience does for the live episodes of 30 Rock, plus after seeing both [Up All Night co-stars] Maya [Rudolph] and Christina [Applegate] 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. 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.”

Up All Night will take a three-month hiatus after the 11th episode is shot next week and convert its stage for the multi-cam format. Future episodes will be taped before a live audience. The show is expected to return in the new format in the spring.

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