"It's been a great experience working on Up All Night, but the show has taken a different creative direction and I decided it was best for me to move on to other endeavors," Applegate said in a statement. "Working with Lorne Michaels has been a dream come true and I am grateful he brought me into his TV family. I will miss the cast, producers and crew, and wish them the best always."
NBC declined to comment on Applegate's exit. After breaking the news of her departure, Deadline also reported that NBC still hopes to continue with the series and might be eyeing Lisa Kudrow to replace Applegate. However, Kudrow's producing partner, Scandal's Dan Bucatinsky, refuted that possibility, tweeting that there's "no truth to it at all."
Applegate's exit comes ahead of the show's transition from a single-camera comedy to a multi-camera comedy shot in front of a live studio audience. That change came after 11 episodes of Season 2 aired earlier this season in the Thursday at 8:30/7:30c time slot. Five episodes were set to be shot in front of a live audience sometime this year.
NBC had also made several changes to the show between Season 1 and 2, including getting rid of the fictional daytime show hosted by Maya Rudolph's character and replacing original showrunner Jon Pollack with Tucker Crawley. Crawley was then replaced by Linda Wallem when NBC opted to change the show to a multi-camera format. Series creator and executive producer Emily Spivey also recently left the show.
It's unclear how the show would continue if Applegate was not replaced by another actress, considering her character is the major factor connecting Will Arnett, who plays Reagan's husband, Chris, and Rudolph, who plays Reagan's best friend and ex-boss, Ava. Earlier this season, Up All Night also added a new series regular — the role of Reagan's brother, Scott, played by Luka Jones. It was the show's talented cast, including longtime sitcom star Applegate, that kept Up All Night alive despite its many changes. "That talented cast of actors aren't growing on trees," NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said at the winter TV previews last month. "They still thought there were stories to be told in that world and were collectively very passionate about telling them. We felt [being] in front of a live audience would be the best solution. It's a bit of an experiment, but we think it's one worth taking."
Up All Night's last two original episodes, which aired back-to-back on Dec. 13, grabbed an average of 2.75 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in the adults ages 18-49 demographic.
Are you sad Applegate is leaving? Do you think Up All Night should still return?