The death by a thousand cuts of “Up All Night” continues with the news that its third lead, Maya Rudolph, is looking for her next project. Christina Applegate has left the NBC show, and Will Arnett is starring in a CBS pilot
That Rudolph would also want to move on is not much of a surprise — but what is interesting is the type of show she wants to do.
According to Deadline, Rudolph has turned down offers to star in several pilots. She has her eyes on a variety show instead, and ABC and NBC are interested, as is studio 20th Century Fox TV.
Despite the fact that an honest-to-goodness variety show hasn’t thrived on prime-time television in at least a quarter century, a show fronted by Rudolph could work. Her comic skills are obvious, and she can sing (and not just in parodies of pop stars). With the right writers and sensibility, it could be an asset — provided it airs in the right place.
That place is probably not NBC. A variety show is probably not the easiest sell in the current network landscape, and NBC is still deep in rebuilding mode. It doesn’t have the pieces to give a “Maya Rudolph Show” the support it would likely need.
FOX, the corporate sibling of 20th Century Fox TV, probably would be willing to take a risk on Rudolph, but it has limited real estate thanks to its commitments to “The X Factor” and “American Idol.” Format-wise, airing a variety show after the singing competitions’ Thursday results episodes might make sense, but then where does “Glee” go?
That leaves ABC (CBS hasn’t thrown its hat in, according to the reports, and while The CW threatens to develop comedies, it has yet to do so). The network tried to put a Tuesday comedy hour together this season, but “Happy Endings” and the already canceled “Don’t Trust the B— in Apt. 23” struggled badly there. Having Rudolph to lead out of the “Dancing With the Stars” results show, however, could make for a less abrupt transition for “DWTS” viewers, while possibly bringing in some younger people who know Rudolph from “Saturday Night Live” and “Bridesmaids.”
If Rudolph and a network come together for a variety show, it likely wouldn’t happen until at least early 2014. Rudolph is pregnant, and launching a show while caring for a newborn probably isn’t in the cards. But the idea is a good one — so ABC, let’s make this happen.