Tightening the screws on its experiment to turn the cast of Undateable into a test case on the effects of long-term sitcom fatigue, NBC has doubled down on its plan to run Bill Lawrence and his cast ragged over the next 10 weeks. Already committed to performing every episode of the show’s third season live owing to a ratings bump they received when they experimented with the format earlier this year, the Chris D’Elia-led cast will now be performing two shows every Friday night, one for East Coast audiences, and one for fans in the West.
The show—which also stars Brent Morin, Bianca Kajlich, and Ron Funches—toyed with the two-shows-a-night thing with its hour-long premiere, which it gamely mounted twice in a single night. (Phrasing!) But the previous plan had been for the rest of the season to be done with a tape-delayed repeat of the East Coast broadcast, the way Saturday Night Live handles its live-TV duties.
But apparently “mostly live” wasn’t live enough for NBC, and Undateable has been transformed back into a grueling gauntlet for its cast and crew for the rest of its 13-episode run. NBC didn’t give any explanation for the change, but it’s possible that it’s just sick of getting yelled at for canceling low-rated but critically lauded shows, and has now transitioned into trying to literally kill off casts before the season can end.