30 Rock

2006, TV Show

News

I'm curious about your ...

Question: I'm curious about your thoughts on Twenty Good Years. Both John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor are downright funny, and the commercials look good from what I've seen, but it seems to have been relegated to the back burner when it comes to critics. Is the show not as funny as it looks? Or is it just not going to need as much of a push as other comedies? Answer: This is not a show that's likely to depend on critical support to survive. It's very broad and very conventional in its look and tone (laugh track included), but NBC feels that it might be populist enough to draw in a mainstream audience that could potentially stay tuned for 30 Rock (which, like many single-camera comedies, may grow slowly). NBC may be onto something: Put popular stars into a silly nothing of a show and you might attract a bigger crowd to stay tuned for the more offbeat, snob-appeal comedy that follows. Personally, I think it's just weird to pair Twenty Good Years and 30 Rock, going from the ridiculously ... read more

I write this fully aware that ...

Question: I write this fully aware that you have not seen the retooled 30 Rock pilot, but what are your thoughts on the network's drastic overhaul of Rachel Dratch's character (now characters)? I've heard nothing but glowing advance notices, and until recently there was no show I anticipated more. The fact that the network heads are retooling it already suggests that they might just trash it before it even airs. God knows, NBC has heard the phrase "tried and true" (just look at most of their programming), but haven't they heard the infinitely more useful "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Answer: Having seen the original pilot, and being a big fan of Rachel Dratch (her first "Debbie Downer" skit may be the highlight of the last five years or so of Saturday Night Live), I can assure you that, aside from one very funny scene involving Alec Baldwin, an NBC page and a bottle of diarrhea medicine, there wasn't much for her to do. I actually like the idea that she'll be popping up in various ... read more

Which are the top five new ...

Question: Which are the top five new shows you would recommend this fall? From the previews I have read, I am most looking forward to The Nine, Heroes, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Jericho and Ugly Betty. Six Degrees sounded intriguing to me when I read the premise, but critics have bashed it, so I'm uncertain. Although it does have J.J. Abrams involved, so I'm hoping. Answer: I'll give you a top six: my three favorite new dramas and my three favorite new comedies (the latter is almost by default because there are so few of merit). Dramas, in no particular order: The Nine, Studio 60, Friday Night Lights. Comedies, in no particular order: 30 Rock, The Class, Ugly Betty. There are a handful of shows I'll be tracking that fall on a second tier, but I can tell you that Heroes and Jericho will not likely be among them. (I know that because I write this particular column on the Internet, I'm supposed to gush on and on about any show with an element of fantasy — call it the Comic-Con factor — ... read more

Exclusive: Ally McBeal Star Climbs 30 Rock

Ah, just one more reason I worship the ground Tina Fey walks on: The ex-SNL scribe/anchor/star has tapped the inimitable Jane Krakowski to join the cast of 30 Rock for at least 10 of the first 13 episodes, sources say. This marks a most welcome return to full-time series TV for the former Ally McBeal sidekick, who, since the show's death in 2002, has kept busy with numerous MOWs as well as a Tony-winning gig in the Broadway revival of Nine. I'm still trying to nail down the specifics of Krakowski's role, but given the announcement on Monday that costar Rachel Dratch would no longer be playing one of the stars of Rock's sketch-show-within-a-show, "The Girlie Show," it's possible she's being brought in to fill that void. UPDATE: My insider confirms that Krakowski's character will, in fact, be headlining "The Girlie Show." Mystery solved! read more

Is there a point to ...

Matthew Perry, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Question: Is there a point to having Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Tina Fey's 30 Rock on the same network? Studio 60 looks more interesting, although the ad campaign seems to focus on the Network rip-off — I mean, homage — than on Sorkin. 30 Rock seems much more based on real life, with Tracy Morgan basically playing himself. However, it seems baffling that we have two shows about a fictional Saturday Night Live debuting at the same time. What are their long-term prospects? Answer: These are excellent questions, and ones we've asked ourselves (and NBC during the press tour) repeatedly. The only way we're going to get a real answer is to see how the public responds. The dilemma facing both shows is that the track record isn't exactly great for TV shows set in the world of TV (not even Sorkin's brilliant Sports Night, whose pilot I enjoyed more than Studio 60). To their credit, the shows don't feel remotely like each other. 30 Rock is a straight-out comedy/satire, ... read more

Everyone keeps saying Scrubs ...

Question: Everyone keeps saying Scrubs is a mistreated show. Doesn't NBC deserve a little credit for keeping it on the air for a sixth year? Scrubs couldn't hold much of the audience when it got a shot after Friends, but NBC has stuck with it anyway and has given the writers a good amount of freedom. I love the show and am thrilled to see it live on, but I'm a little sick of TV critics saying how mistreated it is when it's gotten well over 100 episodes, and when other networks would have given up on it by now. Poor little Scrubs. If that is being mistreated, what do you call the treatment given to shows canceled after one season, or worse, a handful of episodes? How about giving some credit where it is due? Answer: All valid points, but still, for NBC to bench Scrubs for half a season two years in a row seems like killing it with kindness. Especially at a time when the show has finally crossed the Emmy threshold with nominations for best comedy series, and this fall it would pair up so ... read more

Is The Biggest Loser going to ...

Question: Is The Biggest Loser going to return? I thought I read a while ago that it was, but I haven't seen it advertised or read anything about it lately. Just curious.
Answer: NBC has been resting it for the summer, but it's on the fall schedule. It will air Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET (opposite Lost, among others), and will be the sole reality occupant of that time period, sandwiched between the comedy block of Twenty Good Years and 30 Rock and the new serialized thriller Kidnapped. ... read more

I know it's still summer, but ...

Question: I know it's still summer, but have the networks announced tentative dates for their season premieres? Answer: As of now, the only network not to announce premiere dates is CBS, which will likely launch most of its new and returning shows the weeks of Sept. 17 and 24. Here's how the others shape up: The season kicks off early on Fox, with Prison Break and Vanished on Aug. 21; then the limited reality series Duets on Aug. 29; Justice and Bones on Aug. 30; House and Standoff on Sept. 5; the comedies 'Til Death and Happy Hour on Sept 7; Nanny 911 on Sept. 8; Cops and America's Most Wanted on Sept. 9; Fox's animated comedy lineup plus The War at Home on Sept. 10; and MADtv Sept. 16. (The O.C. won't return until after postseason baseball on Nov. 2.) On ABC, 20/20 officially kicks off Sept. 8; Dancing with the Stars returns Sept. 12 and 13; Wife Swap premieres Sept. 18; Grey's Anatomy and Six Degrees on Sept. 21; Ugly Betty and Men in Trees on Sept. 22; Extreme Makeover: Home read more

Press Tour Diary: NBC Day 2

I'm sure Keith Olbermann puts on a good show on MSNBC, but even the promise of a "hot breakfast" isn't enough to lure me down to his early-morning Countdown panel. I'm sleeping in.HEROES PRESENTATION10:51 am: If we can make it through this session without a question that starts, "This is for the entire cast: If you could have any superpower...," then I'll be a very happy man.10:53 am: As the Heroes trailer plays on the monitor, the cast hoots and hollers like a football team before the big game. This is going to be a fun bunch. 10:54 am: The trailer ends, the lights come up, and... sweet Jesus Jenny Craig, my buddy Greg Grunberg is half the man he used to be! 10:55 am: This is odd. Adrian Pasdar, arguably the biggest "name" in the cast, is banished to the back row alongside second-tier stars Santiago Cabrera, Tawny Cypress, Masi Oka and Leonard Roberts. Up in front are Grunny, Ali Larter, series creator Tim Kring, Sendhill Ramamurthy, Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia. How'd th... read more

Which fall pilots would you ...

Question: Which fall pilots would you deem worthy of my time?


Answer: I finished watching the last of the pilots over the weekend and I have fantastic news: For the first time in recent memory, the good fall shows easily outnumber the bad ones — at least based on the pilots I saw. As Desperate Housewives taught us, the second and third episodes tell us much more about a show's creative bones than a season premiere. With that said, here are the fall offerings that have the most FauxVo potential.

* Vanished (Fox) and Kidnapped (NBC): Among the things these two thrillers share in common: They both& read more

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Premiered: October 11, 2006, on NBC
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (930 ratings)
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Premise: A female TV writer tries to control the behind-the-scenes antics of a live, prime-time variety show and deals with interference from a network bigwig.

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