30 Rock to Return to NBC With One-Hour Upfront Special


NBC, which is of course a subsidiary of Kabletown, formerly of GE via The Sheinhardt Wig Company, is bringing back one of its most beloved and meta comedies for an hour-long special. 

30 Rock is set to return for a commercial-free, hour-long episode on Thursday, July 16 at 8 p.m. on NBC, according to Variety. Stars Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, and more will be involved. Oz Rodriguez (Saturday Night Live) will direct. The episode will be remotely-produced due to the coronavirus pandemic. After airing on NBC, the special will be rebroadcast across NBC Universal channels USA, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, and CNBC. It will also be able to stream on NBC streaming service Peacock on July 17, at 9 p.m. ET. This will be two days after Peacock officially launches on July 15.

“We’re all happy to have this excuse to (remotely) work together again for NBC,” 30 Rock executive producers Fey and Robert Carlock said in a joint statement. “To quote Kenneth the Page, there are only two things we love in this world, television and everyone.”

In a twist straight out of 30 Rock itself, this episode will serve as an “upfront special” for NBC. For the uninitiated, an “upfront” is an event that TV networks host with stars and creators of all of their upcoming content to showcase their value to advertisers. Since large in-person gatherings are ill-advised currently, networks will have to get creative with their upfront presentations. As it turns out, NBC has decided to get extremely creative and let its audience in on the joke as well.

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“At NBCUniversal, we’re excited to produce an upfront that reflects a new reality and celebrates our relationship with viewers and advertisers alike,” Linda Yaccarino, chairman, advertising and partnerships, NBCUniversal, said in a statement. “Historically, this event is about the future of programming; this year, it’s about the future of our industry — a future where we can meet audiences wherever they are, with the stories that move them.”

Like any normal upfront would, the 30 Rock upfront special will feature guest appearances from talent across NBC Universal’s channels as well. It will be up to Liz Lemon (Fey), Jack Donaghy (Baldwin), and friends to boost  “the stories and talent featured in NBCUniversal’s 2020-21 television season,” according to NBC.

30 Rock was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock and aired on NBC from 2006 through 2013. The comedy started as a behind-the-scenes look at the production of a fictional sketch show (The Girlie Show) before becoming more of a satire focused on NBC itself. Through seven seasons, GE executive Jack Donaghy and TGS head-writer Liz Lemon did their best to keep a floundering, Friends-less network afloat. In one notable instance (which has understandably come up quite a bit online today), Donaghy introduces a pie chart with NBC’s programming priorities which is roughly: 81% The Biggest Loser, 18% “Make it 1997 again through science or magic), and 1% everything else. Looks like NBC found the science or magic to get back to 2006 at least.

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