Because of the discrepancy between the broadcast TV season (September-May) and the eligibility period for the SAG Awards (calendar year), broadcast series get an extra shot at SAG Awards for the January-May portion of their final seasons. NBC’s 30 Rock did one better today, landing three SAG nominations despite airing only five episodes during the 2013 calendar year — the series’ final five installments.
According to the SAG Awards rule book, eligible on the comedy side are “30 minute comedy series (with a minimum 21-23 minutes of actual programming content) with an ongoing theme and storyline in a minimum of six continuous episodes (reducible to a storyline of four continuous episodes in the cases in which the series is subject to a “short order.”) 30 Rock was not a subject of a short order; its final season included 13 episodes. But it qualified as SAG Awards’ eligibility rules are different for final seasons, said SAG Awards executive producer Kathy Connell. “In a final season, we allow a show to wrap as long it is in the calendar year,” and the six-episode minimum does not apply, she said.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
When the NBC comedy 30 Rock leaves the air tonight after seven seasons and 139 episodes, it will be exiting a far different TV landscape than it entered. The series premiered on October 11, 2006 as an anomaly: the original vision of a single creator-producer-writer-star named Tina Fey at a time when TV actors generally stayed in front of the camera (with NBC’s The Office proving a rare exception with its double-duty writer-performers). Fey made no secret of being a writer first and an actress second, and there is little debate that her success paved the way for comedy performers dreaming of some semblance of creative control of the product. Without Fey’s 30 Rock, it’s harder to imagine the environment would have existed for a creator-star like Mindy Kaling to rise with The Mindy Project at Fox, or certainly for a daring and controversial writer-producer-star like Lena Dunham to make Girls at HBO.
That Fey was able to steer her quirky satirical tale on a broadcast network made the achievement all the more unlikely. And then to keep 30 Rock going for so many critically acclaimed seasons when its ratings rarely rose above the level of abysmal is fairly unprecedented. Rock remained, throughout its run, the little engine that could, overcoming long odds and a cancellation ax poised constantly over its head. Those with a good memory will recall that the series entered NBC’s primetime schedule with two strikes against it — as one of a pair of series launching on NBC that peered behind the scenes of a fictitious sketch comedy show. The other was of course Aaron Sorkin’s hourlong Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, which was the favorite of the two to survive due to the Sorkin pedigree. It’s the one that NBC put its marketing and promotional might behind, plastering Studio 60 on billboards in Times Square and on Sunset Boulevard. Instead, it was SNL vet Fey’s comedic creation that had the artistic legs for the long haul.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will guest star on 30 Rock‘s series finale, an NBC spokesperson confirmed to Deadline today. No word if Pelosi would play anything other than herself on the show’s one hour January 31st episode. “I would do almost anything Tina Fey asked me to do,” Pelosi said to The Washington Post today in a statement about her scripted TV debut. Pelosi is one of several politicians who have appeared on the Emmy Award-winning show, including former Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (all of whom played themselves). Pelosi also is no stranger to Primetime TV. Over the years she’s made the rounds on daytime and nighttime talk shows,
PGA Awards‘ weird eligibility window on the TV side made for another field with an outdated feel, like the comedy series nomination for HBO‘s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has not aired originals for the past year and a half. The PGA Awards follow the Primetime Emmys calendar despite taking place six months later, honoring programs that aired between June 1, 2011-May 31, 2012.
With that in mind, there were only minimal surprises in the series nominations this year, most notably the omission of HBO’s freshman comedies Girls and Veep and last year’s best drama series winner Boardwalk Empire. Modern Family has a shot at a third consecutive PGA Award with another best comedy series nom alongside returning nominees 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory as well as FX‘s Louie. This extends Louie‘s momentum. After largely flying under the radar for the first two seasons, the series’ third season earned a first Emmy award in September, its first SAG and Golden Globe nominations last month and now a first PGA nomination. Missing the cut this time are last year’s nominees Parks & Recreation and Glee, though Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk landed a TV movie/miniseries nom for the first season of American Horror Story.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Television has secured another key member of departing 30 Rock. Series executive producer Jack Burditt has signed a two-year overall deal with the studio behind the Emmy-winning NBC comedy, which ends its seven-season run January 31. Burditt joins 30 Rock creator/star/executive producer Tina Fey and star/producer Alec Baldwin, who also recently signed deals with Universal TV to remain at the studio following 30 Rock‘s end. “We are thrilled to continue our relationship at the studio with Jack after his invaluable contribution to 30 Rock,” Uni TV’s EVP Bela Bajaria said. “He’s a great showrunner and is a welcome addition to our roster.”
EXCLUSIVE: As he is wrapping his first starring TV series role on NBC‘s 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin is staying in business with the network and the studio behind the departing Emmy-winning comedy. I’ve learned that Baldwin, whose turn on 30 Rock has earned him two Emmys, has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television. Under the pact, Baldwin, who also serves as a producer on 30 Rock, will develop and produce series projects for the studio, including potential new starring vehicles for him. Baldwin joins his 30 Rock co-star, the series’ creator Tina Fey, who recently signed a new four-year overall deal with Universal TV. The pact assures Baldwin’s continued presence in the TV business. He had indicated that he may leave acting post-30 Rock for “more of a normal life,” and also has been constantly rumored for a potential political career. The current seventh and final season of 30 Rock ends January 31.
Big life celebrations scored in the ratings last night. The Liz Lemon wedding episode of NBC’s departing 30 Rock drew a 1.3/4 in adults 18-49 and 3.6 million viewers. That was up 8% from its last original two weeks ago and the comedy’s best demo rating since Oct. 11 and largest viewership this season. Meanwhile, ABC’s sophomore drama Scandal (2.2/6) popped 10% from its last episode two weeks ago to hit a season high. (In adults 18-34, it hit a series high). That is with Scandal‘s lead-in, Grey’s Anatomy (3.0/8), dipping 6% from two weeks ago to tie its season low. No dead cat bounce for ABC’s Last Resort. In its first airing post cancellation news, the freshman drama (1.0/3) fell 17% from two weeks ago to a series low.
Fox’s Glee (2.2/6), which featured the latest cover of Psy’s ubiquitous Gangham Style, bounced back 47% following the depressed numbers last week when the network aired originals on Thanksgiving. (Fox’s fast nationals for last night may be slightly inflated because of an NFL preemption in New Orleans). The X Factor (2.7/8) was actually down a tenth from last week’s telecast, which was boosted by a football lead-in.
NBC Sets ’30 Rock’ Finale, ‘Do No Harm’ Premiere Date; ‘Do No Harm’ Gets Thursday 10 PM Slot; ‘Rock Center’ Moves To Fridays
NBC‘s experiment with a newsmagazine in the iconic Thursday 10 PM time slot is over. The network just announced that midseason drama Do No Harm will move into the time period on January 31, following the hourlong series finale of 30 Rock, which will air the same night from 8-9 PM, The Office and newbie 1600 Penn. The low-rated Rock Center With Brian Williams will move to Fridays beginning February 8 and air in the “newsmagazine” 10 PM slot, bumping Dateline to 9 PM. Dateline will take over Grimm‘s slot while the supernatural drama is on a hiatus. When Grimm returns to its 9 PM berth March 8, I hear Dateline will either get off Fridays (by then the Sunday edition will already have launched post-football), or replace Rock Center if the show does not get any traction on its new night. “January 31 will be a special night as one classic series will mark its finale with a great hour-long sendoff episode while a promising new drama will make its debut on Thursdays,” said NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt.