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.
Ron Weiner will continue to work with NBC after 30 Rock ends this season, selling two projects to the network. The first, an untitled workplace comedy, is set up via 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment, is about a contentious work marriage in which two people who are total opposites must manage a team together. Over time, the duo come to admit they need each other. Chernin’s Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope will executive produce. A second project, through Universal TV, will see the 30 Rock co-EP develop an American version of the BBC restaurant sitcom Whites. 3 Arts’ Howard Klein will executive produce. Weiner is repped by UTA and 3 Arts.
Tina Fey plans to keep her 30 Rock TV address after the end of her NBC series. The 30 Rock creator/executive producer and star has signed a new four-year overall deal with series producer Universal Television to develop new projects for the studio. The deal kicks in next year. Fey segued to 30 Rock after a stint on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where she became the first female head writer.
Whitney regular Maulik Pancholy has been let go from the comedy after one season. However, the actor is staying on NBC, jumping back to 30 Rock. On the 13-episode seventh and final season of 30 Rock, Pancholy will reprise his role as Jack’s intrepid assistant Jonathan, which he played on a recurring basis from the pilot through the end of Season 5 when he segued to Whitney. He first appears in 30 Rock’s season premiere.
On Whitney Cummings’ Whitney, Pancholy played Lily’s (Zoe Lister Jones) boyfriend Neal who came out as gay towards the end of the season. His exit was explained with creative changes the show is undergoing heading into Season 2, with Will Calhoun on board as new showrunner, replacing Betsy Thomas. Whitney was renewed for 13-episodes to air on Friday.
Alec Baldwin will return to Broadway next spring in Lyle Kessler’s Orphans. This will be Baldwin’s first project post-30 Rock, which will conclude its final season on NBC next year. Orphans is the story of two orphaned brothers living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house. Treat, the eldest, supports his damaged younger sibling by petty thievery, and makes the house a virtual prison for the seemingly simple-minded Phillip. One night he kidnaps a rich older man; Harold turns out to have his own motives and becomes the father figure the boys have always yearned for. Baldwin will play Harold. The roles of Treat and Phillip have yet to be cast. The play is directed by Daniel Sullivan and produced by Frederick Zollo and Robert Cole.
UPDATED: Last year, most midseason series received shorter orders for fewer of the standard 13 episodes new shows get. That included ABC’s GCB (10), The River (8) and Scandal and Don’t The B—- (7), CBS’ Rob (8) and NBC’s Bent (6) and Best Friends Forever (6).
This year, the networks are not as stingy to new shows, with only two midseason series, ABC’s drama Red Widow starring Radha Mitchell and NBC’s late pickup, comedy Next Caller starring Dane Cook, getting fewer than 13 episodes — 8 and 7, respectively.
But there are a number of returning series whose orders are shorter than the standard full-season 22 episodes (13 for midseason shows getting a second-season pickup). NBC did a lot of that on the comedy side, which the network’s topper Bob Greenblatt said at the NBC upfront was how they could afford to pick up as many (7) new comedy series. Of NBC’s returning comedy series only flagship The Office and Parks & Recreation have received 22-episode renewals. The rest, 30 Rock, Community, Up All Night and Whitney have been picked up for 13 episodes each. For 30 Rock, that marks the final season. During a press call on Monday, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly criticized the shorter orders for returning comedy series, calling them potentially “confusing.”
Also getting a 13-episode order is ABC’s procedural Body Of Proof, which is …
Going into the upfronts, it became clear that the upcoming 13-episode season of 30 Rock would be the series’ last. And, after denying yesterday that a decision to end the show has been made, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt today announced that the Emmy-winning comedy will indeed finish its run next season with an hourlong finale. “I know Tina, Alec (Baldwin) and the rest will deliver some of their best work,” Greenblatt said. “We think the world of Tina and hope she will be in the NBC family for years to come.”
Related: NBC Upfront Presentation Live Blog
When writers deals were made for 30 Rock for next fall, they were were made with the presumption that the upcoming 13-episode seventh season will be the Emmy-winning comedy’s swan song. But during today’s NBC conference call the network’s chairman Bob Greenblatt said that there no decision has been made to end 30 Rock, The Office or Community after the upcoming season. “We haven’t definitively said that on anything yet,” he said. Like 30 Rock, Community was picked up for 13 episodes and is being moved to the Friday 8 PM slot where NBC sent Chuck for its final 13-episode season last fall. The Office was renewed for 22 episodes. Asked whether Community creator Dan Harmon will return as showrunner next season, Greenblatt said, “I expect his voice to be part of it,” adding that it is still unclear if that will be in his current role or as a consultant. Greenblatt dismissed the notion that the discussion about Harmon possibly stepping down from day-to-day oversight of the show stems from his ongoing feud with co-star Chevy Chase, saying that there are larger factors beyond that.
NBC is bringing back two more series: dramedy Parenthood and comedy 30 Rock. As expected, the pickup of 30 Rock will be for a seventh and final season, and it is expected to be abbreviated one, consisting of 13-14 episodes. The two join previously renewed freshmen Grimm and Smash and veteran Law & Order: SVU.
Despite flying largely under the radar, thanks to a big DVR play Parenthood is actually NBC’s second-highest-rated drama only behind the Voice-boosted Smash, averaging a 2.6 18-49 rating in Live+7. Meanwhile, Tina Fey’s 30 Rock is the most acclaimed NBC series currently on the air with three best comedy series Emmys among other accolades. Still awaiting word are fellow bubble shows Up All Night, which is all but certain to return; Community; as well as Whitney and Harry’s Law, both about 50-50.
EXCLUSIVE: After six years on NBC’s 30 Rock, executive producer John Riggi is leaving the series for an overall deal at Warner Bros. TV. Under the rich two-year deal, Riggi will develop new projects for the studio and also work on an existing WBTV series. Riggi has been on 30 Rock since after the pilot, starting off as a co-executive producer. He shared in the series’ three Emmy wins for best comedies. Before 30 Rock, Riggi worked on Will & Grace, The Bernie Mac Show, The Comeback and The Larry Sanders Show. UTA-repped Riggi is the latest upper-level 30 Rock writer-producer to segue into an overall deal as the comedy series is nearing its end — expected to return for an abbreviated seventh and final season. In the past two weeks Matt Hubbard signed with Universal TV, Kay Cannon inked with 20th TV. Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan just landed at Sony Pictures TV but will return for the final batch of 13-14 episodes of 30 Rock as co-executive producers. In addition to serving as a writer and executive producer, Riggi also has directed a dozen episodes of 30 Rock. While as a writer-producer he will work on projects under his WBTV deal, Riggi may go back to helm one or more episodes of 30 Rock‘s final season.
NBCUniversal today announced a $190 million upgrade to its 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters and other New York City facilities. The construction, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2014, will see more than 1.2 million square feet of renovation within 30 Rock. That work includes a full upgrade of the building’s office space and production facilities. The work will include the building of a “new state-of-the-art studio control room, and updating critical components of the company’s technical infrastructure, including replacing the Network’s underlying broadcast origination technology, as well as implementing a new studio and production ‘fiber highway,’ ” said NBCUniversal today. “That will enable new production techniques and new productions of all kinds to have their home at 30 Rock and to generate increasing employment through the five boroughs of the city,” NBCUniversal EVP Rick Cotton said. Other construction at 30 Rock, which houses NBC News and Saturday Night Live among others, includes the building of a new two-story commissary. NBCUniversal says the new commissary should be completed by the end of the year; CEO Steve Burke was on hand today for the symbolic knocking down of a wall to begin that work. Construction also will be undertaken at the company’s leased offices at 1212 Avenue of the Americas, where NBCUniversal has nearly 245,000 square feet of space. During the construction there will be, Deadline has learned, some temporary relocation of offices but not of shows from …
UPDATED: It looks like NBC‘s 30 Rock will be back for a likely abbreviated seventh and final season. I hear the Emmy-winning comedy has closed deals with its key high-level writers to return for what is expected to be a final season of 13-14 episodes. Among those who have signed on to go back are co-executive producers Jack Burditt and Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan. As for NBC’s other bubble comedies, newbie Whitney does not appear likely to return. Fellow freshman Up All Night has been looking better, but its executive producer Jon Pollack just moved to NBC’s newly picked up comedy series Go On as a co-executive producer. Is this a bad sign for the future of the family/workplace comedy starring Christina Applegate or just a case of staff turnover? (UPDATE: It looks like it’s the latter — I hear that the show is actively looking for a new co-showrunner to replace Pollack, an indication that NBC intends to renew the freshman comedy.) Meanwhile, veterans Community and Parks And Recreation both are in the running, with Parks’ renewal considered likely. I hear that, like 30 Rock, all returning NBC comedy series are likely to get short orders. That would save some coin and allow NBC to pick up more new comedies.