When NBC‘s 30 Rock bid adieu to fans on Thursday after seven seasons, 139 episodes, 14 Emmys, and six Golden Globes, the show’s cast and crew got together to send their thank-yous to the woman who made it all possible: Tina Fey. Watch Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski, and Tracy Morgan celebrate their showrunner-star with love, anecdotes (“Tina was like my Bruce Lee”), and tears:
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.
It is a big year for TV talent as TV writers/performers are hosting the top movie awards shows this year: the Oscars, Seth MacFarlane, and the Golden Globes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. (Additionally, Kelsey Grammer is hosting the DGA Awards and Nathan Fillion the WGA Awards.) With their NBC show Smash nominated for best comedy/musical series, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, producers of the upcoming Academy Awards, had a front-row seat at tonight’s Golden Globes ceremony, and Meron, who attended, watched the proceedings up close. MacFarlane didn’t attend but he too watched the Globes, tweeting occasional comments. He later joined the Golden Globes crowd at the HBO party, accompanying his girlfriend, Emilia Clarke, who co-stars on the network’s hit drama Game Of Thrones. MacFarlane was effusive in his praise for Fey and Poehler’s performance as hosts. “Please give Tina and Amy high marks because they did great,” MacFarlane said. Does the duo’s strong showing increase the pressure on him? MacFarlane seemed unfazed. “It doesn’t matter how I do, Oscar hosts always get thrashed,” he deadpanned.
Former SNL Weekend Update co-anchors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are reuniting for another joint hosting gig, this time emceeing the upcoming 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Long-time friends Fey and Poehler are only the second hosting team on the awards show, which went without a host until Ricky Gervais was tapped for the job the last three years. “Having both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on board to host this year’s festivities is a major coup,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC‘s President, Alternative and Late Night Programming. “Tina and Amy have a proven chemistry and comedic timing from their many years together on SNL to their successful co-starring roles in Baby Mama.”
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.
Saturday Night Live host Jimmy Fallon and fellow former Weekend Update co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler join Seth Meyers for a joke-off.
In between juggling five series — Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show and the upcoming Flintstones and Cosmos reboots — his first feature and emceeing duties at the Comedy Central roasts, Seth MacFarlane is fostering a budding music career. And tonight, the uber TV producer earned two Grammy nominations. One was for a song from Family Guy, Christmastime Is Killing Us, which he co-wrote, in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category. It was the only song from a TV show to make the cut. The other nod was an even bigger surprise: MacFarlane’s debut album as a singer, Music Is Better Than Words, was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album alongside heavyweights Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and Harry Connick Jr. and international sensation Susan Boyle. I think it is safe to say that this is the first time MacFarlane’s name has been mentioned in the same sentence as Ms. Streisand. (Below is a snippet from one of MacFarlane’s sold-out live performances of Music Is Better Than Words, which was turned into an EPIX special.)
After Brett Ratner’s spectacular self-inflicted demise as Oscarcast producer, the Academy gets down to business finding a replacement to join Don Mischer in picking up the …
Laura Linney, The Big C
Why She Was Nominated: Because, well, the TV academy couldn’t very well not nominate her. Her role as the cancer-stricken Cathy Jamison in The Big C showcases Linney’s mesmerizing acting range and depth. And she’s also a three-time Oscar nominee. That fact alone earns Linney significant brownie points and makes her Emmy nomination a foregone conclusion no matter the project or role. Having a past cinematic pedigree remains plenty huge.
Why She Has To Win: Simply stated, Linney never loses. She’s been nominated for Emmys three times: lead actress in a movie/miniseries twice (2002 for Showtime’s Wild Iris, 2008 for HBO’s John Adams) and as guest comedy actress once (2004 for Frasier). She’s won every time. Moreover, Linney’s The Big C submission is the pilot episode that finds her shifting effortlessly between high emotion and dark humor. Oh, plus the past pair of winners in the category — Toni Collette and Edie Falco — hailed from similar Showtime dramedies.
Why She Can’t Possibly Win: Someday, somebody will figure out that if you’re doing a seriocomic turn in a half-hour series, it’s likely more serio than comic. Falco said it herself onstage after winning last year for Nurse Jackie: “Oh this is just the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in the history of this lovely awards show. Thank you so much. I’m not funny.” Linney isn’t as purely funny in her role as are her competitors here — and, well, this is supposed to be a comedy award. If that matters.
His eponymous FX comedy may have been snubbed in the best comedy series category, but comedian Louis C.K. still managed to become the most nominated person at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with four noms, sharing the honors with The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Louis C.K. was nominated in the lead comedy actor category for his role on FX’s Louie, in the writing for comedy series category for penning the Poker/Divorce episode of the show, as well as in two Variety, Music or Comedy special categories for his Epix comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious — for writing and for editing. Three of Schaffer and Taccone’s four nominations were in the Original Music and Lyrics category, in which The Lonely Island’s Schaffer, Taccone and Andy Samberg have a regular presence, often in tandem with Justin Timberlake, having won an Emmy together for Dick In a Box. This year, Saturday Night Live is completely dominating the category with four of the six nominations: three for Schaffer, Taccone and Samberg’s digital music videos I Just Have Sex, Jack Sparrow and their latest collaboration with Timberlake, 3-Way, and one for the song from host Timberlake’s opening monologue. Schaffer and Taccone’s fourth Emmy nomination is in the writing for VMC series category for their staff-writing duties on SNL.
EXCLUSIVE: Karen Croner has been set to script Hello Ghost, the film inspired by the Korean comedy about a man whose failed suicide attempt allows him to see ghosts who haunt him until he grants each of them one wish. Chris Columbus will direct a film that will be financed …