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'30 Rock' & A Brief History Of Shows Going Live

NEW YORK -- In a move to inject new life into its kookiness, "30 Rock" is going live this week. It will be the second such outing for the NBC comedy, which is normally a polished, single-camera filmed affair. It went live for a night in October 2010 with an episode performed during the show's normal time slot, then re-staged for West Coast viewers. The same plan will be followed this Thursday: Originating from NBC's Studio 8H (fabled home of "Saturday Night Live"), "30 Rock" will air live for viewers in the Eastern and Central time zones at 8:30 p.m. EDT, then be reprised at 8:30 PDT for the rest of the country. The theme of the episode plays into the idea of Live vs. Filmed. The Kabletown corporate bosses announce they will no longer pay for live production of "TGS" (the fictitious show-within-a-show produced by Liz Lemon, played by "30 Rock" star Tina Fey). After first resisting, Liz and NBC exec Jack Donaghy (co-star Alec Baldwin) realize their lives would be simplified by shooting "TGS" episodes on film, fast and cheap. But Kenneth the Page (Jack McBrayer) objects, arguing that nothing can replace the excitement of live television. Time will tell. "30 Rock" could use a little excitement. Although highly acclaimed and richly awarded during its six seasons, it has begun to lose the comic edge that set it apart. And, while never a ratings juggernaut, it has seen its audience further soften this season (just 3 million viewers tuned in last week). Clearly, "30 Rock" could use a jolt. A stunt like going live is one way to score renewed attention and, perhaps, a boost in viewership. In TV, live is a favorite way to shake things up. "The Drew Carey Show" aired a live, improv-laced episode in 1999. Two years before that, "ER" staged an ambitious live hour of that medical drama. "Will & Grace" kicked off its season in September 2005 with a live episode whose guest star was none other than Alec Baldwin. And 20 years ago, the Fox sitcom "Roc," starring Charles S. Dutton as a garbage collector, aired a full season of episodes live. The initial stab at live-ness by "30 Rock," while whipped into something of an event, was a mixed blessing: For better or worse, the episode reveled in the sort of sitcom cliches and cartoonish excess that "30 Rock" so brilliantly resists any other week. Meanwhile, there were no memorable glitches or flubbed lines, which surely disappointed viewers who came hoping for a train wreck. Live isn't just performing without a net. It can be a license for sloppiness in ideas and execution: Consider "Saturday Night Live," which too often comes across as the rough draft of a polished final product that will never be performed. But live TV has taken on a mystique for both performers and viewers ever since video tape was invented during TV's infancy in the 1950s. The arrival of video tape made live production a bold choice and an exercise in daring – rather than the bothersome necessity it had been before, when no alternative existed. The arrival of video tape brought new convenience even to live broadcasts: A show that aired live in the East could be taped and replayed for later time zones. This, of course, remains the practice for most live programming today, including most news shows (such as the morning programs and the dinner-hour newscasts) and even "Saturday Night Live." (The "SNL" cast is frolicking at the after-party by the time West Coast viewers catch the show, "live from New York," on tape.) But "30 Rock" will play it old school on Thursday, with a fresh performance of the episode for the West Coast. Just how fresh the episode is remains to be seen. ___ Online: ___

30 Rock “Live From Studio 6H” Season 6 Episode 19

30 Rock  “Live From Studio 6H” Season 6 Episode 19 airs Thursday April 26 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Episode Synopsis:  KENNETH (JACK MCBRAYER) TAKES DRASTIC MEASURES TO PROVE WHY TGS SHOULD STAY A LIVE  SHOWWhen their Kabletown bosses announce they will no longer pay for TGS to be a live show, Liz Lemon  (Tina Fey) and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) realize their lives will actually be easier if they shoot canned episodes fast and cheap. Only Kenneth the page (McBrayer) objects, urging that nothing can replace the communal experience of live television. He tries to convince  the TGS staff to fight for their right to be live by taking them and our audience through a magical look back at the illustrious history of Studio 6H. Read More...  

'30 Rock' parodies Chrysler's 'Halftime in America' commercial

"30 Rock" never stops finding news ways to amaze and, more importantly, things to make fun of. And for that, we should be forever grateful.The most recent example is a faux commercial for KouchTown couches, the newest subsidiary of Kabletown. In the "ad," Stacy Keach parodies Clint Eastwood from Chrysler's "Halftime in America" Super Bowl spot."When we get hit and are down, we don't stay down. We get up and we hit back, with our fists or our nunchucks," Keach says. And then he explains exactly why we need a KouchTown couch.If that isn't enough, then he tries to sell us Bazooka Joe Gum. And despite everything in the pitch, we're still buying....

30 Rock “Murphy Brown Lied To Us” Season 6 Episode 18

30 Rock  “Murphy Brown Lied To Us” Season 6 Episode 18 airs Thursday April 19 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Episode Synopsis:  JACK (ALEC BALDWIN) GETS CREATIVE WHEN HIS NEW BUSINESS IDEA  FOR KABLETOWN GOES AWRY. JENNA (JANE KRAKOWSKI) STAGES A PUBLIC BREAKDOWN TO WIN BACK PAUL (GUEST STAR WILL FORTE). JAMES MARSDEN ALSO GUEST STARS. Jack (Baldwin) sets Liz up on a blind date to show her what she’s  missing  in her relationship with Criss. Meanwhile at KableTown, Jack has to scramble when his plan to manufacture couches hits a speed bump . With Tracy’s (Tracy Morgan) help, Jenna (Krakowski) orchestrates a public meltdown to get Paul’s (guest star Forte) attention. Read More...  

Tina Fey on '30 Rock's' ending: 'It's visible on the horizon'

Tina Fey says Alec Baldwin doesn't know something the rest of us don't about his and "30 Rock's" future at NBC. But she acknowledges that the show is probably closer to its end than its beginning.Fey was a guest on "The View" Thursday (April 12), one day after a series of tweets from Baldwin directing his ire at NBC over a "Today" segment on the woman who's allegedly stalking him. The tweets included one that read "I think I'm leaving NBC just in time."That stirred up speculation that he might be leaving "30 Rock" prematurely, or that the show was not long for the world. Not so, Fey says."He's not leaving the show. We're all in this together till the end," Fey tells "The View" audience. "I think he just maybe means that the end of the show ... is visible on the horizon.""We can't do this for, like, 35 years," Fey adds. "... We'd...

'30 Rock' & 'Community' Hit Ratings Lows: Fans Sound Off!

" 30 Rock " and " Community " hit series low ratings this week on Thurs., April 5. According to EW, 2.8 million people watched "30 Rock" and 3.1 million tuned in for "Community." Some blame the holiday week, but both shows have been facing eroding ratings against stiff competition like " The Big Bang Theory " and " American Idol " for some time. They are both beloved comedies, but where are the viewers? We asked our audience on Tumblr and Twitter if they were still tuning in for "30 Rock," now in its sixth season, and "Community," now in its third, or whether they had given up on the struggling comedies. On HuffPost TV's Tumblr , starbrows said, "I still watch both! 'Community' because it's getting better and better. I watch '30 Rock' because the jokes are hilarious!" However, waaastingaway said, "I use [sic] to be huge fans for those shows. I've stopped watching because of the lineup changes and the other 338 shows playing at the same time." NBC yanked "Community" off the air for three months in December. While it was on hiatus, fans took to social media to show their support for the series. "30 Rock" occupied its 8 p.m. ET timeslot for a while. "'Community' was brilliant last night, better than the other episodes since it came back," Tumblr user bubliya wrote. "'30 Rock' isn't funny anymore. Stale & predictable." Both shows have devoted followings on social media, many who say they watch the shows online the next day. "I love and still watch them both, but i have neither a TV nor a nielson [sic]," rufustfirefly said on Tumblr. Many Tumblr users echoed the delayed viewing. "I don't have cable so I watch both on Hulu," accio-blue-box said. "'30 Rock' S6 has proven that it's time for it to go. 'Community' however keeps getting better!" Readers on Twitter were more divided on the state of "30 Rock" than they were about "Community." Take a look at what they had to say in the slideshow below.

30 Rock “Meet the Woggels” Season 6 Episode 17

30 Rock  “Meet the Woggels” Season 6 Episode 17 airs Thursday April 12 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Episode Synopsis:  LIZ (TINA FEY) TRIES TO GET JACK (ALEC BALDWIN) TO HAVE AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION WITH HIS MOTHER. GUEST STAR ELAINE STRITCH. When a health complication lands Jack’s mother (guest star Stritch) in the hospital, Liz (Fey) encourages Jack to share  his feelings before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Jenna (Jane Krakowski) tries dating a musician, and Tracy (Tracy Morgan) works to convince his son not to go to college. Read More...  

30 Rock “Nothing Left To Lose” – Cheer Up, Pete

30 Rock  “Nothing Left To Lose” Season 6 Episode  16 airs Thursday April 5 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Episode Synopsis:  After reading Pete’s (Adsit) discouraging KableTown self-evaluation, Jack (Baldwin) takes on the task of making Pete a respectable man. Tracy (Morgan) regains his long lost sense of smell and finds himself particularly fond of Liz’s (Fey) scent. Meanwhile, Kenneth unwittingly helps Jenna (Krakowski) plan  revenge  against the Pranksmen. Read More...  

'30 Rock': Avery Jessup to return from North Korea

Could it be that there's been some behind-the-scenes hostage negotiations on "30 Rock?"TV Line is reporting that after a year in North Korea, Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks) is slated to return to the comedy during May sweeps. While in the communist nation, Jessup was married against her will to Kim Jong-un, or a reasonable facsimile of the North Korean dictator.Jessup's return will certainly make things interesting as it relates to her power partnership with Jack (Alec Baldwin). Perhaps she'll try to convince him that there's a place in the communist utopia with his name on it?In a related "30 Rock" item, NBC announced the storyline for the April 26 live episode. They say, "When their Kabletown bosses announce they will no longer pay for 'TGS' to be a live show, Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy realize their lives will actually be easier if they shoot canned episodes fast and cheap. Only Kenneth the Page objects,...

'30 Rock': Elizabeth Banks' Avery Lives, But 'TGS' May Not Live as a Live Show

At last, Jack Donaghy may get Avery Jessup back from North Korea: TheWrap has confirmed that "Hunger Games" star Elizabeth Banks will return to "30 Rock" in May. But while Banks' Avery lives, "TGS" -- the "Saturday Night Live"-ish sketch comedy show-within-the-show -- is in danger of becoming a taped series.