Tina Fey the writer-producer gets saddled with a so-so leading lady in Tina Fey, the actress -- just one of the hurdles that make "30 Rock" something less than a joyous romp. NBC's decision to launch both this show and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" so close together still feels misguided, and few comparisons -- except perhaps Alec Baldwin's sinister network suit -- reflect favorably upon this half-hour version. Baldwin and co-star Tracy Morgan do yield a chuckle or two, but a "Saturday Night Live" pedigree won't be enough to anchor this "Rock" unless it gets consistently funnier, and fast.
Liz Lemon (Fey) is the head writer of something called "The Girlie Show," a mediocre-looking sketch comedy with a semi-neurotic star (Jane Krakowski, subbed in for "SNL's" Rachel Dratch, now relegated to a cameo). Life is soon complicated, however, when the network puts Jack Donaghy (Baldwin) -- a GE suit with a mastery of microwave ovens -- in charge of production.