I don't think anyone is exactly sure what possessed NBC to launch two behind-the-scenes at SNL comedies in the same season but that's exactly what they did with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and 30 Rock.
Of the two, Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 seemed to be the surefire hit. Starring Mathew Perry, written and created by the West Wing guy, enjoying a massive budget and featuring an endless stream of high profile guest starsÂ¦ what could go wrong? Meanwhile, unassuming 30 Rock was almost overlooked by NBC, bouncing around from time slot to time slot and enjoying minimal promotion on the network. Under those circumstances, Studio 60's success seemed like a foregone conclusion. There was only one problem: the show wasn't very funny. In fact, Studio 60 was barely more than West Wing set in a television network. Sorkin's heavy-handed gravitas worked fine in the Oval Office but it dragged things down on the Sunset Strip. By the end of the season, Studio 60 was facing an uncertain future (put on early hiatus and rumored to be on the verge of cancellation), while 30 Rock was slotted into the Thursday night schedule leading into The Office, enjoying the full support of the network.