After years of Emmy-winning jokes about corporate influence in TV, followed by several more years off the air, the cast of NBC’s 30 Rock is reuniting this summer…all in the name of advertising NBCUniversal and Comcast’s Peacock streaming platform.
“At NBCUniversal, we’re excited to produce an upfront that reflects a new reality and celebrates our relationship with viewers and advertisers alike,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman, advertising and partnerships, NBCUniversal. “Historically, this event is about the future of programming; this year, it’s about the future of our industry — a future where we can meet audiences wherever they are, with the stories that move them. As the old saying goes… when life hands you Lemon, have her host the upfront!”
Did she really go to there?
This one-hour, “ad-free” special edition of 30 Rock will premiere July 16 on NBC, with Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer and others reprising their roles in a virtually-filmed plotline that will incorporate talent from NBCUniversal’s other networks. The episode will be rebroadcast across USA, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, and CNBC the following night. Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, becomes available nationwide July 15.
This stunt one-ups HBO Max, which had hoped to launch with a Friends reunion, but decided to postpone that event due to the COVID-19 pandemic rather than film that cast individually.
“We’re all happy to have this excuse to (remotely) work together again for NBC,” said 30 Rock executive producers Fey and Robert Carlock said in a joint statement. “To quote Kenneth the Page, there are only two things we love in this world, television and everyone.”
30 Rock aired 138 episodes on NBC from 2006 to 2013, and won three Emmys in a row for best comedy series, as well as the Peabody Award and multiple honors from the Golden Globes and the individual guilds for acting, writing, directing and producing.
NBC previously reunited the cast of Parks and Recreation this spring for a special Zoom episode, but that was a fundraiser for Feeding America to support needy folks during the COVID-19 pandemic. This 30 Rock episode? Just Peacocking.