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 (7:30 p.m. in Chicago), then be reprised at 8:30 p.m. 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.
Although highly acclaimed and richly awarded during its six seasons, “30 Rock” has never been a ratings juggernaut. It has seen its audience further soften this season (just 3 million viewers tuned in last week). AP