Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn
30 Rock is an American satirical television sitcom created by Tina Fey (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) that ran on NBC from October 11, 2006 to January 31, 2013. The series, loosely based on Fey’s experiences as head writer for Saturday Night Live, takes place behind the scenes of a fictional live sketch comedy show depicted as airing on NBC. The series’ name refers to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, the address of the Comcast Building, where the NBC Studios are located. This series is produced by Broadway Video and Little Stranger, Inc., in association with NBCUniversal.
30 Rock episodes were produced in a single-camera setup (with the exception of the two live episodes that were taped in the multi-camera format), and were filmed in New York. The pilot episode premiered on October 11, 2006, and seven seasons followed. The series stars Fey with a supporting cast that includes Alec Baldwin (Will & Grace), Tracy Morgan (Martin), Jane Krakowski (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ally McBeal), Jack McBrayer (Phineas & Pherb), Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, Katrina Bowden (Public Morals), Keith Powell (About a Boy), Lonny Ross (Level Up), John Lutz (The Awesomes), Kevin Brown, Grizz Chapman (Common Sense Police), Maulik Pancholy (Weeds, Whitney, Web Therapy) and Rachel Dratch (The King of Queens).
Tonally, 30 Rock uses surreal humor to parody the complex corporate structure of NBC and its then parent company General Electric. Television critic Todd VanDerWerff The A.V. Club once remarked that it ‘usually adopts the manic pacing of a live-action cartoon.’ The show was influential in its extensive use of smash cuts: sudden, short cuts to unrelated scenes showing something the characters are briefly discussing. 30 Rock also became known for its dedication to making these extremely elaborate, once showing a set that took three days to build for only six seconds of video.
30 Rock received overwhelming critical acclaim, winning several major awards (including Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2007, 2008, and 2009 and nominations for every other year it ran), and achieving the esteemed top ranking on a myriad critics’ year-end best of 2006-2013 lists. On July 14, 2009, the series was nominated for 22 Primetime Emmy Awards, the most in a single year for a comedy series. Over the course of the series, it was nominated for 103 Primetime Emmy Awards and won 16, in addition to numerous other nominations and wins from other awards shows. Despite the acclaim, the series struggled in the ratings throughout its run, something which Fey herself has made light of.
In 2009, Comedy Central and WGN America bought the syndication rights to the show, which began airing on both networks on September 19, 2011; the series also entered into local broadcast syndication on the same day. Today, 30 Rock is regarded as a landmark series. Its series finale in particular has been named as one of the greatest in television history by several publications. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America named 30 Rock the 21st best-written television series of all time.