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Feature: 30 Rock

Alec Baldwin, Tiny Fey and Keith Powell Saturday Night Live veteran Tina Fey turns her experiences into comic gold as the writer and star of a comedy set behind the scenes on a TV comedy…

Tina Fey, who won the Emmy Award for her work on Saturday Night Live, executive produces, writes and stars as Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, a half-hour comedy that spotlights the behind-the-scenes workings of a live weekly variety series called ‘The Girly Show.’ “It’s clear that the variety show is not based on Saturday Night Live,” the actress quickly observes. “The idea is that if I were a person who had never worked at SNL, this would be the sort of woman-driven comedy show that I would create. I just feel like for me the backdrop of that workplace is a little more visually interesting and a little more dangerous than a regular workplace, where I don’t know those people and how that operates, so that was the reason for choosing it.”

Fey portrays the head writer of a demanding live TV program that is broadcast weekly from the studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Everything is running smoothly on ‘The Girly Show,’ until Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), a brash new network executive, starts interfering, bullying Lemon into casting a wild and unpredictable movie star, Tracy Jordon, for the series.

Tracy Morgan, who portrays Jordon, is swift to acknowledge, “The character that I’m playing is not based on Martin Lawrence,” a fellow SNL alumnus. “Martin didn’t corner the market on meltdowns,” laughs the actor. “I have my unstable side, I like to party. It’s fun to play, but I’m not really like the character. I get to be that crazy dude on TV and then I go home and be a husband and a father. But the dude is cool; Tracy Jordan is alright with me. I’m Bruce Wayne, and he’s Batman. Tina allows me to put the cape on for the half-hour.”

by Judy Sloane

Read the full feature in
TV Zone #216

Photo © NBC
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #216
Summer 2007
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