For the first time since the series ended in January 2013, a new episode of 30 Rock will air in July. Variety has confirmed that the reunion will also act as an Upfront Special and a way to acknowledge how the COVID-19 Pandemic has affected television production for NBCUniversal.
Television Upfronts are created by networks to promote their slate of upcoming shows for the fall season. This Upfront will differ from its traditional form as an advertiser-oriented presentation. Instead, the characters of 30 Rock will promote the new and returning shows of the 2020-21 NBCUniversal television season, alongside the cast and crew behind these shows.
30 Rock follows Liz Lemon (played by series creator Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live) as she manages and writes for the fictional live action skit comedy show TGS with Tracy Jordan. The series aired from October 2006 to January 2013, amassing a total of 138 episodes over 7 seasons. While using 30 Rock to promote NBCUniversal programming may seem idiosyncratic, it matches the subject of the series.
The show was heavily based on Fey’s time as a writer and actor on SNL and satirized the entertainment industry. Particularly, 30 Rock focused on the culture and real life events surrounding NBC, notably when the network was bought out by Comcast. Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising and Partnerships at NBCUniversal, remarked on how this aspect of 30 Rock made it a good match to address the difficulties of producing television this year with Variety: “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.”
Fey will return for the 30 Rock reunion alongside main cast members Alec Baldwin (Beetlejuice) as Jack Donaghy, Tracy Morgan (Scoob!) as Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski (National Lampoon’s Vacation) as Jenna Maroney, and Jack McBrayer (Wreck-it Ralph) as Kenneth Parcell. In addition, guest starts from a variety of NBC programming will appear in the special.
The special will be entirely remotely produced, much like the Parks and Recreation reunion special NBCUniversal produced last April. The reunion will premiere on the NBC Network on July 16th at 8 PM PST, one day before the launch of NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock. The entire series of 30 Rock, including the special, will be available to stream when the service launches.