TCA: ‘The Office’ meets ’30 Rock’ meets …


Does the fact that viewer totals are excruciatingly low mean NBC’s stellar Thursday night comedy lineup Comedypanelpic_2 has little chance to be placed in the same class as in the days of “Cheers,” “Friends” and “Seinfeld,” all of which were ratings behemoths?

Ratings, mind you, have never come close to being equated with quality. Geez, “Veronica’s Closet” and “The Single Guy” probably have higher numbers than “The Office” or “30 Rock” will ever do … combined.

But after a TCA panel with the creator and star of each of the four comedies that air on Thursday — “My Name Is Earl,” “Scrubs,” “30 Rock” and “The Office” — it’s quite obvious these guys (and lady) are funny. Really funny. What exactly does somebody have to do these days to get people to tune in?

“It’s our job to make the shows good and Ben’s job to make them watch,” said Lorne Michaels, exec producer of “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live” godfather, about the job new NBC topper Ben Silverman has ahead of him.

When a reporter asked “30 Rock” star/creator/exec producer Tina Fey (pictured) whether she was confident last fall that hers was the NBC show-within-a-show would survive to see a second season, unlike Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” Fey didn’t hesitate in her response.

I was 100 percent sure,” she said. “I have a nasty streak in me.”

(Pictured above, from right: “Office” exec producer Greg Daniels, Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey and “My Name is Earl” exec producer Greg Garcia.)