×

Emmys: ’30 Rock’ Faced Story, Storied Obstacles

Show leads comedy pack with 13 Emmy noms

“Dark times are these” (as Liz Lemon, quoting Yoda, put it best) now that “30 Rock” is off the air. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel — the show leads the comedy pack with 13 Emmy noms, including its seventh series nod in seven years.

As its final and shortest to date, this season was equal parts challenging and easy to wrap up for showrunners Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Long-awaited plot lines could finally be resolved, but they had to be done seamlessly so the character write-offs didn’t muffle the show’s voice.

“In some ways, it was like running down a hill — it’s easier than running up, but you have to be careful about falling,” Carlock says. “There’s a pressure you feel because it is the final landing place for each of the characters. … But it was a point of pride that we also did episodes that were not in the context or underlined by the fact that it was the last season.”

One of those characters could have landed in the already jacked New York City mayoral race. Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy, whose storyline was the hardest to wrap up for Fey and Carlock, was poised to throw his hat into the ring.

“Well, who knew the New York elections were going to be such a wonderful parade of semi-apologetic perverts?” Fey asks. “I guess we all could have guessed. Ending in January didn’t work for Jack to run for mayor, and it required too much of a time jump. So, we’ll never have that ‘Mayor Donaghy’ spinoff, but Jack inventing the clear dishwasher and returning to triumph at GE seemed happier.”

She’s kidding, by the way. There were never any plans for a spinoff.

And Lemon may be out, but Fey certainly isn’t. She’s nominated for seven Emmys — including lead actress in a comedy — bringing her career total to 31 noms since 2001. However, the show’s creator-producer-writer-star is quick to downplay her accomplishments.

“(Winning) would probably mean that there was some sort of accident, but it would be a happy accident,” she says. “It’s always an honor to be in that category, because there’s never any filler.”

Instead, she’s rooting for co-star Jane Krakowski, who’s nominated for supporting actress in a comedy. In turn, Krakowski credits Fey and the show’s writers for creating a wacky world of outrageous characters who were exhilarating to play.

“(‘Dance Like Nobody’s Watching’) was such a great title for one of the episodes because that’s what they allowed us to do,” Krakowski says. “Because they created the world that they did, we were able to go further than we could outside in the real world.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun

    Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun Rights

    Viacom has sealed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the cable rights to “Seinfeld” starting in October 2021. The deal comes on the heels of a blockbuster new deal between Sony and Netflix for the streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcom that also begins in 2021. “Seinfeld” reruns have been a staple of [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content