'30 Rock' Season Premiere: The Beginning of the End!

Jack is back on the market! Liz and Criss are "trying"! Check out what else is to come as the NBC comedy kicks off its final season

Comedy fans, here's some happy-sad news: NBC's 30 Rock kicks off its seventh -- and final -- season on Thursday (at 8 p.m. ET). Get a taste for what's to come:

 

 
Despite so-so ratings, critics have stood by this show for six years. It won the Emmy for best comedy series three years in a row (2007 through 2009), and it's always among the best comedy nominees. The show will close up shop with just 13 episodes, and according to its creator and star, Tina Fey, that shortened season will pack quite a punch and end on a high note. 

"I feel like I want it to be happy for these people and how they end up," she told TV Guide. When the season begins, Liz Lemon and Criss (James Marsden) are trying to have a baby. Jack (Alec Baldwin) is divorced and enjoying his new single status. "There are going to be a lot of ladies," said Fey. "And they will all be beautiful."

Kenneth [Jack McBrayer] and Hazel [Kristen Schaal] are living together, but not as a couple. "He's saving himself for marriage, and she's saving herself for someone hotter," Fey explains. Kenneth's mother and her special "friend" will make an appearance for the first time, and the fact that those characters are being played by guest stars Catherine O'Hara and Bryan Cranston can only bode well! As for Jenna (Jane Krakowski), she wants to have a secret, surprise wedding (to Paul) like a proper celebrity. "So we don't know when or where it will be," says Fey. "We just have to be ready at all times."

And what great luck that the show's run will end during an election year! What's the right-wing-minded Jack got to say about the presidential candidates? No doubt politics will provide a great source of humor for this culture-savvy show in the coming months, especially since Baldwin himself is known for voicing his strong political views. They are, ahem, nothing like Jack's.

Truth be told, Baldwin has developed a soft spot for the self-involved TGS boss he plays. "The character has definitely crept up on me inch by inch over the years," he told the L.A. Times"If I see someone wearing the wrong colored tie with their suit, I'm disturbed by that. If a waiter interrupts my conversation with some hideous question, I'm appalled by that. So I think Jack Donaghy will be with me to my last days." 

And for all his recent talk about leaving the show (and acting), Baldwin clearly has mixed feelings about seeing it end. "We all realize as we leave that we'll probably never have another job like this again," he said. On Oct. 4, he even tweeted that he tried to give execs an offer they wouldn't be able to refuse -- but did. "I offered NBC to cut my pay 20% in order to have a full 7th and 8th seasons of 30 Rock. I realize times have changed," he wrote.

Fey admits that she'll be emotional when the show ends, but she's also practical about it. "I want to leave the characters while we still love them," she said. What more could you ask for?

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