Photo Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBC
It's back! 30 Rock (Thursdays, at 8 p.m. ET, on NBC) is finally on the air again, after a longer-than-usual hiatus due in large part to Tina Fey's pregnancy. (Her daughter Penelope was born in August, which pushed the shooting schedule back a few months and knocked the premiere off the fall schedule.)
What's in store for Liz Lemon (Fey), Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and the rest of the crew at TGS with Tracy Jordan? Fey and Baldwin offer some surprisingly earnest commentary about the new season in this sneak peek. Watch here :
The show's sly, irreverent humor is on display again as viewers jump back into Liz Lemon's life. "Liz is completely re-energized," admits Fey. This is likely due to her new love interest, the very handsome James Marsden. If you're wondering where Lemon scored such a hottie, don't. "We have no idea how she met him," says Fey.
Nonetheless, he's cute and smitten with her. "She's trying to loosen up a bit by dating somebody who's a little more laid back," Marsden says about his character, a guy named Chriss -- yes, with a double 's' -- who's seemingly inclined to wear shorts all the time. Since Marsden is only signed on for a six-episode stint, chances are Liz will fumble this relationship like she has all the rest. Plus, Donaghy "officially" disapproves of the guy.
Of course, he has his own problems. "As everyone in America if not the world already knows, my wife [TV journalist Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks)] has been kidnapped by Kim Jong Il," Baldwin deadpans. "I'm a single dad to my daughter Lydia…A lot of things are going to happen this season apropos of my wife being gone that present me with some very unusual situations."
The December death of the actual Kim Jong Il could have thrown a wrench into that storyline, but showrunner Robert Carlock told Esquire that actually, it didn't. "We'd been dealing lightly with the North Korea stuff and realized that, just by happenstance, we haven't said his name, said Carlock. "We've been referring to [his son] Kim Jong Un, actually. So hopefully it'll seem like we knew what we were doing all along."
As for rumors that this is Baldwin's last season, well, it's possible. He seems to still be very happy to be part of the 30 Rock team, as he gushes, "I've said this a thousand times, and I'd say it another 10,000 times, which is that we have the best writers in TV. When I come to work, I think to myself, I'm so lucky…because these guys are really clever."
But, the guy is unpredictable -- just ask American Airlines flight attendants. "If he's leaving, we need to know soon," Carlock told Esquire. "We've certainly talked to him about it. We feel like we've put so many things into motion for the character that there are a lot of ways to give him a grand sendoff. Obviously, we'd rather not. But it's something that he's made us aware of. So it won't be a surprise if that's what he decides to do. We're certainly hoping he'll decide to keep going with us."
The season, like all the others, will feature a revolving slate of interesting guest stars, including Kelsey Grammer, who admits that his comeback will be "the first time in history I pull a guy's pants off." Okay, our curiosity has been piqued.
Also, Denise Richards confirmed that she'll make an appearance this season. The actress tweeted, "So excited!! I'm going to be doing an episode of #30Rock! one of my favorite shows!!!!!" Hmmm....sexy star on set while Jack's wife is in captivity halfway across the globe? We speculate that Donaghy might reprise his playboy ways for a chance with this stunner -- baby or not!
Other stars we can expect backstage at TGS include Will Arnett as Donaghy's nemesis we love to love, Devon Banks, and comedian Kristen Schaal, who will join the cast as a page whom Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) will have to train. That ought to be interesting.
Jenna (Jane Krakowski) kicks off the new season as a guest judge on a TV talent competition for kids, where she will try to broaden her fan base by killing young dreams. Watch her take on a Simon Cowell-type role on America's Kidz Got Singing:
Oh, and Liz Lemon may have a surprise in store. The first season 6 promo (which surfaced last month and has since been taken down) hinted that she had a secret that was making her act more strangely than usual. As Perez Hilton wondered after watching the missing trailer, "What the hell is going on here, Liz Lemon?? Are you preggerez?? Did you accidentally murder someone??? Why are you clutching to your boobs like that??" Okay, now we're really curious!!
Could it be the long hoped-for baby in her life? Hey, Fey's got two of them now. Why not give Lemon some parental responsibilities? Wait, don't answer that…