30 Rock (season 1)

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30 Rock (season 1)
30 Rock Season One DVD Cover.jpg
DVD cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 21
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run October 11, 2006 –
April 26, 2007
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 September 4, 2007[1]
Region 2 March 17, 2008[2]
Region 4 April 30, 2008[3]
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of 30 Rock episodes

The first season of the television comedy series 30 Rock originally aired between October 11, 2006 and April 26, 2007 on NBC in the United States. The season was produced by Broadway Video, Little Stranger and NBC Universal, and the executive producers were series creator Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels, Joann Alfano, Marci Klein, and David Miner.

The series focuses on TGS with Tracy Jordan, a fictional sketch comedy series, and its head writer Liz Lemon, portrayed by Fey, as she juggles her job and her personal life. The season consisted of 21 episodes; 19 episodes were approximately 22 minutes long, and the other two episodes were approximately 26 minutes long due to NBC "supersizing" those episodes. The season moved timeslots three times during its run. The first four episodes aired on Wednesdays at 8:00 pm,[4] the next thirteen episodes aired on Thursdays at 9:30 pm, and the final four episodes aired on Thursdays at 9:00 pm.

The season received generally favorable reviews, and was nominated for ten Emmy Awards: six Primetime Emmy Awards and four Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Despite critical success, the series struggled in the ratings,[5] and the first season averaged 5.8 million viewers for all 21 episodes. The 30 Rock first season DVD box set was released on September 4, 2007 in Region 1 format,[1] and was released on March 17, 2008 in Region 2 format.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

Season one begins with the introduction of Liz Lemon who is the head writer of The Girlie Show, a live sketch comedy series which airs on NBC. When The Girlie Show's network executive Gary dies, Jack Donaghy replaces him. Jack, the head of east coast television and microwave oven programming, makes many changes to The Girlie Show, including adding Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), a loose cannon movie star, to the show's cast and changing the title of The Girlie Show to TGS with Tracy Jordan. Various story arcs are explored, including the rivalry between Tracy and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), Liz's relationships with Dennis Duffy (Dean Winters) and Floyd Debarber (Jason Sudeikis) and Jack's relationship with Phoebe (Emily Mortimer). Most importantly the relationship between Jack and Liz develops as Jack offers to be Liz's mentor which becomes the anchor of the show. A few minor story arcs are carried over into season two including Cerie Xerox's (Katrina Bowden) ongoing engagement to the unseen character, Aris, and Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit) living with Liz in order to deal with his marital problems with his wife Paula Hornberger (later seen in "Greenzo" played by Paula Pell).

Crew[edit]

The season was produced by Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. and NBCUniversal and was aired on NBC in the U.S. The executive producers were creator Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels, Joann Alfano, Marci Klein, and David Miner with Brett Baer, Dave Finkel, Jack Burditt, and John Riggi acting as co-executive producers.[6] Robert Carlock acted as co-executive producer from the episode "Pilot" until the episode "Black Tie." Carlock was then credited as an executive producer, starting with the episode "Up All Night" onwards, except for the episode "The C Word" which was aired out of production order. Producers for the season were music composer Jeff Richmond and Jerry Kupfer with Irene Burns, Matt Hubbard and Diana Schmidt acting as co-producers.

There were eight different directors throughout the season. The staff writers were Tina Fey, John Riggi, Robert Carlock, Jack Burditt, Dave Finkel, Brett Baer, co-producer Matthew Hubbard and Kay Cannon who all wrote, or co-wrote at least two episodes. Daisy Gardner, who co-wrote the episode "The Source Awards" with Robert Carlock, was a guest writer. Those who directed more than one episode were supervising producer Adam Bernstein, Gail Mancuso, Don Scardino, Michael Engler, and Beth McCarthy. There were three directors who only directed one episode each throughout the season; they were Juan J. Campanella, Scott Ellis, and Dennie Gordon. Fey and Carlock acted as the show runners for the season.[7]

Cast[edit]

This season had a cast of seven actors who received star billing. Tina Fey portrayed Liz Lemon, the head writer of a fictitious live sketch comedy television series named TGS with Tracy Jordan (commonly known as just TGS).[8] The TGS cast consists of three actors, two of whom are part of the main cast of the first season of 30 Rock. They are the loose cannon movie star Tracy Jordan, portrayed by Tracy Morgan[8] and the dense, limelight-craving Jenna Maroney, portrayed by Jane Krakowski.[9] Jack McBrayer played the naïve Southern-born NBC page, Kenneth Parcell.[10] Scott Adsit acted as the witty and wise TGS producer, Pete Hornberger.[11] Judah Friedlander portrayed the wise-cracking, trucker hat wearing, repulsive staff writer Frank Rossitano.[12] Alec Baldwin played the high flying NBC network executive Jack Donaghy who, at the beginning of the season, is employed to retool TGS.[13] Donaghy's full title at the start of the series is "Head of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming."[14]

The season also includes a number of secondary characters including Keith Powell as James "Toofer" Spurlock, a writer for TGS, and Lonny Ross as Josh Girard who is a staff writer of TGS as well as a TGS cast member. Katrina Bowden was TGS's general assistant, Cerie Xerox. These actors were promoted to main cast members in season two.[15] Other recurring roles include Maulik Pancholy as Jonathan, Grizz Chapman as "Grizz" Griswold, Kevin Brown as "Dot Com" Slattery,[16] John Lutz as J.D. Lutz,[17] and Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman.[18]

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Katrina Bowden as Cerie Xerox, the young, attractive TGS general assistant. (15 episodes)
  • Keith Powell as James "Toofer" Spurlock, a proud African-American staff writer for TGS. (15 episodes)
  • Lonny Ross as Josh Girard, a young, unintelligent TGS cast member. (15 episodes)
  • Maulik Pancholy as Jonathan, Jack's assistant who is obsessed with him. (14 episodes)
  • Kevin Brown as Walter "Dot Com" Slattery, a member of Tracy's entourage. (11 episodes)
  • Grizz Chapman as Warren "Grizz" Griswold, a member of Tracy's entourage. (11 episodes)
  • Rachel Dratch as various characters (11 episodes)
  • John Lutz as J.D. Lutz, a lazy, overweight TGS writer who is often ridiculed by his co-workers. (8 episodes)
  • Jason Sudeikis as Floyd DeBarber, an attorney working for GE and love interest for Liz. (7 episodes)
  • Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman, a physician who practices questionable medical techniques. (5 episodes)
  • Emily Mortimer as Phoebe, a British art dealer and gold digger who Jack falls for. (3 episodes)
  • Dean Winters as Dennis Duffy, Liz's immature ex-boyfriend. (3 episodes)

Guest stars[edit]

  • Ghostface Killah as himself (2 episodes)
  • Isabella Rossellini as Bianca Donaghy, Jack's ex-wife. (2 episodes)
  • Rip Torn as Don Geiss, CEO of GE and Jack's boss and mentor. (2 episodes)
  • Will Arnett as Devon Banks, NBC's Vice President of West Coast News, Wed Content and Theme Park Talent Relations and Jack's nemesis. (Episode: "Fireworks")
  • Joy Behar as herself (Episode: "Up All Night")
  • Wayne Brady as Steven Black, Tracy's manager who Liz briefly dates. (Episode: "The Source Awards")
  • Tucker Carlson as himself (Episode: "Hard Ball")
  • Anna Chlumsky as Liz Lemler, an accountant for TGS and Floyd's girlfriend. (Episode: "The Fighting Irish")
  • Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Patricia Donaghy, Jack's sister. (Episode: "The Fighting Irish")
  • Will Forte as Tomas, a servant of Prince Gerhardt. (Episode: "Black Tie")
  • Whoopi Goldberg as herself (Episode: "The Rural Juror")
  • Donald Glover as young P.A. (Episode: "Jack-Tor")
  • Sean Hayes as Jesse Parcell, Kenneth's hillbilly cousin. (Episode: "Hiatus")
  • LL Cool J as Ridikolus, a famous hip-hop producer. (Episode: "The Source Awards")
  • Nathan Lane as Eddie Donaghy, Jack's con-man brother. (Episode: "The Fighting Irish")
  • Chris Matthews as himself (Episode: "Hard Ball")
  • Stephanie March as Gretchen Thomas, a lesbian and friend of Jack's who he sets up on a date with Liz. (Episode: "Blind Date")
  • John McEnroe as himself (Episode: "The Head and the Hair")
  • Conan O'Brien as himself (Episode: "Tracy Does Conan")
  • Maury Povich as himself (Episode: "Fireworks")
  • Aubrey Plaza as an NBC page. (Episode: "Tracy Does Conan")
  • Al Roker as himself (Episode: "Fireworks")
  • Paul Reubens as Prince Gerhardt, the last surviving member of the Habsburg dynasty. (Episode: "Black Tie")
  • Molly Shannon as Katherine Catherine Donaghy, Jack's sister. (Episode: "The Fighting Irish")
  • Sherri Shepherd as Angie Jordan, Tracy's no-nonsense wife. (Episode: "Up All Night")
  • Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy, Jack's cold and overbearing mother. (Episode: "Hiatus")

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

"Look for 30 Rock to blossom into the next Arrested Development, but let's hope it lasts a little longer than its Fox counterpart."

Kyle Braun of UGO, comparing the series to the heavily praised Arrested Development.[19]

Metacritic gave the season a Metascore—a weighted average based on the impression of 31 critical reviews—of 67%, signifying generally favorable reviews.[20] The pilot episode, the first episode of the series, was generally well received;[21] however, Marc D. Allan of The Washington Post said that "viewers who tuned in for the first month or more saw shows that weren't consistently funny", but after a few episodes "the writers discovered the core of the series—the push-pull between Fey's character, Liz Lemon, the harried head writer of The Girlie Show, and Alec Baldwin's domineering network executive, Jack Donaghy—that 30 Rock found its rhythm."[21] Henry Goldblatt of Entertainment Weekly, whilst reviewing the DVD release of the season, called 30 Rock "[the 2006 –2007 television season's] finest sitcom". Goldblatt said that the episodes "Hard Ball" and "The Break Up" were "some of the strongest episodes", and awarded the first season an "A" grade.[22]

Christopher Monfette of IGN thought that season one was "well-written and hilariously-performed" and that it was "refreshing to travel through the season and watch these characters grow and evolve". Monfette gave the season a score of 8 out of 10.[23] UGO Entertainment's Kyle Braun said that the season "didn't start out as the funniest new show of 2006", but he praised the seasons progression, proclaiming "now that the show has found its audience, it's hard to argue with the laughs thrown down from high atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza."[19] Anna Johns of TV Squad said that she was "particularly excited for the later two-thirds of the season, when Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan got into their groove and the supporting characters started getting better story lines."[24] After six episodes, NBC picked 30 Rock up for a 21 episode season on December 1, 2006.[25][26][27]

Ratings[edit]

The pilot episode garnered 8.13 million viewers, finishing third in its timeslot of 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time.[28] After three further low rated airings on the following three Wednesdays, including a series low of 4.61 million viewers,[29][30][31] NBC decided to move 30 Rock to Thursdays at 9:30pm. Its first airing on a Thursday night was on November 16, 2006.[32] Along with this change, the even lower rated comedy Twenty Good Years was put on hiatus and later cancelled.[33][34] 30 Rock's first Thursday airing was viewed by 5.19 million viewers.[35] The series then received ratings of a consistent amount of around 5.5 million viewers till the episode "Hard Ball" when a series low, set by the episode "Jack the Writer," was met with just 4.61 million viewers watching the episode.[31][36] After a further three episodes, which were higher rated than "Hard Ball," NBC moved 30 Rock to 9:00pm on Thursdays,[37] serving as a lead-in to Scrubs. Upon its first airing at 9:00pm, the episode "Fireworks," a "supersized" episode attracted the attention of 5.37 million viewers.[38] 30 Rock aired at 9:00pm for four episodes. The season finale, "Hiatus," was watched by 4.72 million people.[39] The first season averaged 5.8 million viewers for all 21 episodes. Out of all regular primetime programming that aired during the 2006–2007 American television season, 30 Rock ranked #102 out of #142 according to the Nielsen ratings system.[40]

Awards[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
1 1 "Pilot" Adam Bernstein Tina Fey October 11, 2006 (2006-10-11) 101 8.1[41]
Liz Lemon is head writer for The Girlie Show, a live comedy show filmed in New York City's 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Things start to get complicated when her new boss, Jack Donaghy, insists that wild movie star Tracy Jordan join the cast.
2 2 "The Aftermath" Adam Bernstein Tina Fey October 18, 2006 (2006-10-18) 102 5.7[42]
Jack makes major changes to the show, renaming it TGS with Tracy Jordan and thus taking the spotlight away from Jenna Maroney. An indignant Liz struggles to keep everyone happy, but it is Tracy who saves the day by hosting a party for the entire cast and crew on a private yacht.
3 3 "Blind Date" Adam Bernstein John Riggi October 25, 2006 (2006-10-25) 103 6.0[43]
Realizing that her near or total lack of a social life is having an adverse effect on her work, Jack sets Liz up on a blind date with a friend of his. Jack infiltrates the writers' weekly poker game and starts winning hands until Kenneth the Page joins in and proves to be a surprisingly adept player.
4 4 "Jack the Writer" Gail Mancuso Robert Carlock November 1, 2006 (2006-11-01) 104 4.6[44]
Jack decides to join Liz and her staff in the writers' room, but his lack of writing ability becomes all too evident and his presence ends up stifling the others' creativity. Tracy mentors Kenneth on how to be successful and Liz encourages Cerie, her young assistant, to dress less revealingly.
5 5 "Jack-Tor" Don Scardino Robert Carlock November 16, 2006 (2006-11-16) 105 5.2[45]
Forced by Jack to plug General Electric products into the show, Liz integrates Jack himself into a self-referential sketch about product placement. Frank and Toofer trick Jenna into thinking that her job is in danger and Liz wonders if Tracy might be illiterate when he refuses to read the cue cards.
6 6 "Jack Meets Dennis" Juan J. Campanella Jack Burditt November 30, 2006 (2006-11-30) 106 6.0[46]
When Liz takes back her sleazy ex-boyfriend Dennis Duffy, Jack takes it upon himself to convince her that she is headed for a life of mediocrity. Tracy is enraged when a magazine calls him "normal" and Jenna becomes worried about her age when Jack asks her how old she is.
7 7 "Tracy Does Conan" Adam Bernstein Tina Fey December 7, 2006 (2006-12-07) 107 6.8[47]
Jack bumps Jenna's scheduled appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and puts Tracy on in her place. To make matters worse, Tracy has gone off his medication and he is consequently acting more erratic than ever. Jack encourages bald producer Pete Hornberger to wear a wig.
8 8 "The Break-Up" Scott Ellis Dave Finkel & Brett Baer December 14, 2006 (2006-12-14) 108 5.9[48]
Liz finally dumps Dennis and prowls the singles scene, where she proves to be particularly inept at picking up guys, under Jenna's tutelage. Tracy and Toofer clash, landing both in sensitivity training, and Jack dates a certain "high-ranking African-American member of the Bush Administration."
9 9 "The Baby Show" Michael Engler Jack Burditt January 4, 2007 (2007-01-04) 109 5.9[49]
Cerie gets engaged so that she can be a "young hot mom", causing Liz to think about marriage and having a family. Jack has trouble dealing with his own domineering mother, who wants to move in with him, and Tracy becomes upset by Josh's impression of him.
10 10 "The Rural Juror" Beth McCarthy Matt Hubbard January 11, 2007 (2007-01-11) 110 6.1[50]
Liz and Jenna's friendship is put to the test when Liz admits that she dislikes Jenna's new independent film. To get himself out of debt, Tracy places his name on a "meat machine" that eliminates the "bread" part of sandwiches.
11 11 "The Head and the Hair" Gail Mancuso Tina Fey & John Riggi January 18, 2007 (2007-01-18) 111 5.0[51]
Two guys, one a cerebral nerd and the other a gorgeous hunk, capture the attention of Liz and Jenna. Jack and Kenneth trade places for "Bottom's Up Day" and Tracy enlists Frank and Toofer to write his autobiography in one day.
12 12 "Black Tie" Don Scardino Kay Cannon & Tina Fey February 1, 2007 (2007-02-01) 112 5.7[52]
Liz attends a foreign prince's birthday party with Jack and meets his ex-wife. Tracy tries to convince Pete to cheat on his wife at a wild party while Kenneth encourages him not to.
13 13 "Up All Night" Michael Engler Tina Fey February 8, 2007 (2007-02-08) 113 5.2[53]
The writers struggle to pull an all-nighter on Valentine's Day. Liz receives flowers from a secret admirer, Jack completes his divorce after years of legal separation, Tracy tries to spend the evening with his wife, Pete forgets the holiday and Kenneth is encouraged to pursue Cerie.
14 14 "The C Word" Adam Bernstein Tina Fey February 15, 2007 (2007-02-15) 114 5.0[54]
After being criticized for her working habits by her co-workers, Liz decides to be more lenient with her staff and work overtime herself. Meanwhile, Jack brings Tracy to a major golf event to get closer to Don Geiss, the CEO of GE, but his plan backfires when Tracy decides to drop "truth bombs".
15 15 "Hard Ball" Don Scardino Matt Hubbard February 22, 2007 (2007-02-22) 115 4.6[55]
When Josh's contract comes up for negotiation, Jack tries to save money by not renewing it while Liz tries to prevent Josh from joining the cast of a rival show. Meanwhile, Tracy allows Kenneth into his entourage and Jenna gets into trouble after she is misquoted in a popular magazine.
16 16 "The Source Awards" Don Scardino Robert Carlock & Daisy Gardner March 1, 2007 (2007-03-01) 116 5.7[56]
Jack enlists a rap producer to unload his line of inferior champagne while Tracy reluctantly hosts the Source Awards. Liz tries to sever ties with a black man she dislikes without looking racist.
17 17 "The Fighting Irish" Dennie Gordon Jack Burditt March 8, 2007 (2007-03-08) 117 5.2[57]
Jack's long-lost brother Eddie shows up and announces their father's death. Meanwhile, Liz, forced to make staff cutbacks, fires her romantic rival "Other Liz" while Tracy seeks spiritual fulfillment at his lawyer's request.
18 18 "Fireworks" Beth McCarthy Dave Finkel & Brett Baer April 5, 2007 (2007-04-05) 118 5.4
Threatened by a sneaky West Coast NBC executive, Jack enlists Kenneth to help thwart any attempts to usurp Donaghy's TV throne. Meanwhile, Tracy discovers that he is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Liz fakes being an alcoholic to get closer to her crush.
19 19 "Corporate Crush" Don Scardino John Riggi April 12, 2007 (2007-04-12) 119 5.1[58]
Liz has found happiness with Floyd while Jack pursues a relationship of his own with Phoebe, an eccentric Christie's auctioneer. Tracy vies for Don Geiss's attention, hoping to turn his Jefferson movie idea into a reality.
20 20 "Cleveland" Paul Feig Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock April 19, 2007 (2007-04-19) 120 5.2[59]
Sick of New York and frustrated with his career, Floyd contemplates a move to the Midwest and asks Liz if she would consider leaving TGS behind. Tracy discovers that the "Black Crusaders" are after him and Jack continues to prepare for his marriage to Phoebe.
21 21 "Hiatus" Don Scardino Tina Fey April 26, 2007 (2007-04-26) 121 4.7
As TGS's summer hiatus approaches, Liz deals with the difficulties of her long-distance relationship with Floyd as she tries to find Tracy, who is hiding out in the sticks with Kenneth's uncivilized cousin. Meanwhile, Jack's impending marriage brings his mother, Colleen Donaghy, to town.

References[edit]

General
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