All awards shows are inherently meaningless affairs, but the Golden Globes stand out for being particularly vacuous, pointless and fraudulent. (Also, this.) Still, if they’re going to have the damn thing, and if they’re going to put it on television, and if it’s going to have some weird (and wholly unearned) impact on the Oscar race, at least Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be hosting the show.
On Monday night, Alec Baldwin told New York‘s Vulture that “30 Rock” would be ending after next season. (“Ending” meaning he and Tina Fey are leaving.) This created a minor uproar because, hey, people like “30 Rock,” and nobody had heard it would be ending next year! So Baldwin, probably prodded by his corporate overlords, took to the Huffington Post on Thursday morning to clarify:
I want to take the opportunity to state that although my days on network TV may be numbered, I hope 30 Rock goes on forever. Or at least as long as everyone involved desires.
Next year hopefully won’t be the last. Kenneth can run the network. Jenna will get her own talk show. Tracy will become Mayor of New York. Then resign to go raise exotic reptiles. And Lemon will go do…. just about anything she sets her mind to.
Here’s to five more seasons.
That was it. That was all he wrote. (Aggregation and curation at work!) I can’t help but notice that there was literally no stated retraction of what he said. He never said “I was wrong, Tina might re-up with NBC.” He never said, “I can’t speak for Tina.” He just said his days “may be numbered,” but he hopes the show continues “as long as everyone involved desires.”
Remember, NBC’s denial yesterday never said they expect Tina to be back. They just said they haven’t had “conversations” about the show ending. That’s not remotely the same thing. Alec Baldwin’s clarification today didn’t say the show will go on another five years, just that it was not an impossibility. Again, not the same thing.
Tina Fey is making the rounds publicizing her new book, Bossypants (which is getting lovely reviews, by the way). During an appearance on Oprah’s show, she revealed she’s five months pregnant. (And on that, congrats to her and her husband! That Bossypants excerpt that ran in the New Yorker in February, wherein she discussed having to choose between having a second child and taking advantage of her career heat, painted a very vivid picture of how tricky that decision could be. So it makes me fairly happy to know she can have a second kid and she’ll still be the next Elaine May, minus “Ishtar.”) At some point, somebody is going to ask her if she’s going to sign a new “30 Rock” deal.
One of three things is either happening or going to happen. One possibility is that she is not intending to sign a new deal, and Baldwin spilled the beans before Fey wanted said beans spilled (perhaps after this season concludes, much like how Steve Carell said he was leaving “The Office” over the summer hiatus). Another option is that Fey would consider signing a new deal, perhaps for another year or two, because sitcom schedules (even sitcoms where you are the star and run the show) offer a stability unmatched by movie productions (which can take you to location shoots, worldwide publicity tours and the like). Maybe Baldwin, intentionally or unintentionally, helped give Fey a leg up in the negotiations, because now they think she might leave so NBC will make a very generous offer. OR, a third option: Perhaps nobody knows for sure, not Fey nor Baldwin nor NBC, and maybe she will leave and maybe she won’t, and this is all idle speculation. At some point she will answer, and even if she doesn’t confirm or deny anything now, we should know for sure by the summer.
Alec Baldwin’s “30 Rock” contract is up in 2012, and he’s made it pretty clear he won’t be signing a new one. But he dropped a reasonably unexpected bombshell when speaking with Vulture at a fundraising gala last night: The show itself will end next year.
But Baldwin says it’s a done deal that Fey will be leaving. “Our contracts are expired [in 2012], and Tina is gonna have a big career directing films and writing. She’s going to be the next Elaine May. She’ll be great.”
On the one hand, yes, Tina Fey does seem like she could have a big film career and be the next Elaine May. But this is the first word about when “30 Rock” could wind down. The show has reached a point where NBC will keep picking it up and it’ll end whenever Tina Fey is ready to move on, so Baldwin’s departure after next season does look like a logical moment for her to end things. Who can imagine the show without him? But with “The Office” soldiering on after Steve Carell, you never know how these things will go.
Anyway, this is very interesting, and probably not the worst news in the world. Six seasons, at least two of them outstanding, and everybody moves on having done something special. We’ll see what Tina Fey says when someone asks her about it during her publicity rounds for “Bossypants.”
UPDATE: An “NBC insider” disagrees with Baldwin. Says TV Line: “While it’s true that Fey and Baldwin’s contacts are up in May 2012, an NBC insider insists, ‘We have had no conversations about 30 Rock ending next season.‘” Well, that’s a denial, but it’s actually not much of a denial. Having “no conversations” about the show ending isn’t the same thing as having conversations about the show continuing into a seventh season.
If you want to read that thing Tina Fey wrote for the last New Yorker (about how she juggles family, career and people endlessly asking her questions that imply she has to choose between one or the other), here’s the full text. (The New Yorker Web site only offers an abstract, but it’s worth a read.)
In the fall of 2006, two writer-driven projects with eerily similar premises debuted on the same network. (That the network has been in last place for a while now and is going nowhere fast should not surprise you.) One was the highly-hyped “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” an hourlong look behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show that marked Aaron Sorkin’s return to television three years after he left “The West Wing.” The other was Tina Fey’s sitcom about an “SNL”-esque show. One show was supposed to save a network and become The Next Big Thing, while the other had Tina Fey.
Four years later, “30 Rock” is making a case for being one of the best sitcoms of the modern era, while “Studio 60” is a punchline. Hey, how’d that happen again?