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'30 Rock' returns tonight: Sex! Ann Romney's Horse! And... Voltron?! A preview of the sitcom's last season


The election is about to take an outrageously absurd turn. No, we’re not talking about the ramifications of last night’s presidential debate — we’re talking about the final season of 30 Rock, premiering tonight on NBC, which will tackle the race for the White House in its own uniquely absurd way. Don’t like teases? Can’t handle spoilers? Hate geeky references to Voltron? Then good lord, man, stop reading! SPOILER WARNING!


Alec Baldwin says he offered to cut his salary for more '30 Rock'

As 30 Rock is set to premiere its seventh and final season tonight (NBC, 8 p.m. ET), Alec Baldwin isn’t ready for it to end after all. “I offered NBC to cut my pay 20 percent in order to have a full 7th and 8th seasons of 30 Rock. I realize times have changed,” he tweeted Thursday morning.

The final season will have 13 episodes, including a supersized finale. From the beginning of the show, which revitalized Baldwin’s career and earned him six consecutive Emmy nominations (with two wins), there was a question of how long he’d play Jack Donaghy. In EW’s current cover story, Tina Fey says she took a Zen approach to Baldwin’s contract negotiations over the years. “You can’t control things by being nervous about it. There definitely were times where I expressed to him how I would very much like him to do it and how important it was to me — and if he thought we were going to continue without him, we would not. But I think by season 3 [we knew he was staying],” Fey says. “I had a dinner with him when I was very pregnant with my second child to say, ‘Let’s do season 7, come on. Let’s do it!’ And he said okay. I think I had the baby the next day. And now not a day goes by that he doesn’t go around to the crew and agitate for a season 8: ‘You’ve gotta change your minds!’ It’s like, ‘It’s not really up to me — and also, no.'”

Read more:
This Week’s Cover: Tina Fey on her career in comedy and saying goodbye to ’30 Rock’
Tina Fey on which ’30 Rock’ guest-stars she wants back and more — VIDEO
Alec Baldwin says he’s staying on ’30 Rock’… and that the show is ending next season

'30 Rock' first look: Liz and Jack talk puzzles and, er, positions -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

30 Rock‘s return next Thursday will be bittersweet. As the title of season 7’s premiere indicates, this is “The Beginning of the End” — the first episode of Tina Fey’s sitcom’s last season. At least we know that the show will hit the ground running: the premiere features Jack (Alec Baldwin) developing an “unusual business strategy” that seems to involve driving NBC into the ground, Jenna (Jane Krakowski) doing her best bridezilla impression, and Hazel (Kristen Schaal) and Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) inviting Tracy (Tracy Morgan) to a dinner party at the “condemned site of the Candy Man Murders” — a.k.a. their apartment.

But before the madness begins, Liz (Fey) and Jack have their annual short catching-up powwow. She tells him how she spent her hiatus — hint: it involves a lot of puzzles — and that she and Criss (James Marsden) are “trying.” He, of course, wastes no time making her feel uncomfortable. Get a first look at their quippy exchange below:


Tina Fey on which '30 Rock' guest-stars she wants back and more -- VIDEO

Time to high-five a million angels! Or even more because Tina Fey is coming your way.

EW’s current cover star talked about everything from Bossypants to Mean Girls in her wide-ranging EW Interview. Now, she answers even more questions in a video Q&A. Find out how she’s feeling about 30 Rock‘s end, what celebrity guest stars she hopes make one final appearance (fingers crossed for “settling soul mate” Wesley Snipes!), and what she really thinks is the right age to get a tattoo.

Check it all out below: READ FULL STORY

Ryan Lochte to make a splash on '30 Rock'

Olympic aquatic sensation Ryan Lochte will cameo on an upcoming episode of 30 Rock. The gold-medalist swimmer told New York Magazine that he was filming with Tina Fey and Co. today, and a spokesperson for NBC confirms the news… without commenting further on the role Lochte might play.

Let’s assume Lochte will be playing himself — like Aaron Sorkin, Oprah Winfrey, and Al Gore. But how will he fit in with the crazy cast of characters? Might he be a guest host on The Girly Show? Could he be a rival to James Marsden’s Criss and want Liz Lemon to model his new line of ladies’ swimwear? Might he be the perfect love match for Cerie? Kenneth’s evil “twin”?

Read more:
Ryan Lochte reality show is probably happening

Tina Fey to guest on 'The Simpsons' -- EXCLUSIVE


Image Credit: Art Streiber/NBC; Fox

Tina Fey is going to be a
mean girl... on The Simpsons. In an upcoming episode of the animated Fox comedy, the star/creator of 30 Rock will voice the role of Ms. Cantwell, an otherwise nice substitute teacher who does not warm to Lisa for some mysterious reason and bullies her. How bad does it get? “She gives Lisa a 'B' and Ralph an 'A' even though Ralph signed his paper ‘Ralpa,’” says exec producer Al Jean. “And Lisa has a reading kangaroo with a bunch of little joeys in it for the books that she reads, and [Ms. Cantwell]

takes the joeys out and puts them in other kangaroos. Hardcore stuff.” READ FULL STORY

'Castle' exclusive: '30 Rock' actor to guest in 'Storage Wars'-inspired episode

Dot Com is heading to Castle — for an episode seemingly inspired by A&E’s Storage Wars!

Kevin Brown (pictured, left), best known for playing a member of Tracy’s entourage on NBC’s 30 Rock, is set to appear in the second episode of Castle‘s upcoming fifth season. He will play “Big” Percy Jenkins, an auction hunter who encounters Castle and Beckett while they are investigating a case that finds them in the middle of a Storage Wars-esque bidding contest.

Castle‘s new season kicks off Sept. 24.

'Family Guy': Elizabeth Banks to guest on season premiere -- EXCLUSIVE

Elizabeth Banks is climbing her way to the top in the season premiere of Family Guy. EW has learned that the Hunger Games/30 Rock actress will voice the snooty wife of Lois’ ex-boyfriend Ross Fishman, who attempts to scale Mt. Everest with her perfect family. “The Fishmans look down their noses at the Griffins as these slobs,” explains Family Guy exec producer Mark Hentemann. “They’re super successful and they go on the most exotic vacations and they take on the greatest challenges… Peter picks up on his jealousy that he had in season 3 and says, ‘Well, if they’re going to do it, we’re gonna do it — and beat them.'” Place your bets, folks: Who will make it to the summit first — if anyone makes it all? READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: Tina Fey on Liz Lemon as a mom, and her season 7 'bucket list'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

Tina Fey is the first to admit that 30 Rock hasn’t survived on ratings alone. The series has always relied on the kindness of award voters. It’s been nominated for the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy every year it’s been eligible, winning three times. 30 Rock and Fey herself have earned so much acclaim that you’d think the novelty of awards would have worn off, especially now that the show is going into its 7th and final season. But Fey tells EW that it hasn’t gotten old. “It’s super fun if you win,” she says. “I mean, it’s super duper fun. Believe me, I wouldn’t be mad if it happened again, but at a certain point, it’s also just avarice.”

Since its premiere, 30 Rock has operated as though every season were its last. “Because we lived in fear, or freedom from fear, of getting canceled for so long, anything weird we wanted to do, we went ahead and did it,” says Fey. Yet season 6 has still found new, weird territory to explore, including a memorably bizarre superhero sequence and another live show. And even crazier, we’ve seen Liz Lemon make real strides toward happy, functional adulthood. Read on as Fey takes us through some of Liz’s most pivotal moments of season 6 and teases what’s in store for season 7. READ FULL STORY

'Dallas,' 'White Collar,' 'The Middle,' 'Grey's Anatomy': Find out what's next in Spoiler Room

I’m baaaaaack!

Yes, my two-week vacation to the motherland (Texas) was just the refresher I was hoping for before getting into the thick of all the exciting things happening here at EW this summer — like set visits, Comic-Con, general tomfoolery. My highlights? Reigning supreme in my very first Penny Can tournament, cuddling puppies, and getting my mother addicted to The Vampire Diaries. (“Awww! He met her first!” — mom, re: the finale). But now it’s back to work! So enjoy the return of Spoiler Room.

And in case you’ve forgotten: Submit your TV queries to or via Twitter (@EWSandraG). READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: '30 Rock' EP Robert Carlock talks 'Murphy Brown' and Liz Lemon's future

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

As 30 Rock nears its final 13 episodes, Executive Producer Robert Carlock knows more than anyone that there’s a lot of ground to cover. And that’s exactly what he’ll do this week as he heads back into the writers’ room with Tina Fey. Last week, with only a few, sweet days left in his vacation, Carlock took a moment to talk about season 6 with EW — in particular, writing episode 518, “Murphy Brown Lied to Us.”

“This was the season where we were using our ammunition and doing stuff with the characters in a fun way that we hadn’t [for a few seasons],” says the three-time Emmy winner. “This season felt like one where we were paying stuff off a lot.” Among those pay-offs, Liz Lemon (Fey) committed to a man and the possibility of motherhood, Jack (Alec Baldwin) reunited with his kidnapped wife Avery (Elizabeth Banks) — only to get a quickie divorce — and Jenna (Jane Krakowski) got engaged.

While many sitcoms limp to their series finales, Carlock assured that will not be the case for 30 Rock. “This is a show that doesn’t tend to go quietly into the night,” he laughed. “The challenge next year will be doing justice to all of the characters and landing everyone in the right place.” Below, check out a clip of “Murphy,” then read what Carlock had to say about everything from Jack’s torture couches, to Jenna’s wedding, and the return of a few of Liz’s old flames.


'Ask Tina': Tina Fey's plans for summer (and clues to the '30 Rock' series finale?) -- EXCLUSIVE


In NBC’s latest “Ask Tina” webisode, Tina Fey and “American treasure Richard Dean” — 30 Rock‘s makeup artist who showed up this past season as the creepy neighbor who always wakes Liz with a kiss — discussed the star’s plans for the summer. It’s not working on a chain gang or becoming best friends with Ina Garten in the Hamptons, but she claims her summer job is her “second calling.” Watch below, and remember to thank her the next time you swallow too much water at Dorney Park. READ FULL STORY

'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Scandal' ratings rise for finales


Three Thursday night dramas were greeted with larger audiences for their final episodes of the season, but one NBC comedy tied its all-time low.

ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy delivered 11.1 million viewers and a 3.9 rating, up 11 percent from last week and marking its best rating in three months. Check out’s interview with Grey’s showrunner Shonda Rhimes about last night’s two shocking exits here.

Bigger news: Rhimes’ Scandal (7.5 million, 2.4) was up too, and not just a little. The political soap was up 26 percent, which is expected to mark a series high for the show (even after its rating is adjusted later today to account for some Grey’s overrun). Scandal started its brief midseason run modestly but, as we’ve noted before, seemed like it had the potential to grow.   READ FULL STORY


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