New York City is officially on Peacock Alert.
30 Rock's Tracy Morgan warns that the authorities may have to intervene during the series' first-ever live episode, which airs Thursday night on NBC. Add in potential guest stars like Jon Hamm, Matt Damon and, um, Big Bird, and things could really get out of control.
"It's live, baby. Somebody gonna get pregnant," he told us. "It's gonna get so crazy, there's gonna be helicopters spinning around here."
Also spinning will be the heads of NBC execs should one of the actors' slip up and curse on live TV. Producers hope to avoid an expensive FCC fine by using a seven-second delay, but still they'll have to be vigilant. So, uh, which castmembers are they most worried about?
The 30 Rock live show will be performed twice on Thursday, once at 8:30 p.m. ET and then all over again at 8:30 p.m. PT for the West Coast. The series, which usually shoots at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, reassembled its sets on Saturday Night Live's Studio 8H at the titular 30 Rockefeller Plaza building for the live-broadcast setup.
As for the guest stars billed for the night, if you ask Morgan, they are as follows: "We got Bill Murray coming in, Bill Cosby is supposed to show up, and Big Bird is showing up. Oh, and Bruce Vilanch is showing up. A guy from Magnum P.I. Don King had a lot to do with it, he set this up, he's promoting this fight."
With all that talent, it's no wonder SNL veteran Tina Fey says she's the most nervous."It's so exciting for us to have a live audience, we'll see what kind of nerves we get," Fey told us. "When I get nervous, I get very, very sleepy. If I were an animal, I'd be an opossum. If you put on the TV, and I'm asleep on the set, I was nervous."
Fey said Jack McBrayer, who plays Kenneth the Page, is the most likely to crack up, because he laughs most often during tapings.
But despite what the audience may think of the cast's seemingly off-the-cuff humor, there's no room for improv on this show. "If we are in a position where we are winging it, the wheels have come off," Fey laughed. "We're rehearsing [all week], so hopefully by then it'll be all completely memorized [by Thursday]."
As Morgan said, "Baby, we're prime-time. This is the pros. Like Jackie Gleason used to say, 'We keep it loose and keep the camera wide.' It's gonna be electric; they gonna come arrest me. I'm gonna shut the building down."
For a pre-show ritual, Fey joked that the cast will take inspiration from Madonna in Truth or Dare, and they will hold hands and sing before they go live.
"I think we're probably gonna sing "Holiday," and I'm gonna lead a very, very lengthy prayer. Then Jane Krakowski and Cheyenne Jackson are going to sing."
Morgan piped in that the cast was "raising the bar" and that "everybody on the show is gonna be great."
"Get ready, because live from New York, it's 30 Rockm" he said. "It's gonna be good to work without a net."
Or, apparently, birth control.