The girl from Second City just got herself a second season.
NBC has given an early and somewhat surprise renewal to Tina Fey's sitcom 30 Rock for the 2007-08 TV season, following a freshman year that grabbed plenty of critical praise but barely made a dent in the Nielsens.
In making the comeback announcement Wednesday, NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said he hoped the show's sophomore year would continue to reap the former while building up the latter.
"From the very beginning, 30 Rock has proven to be the kind of quality comedy that doesn't come around very often, and we are very pleased to have this show back for a second season," he said. "We expect it to continue to build its increasingly loyal audience and become another of NBC's classic comedy series."
NBC is hoping 30 Rock follows the path of another of the net's offerings. The Office appeared on the brink of cancellation after its ratings-deprived first season, but with the blessing of NBC honchos and buzz over Steve Carell's virginal big-screen star turn, the series was picked up for a second season and has blossomed into an award-winning hit.
Perhaps Reilly & Co. realized that Peacock programmers had a measure of blame for 30 Rock's rock-bottom ratings.
The series, which chronicles the backstage goings-on at a Saturday Night Live-type show, and which fittingly is exec produced by Lorne Michaels, is currently occupying its third time slot of the year, pitted against no less adversaries than powerhouse programs Grey's Anatomy and CSI. This after 30 Rock was initially paired with the geriatric-themed albatross Twenty Good Years, which has since been deep-sixed.
Despite the schedule hopping, 30 Rock averages 5 million viewers per week and hovers around 80th place in the Nielsen ratings. More important, the show continues to rack up positive press and industry accolades.
The show has also been nominated for People's Choice, Directors Guild and Writers Guild awards, and Alec Baldwin—who stars as 30 Rock's fictional network's vice president of both East Coast television and microwave programming—has earned a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Aside from Baldwin and Fey, the show also stars Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski.
Meanwhile, the news doesn't look so good for NBC's other low-rated SNL-inspired backstage series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The Aaron Sorkin-helmed drama, starring Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, has failed to generate the critical heat of 30 Rock and has been pulled from NBC's schedule with no return date in sight.