30 Rock, Tina Fey

NBC/Mitch Haaseth

Think TV comedy's a dying breed? Think again! One look at Tina Fey's new project, NBC's 30 Rock, and you'll know it's alive and well--and ready to make you laugh your pants off. (In fact, Tracy Morgan's pants do just that on the show.) Though Fey won't be coanchoring Weekend Update desk this fall, the Mean Girls scribe is still sharing her talents with the world as creator, exec producer and star of 30 Rock, which spoofs life behind the scenes of an SNL-type show. And her move to prime time has been a long time comin'.

How long has this project been in your head?
A while. The pilot has been in the making for about four years, so I keep thinking, I hope it doesn't take four years to crank out the next episode, or we're going to be in big trouble.

 Is it weird to be doing a show so similar to your own life experience?
It's fun. We actually shot the pilot in studio 8H, which is where Saturday Night Live is shot, and a lot of our crew members were from the SNL crew, so it was very comfortable.

 How much is your character, Liz Lemon, like the real Tina Fey?
It's basically me, except I left her single, because my husband said he would kill me if I made him a comedy character. But other than that, she's me. She's overly obedient and hardworking, but maybe not the most adventurous or ambitious person.

 In the original pilot, your SNL costar Rachel Dratch was one of the main castmembers, but since then, there have been rumors that she was dropped from the cast. What happened?
After we shot the pilot, NBC made it clear they didn't want to see the sketches [from the show within the show], and we thought that was a waste of Rachel. So, we changed her part to better showcase her talents. She's going to be a series of characters over the course of the season. One week, she'll play a cat wrangler with a long mullet. A few weeks later, she might play Barbara Walters. We're both really excited about it. And my friend Jane Krakowski is coming in to play the role of someone who is in the sketch show, but we'll rarely see her in actual sketches. It's more about the workplace.

 And what can we expect from that other SNL alum, Tracy Morgan?
Um, he might get caught with a sex tape—he might pick up a transvestite. [Laughs.] I'll leave it at that.

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