One of the side benefits of Hollywood shutting down for the last few months is the creativity in coming up with new programming. For some channels, it's taken the form of interactive events with those at home, like the two installments of the Disney Family Sing-Along. For others, it's been resurrecting older shows to check in on fan-favorite characters. Parks and Recreation did a reunion Zoom episode in April. Now 30 Rock is following suit. Here's how to stream the 30 Rock reunion episode so you can also tell Lemon it's Tuesday.
The Parks and Rec special was a home run, raising $2.8 million for Feeding America. It also brought in 3.7 million viewers, looking to find out how Leslie Knope was holding up. Naturally, NBC is looking to find ways to repeat that success. Much like Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, which ran from 2006 to 2013, is still one of NBC's most popular shows. Moreover, it lends itself easily to the "work-from-home via Zoom" comedy special. The one-hour event will feature the main cast of Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, and Tracy Morgan, along with special guests.
But unlike the Park and Rec special, which was done for charity, the 30 Rock special will be a little different.
Every year, television channels have what are known as "upfronts." These live presentations are a rundown of the coming year's programming, in an effort from networks to get advertisers and critics excited about the lineup. As fans of television can imagine, the current pandemic shutdown has upended that process along with everything else.
So NBC got creative. The 30 Rock special will highlight the coming 2020-2021 TV slate of programming, not just to the media and marketing, but to you, the viewer. It's a perfect choice, since 30 Rock is already a show that functions as meta-commentary on the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of NBC anyway. Why not extend it into a comedy-laden mobius strip of promotion for NBC's upcoming shows?
As NBC's chairman of advertising and partnerships, Linda Yaccarino, put it:
[W]e’re excited to produce an upfront that reflects a new reality and celebrates our relationship with viewers and advertisers alike... As the old saying goes, when life hands you Lemon, have her host the upfront!
As such, Fey and company will have several special guests joining them via Zoom from across NBC's different series. Along with checking in with their favorite characters, fans can expect gossip about the new shows coming to NBC's different brands, from the new streaming service Peacock to cable channels like SYFY and E!
But unfortunately, it looks like the 30 Rock reunion episode won’t air on every station. Because this is a special, several NBC affiliates have reportedly declined to go along with airing it. That's not unprecedented; local stations do it regularly for sporting events and breaking news coverage. But it does mean, in many places, fans won’t be able to watch the original broadcast. According to reports from Vulture, some station owners think the 30 Rock reunion is too promotional of the network's new streaming platform Peacock. (The problem with that, of course, is that Peacock could lure viewers away from linear TV and into the streaming world instead.)
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you won't be able to see the special. NBC directly owns its own channels in some of the biggest markets, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Miami, Chicago, Boston, New York City, Dallas-Fort Worth, and a few others. So, fans in those areas should expect to get the broadcast. And, since the special is promoting the shows airing on many other NBC Universal channels, viewers should still be able to watch rebroadcasts of the episode across USA, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, and CNBC. The special will also be available to stream on Peacock on Friday, July 17, at 9 p.m. ET, where it joins the rest of the streamer's 30 Rock library.
The new 30 Rock special will debut commercial-free on Thursday, July 16, at 8 p.m. ET.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on July 14 to to include reports of some NBC stations opting to not air the 30 Rock reunion special.
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