Entertainment behind the scenes
Tina Fey hearts NBC
NBC has suffered terrible press of late from the forced departure of late-night host Conan O’Brien, but at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, the network got a big wet kiss from “30 Rock” star Tina Fey.
After taking the stage to claim her award for best actress in a TV comedy, Fey had nothing but good things to say about the network behind her show, even though “30 Rock” is itself no stranger to spoofing NBC.
“I just want to take a moment to say to everyone at NBC, we are very happy with everything and happy to be there,” Fey deadpanned, as the audience laughed.
It was more than just a joke, as the awards-laden “30 Rock” has in the past struggled to survive on NBC due to lackluster ratings. But in the wake of one of the biggest public relations disasters in the last-placed network’s history, during which O’Brien and other comedians lambasted NBC, Fey got some laughs for going the reverse route.
Last week, at the Golden Globe Awards, NBC fared much worse, even though the show was broadcast on that network, as Fey joked that the rain was “God crying for NBC” and host Ricky Gervais quipped, “Let’s get on with it (the show) before NBC replaces me with Jay Leno.”
Now that NBC has officially replaced O’Brien with Leno, and given O’Brien a $32.5 million payout, really laying into the network with a biting quip might have looked like kicking a dog, and the network escaped unharmed. This year’s SAG Awards were broadcast on cable networks TBS and TNT.
Backstage after winning her award, Fey was earnest and not quick to joke about NBC.
“Things are looking up at NBC, everything is settled,” she said. “We’ll see, I hope so. A lot of friends work over at Conan (on his show) and I hear that they were with Conan and that they were in good spirits last night, so I’m just glad for everyone that it’s at least resolved.”
Fey writes and produces “30 Rock,” a show set at NBC headquarters that revolves around the misadventures of the cast and crew of a fictional variety show. Alec Baldwin, who won at Saturday’s SAG Awards for best actor in a comedy, plays a network executive with General Electric.
Now that cable giant Comcast is buying NBC/Universal from General Electric, Fey said that will be dealt with on the show and that Baldwin’s character, Jack Donaghy, who is always a stalwart corporate soldier, will have a role in how that is portrayed.
“The sale of NBC to another company is integral to our show and it will be hard for Jack,” Fey said.