30 Rock is returning for a one-hour special next month, produced remotely to observe social distancing. According to a report by Variety, the program will double as a kind of upfront presentation for the network and will help promote the new streaming service Peacock. It will premiere on the network, itself, too, however, on Thursday, July 16 at 8 p.m. ET.
The new 30 Rock special brings back cast members Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer and others, all reprising their beloved original roles. NBC is promoting this as "a first-of-its-kind all-audience upfront event," presenting the upfronts to viewers, not just members of the press and industry insiders. The whole special will be filmed remotely and will air without commercials. It will then be added to Peacock, where fans can catch up if they missed the live broadcast.
So far, there is no word yet on the content of NBC's 30 Rock revival, though many fans are speculating that it will resemble NBC's new Parks and Recreation special. There, cast members reprised their roles for a remote reunion, though the description "first-of-its-kind" makes it sound like this 30 Rock special could be even more ambitious.
After premiering on NBC, the special will air across several NBCUniversal-owned networks — USA, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, and CNBC. It will then be added to Peacock the following day, July 17, starting at 9 p.m. ET.
Technically speaking, Peacock is available now, though only for customers using the Xfinity Flex cable service. For them, the streaming service became available on April 15, while the company's X1 subscribers got it on May 1. Now, after months of waiting and wondering, the rest of the world will have access starting on July 15.
Peacock is unique among the crowded field of streaming services, as it includes a subscription tier called Peacock Free. There, viewers can watch some of Peacock's catalog with no subscription charge, but with limited advertisements. The full version is called Peacock Premium and will be available at no charge for Xfinity subscribers and other participating cable services, or $5 per month for others. Finally, an ad-free version of Peacock premium will cost an additional $5 per month, making it $10 for non-Xfinity users.
“Kimmy Goes to a Play!” is specifically about an “internet mob” mad about racist depictions of them in a play, which means not only did Tina know about reactions to racism in her writing she made a point to create a TV episode showing how dumb she thinks it is— Ira Madison III (@ira) June 25, 2020
It makes sense for NBC to recruit 30 Rock alumni to promote this new project, as the series is one of the network's most beloved shows in recent memory. However, 30 Rock came under fire this week when creator and star Fey issued an open letter to streaming services asking them to remove the episodes with blackface in them. Fey claimed that she had changed her mind on the subversive use of blackface in her comedy. However, some critics doubted her sincerity, pointing out that her more recent Netflix series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, not only dressed a Black character up as an Asian woman but deliberately poked fun at those who have criticized Fey for blackface in the past.
The 30 Rock reunion premieres on Thursday, July 16 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Peacock will be available nationwide on Wednesday, July 15.