For years, Alec Baldwin has made no secret of his plans to depart "30 Rock" once his contract expired at the end of the upcoming sixth season. It was such a forgone conclusion, that many observers believed that Baldwin was making plans to run for a political office.
However, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt made a surprisingly low key announcement earlier this morning at the winter Television Critics Association press tour. According to Greenblatt, Baldwin quietly agreed several months ago to sign a new deal that will go through the potential seventh season of "30 Rock."
It's important to note, that this doesn't mean a renewal for "30 Rock" is a sure thing. Greenblatt reiterated that the network will make its decision about the future of "30 Rock" closer to the upfronts in May after evaluating their new pilots and how the ratings for "30 Rock" are holding up. That said, getting Baldwin resigned removes a major obstacle for keeping the show's dynamic intact.
On another front, the writers and producers of "30 Rock" were recently blindsided by real world events, when North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died unexpectedly. During its fifth season, "30 Rock" introduced Kim Jong Il as a character portrayed by comedian Margaret Cho; who kidnapped Jack's wife Avery (Elizabeth Banks) and forced her to marry his son, Kim Jong-un… who is now the new "Supreme Leader" of North Korea.
"Jack's love life is pretty complicated and it just got more complicated because I think, technically, Avery is the First Lady of North Korea," said "30 Rock" producer Robert Carlock while speaking to Us Magazine.
"We sort of went back to the script because we'd already shot eight or nine episodes and we realized that luckily we hand't referred to King Jong Il by name yet — just to North Korea in general," continued Carlock. "We can't go back and address the changes there, but the fun puzzle is turning around and trying to figure out how to get her out of there and how to continue things."
Carlock also jokingly mentioned the idea that Kim Jong Il faked his death to get a gig on a morning talk show.
"30 Rock" will return for its sixth season on Thursday, January 12.