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NBC’s ‘30 Rock’ is returning for one episode

The new hourlong episode will double as NBC’s annual ‘upfront’ event

Tina Fey and Oprah Winfrey on next week’s episode of “30 Rock.”
Tina Fey and Oprah Winfrey in an episode of NBC’s “30 Rock.” The sitcom, which ran from 2006-2013, will return for a special hourlong episode July 16.
Nicole Rivelli, NBC

SALT LAKE CITY — “30 Rock” has been off the air now for as long as it was on. But fans of NBC’s classic sitcom now have reason to celebrate: Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy and the whole “30 Rock” gang are coming back.

In an announcement on Tuesday, NBC revealed “30 Rock” will return for an hourlong episode on July 16. The episode will double as NBC’s annual “upfront” event. Previously, these upfronts were in-person events, but that required a change of plans this year because of COVID-19.

IndieWire noted that “given the special’s billing as an upfront event and its apparent focus on NBCUniversal’s portfolio, the project is likely intended to woo advertisers who would normally attend the company’s physical upfront event.”

According to Variety, this new “30 Rock” episode will feature principal cast members Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer and others, as well as guest appearances from characters on other NBCUniversal shows, which includes the networks NBC, Telemundo, USA Network, SYFY, E! and Bravo.

After its initial premiere on NBC, the episode will air on USA, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, and CNBC, and will be available to stream on Peacock, NBCU’s new streaming service, on July 17. Peacock launches nationwide on July 15.

In a joint statement, “30 Rock” executive producers Fey and Robert Carlock put it thusly: “To quote Kenneth the Page, there are only two things we love in this world, television and everyone.”

NBC has been embracing revivals of its old shows.“Parks and Recreation,” which ran on NBC from 2009-2015, was brought back for a reunion episode on April 30 — featuring the central cast, all in character, on a Zoom conference call.

“30 Rock” is a fitting choice for NBCU’s new upfront, as the show lampooned the behind-the-scenes life of a scripted NBC series. Over its seven seasons (2006 to 2013), “30 Rock” constantly riffed on network TV’s inner workings, often featuring cameos from stars of other NBC programs. The kind of self-promotion inherent in a TV network’s annual upfront event should fit in perfectly to the self-referential hijinks of “30 Rock.”