The raucously hilarious NBC comedy series 30 Rock has been off the air for six years now, but we almost returned to that absurd world created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock in the form of a spin-off that would have followed Alec Baldwin reprising his role as Jack Donaghy. Instead, what would have been a 30 Rock spin-off was retooled into an original show starring Ted Danson. Find out how this all came together below.
This past summer we learned about a new TV series in the works at NBC that will have Ted Danson playing a wealthy businessman who runs for mayor of Los Angeles for all the wrong reasons. Upon his victory, he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his staff, and connect with his teenage daughter, all while controlling the coyote population. But this series was originally intended to have 30 Rock character Jack Donaghy abandoning his job at General Electric and becoming the mayor of New York City. So what happened?
Well, The Hollywood Reporter says 30 Rock spin-off was in development for some time, and it was originally intended to be one of the shows that NBCUniversal hoped would lead people to their forthcoming streaming service (where the comedy series A.P. Bio will be renewed for a third season and The Office will end up after the end of 2019). Negotiations with Alec Baldwin had been going on for “the better part of a year,” but they ended up falling apart when he decided to pull out of the project, though no reason was given for his departure.
Once Alec Baldwin pulled out, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock decided to reach out to Ted Danson to star in the lead role. However, Danson wasn’t willing to move to New York, where the show would be shot, both on location and in a studio, much like 30 Rock. So Fey and Carlock decided to rework the script to move the story to Los Angeles, and they sadly had to remove all references to 30 Rock.
This isn’t the first time a spin-off from a popular series has been reworked into an original show at NBC. Parks and Recreation was originally crafted as a spin-off of The Office, though the connection between the shows would have been small. Writer and executive producer Paul Lieberstein (aka Toby Flenderson) said the start of Parks and Recreation would have seen a broken copier from Dunder-Mifflin sent to a warehouse to be fixed, and then it would have ended up in the parks and recreation department of Pawnee, Indiana. The only reason this didn’t happen was because the casting of The Office cast member Rashida Jones as a completely different character in Parks and Recreation was thought to be too confusing.
Interestingly enough, the original report for this show had it being ordered at NBC. But these new details from The Hollywood Reporter say the series will be part of the NBCUniversal streaming service. We’re not sure who is right, but we likely won’t find out for a little while since Ted Danson is currently busy with the fourth and final season of The Good Place at NBC.