Rachel Dratch is re-cast on '30 Rock'

19311__dratch_lReady to have your mind blown a bit? Okay, so when the upcoming NBC series 30 Rock filmed its pilot, the behind-the-scenes’ comedy written by and starring SNL queen bee Tina Fey was about a female-driven late night variety series called The Girlie Show that starred a character played by Rachel Dratch. Well, now the show-within-the-show will be called Friday Night Bits, and Dratch is no longer playing the lead.

Instead, rather than play a singular actor on FNB, she will play multiple roles in the universe of 30 Rock. 30 Rock executive producer Lorne Michaels told Variety that in the series premiere, for example, Dratch plays a cat wrangler who provides animals for FNB. That character could recur on 30 Rock,but Dratch will also play different people who appear just once.

It’sall very meta and confusing, but one thing is for certain: You aredefinitely not going to see this sort of thing on that other NBC variety show series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

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  • Ed

    This show is doomed. If they are making changes already, at the last minute, I don’t have much hope : (
    Too bad, so sad.

  • jon

    I agree.
    I know they are trying to be different, however, what makes people stick to a sitcom for 100+ episodes is knowing your going to see your favorite actors/characters doing what you love week after week. I love Rachel Dratch more than anyone else I’ve heard is going to be on “30 Rock” (which is itself a bad title) but her having a new character every week or not be on at all for a week or more, will make me turn the channel right quick.
    Methinks Tina Fey shouldn’t have given up the “Weekend Update” anchor chair. This is going to crash and burn. Crash and burn.

    • Jacob

      Oops. Care to amend your wildly inaccurate prediction?

  • kinglouieXVIII

    What are you guys talking about? This is the only traditional sitcom I am looking forward to this upcoming Fall TV season. You’re underestimating Tina Fey & Co.
    I love Rachel Dratch. She has been the funniest cast member on SNL for quite some time. All she has to do is appear on screen and I’ll crack up. I’m betting her new role/roles on 30 ROCK are going to be hilarious!!

  • Ed

    Jon, l-l-loved your new term Jazztina!

  • Ed

    The changes made from Tina Fey’s original pilot sound too much like what happend to Valarie Cherish in Room and Board. Originally, Room and Board was about 4 sexy 30-somethings sharing a condo; then when she got to the studio it had changed at the last minute.
    Aunt Sassy = Multiple character Dratch
    I think NBC is more confident with Studio 60 and is hijacking Tina Fey’s original pilot. Does it say if Tina Fey did the rewrites?
    Looks like Tina Fey is the new Paulie G.

  • jon

    Thanks Ed.
    Wait, OMG, can you imagine a Valerie Cherish ressurection with Rachel Dratch’s character/characters when “30 Rock” is cancelled. I call it “The Comebacks” except put it on Showtime instead of HBO after “Weeds.”

  • Tim

    I think it’s doomed, too. Significant changes and the show hasn’t even aired yet.

  • Josh

    “30 Rock” has great buzz from those who saw the pilot, and I think these changes will only strengthen it. A show-within-a-show can be very difficult, thus allows the show to focus on the Fey-Baldwin-Morgan banter more and incorporates Dratch into the type of off-kilter characters she does best — much better than essentially playing herself. Go team Tina! Yay Rachel!
    p.s. for those who say it’s doomed, I have a sneaking suspicion ‘EW’ will name this the best new comedy of the season. The only real spoiler could be ‘Knights of Prosperity’.

  • Josh

    Wait, “Ugly Betty” could be a spoiler too, I keep forgetting it’s classified as a comedy. But those three have the best buzz out of all the new comedies. I can’t wait for “30 Rock”.
    p.s. I’m sure you guys already have the cover shot and all that, but if it’s not too late, I’d like to nominate “Veronica Mars” for the TV fall preview cover.

  • Josh

    While I agree that last minute changes generally do not bode well for new shows, I think this show would have been plagued by comparisons to Studio 60 had they not made this change. It gives the show a twist that has the chance to make it truly unique. I still can’t wait, i loves me some Tina Fey.

  • Ceballos

    I’m just glad to hear she’s still on the show. Reading the headline made me think that Dratch’s role had been cast with another actress.
    (and this DOES leave the door open for “Debbie Downer” to show up on “30 Rock”)
    Phew…Rachel Dratch rules!

  • Jen

    I think Rachel is hysterical, and I am glad that she is featured prominently! Go girl!

  • BigBluto

    Ummm, Im not sure if anyone has a clue about sitcoms but if you do some research you will see that some of the greatest comedies in TV history had some big changes right before the show started taping and especially once the show started airing.

  • Sven

    Having seen the pilot for Studio 60 thanks to Netflix, I can say that is a spectacular program; probably the best show on broadcast television’s Fall line up. The only thing 30 Rock has going for it is Alec Baldwin. Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch? Not so much…

  • Fagqua

    Uhhmm, Bigbluto, research shows also that pilots that get a lot of changes at the beginning usually get cancelled.
    I believe that the powers that be at the network already know whether or not a show will be a hit. When they do, they bamboozle others so that they won’t be as big. Why, because it’s better to concentrate on one hit, promote the heck out of it, get it up to the top, then start again with another. Build build build. NBC is placeing all it’s cards on Studio 60.

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