’30 Rock’ Goes Live! What (And Who) Might You See Thursday?

'30 Rock' stars Tina Fey, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski, Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan (NBC)

'30 Rock' stars Tina Fey, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski, Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan (NBC)

NBC’s ‘30 Rock‘ this Thursday will follow in the footsteps of fine-feathered Peacock friends such as ‘Will & Grace,’ ‘ER’ and ‘The West Wing’ when it presents a live episode.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well for one thing: “Tracy. Morgan,” ’30 Rock’ star/exec producer Tina Fey deadpans.

An instant later, Fey maintains she’s “not worried” about her costar, but then fears she has jinxed herself by pegging him as the one to be wary of.

“Watch… I will have a coughing fit during the first 45 seconds of the live show,” she says. “But you almost don’t want it to go too smoothly; you want to know that it’s live.”

Perhaps just to be safe, the live episode – which finds Liz’s 40th birthday coinciding with a ‘TGS’ taping – features a story point in which Morgan’s Tracy Jordan decides that it’s cool to crack up during a sketch. But the ‘Saturday Night Live’ alum shrugs off speculation that he’s the best bet to break. “Seven years at ‘SNL’ has prepared me for this,” he told Fancast. “I’m really fine with it.”

Not surprisingly, Morgan had reporters laughing at a Tuesday press event touting the live telecast. Inching his way down the red carpet, he teased every conceivable “surprise” celeb cameo for the live outing, from Bill Cosby to Big Bird to awards-show joke-writer Bruce Vilanch to Burger King’s namesake mascot. (He also joked that someone on the cast/crew “will get pregnant” during the broadcast.)

Back to the topic of guest stars: Jane Krakowski (Jenna) hinted that “a lot of the friends of ’30 Rock'” are on board for cameos. NBC, however, isn’t confirming a single drop-by – not even Matt Damon, whose character (airline pilot Carol) told girlfriend Liz during his last visit, “See you on October 14th!” – as in this Thursday’s date.

So what can you count on this Thursday, when ’30 Rock’ goes live?

Liz Lemon Has It Hardest (Or Maybe Jenna Does): “I have to do the most running from place to place, so… we’ll see how that goes,” Fey says. So if you see the ‘TGS’ boss looking winded, Fey reminds: “Liz’s health is very poor, so she can be out of breath.” Krakowski meanwhile says that because Jenna will be in the midst of shooting a ‘TGS’ episode, “I have a few large quick-changes that I am a little nervous about. Basically, where are we going to be doing them? Like, on the run? Am I going to be undressed for the entire [viewing] audience to see?

Kenneth Has It Easiest: “For the most part I’m in the clear because I’m either at the page desk or in somebody’s office,” says Jack McBrayer. “I got off easy!”

Plenty Of Live ‘Crazy’ From Tracy: Morgan promises “crazy stuff” from his outrageous alter ego, adding: “You’ll enjoy it.” Could an appearance by the Jordans’ newborn inject some live drama? “The baby may be around,” Morgan hinted.

There Will Be Live Flashbacks: “I feel like we found a good way to do some of our cutaways and flashbacks,” Fey said of ’30 Rock’s popular visual gags. “[They are] not pretaped.”

If ’30 Rock’s live episode does go off without a hitch (in both performances, one for the Eastern/Central time zones, then a second take for West Coast viewers), it won’t be due to any excess amount of run-throughs. As Krakowski noted at the Tuesday press event, “We actually have not rehearsed a stitch yet – and it’s in barely 48 hours!”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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