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Little more than a month after news broke that their new show would get a second season and premiere on the streaming service, not NBC as originally planned, 30 Rock collaborators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock trotted out the cast for the Television Critics Association winter press tour and discussed how the move happened and why a departure from broadcast means little for the content of the comedy.
“I think season two is going to be mostly shower sex,” joked Fey, adding that the tone of the series was already set with the first 13 episodes written and filmed with the intent of airing on NBC. “It’s going to be like that year when [Howard] Stern went from regular radio to Sirius. … It will be interesting to see in season two, once we have the option to use curse words, if we will.”
Fey and Carlock didn’t seem to know what changes, if any, will happen in season two — outside the obvious freedom of not having to write to a tight 22 minutes. But they both seemed, quite expectedly, pleased with the opportunity to get an early renewal in a year where no new broadcast comedy (save ABC’s Black-ish) looks like a shoo-in for another season.
“It was probably the fastest that anything good ever happened to me in the business,” said Carlock. “Bad things happen quick all of the time.”
The writing partners and co-creators had sat down with NBC’s Robert Greenblatt and Jennifer Salke in November to discuss the best options for the show — and Netflix execs Ted Sarandos and Cindy Holland happened to be in New York. It was apparently just a matter of days before the deal to move the show was finalized.
“The show is made by NBC, so it’s in their best interest to find the best home for it,” said Fey. “I think it could have been on NBC, and it would have been had this deal not come together, but what I read is that the networks are having a little trouble launching comedy across the board this season. I think people would have found us, but I think more people will find us here.”
The very specific premise of the comedy — a woman, played by The Office‘s Ellie Kemper, emerges from 15 years in a doomsday bunker and moves to New York City — was also a big part of the discussion. And Fey admitted that making that funny isn’t always easy.
“We spent the first several weeks with the writers talking about all of the heaviness first,” she said. “It reminded me about going back to Saturday Night Live after 9/11: OK, we’re going to find comedy.”
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