30 Rock followed in the footsteps of fellow former NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation by filming a special reunion episode in 2020, but fans are pretty pissed off about what actually happened. While the special was scheduled for Thursday, July 16 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, a lot of 30 Rock fans turned on their TVs to discover local programming instead of the national special. There was a lot of confusion, and a lot of anger. Read on for what happened and how fans reacted!
Many independently-owned NBC affiliates announced before the 30 Rock special was even scheduled to air that they wouldn't be showing it since it was produced by NBCUniversal's ad-sales division, seemingly to promote the new Peacock streaming service. The special was designed to replace the NBC upfront presentations that had been cancelled, and there was reportedly concern that Peacock would draw viewers from broadcast network TV, and therefore cost the affiliates.
So, the owners of media groups like Sinclair Broadcast Group, Nexstar, Gray Television and others opted to air local programming rather than 30 Rock. Unfortunately, a lot of 30 Rock fans weren't aware that their local affiliates weren't planning on airing the special that was reuniting the biggest of the show's stars for an in-character event, and the reaction from some of them was a little stronger than, to quote Liz Lemon, "blerg."
Here is how some fans on social media reacted to the unwelcome surprise that they weren't getting to see the 30 Rock special when it aired for the first time:
Viewers might have been less upset about local programming taking the place of the 30 Rock special on July 16 if only they'd known ahead of time courtesy of a primetime schedule that reflected what was actually going to air!
The good news for this person is that the 30 Rock special will indeed be released on cable networks and Peacock on July 17, so the debut airing on NBC on July 16 wasn't the one and only chance to catch Liz Lemon and Co. back on the small screen.
One "beyond pissed" 30 Rock fan is apparently based out of St. Louis, Missouri, and that NBC affiliate is clearly one of those that opted out of showing the reunion special. A Twitter user based out of South Carolina expressed their particular disappointment due to how much they were looking forward to more 30 Rock:
My local station is running this instead of 30 Rock and they didn't even bother to update the schedule. I've been looking forward to it all week. And if WCNC gives me the boilerplate reply, I'm gonna unfollow and block!
For a 30 Rock fan who gets their NBC content from News 4 in San Antonio, the absence of the special was made even worse by its replacement:
Dr. Oz wasn't what that person was hoping for out of the 8 p.m. ET block on July 16, but another person on social media had something arguably even more ridiculous taking the place of 30 Rock:
Fortunately for 30 Rock fans who are still dying to see the reunion special, it will broadcast at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, July 17, and NBC affiliates have no control over it. That is because the rebroadcast will happen across USA, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Syfy, and CNBC, with the special hitting Peacock on July 17 as well. Since Peacock's basic plan is free to stream, fans do have options.
There are also options for how to watch or rewatch the original run of 30 Rock. The seven seasons are currently available streaming on Hulu, Amazon, and (of course) Peacock. Tina Fey did push for several episodes of the series to be pulled from Amazon and Hulu due to their portrayal of blackface, making 30 Rock one of several that pulled blackface episodes. Still, most of the episodes are streaming now!
For some additional viewing options now and in the coming weeks, check out our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule.