Aired: NBC, 2006-Present
Tina Fey's canny take-off on her former life as head writer on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock was initially viewed as "too inside" for a mass audience, a behind-the-scenes look at a sketch show, with Fey playing showrunner Liz Lemon and Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan, the hard-to-control comedy star brought in to juice ratings. Though it never became a ratings hit, the single-camera 30 Rock far outlasted its presumably limiting parameters and racked up awards for both its zany, Simpsons-esque joke-writing and for Alec Baldwin as corporate honcho Jack Donaghy. In later seasons, the show's sense of play live episodes, a faux reality show within the show within the show reflected the trust it had earned from its audience.
Luke Del Tredici