|30 Rock Season 6|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original run||January 12, 2012– May 17, 2012|
|Home video release|
|Region 1||September 11, 2012|
|Region 2||April 15, 2013|
|Region 4||November 7, 2012|
The sixth season of 30 Rock, an American television comedy series on the NBC network in the United States, began airing on January 12, 2012. 30 Rock was renewed for a sixth season by NBC on November 15, 2010. The season began airing mid-season to accommodate Tina Fey's pregnancy. On November 14, 2011, NBC announced that 30 Rock would return at the new time of 8:00 pm.
This season was initially expected to be Alec Baldwin's last, as he had announced he would be looking to expand into other forms of media. However, in January 2012, Baldwin confirmed that he would remain for the seventh and final season of 30 Rock. Season six received positive reviews and 13 Emmy Award nominations.
The story arcs of season six include: Liz has a new relationship and emotionally matures; Jack continues to attempt to recover his wife from North Korea and find his identity at Kabletown; Kenneth moves up (and later down,) the corporate ladder; and Jenna reaches a new level of fame thanks to being a judge on a reality show, and considers settling down with boyfriend Paul.
Tina Fey portrays Liz Lemon, the head writer of a fictitious live sketch-comedy television series TGS. The TGS cast consists of two main actors. The lead actor is the loose cannon movie star Tracy Jordan, portrayed by Tracy Morgan. His co-star is the extremely narcissistic Jenna Maroney, portrayed by Jane Krakowski. Jack McBrayer plays the naïve NBC page, and later janitor, Kenneth Parcell. Scott Adsit acts as the witty and wise TGS producer, Pete Hornberger. Judah Friedlander portrays trucker hat-wearing staff writer Frank Rossitano. Alec Baldwin plays the NBC network executive Jack Donaghy. Donaghy's full corporate title for the majority of the season is "Head of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming". Keith Powell plays the Harvard University alumnus and TGS staff writer James "Toofer" Spurlock. Katrina Bowden acts as writers' assistant Cerie Xerox. Other cast members include Grizz Chapman as Grizz Griswold, Kevin Brown as "Dot Com" Slattery, and John Lutz as J.D. Lutz. The cast for the season will also feature recurring guest stars Kristen Schaal as Hazel Wassername, a new NBC page who looks up to Liz, and James Marsden as Criss, Liz's new boyfriend.
Alan Sepinwall, writing for HitFix, noted that "there's been a lot of discussion [...] about how much Liz has or hasn't grown since the series began, and also about whether 30 Rock is a show that needs character development — or if, in fact, that growth would be counter-productive on such a silly, cartoonish show." He opined that "if a comedy is as funny as 30 Rock is capable of being — and as it's been so frequently in this late-in-life season — I'm fine with the characters being virtually identical now to the way they were in the pilot." Indrapramit Das, writing for Slant Magazine, awarded the season three stars out of four and commented that "there's something to be said for 30 Rock's unrepentant adherence to formula. By now, the characters' repeated bumbling through the cyclical purgatory at 30 Rockefeller Plaza has attained a certain rhythm, a comforting familiarity akin to long-running sitcoms like Friends." He concluded that "the cast's unfailing enthusiasm points to an ensemble that's only strengthening with age", but commented that the talents of guest star Kristen Schaal had been "wasted".
Dan Forcella, reviewing for TV Fanatic, opined that "television shows, especially sitcoms, normally lose some of their luster as time goes on. Whether it be that the series actually gets worse, or simply our perception of it does because the novelty has worn off, more often than not, things are not going to be the same by season six. Because of that fact, 30 Rock should be commended for how good its sixth season has been. There have been misses [...] and big hits [...] but all in all, this spring has been a solid run for the veteran sitcom." Writing for Splitsider, Jesse David Fox called the series "the best comedy of the 2011–2012 season" and went on to remark "next season is the show's last but it's not because of an overstayed welcome. The show is as sharp as ever, as gutsy as ever, as strange as ever, as funny as ever. Guys, it's the best."
The sixth season premiere, "Dance Like Nobody's Watching", attracted an audience of 4.5 million viewers. This demonstrated an increase from the fifth season finale, "Respawn", which had drawn an audience of 4.2 million, but a significant decrease from the fifth season premiere, "The Fabian Strategy", which had drawn 5.9 million. Four episodes of the sixth season demonstrated new series lows: "Idiots Are People Three!" (3.8 million), "Today You Are a Man" (3.2 million), "The Shower Principle" (3.1 million) and "Nothing Left to Lose" (2.8 million). The nineteenth episode of the season, "Live from Studio 6H", was broadcast live and demonstrated a six-week high in the ratings, with an audience of 3.5 million. However, the first live show, broadcast during the previous season, had attracted an audience of 6.7 million. Overall, with the inclusion of DVR viewership, the season averaged 4.6 million viewers, ranking one hundred and thirtieth for the year, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Awards and nominations
The sixth season received 13 Emmy Award nominations. The series obtained its sixth consecutive nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Alec Baldwin was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Tina Fey for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Will Arnett was nominated for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Devon Banks in "Idiots Are People Three!" and Jon Hamm was also nominated for his roles as Abner and David Brinkley in "Live from Studio 6H". Elizabeth Banks was nominated for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Avery Jessup and Margaret Cho was nominated for her role as Kim Jong-il, both for "The Return of Avery Jessup". The season received seven other Emmy nominations.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||U.S. viewers
|Original air date||Production
|104||1||"Dance Like Nobody's Watching"||John Riggi||Tina Fey & Tracey Wigfield||4.47||January 12, 2012||601|
|Liz returns from holiday break with a new outlook that leaves her immune to Tracy's acting out over Jenna's new fame as a judge on America's Kidz Got Singing. Meanwhile, Kenneth prepares for the Rapture.|
|105||2||"Idiots Are People Two!"||Beth McCarthy-Miller||Robert Carlock||4.05||January 19, 2012||602|
|An uproar ensues after cellphone video of Tracy being offensive towards gays is posted online. Liz tries to hide all details of her new boyfriend from Jack, knowing she'll never secure his approval. Kenneth and Jenna call on Kelsey Grammer for a problem only the Best Friends Gang can solve.|
|106||3||"Idiots Are People Three!"||Beth McCarthy-Miller||Robert Carlock||3.82||January 26, 2012||603|
|Tracy goes on the offensive against Liz by coming to the defense of idiots. Jack faces another challenge from Devin Banks (Will Arnett) and meddles in Liz's relationship with Criss (James Marsden). Jenna and Kenneth get help from Kelsey Grammer in dealing with an unconscious Pete.|
|107||4||"The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell"||Jeff Richmond||Matt Hubbard||3.98||January 26, 2012||604|
|Liz looks for a new best friend after discovering that Jenna has traded their friendship for fame. Jack decides to end the page program in order to impress Hank Hooper (Ken Howard).|
|108||5||"Today You Are a Man"||Jeff Richmond||Ron Weiner||3.23||February 2, 2012||605|
|Liz and Jack argue over her contract. Kenneth is reassigned after being offended by his coworkers at TGS, and Tracy and Jenna's accountant hires them as entertainment at a bar mitzvah.|
|109/110||6/7||"Hey, Baby, What's Wrong"||Michael Engler||Kay Cannon||3.88||February 9, 2012||606/607|
|On Valentine's Day, Criss (James Marsden) and Liz search for a dining room table. Avery's mother (Mary Steenburgen) visits Jack. Jenna and Pete prepare for Jenna's first live performance on America's Kidz Got Singing. Tracy and Frank aid Lutz in looking for a Valentine's Day date.|
|111||8||"The Tuxedo Begins"||John Riggi||Dylan Morgan & Josh Siegal||3.59||February 16, 2012||608|
|Jack decides to run for mayor after being mugged. Liz puts her desires above the good of New York. Jenna and Paul (Will Forte) try to act like a normal couple.|
|112||9||"Leap Day"||Steve Buscemi||Luke Del Tredici||3.70||February 23, 2012||609|
|Jack learns to appreciate Leap Day while Tracy takes the writers to a restaurant to spend an almost-expired gift card. Liz and Jenna try to seduce an internet billionaire.|
|113||10||"Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky"||Michael Slovis||John Riggi||3.77||March 1, 2012||610|
|In order to hide his relationship with Lynn (Susan Sarandon) from his mother (Patti LuPone), Frank pretends to be Liz's boyfriend. Jack mentors Kenneth. Tracy and Jenna search for Pete's whisky.|
|114||11||"Standards and Practices"||Beth McCarthy-Miller||Vali Chandrasekaran||3.42||March 8, 2012||611|
|Liz refuses to acknowledge Kenneth's new power over TGS. Jenna concocts a new scheme to gain publicity. Jack must serve as parent to his nemesis, Kaylie Hooper (Chloë Grace Moretz).|
|115||12||"St. Patrick's Day"||John Riggi||Colleen McGuinness||4.00||March 15, 2012||612|
|Liz is cursed on St. Patrick's Day when ex-boyfriend Dennis (Dean Winters) shows up unexpectedly, interrupting her day with Criss (James Marsden).|
|116||13||"Grandmentor"||Beth McCarthy-Miller||Sam Means||3.31||March 22, 2012||613|
|Jack revamps his efforts to rescue his wife, while Liz agrees to mentor Hazel (Kristen Schaal).|
|117||14||"Kidnapped by Danger"||Claire Cowperthwaite||Tina Fey||3.42||March 22, 2012||614|
|Liz writes the script for the Avery TV-Movie and stirs up trouble for Jack and Diana Jessup (Mary Steenburgen).|
|118||15||"The Shower Principle"||Stephen Lee Davis||Tom Ceraulo||3.14||March 29, 2012||615|
|Jack must come up with an idea that will impress Hank Hooper and transform KableTown, while Liz tries her best to stick with a new hobby and prove she’s a new woman. Jenna believes she’s cursed and Hazel’s obsession with Liz continues. Tracy signs on to do a new movie in order to pay his unexpectedly high taxes.|
|119||16||"Nothing Left to Lose"||John Riggi||Lauren Gurganous & Nina Pedrad||2.79||April 5, 2012||616|
|Jack tries to transform the slumping Pete into a respectable man of ambition. Meanwhile, Tracy recovers his lost sense of smell and is drawn to Liz's scent, and Jenna battles the writers in a prank war.|
|120||17||"Meet the Woggels!"||Linda Mendoza||Ron Weiner||2.98||April 12, 2012||617|
|Jenna has a relationship with someone in the music industry. Jack's mother horns in on a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Tracy's son is ready for college.|
|121||18||"Murphy Brown Lied to Us"||John Riggi||Robert Carlock & Vali Chandrasekaran||3.06||April 19, 2012||618|
|Jenna fakes a breakdown to try and win back Paul. Jack sets Liz up on a blind date. Criss and Liz try to figure out if they are ready to be parents.|
|122||19||"Live from Studio 6H"||Beth McCarthy Miller||Jack Burditt & Tina Fey||3.47||April 26, 2012||619|
|Kabletown chooses to stop funding live shows for TGS. While Liz and Jack embrace the change, Kenneth argues that live format should be kept intact. This is the show's second live episode, in which an East Coast and West Coast version were broadcast with slight adjustments such as guest appearances; Kim Kardashian in the West Coast version and Paul McCartney in the East.|
|123||20||"Queen of Jordan 2: Mystery of the Phantom Pooper"||Ken Whittingham||Luke Del Tredici & Tracey Wigfield||3.04||May 3, 2012||620|
|Angie's reality show once again films at TGS.|
|124||21||"The Return of Avery Jessup"||John Riggi||Dylan Morgan & Josh Siegal||2.92||May 10, 2012||621|
|Avery returns home.|
|125||22||"What Will Happen to the Gang Next Year?"||Michael Engler||Matt Hubbard||2.84||May 17, 2012||622|
|Jack and Avery renew their wedding vows.|
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