In its early days, many TV compared viewers 30 Rock to another broadcast on the same network: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Due to the former coming from an all-new creator and the latter with the power of Aaron Sorkin behind him, few predicted the outcome – not even creator and cast member Tina Fey.
‘Studio 60′ and ’30 Rock’ were released in the same year
When Studio 60 created, Sorkin had just come out of the high-flying show The west wing. While his personal life was plagued by scandals, he still had a loyal fanbase. Needless to say, fans of his past work were excited about the NBC series.
Despite their similar concepts, NBC shed light on both series about the inner workings of a sketch show. But with the star power of Friends actor Matthew Perry and a lot of influence behind it, no one thought Workshop 60 to be the only one to fail.
“The surefire bet was Aaron Sorkin,” actor Scott Adsit (who played Pete Hornberger in 30 Rock) said in The book of 30 rocks. “But I went with Tina.”
“We never saw them as an opponent. We were sure they would last maybe half a season,” said Nate Corddry of Workshop 60. “I was not expecting this 30 Rock have any kind of legs.
Both shows had a similar format
Both Workshop 60 and 30 Rock touched on the same subject, but one approached things in a lighter way than the other. 30 Rock aimed to tell Fey’s story and experiences as editor of the NBC sketch show saturday night live. 30 Rock gives viewers a fictional behind-the-scenes look at a comedy sketch show airing on NBC.
Workshop 60 also takes place behind the scenes of a live comedy sketch show of the same name on a fictional network called NBS. The show within the show had a similar format to SNL and was led by the characters of Perry and Whitford as executive producers.
The significant difference between the two series? Workshop 60 was an hour-long drama, with 30 Rock a half-hour comedy. Alec Baldwin noted 30 Rock had “the most difficult task…because if it’s not funny, that’s it.” But luckily for them, it was.
Why did ’30 Rock’ survive ‘Studio 60’?
Not only 30 Rock continue, but Workshop 60 weakened. According to Vulture, the drama got off to a good start, while the comedy took a little while to get going. However, the tables have turned. After the pilot Workshop 60Ratings have gone down. It was canceled after just one season.
But 30 Rock persisted. And even the actors behind Workshop 60 were happy about it. “I loved 30 Rock“said Bradley Whitford in The book of 30 stones. “I love Tina Fey.” After seeing the designer at an event, he wished her luck. But the comedian wasn’t so optimistic about the whole ordeal. “This fucking Workshop 60 almost killed us.
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