So, apparently the world (or the world as I prefer to know it) really will end in 2012, because that’s when Alec Baldwin says he’ll call it quits from 30 Rock.
Baldwin’s contract expires after season 6, at which point he told CNN he’ll likely retire from acting:
“As much as I like acting, I know that I would love to have a different life… A private life… I’d rather go do other things.”
It’s a one-two punch in the face for NBC comedy fans, who learned last week that Steve Carell will also leave The Office after next season. I argued that The Office can’t (or at least shouldn’t) survive without Carell’s Michael Scott–can the same be said about Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy?
Could 30 Rock still be hilarious with Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan and the rest of its stellar ensemble cast intact, sans Baldwin? Of course. But the massive hole left in his absence will be hard for fans to get over, and any replacement ‘NBC executive’ character would have big shoes to fill. Not many obvious choices stand out just yet, but Will Arnett’s Devon Banks comes to mind.
There’s no telling where the trajectory of the series will take us in the next two seasons, or if signs of age (some already apparent after season 4) will prompt producers and the network to–as most Office fans are advising their show to do right about now–wrap up with its big star’s exit.
It’s public knowledge that Baldwin was a big get for 30 Rock in the first place, and his departure likely comes as no surprise to Tina Fey and her writers, who are clearly smart enough to craft a fitting exit strategy for Jack Donaghy.
That is, if Fey, the heart and soul of the show, wants to continue after season 6. Like Steve Carell (her Date Night co-star) her comedy star power is at an all-time high, and feature films might sound like the right route by the time 2012 rolls around.
If the world is still intact by then.
Baldwin’s new interview with CNN:
(Image courtesy of WENN)