NBC’s Workplace Comedy ‘Great News’ Grows From ’30 Rock’ Roots

Great News Virginia Sherwood/NBC

It’s not a coincidence that NBC’s Great News bears a striking resemblance to 30 Rock, given that Tina Fey (30 Rock), Robert Carlock (30 Rock) and David Miner (30 Rock) are executive producers, and Tracey Wigfield (30 Rock) is creator, writer and executive producer. It’s not a bad thing, either, given the critically acclaimed but low-rated 30 Rock’s ability to remain on the air for seven seasons.

In Great News (premiering Tuesday, April 25 at 9pm ET/PT), Katie Wendelson (Briga Heelan) is a frustrated TV news segment producer whose workplace world gets rocked when her meddling mother, Carol (Andrea Martin), gets an internship at the station. Wigfield says her mother, who made constant visits to the 30 Rock set, inspired the character of Carol.

Great News goes for generational laughs as much as it pokes fun at the fading relevance of TV news in the age of social media, played out in the contrasting styles of aging prima donna anchor Chuck (John Michael Higgins), and his young, stylish and celeb-savvy co-anchor Portia (Nicole Richie).

There’s also a lot of subtle humor derived from the oddities that go on behind the scenes of an actual TV production. Horatio Sanz (Saturday Night Live) plays a video editor at the station, and he’s learned a lot from watching editors at work over the years. “They don’t really talk to other human beings,” Sanz says, adding that they’re also known to wear jackets from shows that have been canceled. “It’s just a fun character to play because these guys are crazy and they’re off.”

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Member of the Television Critics Association. Charter member of the Ancient and Mystic Society of No Homers. Squire of the Ancient & Benevolent Order of the Lynx, Lodge 49, Long Beach, Calif. Costco Wholesale Gold Star Member since 2011.