30 Rock goin’ live!

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30 Rock will follow in the footsteps of some of the best dramas and sitcoms of recent times, with the producers announcing on Saturday that they are preparing to up the ante with a live show forming part of the fifth season.

However, it is not as straightforward as it may sound. The cast will perform the live episode twice, for both the East and West coasts of the US.

30 Rock has been consistently well-received by critics, has managed to accrue a significant haul of Emmy Award nominations and wins, and has succeeded in growing its cult following year-on-year.

With the live episode, the producers are hoping it will raise the awareness of the show, which has often failed to be a successful ratings winner.

The creator and lead in 30 Rock, Tina Fey, originally beat her way into the public consciousness on Saturday Night Live, and as a result will be more than au fait with the nature of live broadcasts.

With a cast of consummate professionals surrounding Fey, including Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan, the live episode is a dead cert to be a hit.

Angela Bromstad, NBC’s Primetime Entertainment president, said: “I can’t imagine a series more suited to do an incredible live episode, thanks to its many cast, writers and producers, who hail from TV’s most renowned live series, SNL.”

The live episode continues a trend of live broadcasting kick-started by ER's live episode in 1997 titled "Ambush", which became the third highest broadcast drama episode of all time. Since then, The West Wing ("The Debate"), Will & Grace ("Alive and Schticking"), and even The Bill ("Woodentop") have produced live episodes.

The episode will be broadcast on October 14 in the States, and the recorded version will air in Australia in 2011.

Do you enjoy the live episodes of TV shows? Are they necessary?

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