Correction to This Article
A Nov. 16 Style article incorrectly said that actor Scott Adsit plays the character Frank on NBC's "30 Rock." The character is played by Judah Friedlander.
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'30 Rock,' Solid Enough to Rebuild a Thursday Foundation

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Ironically, room was found for creepy Scott Adsit as a creepy writer named Frank -- basically a waste of time and space.

"I agree that Jack McBrayer is fantastic," Fey said, "and we are planning to use him lots and lots." Maybe it's a budget thing; NBC isn't exactly rolling in rubles.

For the record, Executive Producer Lorne Michaels, who knows more about comedy than the rest of us put together, also chimed in with praise for McBrayer: "We're very high on him. He's obviously the breakout performer on the series. We like him, the network likes him, viewers like him, everybody likes him."

Unless you're already a fan of the series, though, you'll have to take all that praise on faith. And although "30 Rock" is now part of the Thursday lineup -- once hallowed home to such sitcom classics as "The Cosby Show," "Cheers" and later "Seinfeld" -- the show won't air next week because of Thanksgiving, so McBrayer might not pop up again until December.

Regardless of problems, "30 Rock" has earned its spot on the schedule, and not just because comedies are in such woefully short supply -- although, come to think of it, that might be reason enough right there. "30 Rock" is as good as "The Office," "My Name Is Earl" and the rapidly aging "Scrubs." All four shows lined up in a row do not compare with NBC's greatest Thursday nights, but network executives deserve at least a peep of gratitude for keeping the freshmen on the air while smart people tinker with the entrails and make the shows better.

Baldwin's performance, on the other hand, seems perilously close to perfect, beyond improving -- whether wacky Jack is taking a sneaky peek at video of his performance on the show, or irritating Liz by lecturing: "Don't gloat. It makes you seem mannish."

Most of the time, Baldwin's character is the one doling out abuse and yet, in a truly neat trick, Baldwin makes him the show's most sympathetic soul. That's beyond acting; it's more like alchemy. And a crazy joy to watch.

30 Rock (40 minutes) airs tonight at 9:20 on Channel 4.


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