30 Rock/Unaired Pilot

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Unaired Pilot
Airdate Unaired
Written by Tina Fey
Directed by Adam Bernstein

1x01 →
30 Rock
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Unaired Pilot is the unaired original pilot episode for 30 Rock. The unaired pilot follows the exact same plot and scene structure as the aired version, but with some changes—Cerie and Jenna were recast before airing,

Starring: Tina Fey (Liz Lemon), Tracy Morgan (Tracy Jordan), Rachel Dratch (Jenna DeCarlo), Jack McBrayer (Kenneth), Scott Adsit (Pete Hornberger), Judah Friedlander (Frank Troilo)

And: Alec Baldwin (Jack Donaghy)

Guest Starring: Keith Powell (Toofer), Lonny Ross (Josh Gerard), Maulik Pancholy (Jonathan), Unknown Actress (Cerie), Tom Broecker (Lee), Teddy Coluca (Stage Manager), Gary Cowling (Tourist), Kevin Dorff (Guy Buying Hot Dogs), Anita Durst (Businesswoman), Emana Rochelle (Stripper), Tabbie Conrad (Chicken and Waffles Employee), Ciaran Tyrell (Waiter), Alison White (Tourist)


Plot Overview



There are several differences between this episode and the version which eventually aired. The biggest changes were in casting; in the unaired version of the pilot Jenna is played by former Saturday Night Live cast member Rachel Dratch, who also worked with Tina Fey in their early careers in a two-woman show called Dratch & Fey, which mirrors Liz and Jenna's backstory. Additionally, Cerie was originally played by an uncredited actress in the unaired pilot.

The casting changes necessitated reshooting the scenes featuring those actors. Other scenes were shortened or extended to tighten up the pace of the story. The following scenes were changed, removed or added:

  • The opening musical number is shown mainly on a monitor screen and lacks the "fat suit" punchline at the end.
  • Josh's Jay Leno impression goes on for longer, has more people trying their Leno impressions and has Josh throwing out a bad Jerry Seinfeld impression.
  • In the unaired pilot, Kenneth leads a tour group to the cast dressing rooms where they hear fart noises coming from Jenna's bathroom. The aired version has Jenna complaining about her face looking puffy before being confronted by the cat wrangler (played by Dratch).
  • Jenna is described as the "short, big-eyed girl" in the original and the "blonde, big-eyed girl" in the aired version.
  • The scene where Liz pilfers wardrobe for dress clothes is changed slightly. Jenna is being dressed like a man, complete with a fake mustache, she talks about her new apartment and how "dreams do come true." The aired version has Jenna complaining about the cat and being reassured that the sketch is going to get cut.
  • After Liz puts on the Laura Bush dress, Josh asks her if he can use his "Mr. Wang" voice during the Cat Lady sketch. She shoots him down.
  • The scene in the first restaurant where Liz meets Tracy is slightly longer, with Tracy asking if the place still had steak tartar, prompting the waiter to suggest the pumpkin ravioli. When they leave the restaurant, Liz sarcastically asks if Tracy's car runs on jet fuel, he responds saying it runs on "fame juice."
  • Toofer's refusal to work with Tracy Jordan is similar, but slightly shorter.
  • At the chicken and waffles place, Tracy goes on at length about how he left Los Angeles because his wife wanted to get liposuction on her neck. When Liz tells him that she probably doesn't need it, he agrees, saying that she should save the money for a boob job.
  • The first scene with Jenna and Jack is similar, with Jack saying her costume "looks hot," but with the scene ending with Kenneth giving her her diarrhea medicine instead of the hemorrhoid cream mentioned earlier in the aired pilot. The aired version makes the scene seem more like flirtation than the original.
  • At the strip club, Liz is shown leaving instead of just appearing outside and a scene showing her phone in the pants she was wearing earlier is shown after she asks "Where is my phone?"
  • Liz's dialogue with Kenneth when calling from the strip club is slightly different, he comments "It's weird that you're not here, but Mr. Donaghy has some real good ideas." The second act ends after he says Pete was fired in the unaired version.
  • Much of the third act is completely different:
    • Jack's "hands on" attitude reverses many of Liz's changes including confusing Jenna on whether or not to keep a line from the Cat Lady sketch. In the aired version, he reinstates the Cat Lady sketch (which was cut earlier in the episode) because "animal humor is universal."
    • Josh does his "Mr. Wang" voice for Jack and he tells him to do it on the show.
    • Jack calls for 50 cats to be in the Cat Lady sketch instead of simply picking a random cat from the cat wrangler's selection.
    • Liz calls Pete at home and threatens to quit out of solidarity, but he dissuades her, saying that she shouldn't "buy all the hot dogs." When she sees her show on a TV in the strip club, she drags Tracy away from the strippers to drive her to the studio. In the aired version, Tracy offers to drive her home (with no scene inside the strip club), but she tells him to drive her to the studio so she can quit in person. The scene with Pete doesn't come in until after Liz gets into the studio in the aired version.
    • The unaired version shows the Cat Lady sketch get absolutely zero laughs, except from Frank who chuckles at how badly it's bombing. There are several scenes which build on how badly it's going, until Liz and Tracy get to the stage. A similar, much shorter scene, has Jenna getting attacked by and subsequently throwing a cat.
    • Liz's attempt to save the scene by throwing Tracy in is slightly different, with her telling him to "drop some fame juice on them," a reference to a scene cut from the aired version.
    • At the end of the TGS episode, some fake credits scroll as Tracy tells Jenna he "can't wait to do this with you every week." In the aired version, the end credits begin there. In the unaired version, it prompts Jenna to scream "I AM A JEDI" and run into traffic, like on the clip of Tracy from the news.

Aside from these scene changes, the unaired pilot is also missing opening and closing credits, incidental music and other elements of the score.

Arc Advancement





The Show

  • Writers: At the end of the episodes, a series of credits for The Girlie Show scroll and include seven writers: James Spurlock, Frank Troilo, Richie Draft, Raylinda Raze, Elizabeth Cackowski, M.F. Miller and Grandy Davis. Mixed in with the characters (James "Toofer" Spurlock and Frank Troilo) are a former Saturday Night Live writer (Liz Cackowski) and fake names combining the names of SNL veterans. "Grandy Davis" is likely a reference to Charlie Grandy and Tom Davis, for instance.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments