With Scrubs moving from NBC to ABC this fall, I started thinking about what would happen if other sitcoms switched networks. If, say, My Name is Earl went to CBS, it would probably have a laugh track, which would make a lot more sense. However, if 30 Rock were to move to another network, it would be chaos. It would change the series in a way no show has ever been affected by a network change in the past.
30 Rock takes place behind-the-scenes at an NBC program. It often pokes fun at the reality programming favored by the network, among other things. NBC, really, is an essential character. Sure, if the show switched to (for example) CBS, they could simply have TGS get canceled and picked up by CBS. They could do all kinds of jokes about multi-camera sitcoms and procedural dramas. That’d probably be okay.
Most of the characters could survive easily – if TGS were to move to a new network, it makes sense that the actors, producers and writing staff would go with it. But there would still be problems. Two of the show’s most popular characters could not credibly be brought over to a new network. Jack, played by Alec Baldwin, has spent years building a career at NBC/General Electric. Sure, at the end of last season, he was working for George Bush, but we all know he’ll be back where he belongs. But what he certainly wouldn’t do is go to work for NBC’s direct competition. Not in the long term.
The other character who would be out of place outside of Rockefeller Center (Say, that’s another thing – the name of the show is a GE-owned building. They’d have to rename the series CBS Television City) is Kenneth the page. Kenneth has spent his whole life with only one goal in mind – to aid those who work in television. The NBC page is the loftiest position one can achieve in that field. He lives to be an NBC page, and he would never abandon the dream just because one show got canceled.
Of course, this is all silly speculation for something that will never happen. If 30 Rock did get canceled, no other network would pick it up. It’s owned by NBC/Universal. Scrubs only got picked up ABC because it was owned by ABC parent company Disney. In this day and age, no network would pick up a canceled series that they won’t even own distribution rights for. Never.
Sorry for wasting your time.