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Would you watch '30 Rock' without Alec Baldwin?

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Alec_lThat’s a question NBC apparently had to ponder. According to the AP, which got a sneak peak at the transcript of Alec Baldwin’s pre-taped visit to The View (airing tomorrow), the actor asked NBC to let him out of this contract so he could focus on the issues of divorce litigation (he has a book in the works on the topic) and spare the 30 Rock cast and crew any “hurt by the situation.” NBC issued the statement: “Alec Baldwin remains an important part of 30 Rock. We look forward to having him continue his role in the show.” And though no one’s said how long Baldwin’s current contract runs, the series — which airs its first season finale tonight — has already been renewed for the fall.

The View chat, conducted by Barbara Walters and soon-to-be-departing Rosie O’Donnell, will no doubt raise some interesting questions. But I’ve got one of my own: Has Baldwin’s “situation” actually affected fans’ appreciation for him, the show, or anyone associated with it? I’m guessing not, but the ratings will tell.

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