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Fall TV preview: 30 Rock

Returning comedy, 8:30-9PM, NBC

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By 30 Rock standards, last season’s finale featured lots of high drama — Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) fell in love with a pilot named Carol (Matt Damon), while Jack (Alec Baldwin) found out girlfriend Avery (Elizabeth Banks) was pregnant with his child. Banks and Damon will be back for more, though that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of Liz’s love-hate interest Wesley (The Queen‘s Michael Sheen). Says Fey, ”I made him promise that no matter how many — as we put it — fancy f—ing Oscar movies he’s in, he has to come back.” That said, she continues, the season 5 goal ”is to keep the focus on the core dynamic between Jack and Liz. You’ll see them helping each other with their issues a lot.” Jack will give up drinking in a show of solidarity with Avery, ”and he discovers he basically had a .5 [blood alcohol level] for the last 20 years,” adds exec producer Robert Carlock. Meanwhile, he says, ”Liz is having some problems with intimacy, and it involves a long and upsetting story from her childhood, which may involve a poster of Tom Jones.” She’ll also celebrate a birthday Sixteen Candles-style: ”It’s Liz’s 40th birthday, but everyone has forgotten about it,” teases Carlock. As for the rest of the cast, Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) will deal with getting fired, and Tracy (Tracy Morgan) will reap the benefits of doing an artsy film. Explains Fey, ”He may finally tour that awards circuit.” Sounds like someone’s about to EGOT!