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Carol (Andrea Martin) is about to meet her match in the newsroom.
In the second season of NBC’s Great News, a new network president comes to town, and she’s played by none other than guest star (and executive producer) Tina Fey. According to creator Tracey Wigfield, the fully leaned-in, fancifully named Diana St. Tropez is the anti-Liz Lemon: “She has this super-powerful career and a bunch of babies that surrogates gave birth to on transatlantic flights for tax reasons, so, you know, she has worked it all out.”
And having it all is what Katie (Briga Heelan) has always dreamed of — which is why the associate producer idolizes Diana like crazy when the sitcom returns. Katie’s read (and “earmarked,” Wigfield says) every book in Diana’s series called Boss Bitch, about being a modern woman in a male-dominated field.
But while she can’t believe she has Diana for a potential new mentor, mom-tern Carol is more than a little apprehensive about seeing another woman in her daughter’s life. “Carol does come to respect her, but in the beginning, she’s afraid that her daughter’s being influenced by her,” Wigfield says. “Ultimately she doesn’t want grandbabies in the year 20-Carol’s dead. She’s on her heels immediately with this woman.” (For what it’s worth, Martin couldn’t wait to work with Fey. “We were like kids in a candy store,” she says of the first table read this season, adding that the cast had been eager to reunite. “It’s a very close group. We’re all genuinely excited that we get to do this again.”)
See an exclusive photo of the Saturday Night Live alum’s latest character’s first meeting with Carol and Katie, below:
As for the rest of MNN, well, Greg (Adam Campbell) has no qualms with no longer being under his grandmother’s rule, but Chuck (John Michael Higgins) is wary of change. “Diana has this attitude toward The Breakdown, that the show is old-fashioned and needs to be brought into 2017,” Wigfield says. “It puts Chuck on his heels because he’s more of a traditional guy, and old-fashioned journalism doesn’t work in this new world.”
That debate over modern and old-fashioned cable news journalism will factor into Great News more this year as well. “We definitely had a bunch of conversations about, ‘We have a show on a cable news channel, so where are the opportunities in storytelling and in jokes to be as relevant as possible in talking not specifically about politics but about news trends and how people watch cable news and what they’re getting out of it?'” Wigfield explains. “I think we do use that more this season for both story and for jokes, but that said, if you want jokes about Donald Trump, there are a lot of other places where you can get that.” She laughs. “It’s not Saturday Night Live.” Even with Fey as part of the cast.
Great News returns Thursday, Sept. 28, at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC.