NBC’s ’30 Rock’ Films Next Door to Vaughn
If you happened to be walking near the campus grounds Thursday night, you might have noticed the bright lights of television in full beam. That’s because NBC’s popular sitcom “30 Rock” was filming an elaborate scene right next door to Vaughn College.
“30 Rock,” which stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, is one of television’s most decorated comedies, having won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series from 2007 to 2009. Most filming is done at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, but the series does film on location regularly.
Thursday night’s filming, along Ditmars Boulevard from 90th to 92nd streets, advances the story of the relationship between slick but scrupulous NBC executive Jack Donaghy, played by Baldwin, and the soon-to-be mother of his child, hard-wired CNBC reporter Avery Jessup, played by Elizabeth Banks.
The pair are marooned after a business conference in Canada, unable to get a flight back to New York due to a blizzard. They try hitchhiking, which doesn’t work out well.
The episode is scheduled to air in January.
Ryan Scatenato, location manager for the scene, said the spot behind Vaughn offered the production team all it wanted: an airport (LaGuardia) in the distance and highway traffic nearby.
“The director [Don Scardino] wanted some airport architecture in the background,” Scatenato said. “Also, they’re supposed to be hitchhiking so the director wanted some traffic. This street (Ditmars Boulevard), with the Grand Central Parkway in the background, gave us just what we were looking for.”
“30 Rock” takes a satirical look at life on a television sketch comedy series. Created by Fey, it is based on her experiences as lead writer for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” The name “30 Rock” is short for 30 Rockefeller Plaza, address of NBC Studios in Manhattan.
“30 Rock” is in its fifth season. In addition to its ensemble cast, the show is noted for sharp, witty writing and celebrity guest appearances, which have included Matt Damon, James Franco, Al Gore, Jerry Seinfeld and Oprah Winfrey.
Production began in mid-afternoon Thursday. Special effects manager Phil Beck used a combination of blankets, foam and ice to transform Ditmars Boulevard into the Canadian Arctic.
Baldwin and Banks arrived after 5 p.m. The set did not break down until well after 11.
Set creation was complicated by afternoon winds and landings on LaGuardia’s runway just behind the College.
“Getting the snow to blow in the right direction is always the challenge,” Beck said. “Mother Nature seems to always win.”
NBC’s “30 Rock” filmed a scene behind the Vaughn campus, along
Ditmars Boulevard, on Thursday night. Star Alec Baldwin’s character,
Jack Donaghy, far right, is marooned in a Canadian snowstorm
with girlfriend Avery Jessup, played by Elizabeth Banks. The episode
will air in January.
Preparation for “30 Rock” filming began in early afternoon Thursday
with the laying down of artificial snow, above, and continued later
with man-made sleet and ice.