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How to watch the 30 Rock reunion special (which may actually be tricky)

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Many NBC affiliates won’t air it, but you’re not out of luck

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Liz Lemon is back, y’all. While the coronavirus pandemic has halted most new TV production, many old favorites like Parks and Recreation and Community have returned for quarantine reunions, mostly filmed over Zoom. A trailer for Thursday’s 30 Rock: A One Time Special, however, makes the new hour-long episode seem like the most professional-quality reunion yet, with Tina Fey, Tracy Jordan, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski and Alec Baldwin all shot with what looks like real cameras and lighting equipment. (And there’s still a bit of video chat, for good measure.)

But it wouldn’t be 30 Rock without some last-minute network crisis. On Tuesday, Vulture learned that several of the largest TV station groups would not air the hour-long 30 Rock reunion special, which is set to air in the 8 p.m. timeslot. Vulture’s sources shared that the groups felt that the reunion “is too much of a promotion for the company’s new Peacock streaming platform,” which is home to the 30 Rock archives. Networks would prefer if audiences remained glued to the nightly offerings airing on actual TV.

While this is bad news for 30 Rock fans in television markets served by Gray Television, Hearst, Nexstar, Tegna, or Sinclair Broadcast Group, they’re not entirely out of luck. Below, we break down how to watch the 30 Rock reunion regardless of your TV status.

Live on NBC

the 30 rock cast zoom calls Photo: NBC

Not everyone who hopes to watch the TGS gang reunite in their original timeslot is out of luck. NBCUniversal owns many NBC stations, especially in major distribution areas like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Check your local listings to see if your NBC station is airing 30 Rock: A One Time Special.

For those who are in those areas, the special will air at 8 p.m./7 p.m. CT and run for a full hour without traditional commercial breaks. (The special is part of NBC’s virtual upfront presentation, an annual event for TV networks to showcase their fall season, so we can assume that there will be promotions for upcoming NBC content and, of course, Peacock.)

The reunion will also air on Friday on cable

NBCUniversal-owned cable networks, USA, SyFy, Bravo, Oxygen, E!, and CNBC, will air 30 Rock: A One Time Special at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 17. 30 Rock fans with cable packages that include one of those channels can watch it on TV a mere 25 hours later.

The special will run on Peacock with all the other 30 Rock episodes

Yes, 30 Rock: A One Time Special will stream on the newly launched Peacock starting Friday morning. The service is free at its base tier, meaning 30 Rock fans won’t have to pay for the service (or sign up for a free trial) to watch the reunion.

The special will also stream on NBC.com, but notably not on Hulu, where 30 Rock is still streaming.