Alec Baldwin was ready to leave 30 Rock after its fifth season because he thought the show was in a creative decline. "It was the low point," he tells Rolling Stone Senior Writer Brian Hiatt in our new cover story, on newsstands Friday, January 18th. "Though even anemic 30 Rock writing is still better than everybody else's writing. I go, 'I'm going to get the fuck out of here, I'm done,' because I'm an employee, I don't have any say. So Season Five ends, and I'm saying 'Next year, I'm done,' then I come back, and Season Six is really good, we all had fun again."
Around that time, Baldwin met his second wife and suddenly felt little desire to abandon his routine in New York. "Fuck, I'll stay here seasons Nine, 10 and 11," he remembers thinking, noting that the show signed him for a possible Season 8. "I don't think they wanted me," he says. "They just wanted to know they had the option to have me."
After an abbreviated seventh season, 30 Rock will now end on January 31st. Despite his eagerness to continue, Baldwin recognizes that the birth of Fey's second child in 2011 made her life even more hectic. "Tina always had her antenna up," he says. "But this year was the first time she came in and laid down on the couch on set, and you could tell, she's a mom. She's fucking wiped out."
Exhaustion aside, Fey is extremely proud that 30 Rock stayed on the air for seven seasons. "I feel like we made a lot of good episodes of the kind of show that usually gets cancelled," she says. "The kind where there's 20 episodes and 'only me and my hipster friends know about it.' That part's still true. But we made about 140 of them!"
Check back with Rolling Stone on Friday for more from our 30 Rock cover story.