Tina Fey is arguably America’s pre-eminent comedienne. After stints as Saturday Night Live‘s first female head writer and then co-anchor of the Weekend Update, Fey went on to create and star in one of the most acclaimed sitcoms in the past decade, the recently concluded 30 Rock. After writing and starring in 2008’s Baby Mama and then co-starring alongside Steve Carrell in 2010’s Date Night, Fey’s focus appeared to be on finishing out 30 Rock’s run.
Though Fey has kept a low profile since the sitcom’s final episode in January 2013, it looks like she’s actually been developing new original projects.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that after a bidding war between multiple networks, Fox has secured the rights to a new, hotly-anticipated multicamera show, described as “a comedy which takes place at a women’s college that has just opened its doors to men for the first time.”
Fey has no plans to star and will be executive producing alongside Matt Hubbard and Robert Carlock, both of whom worked on 30 Rock as a writer and showrunner, respectively. Hubbard is set to write the half-hour show, with yet another 30 Rock alumnus, David Miner, joining as executive producer.
This as-yet-untitled show is actually the second new show Fey has set up this year. Fey and Carlock are also executive producing an untitled half-hour comedy from Colleen McGuinness, also a former 30 Rock writer-producer. This project was sold to NBC and is described as “a workplace comedy in which a woman reconnects with her estranged father and finds a new home and family on Fire Island.”
Both shows share a character-based, institution-set basis, aspects which are firmly in Fey’s wheelhouse. Fey’s new show has received a rare straight-to-series order, which indicates just how hungry the networks are for anything with Fey attached. 30 Rock drew fair-to-middling ratings but received high critical praise throughout its seven-season run.
Fey’s movie career hasn’t quite panned out thus far. Her latest starring effort, Admission, received mediocre reviews (read ours here), though Fey’s performance yielded more proof that she is capable of moving out of her comedy comfort zone and into more interesting dramatic realms. While the writers and directors behind 30 Rock deserve mountains of credit for maintaining the whip-smart, numerous jokes per minute tone of the series, Fey’s central performance as unapologetically feminist grown-up nerd Liz Lemon was the show’s anchor.
It will be a shame not to see Fey on the small screen for this new show, but after such a sustained run in front of the camera on 30 Rock, it’s not really a surprise. Both shows sound intriguing, so expect more details as they surface.