Aug. 2, 2011 at 10:46 AM ET
"Easy, easy. Everybody settle down."
Words of wisdom tweeted by Alec Baldwin on Tuesday, trying to calm fans after the latest article about his future with "30 Rock." It seems the notion of the Emmy-winning Baldwin departing the series (where he plays self-adoring network executive Jack Donaghy) comes up every few weeks, starts a flurry over whether the show can continue without him, then dies down again.
This latest call for calm has come after Zap2It re-published comments "30 Rock" executive producer Lorne Michaels made to New York Magazine's The Vulture web column. He told Vulture that doesn't imagine "30 Rock" will shutter if Baldwin leaves: "I can't imagine doing the show without Alec, but I couldn't imagine doing ('Saturday Night Live') without Chevy (Chase.)"
Baldwin seems pretty clear on what he wants to do next, though. In April, he told this writer: "I'm fairly certain I'm not going to (continue with the show) myself; I'm only going to do the six years I signed on for, only because there are so many opportunities available to me now. To be in your 50s and on a show that's so appreciated by critics and awards, it's a good experience, but it's a seven-month block out of your year where you're pinned to that, and at this point there are so many things I want to do that have nothing to do with acting. I'm fairly certain I'm not going to go on with it, and that they will go on with it."
In other words, "settle down."
Meanwhile, Michaels also told Vulture that Tina Fey is "completely committed to the show,"which means she isn't likely to go anywhere any time soon. Her departure would be a more severe blow to the show, as she is a creator and executive producer there.
But for all the speculation over Baldwin, the thing is it's not about him not enjoying the show -- it may just be about him wanting more variety. "It's not that I don't like acting or what I'm doing now, but I would have no choice (time-wise)," he said. "I'm working on a pilot for NPR. I do announcing for the (New York) Philharmonic. Little things like that. There's also an opportunity to go back to school, to get another degree."
So maybe it's time for Baldwin to take some cues from the uber-ubiquitous James Franco, who juggles career with side projects and school. Baldwin says he wasn't aware of Franco's busy schedule, but likes the idea: "Maybe I want to be the middle-aged James Franco and leave my trail of crumbs everywhere," he says.
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