Dear NBC: I'm not buying what you're selling.


Someone's bs'ing here, and it ain't me. Here's the story:

Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch were to be the co-stars of Fey's upcoming series, "30 Rock," which looked behind the scenes of an SNL-like sketch comedy show, originally titled, "Friday Night Bits." Sounds great, right? I certainly thought so, especially after reading a strong pilot script. Tracy Morgan was to play a crazy star, and in a late casting coup, Alec Baldwin was picked up to play the network boss.

Also, at some point, the name of the show-within-the-show changed to "The Girlie Show." Hmm.

Now, after very positive advance word on the show and a semi-surprise pickup (a lot of folks figured NBC wouldn't pick up both Fey's series and Aaron Sorkin's dramatic take on the same general idea, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"), something's going down with Dratch's role.

Variety reported that her role, as one of the stars of "The Girlie Show," had been "scrapped." To wit:

Rachel Dratch no longer has a role on the upcoming NBC laffer "30 Rock." Instead, she'll have many, many roles.

Dratch was originally tapped to play Jenna DeCarlo, an actress on "The Girlie Show" -- the show-within-a-show on "30 Rock."

But with the focus of "30 Rock" moving away from "The Girlie Show" and more toward the interaction among stars Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan, the show's exec producers decided to scrap Dratch's character.

Instead, Dratch will appear in several episodes in a wide variety of roles. In the "30 Rock" opener, for example, she'll now appear as a cat wrangler (whose felines are needed for a sketch).

This already feels fishy, right? Multiple roles to play to her strength? What is she, Dana Carvey in that movie with the turtle suit? Feels like the other shoe's about to drop, right?
And get a load of this, from TV Week:

Former "Ally McBeal" series regular Jane Krakowski is joining the cast of NBC's new fall comedy "30 Rock."

She has been hired to play the star of "The Girlie Show," a network variety show that serves as the backdrop for the workplace comedy.

Ms. Krakowski replaces Rachel Dratch, who played the role in the "30 Rock" pilot. Ms. Dratch, a fellow cast mate on "Saturday Night Live" with "30 Rock" creator Tina Fey, will have a smaller role on the series by playing a variety of characters in multiple episodes.

So what the hell is going on? Sounds like a load of "not too many funny women, please" crap to me. Here's a program lucky enough to have two of the funniest women in showbiz, and all of a sudden they're dropping one into some recurring cat wrangler BS?

Rachel Dratch is a really wonderful, brilliant performer. Getting to see her work in a meaty role every week was one of the biggest reasons I was excited about this program. Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch are purportedly pals, and maybe I'm misreading the whole situation. That said, I can tell you that what I smell stinks.

Updates: The Defamer has picked up on this story... it's got legs!

Todd at rightfully points out the irony -- the show's theme is a meddling network exec pushing for a less female-centric show.