The fourth season of 30 Rock, an American television comedy series, consists of 22 episodes and began airing on October 15, 2009, on the NBC network in the United States. The season was produced by Broadway Video, Little Stranger, and NBC Universal; the executive producers were series creator Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels, Marci Klein, David Miner, and Robert Carlock.
30 Rock is centered on The Girlie Show with Tracy Jordan, a fictional sketch comedy series, and its head writer Liz Lemon, portrayed by Fey. The series follows Lemon as she juggles her job and her personal life. Early in the season Jack Donaghy and Liz work to find a new cast member for TGS. The season also sees NBC being purchased by the fictional company Kabletown, a fictionalized depiction of the acquisition of NBC Universal by cable company Comcast. Additionally, Liz has an ongoing relationship with a man she thought might be her "Future Husband" later in the season.
During the 2009–2010 upfront presentation on May 19, 2009, NBC announced that the show's fourth season, following the precedent set by its third season, would premiere several weeks behind the rest of the network's Thursday night lineup following a multi-week run of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday specials. On June 25, NBC released its full fall premiere schedule, with 30 Rock returning on October 15, 2009. The fourth season aired under NBC's promotional banner "Comedy Night Done Right" on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The season drew 15 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, down from its previous record breaking totals of 17 and 22 in the second and third seasons, respectively. The season was released on DVD in the United States on September 21, 2010, as a three-disc set.
When Jack orders them to find a new cast member, Liz and Pete are forced to fake an affair to keep their talent search a secret. Meanwhile, a dispute over timecards prompts Kenneth to lead a page strike. Jenna "goes country," and Tracy tries to reconnect with the common man.
Jack finds himself answering to Devin Banks (Will Arnett) and the government's microwave oven task force. Tracy seeks retribution from Liz when he discovers that most of the relationship "deal breakers" in her book were based on him still angry about a potential new cast member. Jenna abandons TGS to shoot a werewolf movie in Iceland.
Liz and Jack engage in a clash of world views as they search for talent in Kenneth's Georgia hometown. Tracy is haunted by the celebrity "rule of threes" and fears that his death is imminent. An increasingly desperate Jenna tries to cozy up to the writers.
Liz and Pete try to rig the TGS auditions as everyone else jockeys for a chance to audition for the show or, in Tracy and Jenna's case, tries to sabotage the proceedings. Amid the chaos, Jack is treated like a pariah because of a bedbug infestation.
Jack proposes that Liz host a Dealbreakers talk show, then bristles when she hires an agent and considers outside producers. When the new cast member's (Cheyenne Jackson) easy going attitude causes Tracy and Jenna to question their demanding ways, Kenneth feels his role at TGS is threatened.
When her building goes condo, Liz tried to scare off the tenant above her so she can buy his apartment. Jack and Tracy, both considering vasectomies, consult with Dr. Spaceman and confront their issues about fatherhood. Kenneth attempts to make TGS a green workplace and finds an unexpected ally in Frank.
The pilot of her new talk show gives Liz the chance to be the centre of attention, while Jack feels pressure from Devin to make it a hit. Meanwhile, Tracy takes on the ultimate Hollywood challenge in order to prove his commitment to his wife, Angie (Sherri Shepherd).
Jack reunites with his high school crush, Nancy Donovan (Julianne Moore), thanks to a social networking site. Meanwhile, Liz struggles to find Jack a perfect gift, the writers invent a religion to avoid Kenneth's secret Santa gift swap, and Pete enlists Danny in his crusade for revenge against Jenna.
Jack and Kenneth go to great lengths in an effort to erase a drunk voicemail. Jenna agrees to "date" James Franco to help with his public image. Liz's newly outed young cousin unexpectedly turns up in New York. Tracy, expecting a daughter, begins to rethink his treatment of women.
Jack is uncomfortable with Liz and Danny's burgeoning relationship. Tracy welcomes Sue into his entourage. Jenna is forced to face reality after an embarrassing Gossip Girl audition.
Jack brings TGS to Boston in an effort to spend time with Nancy. Stuck in a strange and cold city, the staff turns on Liz, who searches for a scapegoat. Meanwhile, Tracy feuds with John Hancock.
Jack coaches Jenna when her estranged mother, Verna (Jan Hooks), drops by unannounced. Liz and Frank make a pact to kick their respective bad habits. Kenneth intrudes on Pete's quiet time.
Liz schedules oral surgery in an effort to avoid Valentine's Day. Meanwhile, Jack falls for a sexy CNBC journalist, Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks), and Jenna is crushed to discover that her stalker (Horatio Sanz) has moved on.
Jack learns that Sheinhardt wigs may be selling NBC to a cable company. Liz searches for a mystery man she met in her dentist's recovery room. Jenna tries to help Tracy win a Tony Award.
Still grieving over the loss of his mentor, Jack tries to establish his identity within NBC's new ownership. A series of chance meetings cause Liz to wonder if fate is telling her to settle for Wesley (Michael Sheen). Tracy must deal with the fallout when his nanny writes a scathing expose.
Liz deals with the unexpected return of her one good boyfriend, Floyd Debarber (Jason Sudeikis). Jack helps Danny battle the writers in a rapidly escalating prank war. After being subjected to hours of his stories, Tracy and Jenna are haunted by Kenneth in their dreams.
Jack's birthday brings additional pressure on him to choose between Avery and Nancy. Liz forces herself to attend as many singles events as she can. Back in the writers' room, Toofer is troubled by the circumstances behind his hiring.
After discovering that her staff regularly goes out without inviting her, Liz vows to prove that she can have fun. In an effort to avoid making a difficult decision in his personal life, Jack focuses on a dispute over janitor shifts. Kenneth helps Tracy be a better husband to Angie.
Jack inherits Don Geiss' beloved peacock and realizes he still needs closure with his late mentor. Liz and Pete are suspicious of Jenna's new boyfriend, Paul (Will Forte). Tracy lobbies to become Grizz's best man, causing friction in the entourage.
It's Mother's Day and the TGS moms have come to visit. Colleen meddles in Jack's romantic situation, Liz discovers that her mother almost married an astronaut, Verna squabbles with Jenna over clothes, and Tracy learns a valuable lesson from an actress hired to play his mom.
With Avery out of town, Nancy shows up to visit Jack. Liz revisits her old boyfriends and yet again runs into the unshakable Wesley. Tracy eschews a gritty, Oscar-caliber role to do a Garfield movie.
Liz's multiwedding day takes an unexpected turn when she meets a handsome, misanthropic pilot (Matt Damon). Jack discovers which woman he is truly meant to be with. Jenna and Paul's relationship reaches an impasse. Kenneth goes to great lengths to avoid being transferred to Los Angeles.