The news that Oprah Winfrey will appear in a guest role on "30 Rock" summons up two fascinating Emmy questions. Could she be nominated for an Emmy? And would Oprah even enter herself in the race for guest stars?
"Oprah is slated to appear in '30 Rock's' episode 302, which is tentatively set to air Nov. 6," reports Kristin Dos Santos at E! Online. "According to reliable insiders, the initial plan (subject to change) is that she will be playing herself, with all of her scenes as Tina Fey's fabulous Liz Lemon, and that her story would also play into a feud between Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) that will continue through several episodes."
Emmy voters sure love to hail the acting turns on "30 Rock." Last year's winner of best comedy series nabbed seven of the 11 slots in the guest categories for comedies this year.
But, hey, if Oprah portrays herself, is she really acting? Poor Patrick Stewart never nabbed an Emmy bid for portraying his greatest TV role, Capt. Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," but he was nommed for portraying himself on "Extras." Also receiving guest noms as themselves on "Extras": Kate Winslet, Ben Stiller and Ian McKellen. And let's recall that Emma Thompson won best guest actress in a comedy series as herself on "Ellen" in 1998. And, by the way, Oprah certainly has proven kudos acting chops as a past Oscar and Golden Globe nominee for "The Color Purple" (1985).
OK, let's say that Emmy voters would want to nominate Oprah Winfrey. Would she permit it? At the Daytime Emmys, Oprah took herself and her show out of competition, quitting the race for best talk show host in 1999 (after six wins) and the series contest one year later (after nine victories — that's still the record).
Maybe Oprah would make an exception for this lowly guest acting race and allow "30 Rock" producers to enter her name. Back in the 1990s, Candice Bergen took herself out of competition after five wins as best lead comedy actress, but this year she's nominated in the supporting drama slot for "Boston Legal."
Oprah hasn't withdrawn her show from consideration at the People's Choice Awards and she accepted a special Founders Award at the International Emmys in 2005.