When Tina Fey was a given a development deal with NBC, her first pitch was a sitcom about cable news. Fey would haved played the producer of a Bill O’Reilly-type show hosted by a character played by Alec Baldwin. According to Time Magazine, Kevin Reilly, then the president of NBC, "felt Fey was using the news setting as a fig leaf for her own experience and encouraged her to write what she knew." Reilly's suggestion was especially surprising as they were concurrently developing an Aaron Sorkin drama that also took place behind-the-scenes of a network sketch comedy. Fey was initially reluctant to pursue the idea, feeling it was "lazy," but eventually came around to it after coming up with the idea of the eccentric cast member played by Tracy Morgan.