Alec Baldwin plans to leave ’30 Rock’

Like 30 Rock?

You’ve got about two more seasons to enjoy it. Alec Baldwin, who, to the uninitiated, plays the wonderfully smarmy ‘straight man’ to pretty much every other character Jack Donaghy, says he’s leaving the popular sitcom when his contract expires in 2012. NBCNewYork cites a video interview on CNN where Baldwin states a preference for retirement over bringing his sexy-voiced Alec Baldwin goodness to our small screens for very much longer:

“As much as I like acting, I know that I would love to have a different life… A private life… I’d rather go do other things…”

While 30 Rock is pretty well loved, it’s difficult to imagine the show having any appeal at all without Baldwin. The more slapstick storylines involving Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski can be funny, but it seems like a Jack-less show would be incredibly flat and boring. NBCNewYork speculates that Baldwin is unlikely to retire completely, but suggests Will Arnett as a viable replacement:

I think one of the best solutions Tina Fey has to keep the show going is to replace Baldwin permanently with Will Arnett, who already has a recurring character on the show (who spars with Baldwin brilliantly), and who has Baldwin’s same talent for grave deadpan comedy. It’s the only solution, really. Because a world without Jack Donaghy is poorer one indeed.