Scoop! 30 Rock Role Brings Oscar Winner Tom Hanks Back to Network TV

Film star Tom Hanks is poised to make his first acting appearance on primetime network TV in more than two decades when he guest stars on NBC’s 30 Rock this spring, TVLine has confirmed through a source.

Hanks himself announced the booking Friday night, on Twitter.

No details on Hank’s role are yet available — and as with some 30 Rock guest stars it’s possible he will appear as himself. But if he is playing a character, it will by and large mark the two-time Academy Award winner’s first network TV role since the early 1980s, when he guest-starred on multiple episodes of Family Ties as alcoholic Uncle Ned.

Prior to that, Hanks’ big break was of course the 1980 sitcom Bosom Buddies, where he starred alongside Peter Scolari.

Outside of broadcast TV, Hanks has made occasional cable cameos (in Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon, both of which he produced) and played Abraham Lincoln in the 2003 PBS docu Freedom.

Hanks is but the latest film star to pay a visit to talent magnet 30 Rock, following in the footsteps of the likes of Susan Sarandon, Matt Damon, James Franco and young Chloe Moretz.

How would you like to see Hanks fit into the 30 Rock world?

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  1. Mike says:

    I’m pretty sure James Franco was last season, but I won’t hold that against you.

  2. chez says:

    Pretty sure he guested on that ABC sitcom with Bonnie Hunt a few years back.

    Still it’s a big get for 30 Rock.

  3. Nora says:

    Oh please, give me a break. All they do is casting guest stars. 30 Rock has become as bad as other tv series.

  4. TV Gord says:

    Thanks for chiming in, Nora. It’s always nice to hear from the people who don’t “get” shows as good as 30 Rock. It makes the rest of us feel SOOOOO superior! ;-)

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Heya, Gord! Yes, 30 ROCK’s pesky guest stars have only gone on to win two Emmys and 14 nominations beyond that ;)

  5. holly says:

    Chez is right. He was totally a guest on Life With Bonnie. Maybe 2003 or 2004?

    That is all.

  6. Sam says:

    I’m so excited! I honestly thought that last week’s episode was the best one in like three years. 30 Rock may once again be taking home a lot of gold come the fall.

  7. n/a says:

    He also guest starred on The Naked Truth as himself.

  8. JS says:

    great news! and i agree with Sam, this season is a great return to form for 30 Rock.

  9. Buddy says:

    Didn’t Tom Hanks guest starred in sitcom “The Naked Truth” starring Téa Leoni and his former “Bosom Buddies” co-star Holland Taylor. I don’t remember if he played himself or not.

    • Bob says:

      OK, people, read the article carefully:

      “But if he is playing a character, it will by and large mark the two-time Academy Award winner’s first network TV role since the early 1980s…”

      MWM was very specific about “if he is playing a character”. Yes, he was in episode 2 (“Bald Star in Hot Oil Fest!”) of Season 1 of ‘The Naked Truth’, but as HIMSELF.

  10. Jon says:

    You forgot Julianne Moore’s multi-episode arc on 30 Rock.

  11. Buffy Freak says:

    30 Rock does have alot of guest stars but they weave them so well into the story unlike Will & Grace used to do.

  12. kyrailbird says:

    I think this is great news, and I can’t wait to see the episode. I still hope that they’re able to snag Meryl Streep for an eppy or two sometime; I know it’s been mentioned few times the past couple of seasons…

  13. Lise says:

    He should play Astronaut Mike Dexter.

    • Amy says:

      That would be EPIC. I hope he does play a character, actually — Hanks has played so many serious roles the past several years that it would be good to see him dive into a comic character again.

  14. Mike says:

    I think it’s pretty clear…he has to guest as Uncle Ned

  15. Andrei says:

    I can hardly wait to see this episode. I’ve seen most all of Tom Hanks’ movies. I have read some interesting facts about him here :