John Francis 'Jack' Donaghy
|Created by||Tina Fey|
|Portrayed by||Alec Baldwin
Joey La Varco (as a child in "Jack-tor")
Victor Nightingale (alias when displaying his cookie jar collection)
|Occupation||Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming at GE|
|Title||"Homeland Security Director of Crisis and Weather Management"
(episodes 1-19 and 34-35, "Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming";
episodes 20-34, "Vice President on East Coast Television Programming")
|Family||Milton Green (father)
Colleen Donaghy, née Murphy (mother)
Jimmy Donaghy (presumed father)
Eddie Donaghy (brother)
Patrick Donaghy (brother)
Patricia Donaghy (sister)
Katherine Catherine (sister)
Margaret (relation not explained)
John Francis "Jack" Donaghy (pronounced /ˈdɒnəɡiː/, us dict: dŏn′·ə·gē) is a fictional character on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. His character is the Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for General Electric.
Jack Donaghy had an unhappy and impoverished childhood in South Boston. In "The Aftermath", he states that, when he was two, his father lured him to the edge of a swimming pool with a puppy and pushed him in the pool. His mother Colleen Murphy Donaghy has nagged him his whole life, going so far as to blame him for John F. Kennedy's death and that, again when he was two, his father left the family. However, she would regularly trade sexual favors with Frederick August Otto Schwarz, III for Christmas presents for Jack and his siblings. Young Jack took to calling his collie "Pop" until the dog was accidentally run over by the mailman and left to die in the street by his mother, which caused him to cry. The dog had earlier been neutered, causing Jack to charge his mother with "cutting off Pop's balls." His mother even tried to send him to Vietnam when he was 12 to make a man out of him. He also played hockey and the flute as a child, prompting his mother to embarrass him by having him play "The Star-Spangled Banner" on said flute in front of his team. He was also the captain of the diving team.
He attended Princeton University to earn his undergraduate degree, working his way through college by working "the day shift at a graveyard, and the graveyard shift at a Days Inn"; Michelle Obama had been one of his classmates there. He also attended Harvard Business School, which he paid for by working as a Swan Boat operator. He is proud of his Ivy League degrees, and is seen in at least one episode wearing a Princeton T-shirt. In "The Baby Show," one of Jack's phone calls with his mother ends with him yelling and beating the head of the phone on the receiver until it shatters, prompting him to yell to his assistant, "Jonathan! These cheap phones keep on shattering!"
Post college, Jack worked as an intern for Senator Ted Kennedy, where Jack developed an extremely liberal political world-view. At some point, though as yet unexplained, he underwent a complete reversal of his philosophy and became a conservative Republican. (Baldwin is well known in real life for his avowedly liberal political beliefs.)
In the years after working for Kennedy, Jack, in his own words from "Jack-tor," "thrived" on fear, bow hunting polar bears, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, once driving a rental car into the Hudson River to practice escaping, showering with Greta Van Susteren and, in "The Break Up," he claimed to have overcome a peanut allergy through sheer willpower. In "Subway Hero," Jack implies that he once practiced martial arts under Chuck Norris, but they had a falling out after he switched to a different dojo.
After years of market research, he finally made his "greatest triumph" in the form of the Trivection oven, a product he claims to have created at General Electric. It was on the strengths of the Trivection oven that, in mid 2006, he replaced recently deceased Gary to become "Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming". Jack was the catalyst for bringing Tracy Jordan onboard the NBC sketch show The Girlie Show, despite head writer Liz Lemon's objections. Jack made sure that Tracy was the main star and ensured the show's name was changed to TGS with Tracy Jordan after bribing a test audience with pizza.
The changes do not sit well with Jenna Maroney, who is furious at Liz for giving in to Jack's demands. In fact, Jack doesn't think of Jenna as a priority to the show, citing her ill-fated stint as a spokesperson for ShopRite, and has gone as far as replacing her appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien with Tracy just as she is going to promote her new film, The Rural Juror.
In "The Baby Show," it is shown that his mother still constantly calls him and that she now wants to move in with him from her retirement home, which has rocks made of foam since she tends to fall down a lot, in Orlando, Florida. However, at the end of the episode, he blackmails Josh Girard into taking all his mother's calls for him for the rest of Josh's life (Jack says that his mother will outlive Josh - "she's like Castro"), since Josh has a flawless "Jack Donaghy" impersonation.
In the wake of the episode "Fireworks," Jack is demoted to "Vice President of East Coast Television" when CEO Don Geiss takes his "Microwave Oven Programming" duties away from him, although a comment to Liz suggests that it may have been given back to him. At some point, he wrote a book entitled Jack Attack: The Art of Aggression in Business.
Acting on Don Geiss' advice, Jack gets engaged to Christie's auctioneer Phoebe. However, Liz later discovers that Phoebe is actually an unscrupulous gold digger. Jack refuses to believe this since Phoebe had told him that Liz is infatuated with him and he decides to continue with their wedding. The situation is resolved in the season finale, "Hiatus," when Jack has a heart attack during an argument with his mother and Phoebe and realizes that he is not in love with Phoebe. Also in "Hiatus," Jack's middle name is revealed to be Francis.
At the start of season two, Jack has recovered from his heart attack and becomes a candidate to succeed Don Geiss as CEO of GE, competing against his arch-rival, Vice-President of West Coast Television Devon Banks, who, despite being openly gay, has gotten engaged to Geiss' daughter Kathy. Later in the season, Jack wins the coveted job of Geiss' replacement, only to lose it when Geiss slips into a diabetic coma. Banks makes a power grab, convincing the board of directors that the CEO's seat should stay with the family and getting his fiancee Kathy appointed, with Banks as the power behind the throne. Jack is demoted and humiliated, and leaves GE for a position in George W. Bush's administration. This proves to be hopeless, and Jack attempts to get himself fired. He succeeds this by funding a "gay bomb," a weapon that would cause enemy soldiers to "go totally gaybones for each other." The chemical warfare is accidentally released in a secret war bunker, and it is implied that Jack has sex with Dick Cheney. This implication is furthered when Jack confesses his sins to an ill-prepared priest in "St. Valentine's Day."
Season Three sees Jack starting again at GE - in the mailroom, and working his way up to the top again. Jack contemplates sleeping with Kathy Geiss to save the company from Devon's plan to shut GE down completely for two years, but is able to avoid this with Liz' help. In the end, Kathy signs a contract making Jack her main business advisor, and Devon runs away. Don Geiss emerges from his coma shortly thereafter, but stuns Jack with the news that he has decided to stay on as GE's chairman after all. Jack remains in his position as head of NBC, telling Liz Lemon how many times an episode she can use the phrase "Cat Anus."
At the end of season three, Jack discovers that Jimmy Donaghy is not his real father. Similar to Mamma Mia, Jack finds that he has three possible fathers. Liz invites them to TGS saying they won a contest, and Jack quickly finds that his father is Milton Greene, a Bennington College professor. Getting in an argument with Milton about politics, he says to Liz that he does not want to tell Milton, but Liz convinces him otherwise. After Jack tells Milton that he is Milton's son, Milton tells Jack he needs a kidney or he will die. Jack finds that he is not a match and organizes a "We Are the World"-type charity called "Kidney Now," with celebrities singing a song that asks anyone who is a match to give Milton a kidney.
In season four, Devon Banks comes back at Jack with a revenge plan involving the United States government trying to shut down GE. Jack is able to get out of it and it is not known what happens to Devin. In "Secret Santa," Jack is describe by Jonathan as being the "best gift giver in the world." One year, Jonathan bought Jack a $95 bottle of olive oil for Christmas and in return Jack had Jonathan's sister released from a North Korean jail. When Liz and Jack finally agree to exchange gifts, they agree on spending zero dollars for each other (with both trying to one-up the other). Jack has Jonathan drive all over Pennsylvania to find a program of Liz's production of The Crucible, framed in wood from her stage and not reimbursing Jonathan for gas. Liz calls in a bomb threat at Penn Station (getting Frank, Toofer, and Lutz arrested in the process) to keep Jack's high school crush in town. Finally, Jack brings in Larry Wilcox in character as Jon Baker for Liz.
Jack married an Italian woman named Bianca (Isabella Rossellini), with whom he apparently made love on the floor of the Concorde shortly after their wedding, though he claims his mother deliberately had a heart attack to prevent him from going on his honeymoon. He and Bianca were eventually legally separated in 1989 because, in his words, he "couldn't keep up with her on any level." Though they weren't legally divorced, Jack went on to introduce Bianca as though they were. In the episode "Black Tie," Bianca shows up and he passes Liz off as his girlfriend to make Bianca jealous. When Liz pretends Jack has proposed to her, Bianca attacks her and Jack is finally satisfied that Bianca still wants him. In the episode "Up All Night," he and Bianca are finally officially divorced after 18 years of legal separation. Jack acquires "full stake in the Arby's franchises [he and Bianca] bought outside of Telluride" in the divorce settlement.
Jack had a brief relationship with Phoebe (Emily Mortimer), an auctioneer, and goes as far as proposing marriage. Even after Liz discovers that Phoebe is a gold-digger, it is only during a heart-attack-causing argument with his mother Colleen that Jack realizes that he does not love Phoebe, and calls off the engagement at the end of Season 1.
Jack begins a relationship with liberal Congresswoman Celeste "CC" Cunningham (Edie Falco). In spite of their ideological differences, they are a well-matched pair and, after a period of secrecy, eventually go public. Their bliss does not last long, as their long-distance relationship begins to negatively affect both their jobs, and they break up.
After accidentally breaking both of his mother's hips, Jack is forced to allow her to move in with him. He hires an attractive Puerto Rican nurse, Elisa (Salma Hayek), to care for her, and falls in love with her. He proposes — moments before she confesses to murdering her husband. Subsequently, they do not marry.
Jack is portrayed as a slick, yet scrupulous network executive with an affinity for overtly backhanded compliments, which are usually directed towards TGS head writer Liz Lemon (whom he always refers to by her last name). Although his first priority is to run a successful business, Jack has often shown a human side, as when he didn't fire Kenneth after beating him at poker when Kenneth bet his job and he has made it clear that he respects Liz' abilities, albeit by calling for her advice at odd times. In "Jack the Writer" especially, he tried to develop a friendly relationship with the writers, particularly Liz, and made it clear that his feelings were hurt when Liz told him to stay out of the writers' room (although he apparently couldn't let go of his pride to say this directly.)
However, he still has distinct personality flaws. For example, in "The Aftermath," he changed the name of The Girlie Show without consulting Liz and then refused to tell Jenna that Liz had nothing to do with it because he thought Liz needed to learn how to handle her employees. After he discovered that a product he helped create for Tracy Jordan was dangerous in "The Rural Juror," he decided to sell it overseas to get around U.S. safety regulations. At the very least, however, he said he admired Tracy's integrity for choosing to back out of the enterprise.
Jack is a Republican (initially supporting Mitt Romney). However, he is apparently tolerant of homosexuality (setting Liz Lemon up on a date with his lesbian friend) . He is a firm believer in capitalism, stating in "The Baby Show" that "business gets me off", in "Hard Ball" that negotiation is his favorite thing in the world since it's, in his words, "the essence of capitalism." In "St. Valentine's Day", he refers to capitalism as his religion. Jack's business background clashed with the show's staff when he insisted on having the show use product placement (or "product integration" as he calls it) in the episode "Jack-tor." Citing Six Sigma, Jack has also tried to involve himself with the staff. Much to Liz' annoyance, he has even tried to "help" her with issues in her personal life, as seen in "Blind Date" and "Jack Meets Dennis," his reasoning that the quality of her life will reflect the quality of her work. In "The Source Awards," he started his own winery "Donaghy Estates" after purchasing a vineyard on the north fork of Long Island. Despite the wine being reviewed in Robert Parker's Wine Newsletter as tasting like "the urine of Satan after a hefty portion of asparagus," he attempted to market it to the hip-hop community as a replacement for Cristal champagne. Ironically, in "Greenzo", Al Gore states that Jack was once an intern for Ted Kennedy and "he was so liberal" before getting cut off by Jack.
Jack is shown to be very formal. So far, he has almost always appeared on the show in suits and in "Tracy Does Conan" it's revealed that he insists on wearing tuxedos after 6:00 PM regardless of whether there's any kind of occasion (though he appears to have relaxed this custom in later seasons, often appearing in a normal business suit well after 6:00pm.) In contrast, Liz and the other writers wear casual clothing most of the time and appear generally laid-back. A line by Liz in the episode "Jack-tor" suggests that he finds Asian women in their twenties especially attractive, though he seems to be open to dating women of other races. As evidenced by "The C Word," he is apparently quite good at painting and, as revealed in "The Fighting Irish," he is Irish Catholic, naming his fists after St. Patrick and St. Michael(In "St. Valentines Day", it is stated he "has no faith, only capitalism"). He apparently dyes his hair and is, in his own words, "a gifted flautist." Jack collected cookie jars and displayed them at conventions using the alias "Victor Nightingale." He gave his collection to Kenneth when a PI told him that it could hurt his chances at getting Geiss' job.
In "Gavin Volure," it revealed that Jack writes historical fiction.
Jack comes from a very eccentric, Irish-American family characterized by a great deal of drama and infighting. His family includes:
A recurring joke made on the show regards Jack dating women who are celebrities or powerful figures in the media. Jack always hints that he is having or has had a relationship with these women, but it is never spelled out completely. These women include: