Kim Jong-Il is definitely dead in real life, but not on "30 Rock."
The dictator's Dec. 18 death seemed to create a dilemma for the show, because he figured into a cliffhanger that will pick up when the sixth season starts Jan. 12: Avery Jessup-Donaghy (Elizabeth Banks) is being held captive in North Korea, and was forced to be his mistress.
Show producer Robert Carlock told US Weekly eight or nine episodes had already been filmed when Jong-Il died. But the show's writers realized they had gotten a lucky break.
"We sort of went back to the script because we'd already shot eight or nine episodes, and we realized that luckily we hadn't referred to Kim Jong-Il by name yet — just to North Korea in general," Carlock said. "We can't go back and address the changes there, but the fun puzzle is turning around and trying to figure out how to get her out of there and how to continue things."
The dictator is played on the show by Margaret Cho — which could offer another twist, Carlock joked.
"Maybe we'll have to have Margaret Cho showing up again having faked her death, because she wants to get a gig on a morning talk show," Carlock said.