01/22/2013 02:33 pm ET

Rachel Dratch And '30 Rock': Tina Fey, Jane Krawoski, Lorne Michaels Talk Casting Change

It's hard to imagine Jenna Maroney played by anyone other than Jane Krakowski on "30 Rock." But once upon a time, "Saturday Night Live" player Rachel Dratch played the boisterous, self-involved character ... until she was recast after the pilot.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Tina Fey opened up about how difficult it was to make the casting switch.

"If I had said 'I quit,' then they would have been like OK, bye," said Fey, who considers Dratch one of her closest friends. "It was a failed experiment because I took Dratch, who is inherently sweet, and said, 'Let's write her the opposite and have that cartoon-eyed person playing a diva and throwing fits,' and it was one layer too many for what the show needed."

"It was wrenching for [Tina]," executive producer Lorne Michaels said. "There was so much publicity about it which wasn't easy for me, and really wasn't easy for Rachel," Krakowski added.

As difficult as the switch was for Fey and Krakowsi, Dratch insists the shake-up was blown out of proportion.

"When I was let go, I didn't think it was a big deal," she told the New York Post last year. "The direction of the character had changed and pilots are recast all the time. I thought it would be a nonstory, but suddenly it blew up."

"30 Rock" airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

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