Was Melissa Francis the Inspiration for Avery Jessup?

By Chris Ariens 

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Last week we wrote about a new character on NBC’s “30 Rock” — Avery Jessup, anchor of the fictitious “Hot Box” on the real CNBC. Now, Page Six reports CNBC anchor Melissa Francis was the inspiration for Jessup, and:

Our source said that Francis herself, who hosts morning show “The Call,” pitched the idea to a “30 Rock” producer. “Francis was hoping to be asked to play the character herself, but they ended up going with [actress Elizabeth] Banks,” our source says.

And there’s more. Francis actually is, or at least was, an actress…


That’s Melissa Francis when she played Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on NBC’s “Little House on the Prairie” for two seasons during the early 1980s. Francis actually started acting when she was 6 months old, in a Johnson & Johnson shampoo commercial.

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