In her hilarious 30 Rock sitcom, Tina Fey skewers the network politics of NBC. Ironically enough, she may be (almost singlehandedly) saving the broadcaster, too.

The season premiere of 30 Rock is still several weeks away, but Fey is already giving NBC a huge ratings boost with her spot-on Sarah Palin impersonations on Saturday Night Live.

Fey left the SNL ensemble a few years back, but she's returned for several early episodes this season, a move that's helped lift the show's ratings dramatically. Nielsen Media Research's preliminary data shows Saturday's installment, which began with Fey playing Palin in a parody of last week's debate, sporting a 42% higher rating than the same show a year earlier.

Political profiteering has been such a winner for SNL that the show will run a few live, election-related primetime shows this month, heading into next month's actual vote.

If Fey's star is rising (again) on SNL, one can only imagine what this will mean for the critically praised but modestly watched 30 Rock's ratings when it begins its new season on Oct. 30.

The good news couldn't come at a better time for General Electric (NYSE:GE). The conglomerate, which happens to own a majority stake in NBC Universal, hit an 11-year low this morning.

GE has been feeling particularly vulnerable outside of NBC these days. It shocked investors with a rare quarterly miss back in April. Since then, the GE playbook has involved everything from looking to unload its appliances business to calming investors over its financial-services exposure.

Improvement at NBC, which has spent most of the past couple of years trailing CBS (NYSE:CBS) and Disney's (NYSE:DIS) ABC, would help. Sure, this isn't the best of times to be smoking out advertisers, but television has evolved. NBC has plenty of online initiatives these days, spearheaded by its Hulu joint venture with FOX parent News Corp. (NYSE:NWS). NBC's shows are also back on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes.

Everything seems to be coming together for NBC, just as everything else appears to be coming undone at GE. Save us, Tina Fey!

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