10:38am PT by Michael O'Connell
MSNBC Cancels Alec Baldwin Talker 'Up Late'
MSNBC's Alec Baldwin experiment proved to be quite short-lived. The network has pulled the plug on the actor's Up Late in the wake of a paparazzo catching footage of the actor shouting an unconfirmed homophobic slur earlier in November.
The Hollywood Reporter confirms that the planned Nov. 29 episode, what was to be its first back from a two-week suspension, will not air -- and the series has been pulled from the schedule entirely, as first reported by the New York Post. The network and Baldwin rep Matthew Hiltzik issued the following shortly after: "We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC."
Baldwin had alluded as much in a recent editorial, expressing his doubt that the series would come back from its scandal-prompted hiatus. "This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best," a MSNBC rep noted in a statement.
For MSNBC, closing up shop on Up Late is not the worst news. Though a program of its nature was not expected to come out of the gate particularly strong, the show arguably didn't even live up to its tempered expectations. Five weeks in, the 10 p.m. Friday talker was down 40 percent from the premiere. Its last episode averaged just 395,000 viewers and 101,000 adults 25-54.
"We've never had a pure interview show," MSNBC president Phil Griffin told THR ahead of the launch. "It almost doesn't matter who the guest is if you can bring out something that is unique and revealing. … He's a big personality. I have confidence that he'll be known for his interviews."
MSNBC, under the NBCUniversal umbrella, is not the only Comcast-owned property where Baldwin has ties. In addition to the one-year contract he signed with the cable network at the start of his series, Baldwin signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television in December 2012 to develop and produce projects at the studio. Baldwin's been an NBCUniversal employee dating back to 2006 when he started on 30 Rock.
Aside from his editorial that ran in The Huffington Post, Baldwin's only other comments in the wake of his Nov. 14 run-in came with the suspension of Up Late.
"I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have -- and for that I am deeply sorry," Baldwin said in a statement at the time. "Words are important. I understand that and will choose mine with great care going forward."