October 11, 2013 8:04pm PT by Erik Hayden
MSNBC's 'Up Late With Alec Baldwin' Debuts With Policy Discussions in a Diner
After some jazzy intro music, Alec Baldwin's stint as an MSNBC late-night host began with a friendly chat with New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio on a set that resembled an old-time diner.
Up Late With Alec Baldwin debuted on Friday at 10 p.m. ET, slotted in the same one-hour frame as Real Time With Bill Maher. But unlike HBO's political talk show, Baldwin mostly refrained from slinging barbs in favor of offering an earnest but fast-moving discussion about policy issues.
"I was an early supporter of de Blasio's," Baldwin noted in his introduction. He went on to pepper the Democratic mayoral candidate with questions about job creation, income inequality and how de Blasio has dealt with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
After the commercial break, Baldwin segued from talking about Wall Street vs. Main Street politics to a discussion of de Blasio's views on legalizing marijuana and the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy.
Conversation then turned to what the candidate made of the idea of a "post-racial" New York and why former mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn eventually lost the primary (Baldwin played clips of The New York Times documentary examining her campaign).
The chat with de Blasio, comprising the entire show, ended with a polite handshake.
Before signing off, Baldwin offer a slightly humorous take on Up Late's mission -- mentioning that both Lockup and Alan Keyes Is Making Sense had once appeared in the same time slot on MSNBC.
"I can't give a declaration of principles like Charles Foster Kane had for his newspapers," Baldwin said.
The show will be "more personal than promotional," he added. Academy Award-nominated actress Debra Winger will be on next Friday's Up Late.