11:50am PT by Marisa Guthrie
It's Official: Alec Baldwin to Host Talk Show on MSNBC
Alec Baldwin has finalized a deal to host a weekly nighttime talk show on MSNBC. The program -- Up Late With Alec Baldwin -- will bow in October and have Baldwin taking on current events and culture.
The announcement came Thursday from MSNBC president Phil Griffin.
"I've been talking with Alec for a while and can't wait to bring his personality and eclectic interests to MSNBC," said Griffin in a statement. "He's got such passion for ideas and what's going on in the world -- he's going to be a great addition to our lineup."
Baldwin has been honing his interviewing skills on his WNYW podcast Here's the Thing, where he's questioned everyone from Chris Rock and Lena Dunham to New York Times editor Jill Abramson and PETA's Dan Mathews. He's made no secret of his desire to host a TV talk show. He told THR in an interview earlier this year that a lifelong dream was to be a 60 Minutes correspondent.
"That show would be the pinnacle of the marriage between my political beliefs, my political curiosity and wanting to communicate to people on camera to a broader audience," said Baldwin.
At one point he was in preliminary discussions with NBC executives to host a late-night show on the network, with whom the former 30 Rock star has an overall deal. On MSNBC, Baldwin will be up against another outspoken left-leaning personality -- HBO's Bill Maher. But the low-pressure time slot will also give Baldwin an opportunity for a soft launch while the show finds its legs.
Certainly Baldwin's liberal politics are an organic fit for MSNBC, which has been making changes to its primetime and early prime lineup with he addition of Chris Hayes at 8 p.m. and Ed Schultz at 5 p.m. Baldwin is a frequent critic of conservatives and conservative media. He told THR some days he feels as if he were "born" to spit on Rupert Murdoch and his media empire, which includes the New York Post and Fox News. He also engages in frequent Twitter battles with detractors.
"Ultra conservativism to me is so illogical," he said. "Everywhere you go conservatives want to cut, cut, cut money for powerless people. That's a kind of political logic that I don't follow and I don't even try to follow."