UPDATED, 4 PM: The premiere of Up Late With Alec Baldwin, Alec Baldwin’s interview show on MSNBC, logged an average of 654,000 viewers on Friday — up 53% compared with the time slot’s take one week earlier. The Hollywood A-lister clocked 172,000 viewers in the news demo, a 7% drop compared with MSNBC’s performance in the hour one week earlier with an episode of MSNBC Investigates. Which means Baldwin either skewed older than MSNBCI — or younger. Looking across four weeks, however, Baldwin’s numbers in both viewers and in the demo show improvement — 18% in the news demo.
Meanwhile, MSNBC has named Jonathan Larsen the EP of Up Late With Alec Baldwin.
Fox News Channel whomped Baldwin, and CNN, in the time slot: Hannity logged 1.5 million viewers — 338,000 in the 25-54 news demo. Baldwin’s gain may have been Anderson Cooper’s loss. CNN was down 52%, week to week, in overall audience (347,000) and 58% in the demo (111,000).
Baldwin took an unconventional approach to his primetime TV talk-show hosting debut, devoting the entire hour to a chat with Dem NYC mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. Baldwin fans who know him best from his 30 Rock and SNL hosting, or TCM The Essentials co-hosting gigs, might have been surprised by the serious demeanor he took right from the cold open — offset by his jauntily moussed hair and the retro-chic bar set. For the entire premiere episode, the two men talked amicably about NYC issues, including taxes, job creation, the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk cop strategy — a conversation that, conventional wisdom would argue, probably sent even some Baldwin fans outside the five boroughs diving for their remotes. Talking to de Blasio about how the candidate met and courted his wife, the politician said it was love at first sight for him. Baldwin began to muse about his own life experience, saying it was “almost like God would tell me” this is not the one he’s going to end up with, but she’s going to be like this one, so he should study her.
New EP Larsen was most recently executive producer of the net’s Up w/Chris Hayes and oversaw the transition to Up w/Steve Kornacki. He was previously a senior producer for Countdown from 2010 to 2011 after joining MSNBC in 2005. He launched Marc Maron’s program, Morning Sedition on Air America Radio in 2004. Prior to that, Larsen was a writer and producer during the launch of Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN in 2003 and was a senior political producer at The Daily Show in 2000.
For those who missed it, here’s the first segment of the premiere: