MSNBC and Alec Baldwin‘s camp announced jointly that Baldwin’s Friday show is toast: “We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC,” MSNBC and Baldwin rep Matthew Hiltzik said. Added MSNBC: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.” It’s the first MSNBC has spoken about Up Late’s suspension; Baldwin announced earlier this month the network had suspended his show for two weeks; his announcement came after a video clip caught him tearing into a photographer with at least one gay slur and possibly two, though Baldwin has denied uttering the second one and says he did not realize the first was a slur.
“Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now,” Baldwin wrote in his blog after his show’s first week off the air, setting the stage for its non-return. “[If] the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it,” he wrote — though that all-about-the-ratings-like-any-other-start-up storyline grew less pat when Up Late’s fill-in show, Lockup, clocked an even smaller number than Baldwin’s show the past two weeks. MSNBC said Baldwin’s former time slot — Fridays at 10 PM — will continue to be taken by Lockup.
Last week, Baldwin attended a tech conference in San Francisco to jokingly profess his love for a man, in the hope of, once again, recalibrating his image. After asking a member of his entourage to stand up, Baldwin told him: “I want you to be my lover, Matt. I love you, Matt. I love you in that way.” The Associated Press reports Baldwin’s bit got a big laugh from the conference crowd. The actor also told that tech-conference crowd that he hopes his 3-month-old daughter learns to control her temper better than he has as an adult, the AP reported. He also told the group he now realizes he needs to choose his words more carefully. “If in any context, in the world that we live in today, if any word is remotely offensive to people, then I’m perfectly willing to learn a different word,” Baldwin said.
MSNBC had been very quiet since Baldwin announced his Up Late With Alec Baldwin was being taken off the cable news network for two weeks. That, after the entertainment website TMZ posted a video of the hot-tempered Baldwin’s latest rant. That included zipped lips in re whether the program, which had sunk about 40% in ratings in its brief five-week life, would return.
NBC Entertainment was an old hand at handling the heated, sometimes profane outbursts of its former 30 Rock star and fave SNL host, including the time he got tossed off a plane after refusing to stop using his phone when instructed to do so by airline personnel, the leaked phone message to his other, then-11-year-old, daughter in which he called her a “rude, thoughtless little pig” because she didn’t pick up his call, and the homophobic tweets posted and then taken down after the Daily Mail reported, inaccurately, that Baldwin’s wife Hilaria was tweeting during James Gandolfini’s funeral, MSNBC, however, had seemed ill-prepared for his most recent outburst.
Baldwin’s show scrapping leaves MSNBC with just one on-air talent headache: Martin Bashir, whose apology for graphic comments he made about Sarah Palin hasn’t ended chatter about whether he should be punished.