UPDATED WITH RATINGS: Alec Baldwin will host a new MSNBC current events and culture talk show, 10 PM Fridays, the cable news net announced. Up Late With Alec Baldwin will launch in October. The news ends months of speculation the actor was getting a new late-ish talker (though, back in April, when word first broke out, the NYT reported he was in talks with NBC broadcast network, and the show was Last Call, which continues to be hosted by Carson Daly. More recently, the speculation migrated to MSNBC). The prospect of a Baldwin-hosted show for the cable news network became a talking point in the Republican National Committee’s state of upset last month about NBC’s plans to air a miniseries about presumed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Specifically, the RNC cried “hooey,” when NBC News’ White House Correspondent Chuck Todd also complained about the miniseries, calling it a “total nightmare” of which the news division would “only own the negative” despite a firewall between it and NBC Entertainment, pointing out former 30 Rock star Baldwin, also a favorite Saturday Night Live host, was about to get his own show on MSNBC. The RNC went on to vote to block NBC from presidential primary debates during the 2016 election cycle because of the miniseries. And now it appears the Hillary Clinton miniseries likely is dead — and Baldwin has his MSNBC show.
Year to date in the Friday 10 p.m. hour — which, maybe not coincidentally, is also Bill Maher’s timeslot on HBO — MSNBC has been running well behind its cable news competitors, averaging 475,000 viewers to CNN’s 607,000 with Anderson Cooper, and Fox News Channel’s 1.41 million with Greta Van Susteren. In the news demo, 25-54, MSNBC has been averaging 171,000 viewers, trailing CNN’s 220,000 and FNC’s 271,000. (more…)