How Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC Talk Show Came Together

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By Chris Ariens

AlecBaldwinUpLateAlec Baldwin says his new MSNBC talk show started with a pitch to NBC, before making its way to MSNBC. In a NYTimes Table for Three conversation with Baldwin, longtime TV talk show host Dick Cavett and the Times’ Philip Galanes:

PG: Did you have any reluctance about doing your show on MSNBC, Alec? Cable news channels are so tribal now. Are you kissing off half of your audience?

AB: First of all, there’s a certain part of the American public that if I walked out onto the ice and Barbara Bush had just fallen through, and I saved her from drowning and carried her to shore and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and saved her from hypothermia, people would say, “He rumpled her coat!” My original conversations were with NBC, but they didn’t have a slot for me, and may not have a slot for some time. They’re shuffling their whole late night with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. Then Phil Griffin [the president of MSNBC] popped up and said, “I’ll give you a slot now.”

PG: Do you think MSNBC was hoping for a more combative Alec Baldwin than they’re getting?

AB: No, I told Phil what I wanted to do. They want to explore some different programming.