Bald­win look­ing to break the mould

Star is aim­ing for ‘deep dive’ in host­ing new talk show

Regina Leader-Post - - YOU - JOHN CARUCCI

NEW YORK When his new talk show pre­mières Sun­day night, don’t ex­pect Alec Bald­win to get overly po­lit­i­cal. The 60-year-old ac­tor plans to leave that on the set of Satur­day Night Live with his oc­ca­sional im­per­son­ations of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

“The Trump thing is just silly. Noth­ing we do on SNL about Trump is go­ing to change any­body’s mind about any­thing,” Bald­win said. “There are peo­ple in Wash­ing­ton go­ing, ‘That Alec Bald­win, I hate him’ ... and there are oth­ers that say, ‘Thank you, for help­ing us process this.’”

That’s why he doesn’t see an up­side to be­ing overly po­lit­i­cal on the new Alec Bald­win Show on ABC. The show fea­tures can­did one-onone con­ver­sa­tions with celebri­ties and cul­tural icons.

“If you have a very mus­cu­lar po­lit­i­cal opin­ion, it has its con­se­quences. I’m not afraid of that, and thank­fully I have other venues to ex­er­cise that. But this is not about that at all,” Bald­win said.

His guests are an­other story. The talk show de­buts with the po­lit­i­cally out­spo­ken Robert De Niro. The one-hour show will fea­ture two in­ter­views, with Taraji P. Hen­son as the other guest.

Bald­win plans to pick up where he left off with his WNYC pod­cast Here’s the Thing, em­ploy­ing his un­fil­tered, provoca­tive in­ter­view style. Bald­win said the long-form for­mat al­lows him to take a “deep dive” into the is­sues with each sub­ject.

He also wanted to bring a fresh per­spec­tive to the talk-show for­mat af­ter be­ing on the other side of the couch for so long.

While pro­mot­ing dif­fer­ent projects along the way, Bald­win re­called the lim­i­ta­tions of be­ing in­ter­viewed at jun­kets and talk­show spots.

It’s some­thing he calls short and “very chore­ographed.”

“There wasn’t a spon­ta­neous breath to draw. They’ve worked out all the ques­tions in ad­vance. What you say is kind of a lit­tle script that they’ve drafted.”

But he also found it hard to trust the in­ter­viewer in such a short time, so he un­der­stands the rea­sons many pub­lic fig­ures need to “play it safe.”

“Now you can say some­thing on a talk show and your ca­reer could be over. Or you can have real dam­age done.

“There’s a cau­tion peo­ple have to ex­er­cise now.

“You’d be naive not to,” he said. With the longer for­mat, he feels the sub­jects are more apt to en­gage in con­ver­sa­tion.

Bald­win found him­self on the wrong side of the story af­ter a re­cent in­ter­view with The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter, say­ing that, “Ever since I played Trump, black peo­ple love me.” He faced a so­cial me­dia back­lash.

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Ja­son Schrift re­al­izes Bald­win is po­lar­iz­ing, but also pointed out that some view­ers who don’t agree with Bald­win will also tune in, much like Howard Stern found his rat­ings were higher thanks to peo­ple who didn’t like him.

Among the guests sit­ting down with Bald­win this sea­son are Kim Kar­dashian, Rupaul, Kerry Wash­ing­ton, Jeff Bridges, Sarah Jes­sica Parker, for­mer New Jersey gover­nor Chris Christie, Mike My­ers, Regina King, Glo­ria Allred, Ricky Ger­vais and Nor­way ’s Prime Min­is­ter Erna Sol­berg.


Robert De Niro, left, speaks with host Alec Bald­win, who hopes the long for­mat will al­low for a much deeper con­ver­sa­tion.

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