I thought time was up, but apparently not when it comes to Alec Baldwin.
This week, ABC ordered Sundays with Baldwin, a new late-night talk show the 30 Rock star that plans to feature in-depth pop culture conversations with people like Jerry Seinfeld and Kate McKinnon. The series will be based on Baldwin's podcast Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, and in a statement, Baldwin said, “I’m excited about this show and grateful to ABC for taking a chance on me in what is, admittedly, a crowded field. I’ve enjoyed doing my podcast for WNYC and look forward to the challenge of doing a show on camera.”
Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, remarked, “Alec’s intellect, wit and wealth of life experience afford him a voice and perspective we haven’t seen before in this format. When we shot the pilot, we knew immediately we had something special that we couldn’t wait to share. We are excited to be working on a series that showcases Alec as one of today’s most compelling conversationalists and highlights the type of intimate discussions that he has captured on his podcast for years.” A teaser for the new show will air immediately following the Oscars telecast.
One has to wonder exactly what kind of voice and perspective Baldwin has to offer in a late-night landscape that’s already overwhelmingly full of wealthy white men, but furthermore, are audiences ready for the perspective of a brash actor who’s spent the past year defending Hollywood’s alleged abusers in the wake of #MeToo and Time’s Up? As audiences begin to crave stories that peel back the curtain on Hollywood and expose many of the abuses that have been allowed to exist in the industry for far too long, Baldwin has loudly made himself the voice of accused predators like Dustin Hoffman and Woody Allen.
Last month, in response to numerous A-list actors coming forward to say they believe Dylan Farrow’s assertion that her adoptive stepfather Woody Allen molested her as a child—thereby pledging to not work with him again—Baldwin tweeted, “Woody Allen was investigated forensically by two states (NY and CT) and no charges were filed. The renunciation of him and his work, no doubt, has some purpose. But it’s unfair and sad to me. I worked w WA 3 times and it was one of the privileges of my career. Is it possible to support survivors of pedophilia and sexual assault/abuse and also believe that WA is innocent? I think so. The intention is not to dismiss or ignore such complaints. But accusing ppl of such crimes should be treated carefully. On behalf of the victims, as well.” Baldwin further compared Farrow to Mayella Ewell, a character from Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird who falsely accuses a black man of rape.
It’s interesting that Baldwin has made it a point to repeatedly attack Donald Trump for his sexual-assault allegations but chooses to ignore Allen’s because he and Allen are friends. When it came to Hoffman, Baldwin tweeted, “What Hoffman did several years ago was vulgar/offensive/crude. But was it done with malice?…His humor, his sexualized behavior seems ridiculous and inappropriate now. But it was, to a degree, of its time.” Several other women have since come forward to accuse Hoffman of sexual misconduct, including the childhood friend of his daughter.
The Allen and Hoffman comments came after Baldwin fired off sexist messages to a female reporter for questioning his cozy relationship with the filmmaker James Toback, who’s been accused of sexually abusing hundreds of women, and Baldwin’s decision to criticize Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan for accepting a $100,000 settlement from her alleged attacker—which led to him belittling another Weinstein accuser, Asia Argento, on Twitter.
Baldwin also, at a Paley Center event last year, admitted to bullying women over the course of his own career.
In early November, Alec Baldwin spoke out against Alec Baldwin at a Paley Center event in his honor, admitting to the audience that, “From time to time, I’ve done what a lot of men do, which is…when you don’t treat women the same way you treat men. You don’t. I’m from a generation where you really don’t and I’d like that to change. I really would like that to change. I certainly have treated women in a very sexist way. I’ve bullied women. I’ve overlooked women. I’ve underestimated women. We’ve got to be vigilant in a new way to make sure that everybody is comfortable and that we get the job done together that we’re there to do.”
Perhaps he’s referring to incidents like the time he publicly berated his daughter in a voicemail with: “I don’t give a damn that you’re 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you’re a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn’t care about what you do as far as I’m concerned…You are a rude, thoughtless little pig. You don’t have the brains or the decency as a human being.”
Baldwin has been bulldozing his way through the past few months, attacking anyone who disagrees with his stances on the #MeToo movement, so why—of all times—has ABC chosen to green-light this show, let alone preview it after the Oscars? It’s in the poorest of taste. Baldwin has nothing substantive to add to the conversation that’s still happening in Hollywood, although Sundays with Baldwin is certainly guaranteed to create some headlines for the network.
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