ABC’s ‘The Alec Baldwin Show’ grabs rare primetime berth for interview series

Alec Baldwin has landed primetime real estate on ABC for an interview show to air Sunday nights at 10 p.m. in the fall.

“The Alec Baldwin Show” had a test drive (as “Sundays with Alec Baldwin”) on March 4, when it aired as part of ABC’s post-Academy Awards telecast package. ABC’s scheduling decision marks a rare example of a talk show in primetime on a Big Four network. But the Sunday 10 p.m. time slot has been such a challenge for ABC in recent years that there’s not much to lose by giving Baldwin a shot.

The last unscripted talk-based program to air on broadcast TV was NBC’s experiment with “The Jay Leno Show” as a Monday-Friday talk-variety vehicle in the fall of 2009. That show ended after five months, setting off the battle between Leno and Conan O’Brien for the helm of the “Tonight Show.”

Baldwin’s show will emphasize lengthy sit-down interviews. It’s an offshoot of sorts of his podcast “Here’s the Thing,” produced in association with public radio station WNYC. Baldwin is known for his progressive views and as an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump (who he plays regularly on “Saturday Night Live”) but ABC execs indicated that the show will focus on celebrities. His first installment featured Jerry Seinfeld and Kate McKinnon as guests.

“What’s great about what Alec does is he’ll talk with people about the span of their career,” said ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey.

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Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin together
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin pose backstage at the Badgley-Mischka Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week at Gallery I at Spring Studios on September 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin at 2018 US Open on September 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jackson Lee/GC Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 11: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the 14th Annual Author's Night to benefit the East Hampton Library, on August 11, 2018 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend the 2018 Disney, ABC, Freeform Upfront on May 15, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend The New York University Tisch School Of The Arts 2018 Gala at Capitale on April 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend The New York University Tisch School Of The Arts 2018 Gala at Capitale on April 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
SANTA BARBARA, CA - JANUARY 31: (L-R) Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival opening night premiere of 'The Public' at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: (L-R) Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the opening night of 'Mean Girls' on Broadway at August Wilson Theatre on April 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Hilaria Baldwin and husband Alec Baldwin attend Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Hosts Annual Ripple Of Hope Awards Dinner at New York Hilton on December 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Hilaria Baldwin and husband, actor Alec Baldwin attend A Paley Honors Luncheon in Alec's honor at The Paley Center for Media on November 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Hilaria Thomas Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend the National Geographic Encounter Blue Carpet VIP preview celebration on October 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: Actor Alec Baldwin (L) and Hilaria Baldwin attend the New York Philharmonic 106 All-Stars: Opening Gala at David Geffen Hall on September 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Actor Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin arrive at the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin arrives at the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend The Hollywood Reporter and SAG-AFTRA Inaugural Emmy Nominees Night presented by American Airlines, Breguet, and Dacor at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on September 14, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend the 17th Annual USTA Foundation Opening Night Gala at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2017 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - JULY 29: Actor Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend The Hamptons International Film Festival SummerDocs series screening of Trophy on July 29, 2017 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for Hamptons International Film Festival)
EAST HAMPTON, NEW YORK - AUGUST 11: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the Guild Hall 2017 Summer Gala Celebrating AVEDON'S AMERICA at Guild Hall on August 11, 2017 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Image)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Actor Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin are seen on June 26, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by VMAL/Star Max/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend 'Spike's One Night Only: Alec Baldwin' at The Apollo Theater on June 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin, Carmen Gabriela Baldwin and Ireland Baldwin attend 'Spike's One Night Only: Alec Baldwin' at The Apollo Theater on June 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Spike)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend 'Spike's One Night Only: Alec Baldwin' at The Apollo Theater on June 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Spike)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Actor Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the Hamptons International Film Festival 25th Anniversary Kick Off Event at 620 Loft & Garden on June 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Hamptons International Film Festival )
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Alec Baldwin (L) and Hilaria Baldwin attend the 2017 National Dance Institute Gala at PlayStation Theater on April 24, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03: Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin attend the Tisch School Gala 2017 at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03: Hilaria Baldwin and Alec Baldwin attend Tisch School Gala 2017 at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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The first batch of “Alec Baldwin Show” episodes will be taped in June. ABC will leave a little bit of wiggle room in the schedule for Baldwin to take on more timely issues when warranted. She said the specifics on the show are still being finessed.

“We shot four (episodes) at different opportunities to pilot this,” she said. “We did two in front of an audience. We’re still figuring out exactly what the format will be.”

Baldwin is known in TV for his Emmy-winning run on “30 Rock.” He had a brief run as host of an MSNBC show, “Up Late,” in 2014 but it was axed after Baldwin was accused of hurling a gay slur at a photographer, something he denied.

“Alec Baldwin Show” is exec produced by Jason Schrift, an alum of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” along with Baldwin and Mallory Schwartz of El Dorado Pictures.

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