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.

Here’s today’s official announcement:

NEW YORK – September 5, 2013 – Award-winning actor, activist and philanthropist Alec Baldwin will join MSNBC as the host of a new weekly current events and culture talk show to air Fridays from 10-11 p.m. ET. “Up Late w/Alec Baldwin” will begin this October. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC.

“After two seasons of my WNYC podcast, I’ve developed a fondness for hosting a show that involved talking with smart, talented and engaging people in every imaginable field,” said Baldwin. “I’m grateful to MSNBC for helping me bring a similar show to television.”

“I’ve been talking with Alec for a while and can’t wait to bring his personality and eclectic interests to MSNBC,” said Griffin. “He’s got such passion for ideas and what’s going on in the world -  he’s going to be a great addition to our line-up.”

Baldwin is the winner of two Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, eight SAG Awards and a Television Critics Association Award for his role as Jack Donaghy on NBC’s “30 Rock.” He is one of Hollywood’s most charismatic and prolific actors, having appeared in over 40 films. Baldwin garnered raves for his performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed” and a 2004 Academy Award nomination for his role in “The Cooler” opposite William H. Macy. Other film credits include “Beetlejuice,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat,” “The Aviator,” “The Good Shepherd,” “It’s Complicated” and Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” and “Blue Jasmine.”

Baldwin has hosted the popular podcast “Here’s the Thing” on WNYC since 2011. On “Here’s the Thing,” Baldwin has interviewed a variety of public figures including politicians, policy makers, performers and artists, ranging from David Letterman to Dick Cavett to Republican political strategist Ed Rollins.

In addition to his dramatic credits, Baldwin has proven to be an adept and perennial host of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” (with 16 hosting appearances to his credit).

Baldwin’s production company, El Dorado Pictures, has co-produced the Emmy-nominated miniseries “Nuremberg,”  “The Confession” for Showtime and the feature film “State and Main.”

Among his many stage credits, Baldwin won acclaim and a Tony nomination for his work opposite Jessica Lange in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” which also garnered him an Emmy nomination for the television adaptation.

Baldwin co-hosted the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in 2010 with Steve Martin.   In 2011, he received his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  A dedicated supporter of public policy and the arts, Baldwin serves on the boards of the Roundabout Theatre Company, People For the American Way, the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Guild Hall of East Hampton and the New York Philharmonic.

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