Tonight, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, MSNBC planned a primetime lineup that included the special JFK: The Day That Changed America, The Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary, 50 Years of Guns – a docu in which Al Sharpton profiles guns in America decades after Kennedy’s murder — and a “very enlightened and well-researched” edition of Up Late, “dealing with John Kennedy’s assassination,” according to that show’s host Alec Baldwin. But after Baldwin went on another homophobic slur-spewing against a photographer earlier this month, his well-researched show on the JFK assassination has been replaced by one of the cable news network’s Lockup programs, as part of what Baldwin has described as a two-week-and-possibly-forever suspension of his program.
“Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now,” Baldwin wrote in his blog after his show’s first week off the air, setting the stage for its non-return. “[If] the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it,” he wrote — though that all-about-the-ratings-like-any-other-start-up storyline grew less pat when the fill-in Lockup clocked an even smaller number than Baldwin’s show.
While cable news networks including MSNBC spend the week walking up to the anniversary of JFK’s untimely death, Baldwin attended a tech conference Wednesday in San Francisco to jokingly profess his love for a man, in the hope of, once again, recalibrating his image — this time after a video clip caught him tearing into a photographer with at least one gay slur and possibly two, though Baldwin denies uttering the second one and says he did not realize the first was a slur. After asking a member of his entourage to stand up, Baldwin told him: “I want you to be my lover, Matt. I love you, Matt. I love you in that way.” The Associated Press reports Baldwin’s bit got a big laugh from the conference crowd.
MSNBC has been very quiet since Baldwin announced his Up Late With Alec Baldwin was being taken off the cable news network for two weeks. That, after the entertainment website TMZ posted a video of the hot-tempered Baldwin’s latest rant. That includes a state of mum-ness in re whether the program, which had sunk about 40% in ratings in its brief five-week life, will return.
NBC Entertainment was an old hand at handling the heated, sometimes profane outbursts of its former 30 Rock star and fave SNL host. There was the time in 2011 he got tossed off a plane after refusing to stop using his phone when instructed to do so by airline personnel. And who can forget that leaked phone message in 2007 to his then-11-year-old daughter in which he called her a “rude, thoughtless little pig” because she didn’t pick up his call. More recently, last summer, after the Daily Mail reported, inaccurately, that Baldwin’s wife Hilaria was tweeting during James Gandolfini’s funeral, Baldwin tweeted some homophobic slurs at that reporter. MSNBC, however, seemed ill-prepared.
The actor told Wednesday’s tech-conference crowd that he hopes his other, 3-month-old daughter learns to control her temper better than he has as an adult, the AP reported. He also told the group he now realizes he needs to choose his words more carefully — apparently the leaking of that private phone message to his daughter, which he said in a subsequent interviewer had left him with suicidal thoughts, didn’t do the trick.
“If in any context, in the world that we live in today, if any word is remotely offensive to people, then I’m perfectly willing to learn a different word,” Baldwin said.