EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin has signed on as executive producer of Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank, a new documentary about the openly gay ex-Massachusetts Congressman which debuts next month at the Tribeca Film Festival. …
Katie Couric To Play Talk Show Host, Alec Baldwin To Play Controversial Newspaper Columnist On NBC’s ‘Law & Order: SVU’
Alec Baldwin continues to leave public life, in a New York Magazine cover story called “Good-Bye Public Life” and now, in a role on one of the country’s most watched TV series. NBC made it official today that Baldwin will guest star as a controversial New York newspaper columnist, in an upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU. Word of this guest gig got out earlier this month. But it wasn’t well known that Katie Couric will play herself — a TV show show host, that is — who grills Baldwin, as controversial New York newspaper columnist Jimmy MacArthur about the headline grabbing hate crime/rape case.
NBC wisely waited until Baldwin’s New York Magazine cover story came out and he was once again on the minds of the media to confirm he will play MacArthur, who questions the SVU squad’s motives during the investigation. Icing on the cake: show star Mariska Hargitay is directing — her debut.
“In our story, ‘Jimmy Mac’s’ reporting interferes with the investigation, which has a ripple effect when the case goes to trial,” EP Warren Leight explained in the announcement, adding that the chemistry between Baldwin and Hargitay “is palpable.”
The episode will air Wednesday, March 19.
Alec Baldwin Announces Retirement From Public Life In Magazine Cover, Calls MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow “Phony”
Former NBC comedy star and MSNBC interview host Alec Baldwin has announced in a New York Magazine cover story that he is quitting public life after being let go by MSNBC over language he used in an on-the-street rant against a photographer. In the piece, Baldwin calls MSNBC star Rachel Maddow a “phony” who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera as she appears to have on-camera,” according to the interview that was published late last night. In late November, MSNBC and Alec Baldwin‘s camp announced jointly that Baldwin’s Friday show was toast: “We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC,” the cable network and Baldwin rep Matthew Hiltzik said. Added MSNBC: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.” It was the first MSNBC had spoken about Up Late’s suspension, Baldwin having announced earlier that month the network had suspended his show for two weeks. That came after TMZ posted a video clip in which he was seen tearing into a photographer with what the press reported sounded like at least one gay slur and possibly two, though Baldwin denied uttering the second one, and said he did not realize the first was a slur.
Super Bowl Ad: MSNBC Apologizing Now Officially A Trend – This Time For Tweet About Cheerios Commercial (Video)
Does someone at MSNBC get a bonus for every media report that includes the name “MSNBC” and the word “apology”? This time, the cable news network apologized for a tweet it posted last night suggesting/fearing/hoping conservatives would not like the new Cheerios Super Bowl ad, and directing readers to its report on the ad. The spot features the same interracial family used in an earlier Cheerios commercial that set off quite a discussion — YouTube’s comments section on the ad was turned off when the talk got particularly heinous. “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” MSNBC tweeted, directing readers to its report and ad video.
Outrage ensued, with headlines including “MSNBC Slimes ‘Right Wing’ as Racist Over Cheerios Ad,” and “MSNBC Trolls The Right With Cheerios Tweet,” among others. Cue up MSNBC apologies via Twitter:
Earlier, this account tweeted an offensive line about the new Cheerios ad. We deeply regret it. It does not reflect the position of msnbc.
— msnbc (@msnbc) January 30, 2014
One minute later it tweeted:
We are deleting the earlier offensive tweet. It does not reflect msnbc’s position and we apologize.
— msnbc (@msnbc) January 30, 2014
More media headlines: “MSNBC Apologizes For Tweet Taunting Conservatives Over Super Bowl Ad Starring Biracial Child,” and “MSNBC Apologizes After Racially Charged Gaff About Cheerios,” to name just two.
MSNBC has done a mess of apologizing lately: Our list includes former show host Martin Bashir’s apology for on-air comments about Sarah Palin, show host Melissa Harris-Perry’s tearful apology for program panel in which fun was poked at Mitt Romney’s family photo featuring a black grandson on his knee, and former show host Alec Baldwin’s mea culpa over on-the-street anti-gay rhetoric.
Here, in its entirety, is MSNBC’s report on the ad, to which the tweet had directed readers, followed by the new Cheerios Super Bowl ad that caused the kerfuffle, and that original Cheerios ad:
When Alex Wagner moves to 4 PM ET on MSNBC, replacing potty-mouthed Martin Bashir, a rotating lineup of on-air talent will replace Wagner at noon. They include Joy Reid, who has been filling in at 4 since Bashir’s exit last month, as well as Ari Melber, who’d previously replaced Steve Kornacki as host of MSNBC’s The Cycle in April.
MSNBC is expected to eventually pick one of its host rotators to get the gig on a permanent basis, reports TV Newser. At least, as permanent as hosts are on MSNBC these days. Most recently, Bashir resigned after the drumbeat failed to die down when he apologized for having suggested, on air, that someone might defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth, after she likened the country’s debt to China to slavery — because an infamous slave owner used to punish his slaves in that manner. Bashir nearly ran into MSNBC’s short-lived host Alec Baldwin heading out the door — Baldwin having been suspended, and then exited by mutual agreement, at about the same time in the wake of a homophobic slur lobbed at a photographer during a street altercation.
2ND UPDATE, 8:20 AM: Will cable news programs steer clear of comedy after MSNBC‘s botched Melissa Harris-Perry end-of-year show left her tearily apologizing for the show’s gags targeting Mitt Romney‘s adopted black grandson, and Fox News Channel devoting yet more airtime to MSNBC’s show host foot-in-mouth epidemic? Most recently, Romney was a guest on Fox News this past Sunday, in the course of which, during a segment known as “Romney Reacts To MSNBC For Mocking Family Photo”, he told Chris Wallace, “I recognize that people make mistakes and the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake. They’ve apologized for it. That’s all you can ask for. I am going to move on from that. I am sure they want to move on from it. Look, I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself and they’ve apologized for this and, you know, I think we can go on from there.”
The reference was to MSNBC show Melissa Harris-Perry‘s second annual “Look Back In Laughter” telecast, which was supposed to “look back on some of the political absurdity of 2013.” In that episode, a panel of comics was charged with concocting captions to political photos from 2013. Harris-Perry and her producers thought the Romney family Christmas photo — large, white family with tiny black baby on Mitt’s lap — was on topic. One of Harris-Perry’s comedy panelists began to sing snatches of the Sesame Street tune “One Of These Things is Not Like The Others” and Harris-Perry tried her hand at comedy by riffing about her hopes for a marriage between the baby boy named Kieran, and North West — Kanye’s daughter with Kim Kardashian.
The year 2013 was so jam-packed with TV controversies that, after Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson this month left A&E looking more or less like the spot marked with chalk where the accident had occurred, exhausted Reporters Who Cover Television slumped over in a surfeited sort of coma.
Here’s a look at some of the bigger dust-ups:
Because of the discrepancy between the broadcast TV season (September-May) and the eligibility period for the SAG Awards (calendar year), broadcast series get an extra shot at SAG Awards for the January-May portion of their final seasons. NBC’s 30 Rock did one better today, landing three SAG nominations despite airing only five episodes during the 2013 calendar year — the series’ final five installments.
According to the SAG Awards rule book, eligible on the comedy side are “30 minute comedy series (with a minimum 21-23 minutes of actual programming content) with an ongoing theme and storyline in a minimum of six continuous episodes (reducible to a storyline of four continuous episodes in the cases in which the series is subject to a “short order.”) 30 Rock was not a subject of a short order; its final season included 13 episodes. But it qualified as SAG Awards’ eligibility rules are different for final seasons, said SAG Awards executive producer Kathy Connell. “In a final season, we allow a show to wrap as long it is in the calendar year,” and the six-episode minimum does not apply, she said.
Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC after the drum beat failed to die down after he apologized on air for having suggested, on air, that someone might defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth. “Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation,” Bashir said in an email first posted by Mediaite today. “It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.”
Meanwhile, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, whose weeks-long silence on the subject of Bashir has been deafening, said today in a statement: “Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague — we wish him only the best.” Before this morning’s news, MSNBC — which fired Don Imus in 2007 for referring to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” and suspended David Shuster for two weeks in 2008 for suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had “pimped out” daughter Chelsea by having her make phone calls to celebrities and convention delegates — had said the Bashir “matter” was being handled internally and it would have no comment.
This brings to two the number of on-air talent MSNBC has shed in the past several days. Late last week, the cable news network issued a joint announcement with Alec Baldwin’s camp, saying they had mutually decided to end Baldwin’s Up Late interview show.
A Dog Mystery: Is ‘Family Guy’s Brian Gone?
By Nellie Andreeva – Family Guy fans are up in arms this morning over the shocking death of the show’s talking dog Brian, hit by a car in last night’s episode. There is already a petition calling for the dog’s resurrection. While Brian was definitely positively dead and buried by the Griffins in the episode, some fans are suspicious.
MSNBC’s Next Headache: What To Do About Martin Bashir
By Lisa de Moraes – MSNBC‘s joint announcement today with Alec Baldwin’s camp that they had mutually decided to end Baldwin’s Up Late interview show leaves the cable news network with just one on-air talent headache: Martin Bashir, whose apology for graphic comments he made about Sarah Palin hasn’t ended chatter as to whether he should be punished.
Alec Baldwin Won’t Be ‘Up Late’ On MSNBC Any More
By Lisa de Moraes – MSNBC and Alec Baldwin‘s camp announced jointly that Baldwin’s Friday show is toast: “We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC,” MSNBC and Baldwin rep Matthew Hiltzik said. Added MSNBC: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.”
’60 Minutes’ Benghazi Fallout: Lara Logan, Producer Take Leave Of Absence
By Lisa de Moraes – Lara Logan, the reporter behind 60 Minutes‘ now-discredited story on the Benghazi attacks, has agreed to take a leave of absence from CBS News. Also taking a leave is producer Max McClellan.
MSNBC and Alec Baldwin‘s camp announced jointly that Baldwin’s Friday show is toast: “We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC,” MSNBC and Baldwin rep Matthew Hiltzik said. Added MSNBC: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.” It’s the first MSNBC has spoken about Up Late’s suspension; Baldwin announced earlier this month the network had suspended his show for two weeks; his announcement came after a video clip caught him tearing into a photographer with at least one gay slur and possibly two, though Baldwin has denied uttering the second one and says he did not realize the first was a slur.
“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 Up Late’s fill-in show, Lockup, clocked an even smaller number than Baldwin’s show the past two weeks. MSNBC said Baldwin’s former time slot — Fridays at 10 PM — will continue to be taken by Lockup.
Last week, Baldwin attended a tech conference in San Francisco to jokingly profess his love for a man, in the hope of, once again, recalibrating his image. 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. The actor also told that tech-conference crowd that he hopes his 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. “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.
MSNBC had 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 included zipped lips in re whether the program, which had sunk about 40% in ratings in its brief five-week life, would return.
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.
A day after his MSNBC show Up Late With Alec Baldwin was put on a two week suspension, Alec Baldwin revealed on his blog that the long-term fate of the show is up in the air. “Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now,” he wrote Saturday morning. “My producers and I had a very enlightening and well-researched program prepared to air on November 22nd itself, dealing with John Kennedy’s assassination. That show is off the air now.” Baldwin released an apology Friday for the alleged anti-gay remarks to a photographer that led to the MSNBC suspension, but in his lengthier blog post denied uttering any slur during the taped incident. “I can assure you, with complete confidence, that a direct homophobic slur (or indirect one for that matter) is not spoken,” he wrote.
Up Late premiered last month to up-and-down ratings in the Friday 10 PM slot and was still finding its footing when the hammer dropped yesterday. Baldwin’s blog post suggests it may not return at all even after the current two-week suspension. “[If] the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it. We do take a small amount of pride in knowing that we beat CNN in the ratings each of our nights. (I forget who they had on at that time),” he wrote.