Alec Baldwin’s late-night talk show Up Late won’t return to MSNBC in the wake of his recent outbursts.
“We are jointly confirming that Up Late will not continue on MSNBC,” wrote the network and Baldwin’s rep Matthew Hiltzik.
Then MSNBC added, in a rather tough-to-believe statement given the circumstances: “This is a mutual parting and we wish Alec all the best.”
A couple weeks ago, the cable network rather non-mutually pulled Baldwin’s show from its schedule after the actor’s apparent anti-gay slur used against a photographer on a Manhattan street. Afterward, Baldwin went on the offensive, blaming Internet culture and aggressive paparazzi for his behavior, and at one point rather unconvincingly claiming he said “fathead” rather than “f-g” before deleting the tweets.
That the Up Late hiatus is now permanent isn’t very surprising as there wasn’t much obvious upside to MSNBC keeping his show going: Up Late had weak ratings (the last show reportedly only had 395,000 viewers), was now saddled with a controversial host (and not controversial in a good way), and Baldwin was reportedly difficult to work with behind the scenes.
Baldwin hasn’t commented on the matter, though four hours ago retweeted this Nelsen Mandela quote: “There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair.” Such an inspiring quote seems like something Baldwin might retweet regardless of circumstances. But one sure hopes he’s not comparing losing a cable talk show to Mandela fighting apartheid.
UPDATE: Baldwin spoke out about the axing to Gothamist where he denied several of the allegations that have been floating around, from what he said to the photographer to his alleged backstage behavior. One of his statements took aim at GLAAD: “But you’ve got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy—Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they’re out there, they’ve got you. Rich Ferraro, this is probably one of his greatest triumphs. They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself.”
GLAAD and spokesman Ferraro responded: “I consider GLAAD’s campaigns to end the Boy Scout of America’s ban on gay scouts, raise national visibility of the violence and inequality facing transgender people, and battling for marriage equality to be among my ‘greatest triumphs.’ But if a teacher, coach, local radio show host, or parent realizes that anti-LGBT slurs are outdated and unacceptable because of this Baldwin issue, I guess we’ll call it a win. Alec Baldwin’s team has not been open to turning this incident into an opportunity for public education and that’s unfortunate.”