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  • Carrie Specht

Alec Baldwin to Host TCM’s The Essentials


Alec Baldwin will host The Essentials, TCM’s popular franchise showcasing “must see” classic films. Baldwin takes over The Essential's hosting duties following the death of his close friend and colleague, Robert Osborne, who hosted the franchise from 2006 to 2015. After Osborne’s passing there was much speculation among fans whether or not the weekly anthology would continue or if the network might just air reruns of past seasons. However, the decision to record new shows seems to be in the spirit of “the show must go on”, which would have by all accounts been the choice of Osborne himself. And the show is such a core part of what the network does best, sharing beloved films with fans of classic cinema. It would be hard to imagine the network without The Essentials.

Baldwin had a few words regarding his new position with TCM, "I have some big shoes to fill hosting The Essentials, and I plan on doing Bob proud with this new season of The Essentials,” said Baldwin. "Dave, Tina and Billy each bring a unique perspective to the movies in our lineup, and they have some fascinating, and even surprising, insights to share as we shine a spotlight on some of our favorite 'must-see' films from over a century of epic moviemaking."

Those familiar with the network know that Baldwin is no stranger to TCM. Besides co-hosting from 2009-2011, Baldwin has appeared frequently on the network where he’s shown great skill as an interviewer. In 2008 he appeared with Gene Wilder for an hour-long discussion at Wilder's home in the special Role Model: Gene Wilder. And it was Baldwin who turned the tables on Osborne in 2015 when he interviewed the beloved TCM host on his own show, Private Screenings. Baldwin has even taken a turn as the on-air host for TCM's Spotlight showcase about influential documentaries. With these credentials, its no wonder Baldwin made the cut. It just makes sense to bring in someone who is already familiar to fans and has demonstrated time and again a tremendous love for classic films.

And what about a co-host? Traditionally speaking, once Osborne became the host of The Essentials he had always had a co-host. Sometimes they changed out annually, and sometimes they stuck around for years, as was the case with Baldwin and Drew Barrymore. I don’t know if it was a matter of not being able to book someone for an entire season (which is presumably shot over a short time), or if the producers decided to take this opportunity to try something different, but the co-hosting duty is being split up among three very notable former guest programmers. Given those chosen, I think this is likely to be very pleasing to the audience.

Obviously you have to have people who are devoted film fans, and all three have abundantly demonstrated their ardent love of the art. Joining Baldwin each week throughout the season will be late-night television icon David Letterman, acclaimed actress, writer and comedian Tina Fey and legendary filmmaker William Friedkin. Excellent company indeed! What an exciting trio of pairings! All three bring a wonderful balance of humor, intellect and insider knowledge. I can’t wait to experience the camaraderie and bask in the clever banter. This is going to be one hell of a season!

As per the established formula, Baldwin and his guests will introduce a handpicked classic and offer color commentary on its cultural significance, its influence on other films, behind-the-scenes stories and their own personal reflections. That part of the formula has remained the same. The new season of The Essentials, which airs every Saturday night, premieres May 6 at 8 p.m. (ET). View a promo and get more info including a complete schedule at visit tcm.com/essentials. Most importantly, be sure to check out the show. I predict that it will feel fresh, yet very familiar. And that’s how we like our classics.


#TCM #TheEssentials #AlecBaldwin #DavidLetterman #TinaFey #WilliamFriedkin