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October 8, 2015

Alec Baldwin's glass is half empty

by Brett Love, posted Sep 3rd 2008 10:25AM

Alec Baldwin - 30 RockLooking in from the outside, you might think that Alec Baldwin has the tiger by the tail. He's the star of a critically acclaimed television show. He's winning awards for his work. And, while he's no longer landing those leading man roles in films, over the last few years he's added several good supporting roles to his long list of credits. Apparently, those are not the makings of a happy-go-lucky life.

There is an interesting profile of Baldwin on The New Yorker's website. In a long and thorough piece, Ian Parker talks with Baldwin about his career, his family, mistakes that were made, and things that might have been. Throughout the piece, it becomes clear that he is anything but satisfied. They talk a lot about the film business, and the decisions that shaped the direction of that part of his career. For our purposes here though, the more interesting bits are the discussions of 30 Rock. They include a quote that actually shocked me. Not so much for the sentiment, but for the fact that anyone, even Alec Baldwin, would say it in print. I'll tuck it away after the jump for those of you that have an aversion to f-bombs.

As they get to 30 Rock they tell the story of how Baldwin originally agreed to do the pilot under the condition that if it worked out he would do six episodes a season, for six seasons. Of course, once NBC got a look at Jack Donaghy, they wanted him for all 21 episodes. His response? "I said, 'Go fuck yourself.' I saw it as network scumbags trying to fuck you around." That surprises me. Referring to those people that are still his bosses as network scumbags seems a bit out of the norm, no? It gets better.

The choice quote from the 30 Rock section is this. "Zucker, I like, but everybody who works for Zucker I have reservations about. If the show does succeed, it'll be something of a fucking miracle, because NBC hasn't done a fucking thing to help this show at all. This show is the red-headed stepchild in the lineup. They've gone out of their way to wring the last drops out of My Name Is Earl and Scrubs. Those shows are done! They're cooked! Yet they do a one-hour episode of Earl! You've got to be fucking kidding me!"

Yikes. I guess we have to give him credit for an honest opinion, but it's one that I disagree with. He may have something with Earl getting the one-hour episode treatment, but does anyone actually think NBC has treated Scrubs more favorably than 30 Rock? Really? Scrubs is like the poster-child for shows that have been abused by networks. Jerked around the schedule, fall show, mid-season show, told to go away to another network to finish their run.

By comparison, the 30 Rock crew has had it pretty good. I don't really know what NBC could do to give the show any more support. They get their fair share of promos. Thursday at 9 is a tough slot, but moving the show could also be seen as some kind of lack of support. And really, renewing it despite the questionable ratings should count for something, right? Whether you agree with Baldwin or not, it's an article well worth your time. I've just scratched the surface in this description of what is an 8000-odd word profile.

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The show is too good and too smart for NBC. It should be on HBO or Showtime.

September 03 2008 at 9:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't stand Alec Baldwin. I really don't know how anyone does after that message he left for his daughter..... The man is seriously unbalanced. He needs to be in a mental hospital not on tv. He's a shmuck and My name is Earl is ten times better than anything he's ever done or will do!!!!

September 03 2008 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Go watch "Team America: World Police" if you want to understand Alec Baldwin... perfect character study.

All TV shows are abused by their networks. What I want to know is how they convinced Alec to do all the 30 rock episodes. He's not doing 6 episodes per season.

September 03 2008 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One of the main reasons for '30 Rock''s acclaim is the way Baldwin nailed Jack Donaghy's crazy side. Did you really thing that was all just acting?

September 03 2008 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's his Irish negotiating technique : P


Alec Baldwin: Is it crazy? They called you to play Jack Ryan, didn't they?

Ben Affleck: Yeah, but that was different. You said you didn't want to do it any more. You quit, you went and did Broadway.

Alec Baldwin: I wanted more money, so I told them to go screw themselves! I call that my Irish Negotiating Technique.

September 03 2008 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He really seems kind of bitter and sad. I will pray for the guy. I hope he, someday, finds joy and happiness in life.

September 03 2008 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for the link. I'm looking forward to reading the entire article.

As for the quotes you highlighted ... I'm not surprised by anything he said. It was something of a shocker when he signed on for the role in the first place, and, as good as the show is on its own merits, it probably would not survive without him.

Besides, why would he fear Zucker or any other NBC suits? He's got hand.

September 03 2008 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Alec Baldwin is a genius actor--I have enjoyed him in just about everything he has done. 30 Rock. Glengarry Glen Ross. The Departed. Malice. etc. etc.

Yet, it's clear that he has some 'tude. Wow. Shocks even me.

September 03 2008 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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