Alec Baldwin is adding more hosting duties to his resume. The actor has been named as the new host of Turner Classic Movies’ The Essentials, the network announced Tuesday, replacing the late Robert Osborne on the show.
One of TCM’s most popular franchises, The Essentials showcases “must-see” classic films, often with commentary from special guests. Joining Baldwin for the show’s upcoming season, which kicks off on May 6, will be David Letterman, Baldwin’s former 30 Rock costar and series creator Tina Fey, and Oscar-winning director William Friedkin. With each of his guests, Baldwin will introduce a hand-picked list of classics and discuss the cultural and cinematic significance of the films. Among their picks are East of Eden, Rear Window, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Manchurian Candidate.
Osborne, who died last month, had been with TCM since its inception in 1994 and helped to create many of its trademark properties, including The Essentials, which he hosted from 2006 to 2015. In recent years, TCM has turned to a range of hosts to fill the gap in Osborne’s medical leave of absence.
“I have some big shoes to fill hosting The Essentials, and I plan on doing Bob proud with this new season of The Essentials,” Baldwin said in a statement.
Baldwin has hosted numerous on-air interviews, including one with Osborne in 2015, as well as interviewing guests at TCM’s annual film festival in Hollywood.
“It was a natural direction for us to take,” Charlie Tabesh, TCM’s senior vice president of programming and production, said of hiring Baldwin for the series. “Over time, Alec’s become a real part of the TCM family, and he had gotten close to Robert. And transitioning him into more of the host role just made sense.”