Remember “The Jay Leno Show”? It was a nightly talk show that aired at 10 p.m. on NBC, and it flopped. It lasted only five months, after which Leno returned to “The Tonight Show,” bumping out the recently installed Conan O’Brien and creating months of biz-buzz. The networks don’t tend to run talk shows in primetime, and the Leno debacle reminded them why.
Now ABC is taking the leap. It will fit an hourlong talk show — only one night a week — into its primetime schedule. The network has officially announced “The Alec Baldwin Show,” which will air on Sunday nights at 10 in the fall. Of course ABC is taking less of a risk than NBC did, since the Sunday at 10 slot has been a problem for ABC for years. There’s not a lot to lose.
The show will focus on long interviews, the kind Baldwin does on his podcast, “Here’s the Thing.” But details about the setup of the talker are still uncertain. “We shot four [episodes] at different opportunities to pilot this,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said this week. “We did two in front of an audience. We’re still figuring out exactly what the format will be.” Baldwin is highly political, but his series will focus more on celebrities.Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.