Good move, Turner Classic Movies, where smart TV watchers who don’t mind black-and-white films go to zone out in style.
The channel has hired Alec Baldwin to take over the hosting duties of its weekly movie showcase, “The Essentials,” after the death of Robert Osborne last month. Baldwin, the man of the moment with his new memoir, “Nevertheless,” and his popular Trump impression on “Saturday Night Live,” will make his first appearance as host on May 6.
Baldwin has been on “The Essentials’’ over the years, appearing as writer and film historian Osborne’s cohost from 2009-11. “I have some big shoes to fill hosting ‘The Essentials,’ and I plan on doing Bob proud with this new season,” Baldwin said in a statement. Previous hosts and cohosts of “The Essentials” since it began in 2001 have included Carrie Fisher, Rose McGowan, Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack, Peter Bogdanovich, and Sally Field.
TCM will also benefit from Baldwin’s guests, who’ll appear in four episodes apiece. First up, David Letterman will discuss “The Bad and the Beautiful” on May 6, “East of Eden” on May 13, “No Time for Sergeants” on May 27, and “The Big Sleep” on June 16.
Then Tina Fey, Baldwin’s former “30 Rock” costar, will talk about “Rear Window” on June 24, “The Lady Eve” on July 1, “The Bride of Frankenstein” on July 8, and “Singin’ in the Rain” on Aug. 5.
And finally, William Friedkin will chat about “The Quiet Man” on Aug. 12, “The Manchurian Candidate” on Aug. 19, “2001: A Space Odyssey” on Sept. 2, and “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” on Sept. 23.Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.