Format: actors, musicians, and intellectuals interviewed — by Alec Baldwin!
Episode duration: 20m-1h
Frequency: 2-3 per month
Here’s the Thing [RSS] [iTunes] is an interview show hosted by Alec Baldwin. Perhaps your curiosity requires no more detail than that. I wonder how much more detail the development of the program itself required. One easily imagines Alec Baldwin casually mentioning how he’d damn sure like to host one of those smart public radio shows, then a higher-up over at WNYC immediately giving the notion a pre-emptive green light. A prominent, name- and voice-recognizable middle-aged political liberal with a wide range of celebrity buddies (whoa, David Letterman?) a non-famous host would struggle to land? Add it up, and Baldwin almost slots too well into the existing machinery of American public radio.
Then again, one just as easily imagines a troubled gestation. Public radio, already a mildly anxious field, has fallen into the thrall of a lot of ideas about its relationship to the terminally anxious field of greater journalism. The industry has long provided refuge to many a program director who would dismiss the concept of an Alec Baldwin interview show out of hand as frivolous, unserious, insufficiently informational. I fear Here’s the Thing, despite its relative chastity of form, therefore qualifies as one of those Bold Experiments in Public Radio™. Somehow, the view of the show a comfortable no-brainer and that of the show as a brow-furrowing risk seem equally plausible. By the same token, Baldwin himself comes off as, simultaneously, an impressively thoughtful, curious accidental interviewer and a Hollywood actor “dicking around” between jobs.
Read the whole thing at Maximum Fun.