*** Confirmed: Baldwin was fired and his show was canceled ***
According to the New York Post's Page Six, which admittedly isn't the most reliable of sources, Alec Baldwin has been fired by MSNBC.
The reason: Well, there's the pressure over his ongoing tendency to lose his mind and hurl homophobic slurs at anyone who pisses him off -- but wait, there's more:
"Baldwin’s dismissal was decided on partly because of his diva-like behavior toward co-workers, a source said.
Besides demanding a humidifier because he claimed the air at 30 Rock was too dry, Baldwin alienated staffers when he demanded a separate makeup room being used by a woman with cancer who is sensitive to hairspray. When Baldwin was told he couldn’t have his way, he allegedly bellowed at the top of his lungs, 'I don’t give a f - - k if she has cancer or not, I want that f - - king makeup room.'"
I don't know. Baldwin's a prima-donna and a rage-a-holic but it's difficult to imagine him actually yelling at his staff at MSNBC, particularly so soon into his run, mostly because that staff is all that stands between him and looking like a complete fucking idiot week after week on television. I have no doubt that he would consider himself a special snowflake among the bargain basement-dwellers of basic cable, but he still spent plenty of time in the NBC family with nary an on-set incident. Although his show, Up Late with Alec Baldwin, oozed so much pretension that maybe he truly did feel like a talker was his birthright and therefore any outlet was lucky to have him. That would certainly explain a pissy public meltdown in the middle of 30 Rock.
The thing to keep in mind here, though, is that if it's true that MS has canned Baldwin, his offscreen behavior had much less to do with it than you'd think. Granted, Olbermann, who was MSNBC's star player, was a behind-the-scenes lout and Griffin got fed up with him in no time. But I get the impression that if Baldwin's show had come out of the gate huge, MS's management would be willing to forgive a hell of a lot more.
That's how it works: If they want to keep you around, they figure out a way. If they don't, you can get fired for leaving the coffee machine on.
UPDATE: And now let's get the opinion of the person you'd least like to hear from right now and who has the least room to provide any commentary on this whatsoever.
Something to keep in mind: Olbermann is widely known to be a nightmare behind-the-scenes. We're talking a fucking incorrigible lunatic who's acted as a human toxic cloud in more than a few of the shops he's worked in. His erratic behavior and depthless narcissism are the stuff of television legend. He can throw around as much juvenile schadenfreude as he wants but make no mistake: change a few insults here and there and the reason Baldwin is gone from MSNBC is pretty much the same reason Olbermann was tossed. He's a brilliant broadcaster, but a hell of a lot of people seem to think that he's just not worth it.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: My favorite thing about Baldwin is that you give him just a little bit of rope and he's more than happy to fashion that sucker right into a noose and put his head in it for your enjoyment. If you were willing to even considering giving him the benefit of the doubt, as I sort of was, he'll always make you regret it. Here's his response to whether he actually ranted at his staff the way the Post claims he did, told to Gothamist:
"These stories with the Post, the way they work, they have to have some kernel of truth. So if I complained, as I did, I said to them... I didn't ask for a humidifier, I asked for humidification. So we had a day where... my voice would crack, it was heavily air conditioned, I found it tough to talk. I did not demand someone put a humidifier in. And the woman using that dressing room, I was told she's allergic to some chemical, no one ever ever ever said to me that somebody had cancer, and I never said 'I don't give a fuck...'"
In other words, yes, he said exactly what the Post alleged. By the way, he's still insisting he didn't call anyone a "cocksucking faggot" on a New York City street two weeks ago, although he apparently has no idea what he did yell at that photographer. (It's truly a thing of beauty to watch Baldwin attempt to analyze his own words on the recording as if he wasn't the one saying the fucking words.) Also, "but, but, Bashir!"
"Martin Bashir's on the air, and he made his comment on the air! I dispute half the comment I made... if I called him 'cocksucking maggot' or a 'cocksucking motherfucker'... 'faggot' is not the word that came out of my mouth. That I know. But you've got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy—Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they're out there, they've got you. Rich Ferraro, this is probably one of his greatest triumphs. They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself."
Jesus I'm glad they fired this arrogant asshole.