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Alec Baldwin is a big name in showbiz thanks to roles on the big screen, sitcoms, and even live sketch comedy. He won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes for his performance as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, and he recently won another Emmy for his portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. Basically, Baldwin is a hot commodity in the comedy sphere, and it was a pretty big deal when he signed on for a new sitcom for ABC. Now, however, he's dropped out of starring in the show, and the project is in serious jeopardy.
Back in December 2017, news broke that Alec Baldwin was teaming with Black-ish creator and executive producer Kenya Barris and Grown-ish writer Julie Bean for an untitled sitcom at ABC. It received a straight-to-series order from ABC, undoubtedly due to Baldwin's attachment. Baldwin reportedly stepped back from starring on the series after reading the script. According to THR, Baldwin realized that he wasn't the right fit for the character he was set to play, and he dropped out of tackling the role. He'll remain attached to the project in a producing capacity. The comedy has now lost its straight-to-series order and has been downgraded to a pilot while the producers look for a new star.
Officially, Alec Baldwin was never contracted to star in the untitled project, although it was developed as a potential starring vehicle for him. All things considered, the bare bones description seemed like a good fit for Baldwin. The sitcom was described as centering on an aging but opinionated TV star who is forced to move in with his liberal daughter, her girlfriend, and their child. Who better to play an opinionated TV star who is no longer a spring chicken in the industry than Alec Baldwin?
There's an additional reason why Alec Baldwin might not have been the right fit for the leading role of this project, and it has everything to do with geography. Baldwin lives in New York City, where he also hosts Match Game and is in talks to host a weekly talk show. He likely would have wanted his new show to film in New York as well, which may not have worked for Kenya Barris. He films both Black-ish and Grown-ish across the country in Los Angeles.
We'll have to wait and see if Alec Baldwin's departure means the end of the sitcom. ABC has reason to support Kenya Barris, given the success of Black-ish and the debut of its spinoff, but there are few guarantees in the TV biz. It's possible that the network may not have enough faith in the prospective series to push it forward. Hopefully the pilot will be enough of a success for Barris and Co. to land a second series order.