Alec Baldwin Makes An Encore Appearance As Cohost Of TCM’s “Essentials”

For its 10th season, TCM‘s movie series The Essentials is appropriately enough bringing back something from its past.

While host Robert Osborne has been holding court with a rotating list of Hollywood dignitaries the past few seasons — including film critic Molly Haskell, and actresses Carrie Fisher and Rose McGowan — this time he’s going to be conducting deep discussions of classic movies with a familiar face: Alec Baldwin, who occupied the same post last season.

“I have enormous respect for TCM and Robert Osborne,” Baldwin says. “TCM has stayed true to its mission, with a vast library of movies from many different decades. I’m proud to be able to sit down with Robert again.”

Baldwin’s association with TCM has also included a stint as a guest programmer, and as host of a special program highlighting the career of Gene Wilder, in which he interviewed the actor.

This season’s slate of The Essentials on TCM kicks off March 6 with A Streetcar Named Desire, director Elia Kazan’s 1951 adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play that made Marlon Brando a star. It’s a title that Baldwin has a special connection to, having once turned down the starring role in a hot Hollywood franchise to appear in a Broadway reprisal. In 1990, Baldwin had just shot to the A-list after starring as Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October. But instead of taking the next logical career step and making the sequel, Patriot Games, he found he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play Stanley Kowalski to Jessica Lange’s Blanche DuBois. He earned a Tony nomination for his role, and the Jack Ryan film franchise found suitable replacements in Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck.

The rest of this month’s lineup includes James Cagney’s 1949 gangster drama White Heat (March 13), Peter O’Toole’s star-making role in 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia (March 20), and the bouncy 1958 Leslie Caron musical Gigi (March 27). For the first time, the program also will feature late-night showings, including Saturday Night Fever (March 6) and Serpico (April 3).

Osborne took over hosting duties for The Essentials after its first few incarnations were presided over by filmmakers such as Rob Reiner, Peter Bogdanovich and the late Sydney Pollack. He said he is thrilled to be back with Baldwin.

“After we wrapped our first season together, I remember thinking how many more films I would like to discuss with Alec,” Osborne says. “Now we have that chance.”

Here’s the complete schedule for this season of The Essentials:

March 6A Streetcar Named Desire, Saturday Night Fever
March 13White Heat
March 20Lawrence of Arabia
March 27Gigi
April 3Bonnie and Clyde
April 10Judgment at Nuremburg
April 17Strangers on a Train
April 24The Graduate
May 1A Foreign Affair
May 8The Lion in Winter Kind Hearts and Coronets
May 15The Blue Dahlia Meet John Doe
May 22The Hunchback of Notre Dame
May 29The Best Years of Our Lives
June 5Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
June 12San Francisco
June 19A Star Is Born (1954)
June 26The Snake Pit
July 3Meet Me in St. Louis
July 10My Darling Clementine
July 17The Road to Morocco
July 24Black Orpheus
July 31Bad Day at Black Rock
Aug. 7The Sea Hawk
Aug. 14Leave Her to Heaven
Aug. 21The Sting