Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced that Emmy-winner and Oscar-nominee Alec Baldwin will host The Essentials, TCM’s popular franchise showcasing “must see” classic films. Joining Baldwin each week throughout the season will be one of three special guests: late-night television icon David Letterman; acclaimed actress, writer, and comedian Tina Fey, and legendary filmmaker William Friedkin. Together, Baldwin and his guests will introduce a hand-picked classic and offer color commentary on its cultural significance, its influence on other films, behind-the-scenes stories and their own personal reflections. The new season of The Essentials, which airs every Saturday night, premieres May 6 at 8 p.m. (ET).
The Essentials will kick off with special guest David Letterman joining Baldwin to discuss a plethora of popular classics including:
- The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) - airing May 6
- East of Eden (1955) - airing on May 13
- No Time for Sergeants (1958) - airing on May 27
- The Big Sleep (1946) - airing on June 16
Tina Fey will make her guest appearance starting on June 24 to discuss her favorite classic films including:
- Rear Window (1954) - airing June 24
- The Lady Eve (1941) - airing on July 1
- The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - airing on July 8
- Singin' in the Rain (1952) - airing on August 5
Rounding out the entertaining new season, William Friedkin will join Baldwin to highlight another round of notable films such as:
- The Quiet Man (1952) - airing on Aug. 12
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - airing on Aug. 19
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - airing on Sept. 2
- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - airing on Sept. 23
Baldwin takes over The Essential's hosting duties following the death of his close friend and colleague, Robert Osborne, who hosted the franchise from 2006 to 2015. A longtime friend of TCM and supporter of classic films, Baldwin has appeared frequently on the network, including as co-host of The Essentials with Robert Osborne from 2009 to 2011. He demonstrated his skill as an interviewer in 2008, when he joined one of his idols, Gene Wilder, for an hour-long discussion at Wilder's home in the special Role Model: Gene Wilder. Baldwin turned the tables on Osborne in 2015 by interviewing the longtime TCM host for Private Screenings: Robert Osborne, a one-hour special that premiered as part of TCM's 20th Anniversary celebration. This past October, Baldwin was the on-air host for a month-long look at the world's greatest and most influential documentaries for TCM's Spotlight showcase.
"I have some big shoes to fill hosting The Essentials, and I plan on doing Bob proud with this new season of The Essentials,” said Baldwin. "Dave, Tina and Billy each bring a unique perspective to the movies in our lineup, and they have some fascinating, and even surprising, insights to share as we shine a spotlight on some of our favorite 'must-see' films from over a century of epic moviemaking."