Alec Baldwin, the Next Dick Cavett?

Alec Baldwin knows the ’30 Rock’ gravy train is bound to end sooner or later.

So you can’t blame Baldwin, who plays Jack Donaghy on the award-winning NBC sitcom, for prepping for the next stage in his career.

Baldwin is recording a series of interview podcasts with the likes of Chris Rock, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, to be heard on New York’s WNYC radio station.

Hey, if it keeps him out of politics, all the better.

Baldwin could be a great fit for radio. He’s got those killer pipes that could make even an antacid commercial sound inspiring. I’ve heard his narration on some older ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ episodes, and it transformed those insipid stories into something a parent could actually tolerate.

A radio gig would simply mark the latest left field turn for Baldwin’s career.

The actor seemed headed for stardom back in the 1980 thanks to quality supporting turns in ‘Talk Radio’ and ‘Married to the Mob.’ Those early performances, plus a marquee worthy mug and killer hair, set up a major franchise starter in ‘The Hunt for Red October.’ But Harrison Ford was tabbed to replace Baldwin as Jack Ryan in a series of profitable sequels. That left Baldwin to headline commercial duds like ‘The Marrying Man’ and ‘Malice.’

The actor hit middle age, gained a few pounds, and saw his leading man roles dry up. Only when he embraced smaller, more comical parts in films like ‘Along Came Polly’ did audiences start to see him in a new light. His deft touch also let movie goers forgive some of his more outrageous public statements, like wishing for the stoning of Henry Hyde during the height of the Clinton impeachment imbroglio.

Enter ’30 Rock’ and ‘Saturday Night Live,’ the twin franchises which rebranded Baldwin and helped conservatives look past his oft-angry comments concerning the Right.

An actor of Baldwin’s talents could have been a leading man well into his sixties, not unlike fellow actors Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson. Instead, Baldwin took another path, one that might lead him to becoming this generation’s Dick Cavett.

Or, the radio gigs could be a prelude to a political career in which opponents scramble to find the most damaging Baldwin sound bites they can uncover. And that could take a while.

For the actor’s sake, let’s hope he steers clear of elective office. He’s already made some troubling career choices, but that one could be his worst.

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