Alec Baldwin returns to TV Friday (June 14) in a more serious role, as the host of National Geographic’s programming block “Night of Exploration.”
“What happens is you do some of these, and you are done with it,” he says. Baldwin had just taped the season’s worth of introductions and was at The Explorer’s Club, the National Geographic Society’s Manhattan headquarters.
“I don’t necessarily want to be a cable channel prestige documentary host,” Baldwin says. “I don’t necessarily want to get locked into a certain kind of work. I did ‘Great Migrations’ for National Geographic and ‘Frozen Planet’ for Discovery.”
“I thought I was done with that and then they called with this,” he continues. “This was an honor.”
It’s National Geographic’s 125th anniversary and Baldwin will host other shows throughout the year.
Despite his seven years on “30 Rock,” getting his first break on “The Doctors” and doing so much TV, notably hosting SNL a record 16 times, Baldwin does not watch much TV.
“I am a grown man,” Baldwin says. “I am 55-years-old. Most TV is not for me.”
When he is channel surfing, though, he says that he usually just goes to National Geographic.
His “30 Rock” character, Jack Donaghy, had an obsession with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Bob Ballard, who discovered the Titanic.
Friday’s documentaries kick off a series. The first, “Crossing the Ice” follows two Australian men trying to trek from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole, unassisted. Sticking with Earth’s poles, the second documentary Baldwin introduces Friday is “Mystery Bear of the Arctic” chronicling the case of an American hunter shooting what he thought was a polar bear, but authorities are unsure of the animal’s species.
After talking about the exotic places upcoming documentaries will feature, Baldwin says, “All we keep joking about is we have to go exploring – the wildlife of the south of France or Tuscany.”