30 Rock is coming to an end, and sometimes, it’s seemed like that might be the end of Alec Baldwin on television. But the actor just signed a two-year contract with Universal, the studio that produced 30 Rock. And hopefully we’ll get some new projects out of it. While I’ll always miss Jack Donaghy, here are five kinds of roles I’d love to see Baldwin in once he’s no longer committed to wearing tuxedoes after six o’clock.
1. A show about the Mayor of New York: When he’s talking about his career after acting, Baldwin has frequently speculated about running for political office, including for Mayor of New York. Now that Starz has cancelled its drama Boss, which starred Kelsey Grammer as Mayor of Chicago, there’s space for a prestige drama with a middle-aged prestige actor chewing political scenery. Baldwin loves a juicy line reading, and he’s got the elegance to carry it off. Post-Sandy, post-Occupy, and post-crash, it’s time for a show about New York that isn’t confined to Brooklyn a Girls or 2 Broke Girls, and that isn’t confined to young people in New York, either.
2. A romantic comedy about a middle-aged man: Baldwin’s heartbroken, nostalgic visitor to the Italy of his youth was the best part of To Rome With Love. His relationships with powerful women were some of the most entertaining parts of 30 Rock. And from profiles of him, it seems like he’s a romantic in real life. There aren’t enough good romantic comedies for actual adults. And I have mixed feelings about Nancy Meyers and It’s Complicated, in which Baldwin also starred as hound dog rather than as a romantic. But it would be nice to see Baldwin get to indulge those impulses, to be a man who’s sincere about love rather than blowing it off, and experiencing some of the yearnings and insecurities that normally are reserved for women.
3. A mid-life crisis show: Mid-life crises are big for women on television: Laura Dern’s melting down on HBO’s Enlightened. Annette Bening will be doing the same thing on NBC in Save Me. The Newsroom was supposed to, in part, be about a middle-aged man trying to be a better person, but it wasn’t willing to be nearly hard enough on Will McAvoy to be interesting. Watching someone like Baldwin actually go through radically reevaluating his life would be fascinating to watch.
4. A reporting show: Speaking of The Newsroom, television really needs a show that actually understands how reporting works. Thinking of how much fun Bill Nighy has chomping scenery in things like State of Play and Page Eight, I realized that Baldwin may be the closest thing he has to a potential American equivalent. He’d be a delightful editor character in a multi-generational newsroom drama.