Alec Baldwin's foray as an MSNBC late night host began with jazzy intro music and a friendly chat with New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio on a set that resembled that a old time diner.
Up Late With Alec Baldwin debuted on Friday at 10 p.m. ET, slotted in the same frame as Real Time With Bill Maher. But unlike HBO's political talk show, Baldwin mostly refrained from slinging barbs in favor offering an earnest but fast-moving discussion about policy issues.
"I was an early supporter of De Blasio's," Baldwin noted in his introduction. He went on to pepper the Democratic mayoral candidate with questions about job creation, income inequality and how De Blasio has dealt with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
After the commercial break, Baldwin asked about Wall Street vs. Main Street politics and then segued to asking about De Blasio's view of legalizing marijuana and New York's Stop-and-Frisk police policy.
Up Late also showed video and still snippets of a de Blasio's campaign ad as the host complimented the candidate for overcoming adversity. Conversation then turned to what he made of the idea of a "post-racial" New York. It ended with a polite handshake by the host.
At the end of the show, Baldwin then allowed himself some slight humor when describing his show's mission -- mentioning that Lockup and Alan Keyes is Making Sense appeared at the same time.
"I can't give a declaration of principles like Charles Foster Kane had for his newspapers," Baldwin said.
It will be "more personal than promotional," he added. Three-time Academy Award nominee Debra Winger will be on next Friday's show.