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How Long Can Alec Baldwin Play Donald Trump on ‘SNL’?

Given Alec Baldwin’s recent on- and offscreen troubles, is his most high-profile job — playing President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” — still secure?

Baldwin first played Trump on the NBC sketch show in October 2016, and has made nearly two dozen appearances doing the impression since then. In that time, Baldwin won an Emmy for best supporting actor in a comedy series for the role in 2017 and was nominated in the same category in 2018.

Baldwin has seemed to go back and forth on how long he wants to keep the appearances up, though. In an interview on the podcast “Origins With James Andrew Miller” back in September, Baldwin said, “I think I’m going to do some of it, but not a whole lot” in reference to how many appearances he would make as Trump on the current season of “SNL.” In that same interview, he also said, “You can’t go far enough with this idiot. You can’t go far enough. You can’t go far enough.” Thus far, Baldwin has only made one appearance as Trump this season, in a cold open parodying Kanye West’s visit to the Oval Office.

A source close to Baldwin said that given his close relationship with “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels, he would be unlikely to walk away from the role against Michaels’ wishes.

Yet there are questions of Baldwin’s ability to portray the chaos of the Trump administration given the current tumult in his own personal life. Baldwin was arrested at the beginning of November in New York over an incident in which he and another man got into an argument over a parking space. It was alleged that Baldwin punched the other man during the argument, a claim that Baldwin has called “false” and “egregiously misstated.”

Baldwin’s self-titled talk show at ABC recently bit the dust as well. “The Alec Baldwin Show” was ordered for nine episodes in February, which included a special preview episode featuring guests Jerry Seinfeld and Kate McKinnon that aired in March ahead of the official launch in October. The show failed to find an audience, averaging a meager 0.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.3 million viewers in Live+7 to date. Earlier this week, ABC announced they were moving the show from Sundays to the Saturday night death slot to finish out its run.

Ironically, Baldwin’s previous attempt at a talk show ran for an almost identical timeframe back in 2013. Baldwin hosted “Up Late With Alec Baldwin” for MSNBC, with that show also launching in October. However, after an incident in which Baldwin allegedly used an anti-gay slur against a reporter, MSNBC suspended him for two weeks before ultimately cancelling the show in November.

Still, it’s not a monumental loss for Baldwin or ABC, considering the show cost relatively little to make given its format. As Variety reported in October, Baldwin makes $300,000 per episode of the talk show, while he makes $3 million annually for hosting the ABC revival of “Match Game.” Last year, Baldwin and his company, El Dorado Pictures, signed a two-year first-look deal with ABC.

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