Alec Baldwin returns to the podcast mic with an intriguing new style

'Art Fraud,' his first episode after the filming of 'Rust,' is a striking change from his controversial interview series.

For the last decade, Hollywood A-lister Alec Baldwin has aired an hour-long radio program and podcast – until he suspended new episodes after the tragedy on the "Rust" film set in Santa Fe last October.

That program, "Here's The Thing," is now on hiatus but will return "soon," according to Cavalry Media, which is also producing the new endeavor.

For the time being, Baldwin has returned with "Art Fraud," a dramatized true crime podcast that delves into a scandal at New York City's renowned Knoedler Gallery that cost tens of millions of dollars and led to the venue's demise.

Alec Baldwin spoke with reporters about the deadly on-set shooting on the movie 'Rust.'
Alec Baldwin spoke with reporters about the deadly on-set shooting on the movie 'Rust.' (Fox News Digital)

"The type of stuff he's doing with this scam podcast is very, very much in a genre that is incredibly popular," said Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications' Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture. "In fact, the first podcasts to truly break through were these true crime shows."

He also told Fox News Digital that, despite the fact that more Americans are working from home and fewer are commuting, podcast popularity as a whole is growing. However, after the death of Halyna Hutchins on the "Rust" set on October 21, fresh episodes of "Here's The Thing" ceased to air.

"Given the seriousness of the 'Rust' issue, the first thing Alec Baldwin does after that is make sure it can't be tasteless, or that you can read anything into it that may remark on the 'Rust' [incident]," Thompson added. "I believe a real crime program like this is a reasonably safe bet."

Because it is so far away from the catastrophe in Santa Fe, it concentrates on the dramatic world of art fraud.

"I don't believe you want a real crime story about a shooting," he continued. "That would be a very different scenario."

Halyna Hutchins in an undated photo provided by attorneys for her widowed husband, Matthew Hutchins.
Halyna Hutchins in an undated photo provided by attorneys for her widowed husband, Matthew Hutchins. ( Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi LLP)

"Here’s The Thing" involved Baldwin inviting prominent artists and policy makers on for "intimate and honest conversations."

"Art Fraud" is a scripted true crime series focused on the scandal and intrigue of fine art corruption in New York City, which Thompson said immediately drew him into the story.

"It's a smart move for him pragmatically and artistically," said Christian Toto, a movie critic and founder of the conservative entertainment site HiT

"He knows what he can and can't get away with, and he knows where he can protect himself and protect his image. And also, he's putting his talent forward again."

— Christian Toto, movie critic 

True crime is very popular, and the staged structure enables Baldwin to reintroduce himself to the audience without attracting criticism from his own guests.

"I believe he'd get harsh questions, perhaps," Toto remarked, "but I think a Joe Rogan, if he did interviews, would get even tougher questions."

Rogan's own immensely famous podcast has recently come under criticism, with major celebrities boycotting Spotify in protest of the platform's failure to remove the comedian and UFC commentator over prior statements and the beliefs of some of his guests.

The actor has maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the gun, but instead pulled the hammer back and released it.
The actor has maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the gun, but instead pulled the hammer back and released it. (Fox News Digital)

"I think the broader issue with Alec Baldwin … is that if you look at his career and look at what he’s said and look what he's done, he should’ve been canceled a long time ago," Toto said.

In the past, he was accused of hurling homophobic insults, squabbling with photographers, and berating journalists. He reportedly attacked a New York City motorist over a parking place, and records show him calling his then-11-year-old daughter a "little pig" in 2007.

True crime tales, according to Thompson, are what placed podcasting on the map, and they continue to account for a sizable amount of accessible material, for which the public seems to have an insatiable thirst. There are also shows devoted to genuine crime in the art world, unfortunately on a platform that does not display pictures.

"We welcome all newcomers to the intriguing history and continuing mystery of art crime," stated the team behind the previously established and similarly titled "Art Crime Podcast" on Tuesday. "We hope that people mistakenly locate our podcast instead of his and realize how much more interesting we are than Alec Baldwin."

Baldwin has also taken on other projects, such as narrating an album about "the sounds of New York City" to support the 92nd Street Y. Earlier this week, he shared a clip of the song on Instagram.

After the widower husband of the cinematographer murdered in an on-set gun mishap involving Baldwin filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Thursday, the actor shared another video with the caption, "Everything is going to be okay."

According to court documents, Baldwin fired a.45-caliber Old West-style handgun at Hutchins from about four feet away and played with the hammer during the "Rust" shooting, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.

Actor Alec Baldwin appears in New York State Supreme Court in New York City, U.S., November 26, 2018. 
Actor Alec Baldwin appears in New York State Supreme Court in New York City, U.S., November 26, 2018.  (Alec Tabak/Pool via REUTERS)

Hutchins' family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and a number of co-defendants involved in the film's production on Tuesday, alleging they "had the power to prevent her death if they had only held sacrosanct their duty to protect the safety of every individual on a set where firearms were present instead of cutting corners on safety procedures where human lives were at stake, rushing to stay on schedule and ignoring numerous complaints of safety violations."

According to the complaint, two crew members hurried to help the badly wounded Hutchins after the pistol went off. Baldwin apparently provided no assistance.

Baldwin's spokesman did not immediately reply to calls for comment on the lawsuit's accusation or the change in podcasts.

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