First Look: David Letterman Joins Alec Baldwin on TCM’s ‘The Essentials’ (VIDEO)

The Essentials - David Letterman, Alec Baldwin

This Saturday, Alec Baldwin takes over as new host of TCM’s The Essentials, a series that looks at must-see classic films.

Whereas previous Essentials hosts would sometimes just introduce a film, or perhaps have a one-time special guest to help introduce and talk about a personal connection to a film, Baldwin’s stint will take a unique approach.

Over the course of this season’s 12 episodes, three special guests—legendary late-night host David Letterman, actress/comedian (and Baldwin’s former 30 Rock costar) Tina Fey and filmmaker William Friedkin—will each individually visit with Baldwin for four weeks to talk about that week’s film, and its influence and cultural significance.

Letterman kicks things off with Saturday’s season premiere, a showing of 1952’s The Bad and the Beautiful. As you can see from the first-look clip below, having a guest like Letterman visit with Baldwin for a period of weeks gives the host and his guest time to reflect not only on that week’s film, but on movies in general. In this clip, we see how passionately and personally he takes films, and his personal connections to them. He reflects, for instance, on how Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend is among his favorites (“I used to be a heavy drinker,” Letterman admits. “I had a few lost weekends.”)

But it’s not all serious: Letterman also explains how he relates to actor James Dean, explaining that they are both fond of racing, both from Indiana, and then quipping that they “both died young.”

Watch the clip below:

Here’s the lineup for this season of The Essentials:

With Special Guest David Letterman

May 6: The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

May 13: East of Eden (1955)

May 27: No Time for Sergeants (1958)

June 17: The Big Sleep (1946)

With Special Guest Tina Fey

June 24: Rear Window (1954)

July 1: The Lady Eve (1941)

July 8: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Aug. 5: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

With Special Guest William Friedkin

Aug. 12: The Quiet Man (1952)

Aug. 19: The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Sept. 2: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Sept. 23: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

The Essentials, Saturdays beginning May 6, 8/7c, TCM