Entertainment Headlines

Jeopardy Productions via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Jeopardy! will resume production again next week, with Ken Jennings stepping in as the first guest host following the passing of longtime host Alex Trebek earlier this month.

“We will resume production on 11/30 with a series of interim guest hosts from the Jeopardy! family -- starting with Ken Jennings,” the game show tweeted Monday. “Additional guest hosts to be announced.”

Executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement, “Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him.”

“We will honor Alex’s legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues. By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers.”

Jennings is certainly a familiar face to Jeopardy! fans -- he holds the record for the longest winning streak on the show with 74 wins.

Trebek, who hosted Jeopardy! for 35 years, died of pancreatic cancer on November 8 at age 80. His final day in the studio was October 29. The show will air 10 of Trebek's best episodes the weeks of December 21 and December 28, and air his final week of episodes starting January 4.

The first week of guest-hosted shows will air the week of January 11.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kevork S. Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- With the announcement that filming on Black Panther 2 will begin early next year, fans are already anticipating the newest cast member to the popular film...and they believe it's Rihanna. 

Fans on social media went into a frenzy after the pop singer's name popped up as part of the cast during a Google search for the sequel, alongside the film's original stars Michael B. Jordan, Angela Basset, Lupita Nyong'o and Letitia Wright. 

"Rihanna is [going to] be in Black Panther 2 ??? I'm [definitely] looking forward to this," wrote on fan on Twitter. 

After starring in films such as Ocean's EightBattleship, and Guava Island, it's not hard to imagine Rihanna in the sequel to the blockbuster superhero film.  And even if she's not appearing in the film, she could be working on new music for the movie's soundtrack.

"Imagine Kendrick and Rihanna giving us [the] soundtrack to Black Panther 2?," tweeted another fan, in reference to the Black Panther soundtrack, which was executive-produced by multi-Grammy-winning artist Kendrick Lamar.

In Marvel Studios' 2018 blockbuster Black Panther, actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away earlier this year, made history for his role as King T'Challa, the super-powered ruler of the secret, technologically-advanced African nation of Wakanda. It's unclear if or how Marvel plans to honor Boseman or the likeness of his character in the sequel.

Marvel is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- Netflix announced that some 62 million households worldwide have checked out the new series The Queen's Gambit since its debut in October, making it the streaming giant's biggest scripted limited-run series ever. 

Set in the '50s and '60s, The Queen's Gambit tells the fictional story of Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy who struggles with drug and alcohol dependency and emotional issues while trying to become the world's greatest chess player.

Peter Friedlander, the VP of Original Series for Netflix noted in a statement, "Three years ago when [we were] first approached us about adapting The Queen’s Gambit - Walter Tevis’ 1983 book about a young chess prodigy -- we felt it was a compelling tale...However, I don’t think any of us could have predicted that [the series] -- and the extraordinary Anya Taylor-Joy -- would become the global phenomena they are today." 

The exec describes Taylor-Joy's Beth as "an underdog who faces addiction, loss and abandonment." He notes, "Her success -- against the odds -- speaks to the importance of perseverance, family, and finding, and staying true to, yourself."

The network says the show's success is sparking not only interest in Tevas' novel, which now sits on the New York Times Bestseller List some 37 years after its release, but also in chess itself. 

Friedlander's statement noted that Google searches regarding the game have jumped to a nine-year high in the 28 days Gambit has been available on Netflix, and inquiries for "chess sets" have jumped 250% on eBay.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nathan Congleton/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Al Roker returned to 30 Rock Monday morning, his first day back on the Today show after he underwent prostate cancer surgery two weeks ago. 

"I feel good, I really do," beamed the beloved weatherman and morning show mainstay, who cracked a few "TMI" jokes about his condition. "Let me tell you, after that first week you can get that catheter out, and I'm feeling good!" he said to laughs from his NBC co-hosts.

Roker also got serious in thanking his surgeon Dr. Vincent Laudone, who operated on the the 66-year-old Roker at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.  Roker also thanked his wife, Deborah Roberts, and their three children, as well as well-wishers among his TV audience. 

"I'm a blessed man," Roker said. "You know, usually you're dead when you get all of this love, so this is happy."

Roker said he'll have blood work done in January, and every six months from then on for five years to make sure his recovery is on the right track. 

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/shironosov(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) By now, you should respect the power of the Zoom mute button, but in case you need a reminder, look no further than Euphoria star Lukas Gage, who caught a famous director on a hot mic shaming the actor for his small apartment. 

Gage was about to audition via Zoom, when he overheard the British director pitying the performer's place. "These poor people live in these tiny apartments," the director says, not knowing Gage is listening -- and recording the moment. Gage interrupts him.

"I know it's a sh***y apartment, that’s why give me this job so I can get a better one," the actor smiles.

"Oh my God, I'm so, so sorry, Lukas!" says the "mortified" director. 

Gage was "totally" willing to call it even, saying, "Listen: I'm living in a four-by-four box, it's fine. Just give me the job and we'll be fine." 

The actor later posted a "PSA" to his followers with the video, captioning it, "if you're a sh** talking director make sure to mute ur shit on zoom mtgings."

The exchange attracted calls of support for the actor.

"What an honest young actor. What a dumba** director. You'll go farther than he will..." Tweeted Aquaman's Patrick Wilson. 

Judd Apatow tweeted, "As a young man I would have dreamed of an apartment like this one. Look at that sweet flat screen! The guitar! The moldings!" 

Another Twitter user agreed, asking for a shot of the actor's apartment to use as his own Zoom background.

Incidentally, many Internet commenters on Deadline allege that the filmmaker is Kingsman series director Matthew Vaughn, who's married to model Claudia Schiffer. That rumor got rolling when his alleged baby mama and X-Men: First Class star January Jones replied to Gage's post with, "I have a guess." 

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy Sony Pictures(NEW YORK) -- On Wednesday, the Hulu holiday romantic comedy Happiest Season comes home for the holidays.

The movie, directed, and co-written by actress and filmmaker Clea Duvall, features an all-star cast, including Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Dan Levy, Victor Garber, and Mary Steenbergen. 

In the film, Stewart's character Abby agrees to visit her girlfriend Harper's family for the holidays, with the intention of popping the question to Davis' character. However, there's a catch: she learns Harper's family is not only conservative, but doesn't know she's gay. 

Mary Steenbergen plays Tipper, the tightly-wound matriarch of the family, who is preoccupied with her husband's run for office and projecting a picture-perfect view of their family because of it.

Steenbergen tells ABC Audio, "I just love the film because every single character in the film goes somewhere as a result of this singular moment of bravery where Mackenzie's character says who she really is. And it is just since each of us to an important place."

Alison Brie plays Sloane, Harper's even more tightly-wound sister. An over-achiever with a handsome husband and two seemingly perfect kids -- and who is on a nickname basis with Gwyneth Patrow, thanks to a partnership with Paltrow's lifestyle empire Goop -- she seems to have it all. However, we learn appearances can be deceiving.  For the former Community star, the authenticity of the script grabbed her.

"[Y]ou didn't feel like it was a send up of a holiday movie or a cliche in any way, it felt so grounded and real," says Brie. "I think we all found ways to connect with our characters in a genuine capacity rather than playing any of them as stereotypes or tropes of holiday movies. And you can tell."


By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Arturo Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Mahershala Ali reveals he accepted a role in David Fincher's 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but only on the condition that he wouldn't have to film a love scene with co-star Taraji P. Henson.

The 46-year-old actor, who converted to Islam while studying for a master's degree at NYU, explained on Common's Mind Power Mixtape podcast that filming the scene would go against his religion, according to the New York Post.

“So my old agent called me and said, ‘Mahershala, you got the part,’" he recalls.  "And I said, ‘There’s just one thing -- there is that one sex scene where they kiss. If there’s a sex scene, I can’t do it.’"

Fortunately, Fincher relented and agreed to toning down the scene.

“Taraji and I begin to kiss, and we fall out of the frame...It wasn’t clear if [Fincher] was trying to have like some bumping and grinding...which I doubt he was," says Ali.  "But for me even...at that time, 15 years ago, I was still like, ‘OK, I can only go up to this point,’ just because of — just trying to hold a space of respect for my religion.”

The Oscar-winning actor stars in the upcoming Apple TV film Swan Song, opposite Glenn Close, Awkwafina and Naomi Harris.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) Kevin Hart is getting the last laugh. 

The 41-year-old comedian recently came under fire for dressing his newborn in a shirt that bared the name of his latest comedy special, Zero F***s Given. Many were unhappy that the baby's clothing contained profanity and one even warned that child protective services could be giving him a call as a result. 

The Jumanji star seemingly ignored the comments, until Sunday, when he acknowledged the critics in an Instagram post.

Alongside a photo of a headline that read "Kevin Hart Slammed For Dressing Newborn In ‘Profanity-Laced’ Outfit, Fans Suggest Child Services Will Be Calling If He Doesn’t Take The Shirt Off" Hart wrote, "This is the world that we are currently living in."

"[Stuff] is funny and sad at the same time.... Y’all motha f***a’s need to grow up and get a hobby," he continued. "...Once again I could give “Zero F***s”......Now go watch my special on NETFLIX."

"Stupidity at the highest level," he added. "This is why my mindset is what it is in my comedy special."

Hart welcomed a baby girl, Kaori Mai, with wife Eniko Parrish on September 29. This is the second child for the couple who also share three-year-old son Kenzo Kash. Hart also has two children -- 15-year-old daughter Heaven and 13-year-old son Hendrix -- from his previous marriage to Torrei Hart. 

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Actress Hilary Duff must spend at least two weeks away from her family after being exposed to COVID-19.

The Younger star on Saturday took to her Instagram stories to unhappily reveal, "Exposed to covid...Quarantine day 2."

The 33-year-old revealed that she is isolating in the family's basement to ensure that, should she have the infectious virus, she doesn't accidentally spread it to husband Matthew Koma or her two children -- eight-year-old Luca and two-year-old Banks.

Despite the mounting frustration, Duff and her family are already finding ways to feel less lonely, such as loudly stomping on the ground three times -- a code to tell each other "I love you."

The "So Yesterday" singer gleefully filmed herself sending the message to Luca and waiting in anticipation for a response.   A wide and thankful smile breaks across Duff's face when, after a few seconds, hears her son's feet stomping above her.

Duff also revealed that her kids may have gone overboard with gifts, revealing on Sunday that "My sweet family was leaving so many sweet treats outside my door, I finally threatened to run up stairs... break quarantine and breathe all over them."

To prevent her from spending the next two weeks indulging on desserts, her kids hilariously "left an apple pie... candle" at the door -- which she happily lit.

However, the Lizzie McGuire alum is definitely counting down the days until she can physically hold her children... because their dad is not doing the best job at dressing them or styling their hair.

Duff shared several photos Koma sent her and bemoaned her daughter's cowlick and mismatching clothes.

The actress also admitted Sunday that she may already be losing it, posting a hilarious video of her barking at the family's new puppy.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jeopardy! Productions/Sony Pictures Television(LOS ANGELES) -- Alex Trebek, who hosted Jeopardy! for over 35 years before succumbing to pancreatic cancer, was cremated following his death on November 8, according to a copy of the death certificate obtained by The Blast.

The document lists Trebek's occupation as "Quiz Show Host" and says he was in the Entertainment for 60 years.

The certificate further reveals his wife, Jean Trebek, had him cremated and listed his final resting place as their Studio City home.

Trebek died at home following a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  He was 80. 

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE(ATLANTA) -- Tyler Perry put the "giving" in Thanksgiving on Sunday, feeding thousands of needy families ahead of the holiday.

The star of the Madea franchise opened up his Tyler Perry studios in Atlanta for the food giveaway, dubbed TPSGiving, which promised nonperishables and gift cards to the first 5,000 families to pull up to the complex, according to TMZ.

Cars reportedly started lining up on Saturday afternoon for the food drive that ran from 8 a.m. until noon, according to the gossip website.

Drone footage obtained by TMZ shows traffic backed up all the way out to the surrounding freeway... And then some.

Tyler's staff adhered to strict COVID-19 guidelines, restricting distribution to curbside pickup and requiring everyone who wanted to receive a care package to wear masks. Pictures on the ground also show studio employees covered in PPE from head to toe.

Tyler has been helping struggling families throughout the pandemic, including giving out $20,000-plus tips to local restaurant staff and picking up tabs for grocery shoppers in New Orleans and Atlanta.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Emma McIntyre /AMA2020/Getty Images for dcp, ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- One of the biggest nights in music, the American Music Awards, kicked off Sunday night with a series of worldwide premieres, big wins and even bigger surprises.

Hosted by Taraji P. Henson from Los Angeles' Microsoft Theater, the audience looked a little different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Along with a "small but mighty COVID-free audience," cardboard cutouts of the who's who within the music industry, like Dolly Parton and Beyonce, lined the front rows -- of which Henson enjoyed pretending to interact with as if they were the real deal.  

On the award's side, three acts emerged as the big winners of the night with Taylor Swift, the Weeknd and Dan Shay taking home three awards each.

Swift further cemented herself as the most decorated winner in American Music Award history, bumping her lifetime awards total to 32 on Sunday.  The awards she added to her expansive trophy case were Favorite Music Video, Favorite Female Artist from the Pop/Rock category and the coveted Artist of the Year award. 

There also was an exciting reason why the "cardigan" singer was unable to physically pick up her trophies, which she eagerly confessed to in her acceptance speech, "The reason I'm not there tonight is I'm actually re-recording my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it!"

"It's been amazing and I cannot wait for you to hear it," the 30-year-old signed off with a cheerful grin.

As for the Weeknd, the Canadian artist picked up Favorite Male Artist, Favorite Song and Favorite Album within the Soul/R&B category. 

Just as he did at MTV's Video Music Awards, the "Blinding Lights" singer shocked fans by taking the stage with his battered and bruised face wrapped in bandages, an ongoing theme within his latest music videos that support his After Hours album. 

Dan Shay's hit, "10,000 Hours," which features vocals from Justin Bieber, picked up two awards: Collaboration of the Year and, from the Country category, Favorite Song. The duo also collected Favorite Duo or Group within the category.

Said an emotional Dan Smyers, "I just want to say, music has power to unify us, change lives and to save the world. To everybody creating art, thank you for what you do. And the fans, thank y'all for everything, man. This is a dream come true."

Doja Cat also had a strong showing on Sunday, taking home New Artist of the Year and, within the Soul/R&B category, Favorite Female Artist.

It was an amazing night for BTS as well, who accepted two awards live from South Korea for Favorite Duo or Group in the Pop/Rock category and also for Favorite Social Artist.  

Bad Bunny also walked away with an award in each hand thanks to a newly expanded category for Latin music, one for Favorite Male Artist and the other for Favorite Album thanks to his studio effort YHLQMDLG.

Performance-wise, the night was highlighted by nonstop world premieres with artists taking the stage to publicly perform their songs for the first time.

Opening the ceremony was Justin Bieber, who performed a soulful medley of his newest hits, first starting off with an emotional rendition of "Lonely" while staring at his reflection before switching gears for a more upbeat version of "Holy."  He remained on the stage to help Shawn Mendes officially debut their collaboration, "Monster," which dropped on Friday.

Another duet came from the Weeknd, who tapped Kenny G to help him premiere two songs off the After Hours album, "In Your Eyes" and "Save Your Tears."  For his spectacular performance, the Canadian artist closed down an entire bridge in Los Angeles and strutted down the median as fireworks exploded behind him.  He also employed the help of drones to catch his rockstar performance at every angle, becoming the first artist to ever do so in AMA history.

Katy Perry returned to the AMA stage on Sunday and slowed the night down by teaming with Darius Rucker to perform her mournful and reflective single "Only Love," which explores what they would do had they only had 24 hours to live.  

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma also paired for a duet and used their energetic performance to tease their upcoming romantic comedy, Marry Me by debuting two songs off of the official soundtrack: "Pa'ti" and "Lonely."

Closing out the night was BTS, who performed an energetic rendition of "Dynamite" and also debuted their brand new inspirational single "Life Goes On."

However, the night wasn't all about saluting new songs -- it was also a big night for rapper Nelly, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his debut album Country Grammar.  The Dancing with the Stars finalist performed a medley of his hits that propelled him to global stardom -- "Country Grammar," "E.I." and "Ride wit Me."

In addition, the audience was also treated to another throwback moments courtesy of Bell Biv Devoe, who came together to perform their own medley of hits, singing "Do Me!" and "Poison."

One for the books. Thanks @tmobile @amas #AMAsWithUs #Ad pic.twitter.com/rKmMwZMOtd

— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) November 23, 2020
By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ryan Green/AMC (NEW YORK) -- Colman Domingo isn't mincing words in describing his Fear the Walking Dead character, Victor Strand, whom he's says will be making some tough decisions in the midseason finale.

Domingo tells ABC Audio that over the course of six seasons, fans have seen Strand's "many evolutions," which include him being "a symbol of deconstructing Western civilization."

"[Because of] all his ideals and beliefs and sort of cutthroat and the individualism," Domingo explains. "And then he becomes part of a group and gets stripped away some of his characteristics that help him survive."

"He's taking his position sort of as an army general: very seriously," Domingo continues. "Finally, he has a position of power. He's not going to give that up for anything."

Even with his self-serving history, Domingo believes Strand still has potential.

"I think he absolutely has the qualities of a good leader," he says. "I think that he also understands that [with] really good leadership, everyone's not going to be happy. But he's hoping that everyone will gain a little something."

That "something," says Domingo, is part of what Strand uses to get his way. 

"I think he's always been prepared to be [like] if you see me as your god, I'll be your god. If you see me as your devil, I'll be your devil. Whatever works for you," he shares. "But what works for me is I have a mission and I have a plan."

"So in the mid-season finale, you're going to see him torn between these groups. Between Virginia's camp and his own group that he's been a part of with Morgan," he explains. "And now he's coming through, sort of rising like a phoenix to create his own morality."

FTWD airs Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Disney (NEW YORK) -- Remember that moment in the final season of Game of Thrones, when a Starbucks cup was accidentally left on a set table and wound up being broadcast on the episode?  Disney 's The Mandalorian just had an incident that's being compared to that.

Amid the action of The Mandalorian's newest episode, "The Siege," a crew member in jeans and a tee-shirt can be seen standing behind co-star Carl Weathers, who also directed the chapter. Perhaps he can't be faulted for not noticing: the errant crew member can be glimpsed during a scene in which Weathers' character, Greef Karga, Pedro Pascal's Mando and Gina Carano's Cara Dune were occupied firing at bad guys.

Then again, not only was the crew member missed while the episode was edited, but the exact moment in which he can be peeped was sent out in a batch of publicity stills from the episode.  So you'd think somebody would've noticed.

However, considering Star Wars fans have already turned pink short-shorts wearing boom mic operator Ken Nightingall into a popular cosplay, it's likely this continuity error will inspire similarly loving fandom.

Catch the mistake while you can: after sharp-eyed fans caught a bit of green screen that was visible when Baby Yoda walked down a ramp in season one, it was fixed digitally. 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Andrew Eccles/Universal Pictures(SOUTH CAROLINA) -- The news of the September 13 cancer-related death of a super fan of both of Halloween the holiday and Halloween the movie has now gone viral.

Twenty-nine year old Anthony Woodie married his longtime girlfriend Emilee on that date, in a ceremony in South Carolina that was officiated over the phone by ordained minister -- and Halloween star -- Jamie Lee Curtis.

According to the Post and Courier, Woodie, suffering from Stage 4 esophageal cancer, passed away just minutes later. 

This past summer, Woodie, along with the manager of his local movie theater and Emilee, were the first to see the yet-to-be released Halloween Kills.  The final wish was granted by the movie's backers, Rough House Productions. 

Curtis learned about Woodie's story afterward, and reached out to him. Not only did they speak on the phone, but she sent him some movie merch, and offered to officiate their wedding on September 13.

By the time the big day came around, however, Woodie's condition was dire; according to the paper, he fell unconscious, and never awoke. But Woodie was still able to marry Emilee, with his family around him,

At 10:30 p.m. that night, Curtis called and, over the phone, conducted the ceremony. She reportedly said,  "Anthony and Emilee...May the blessings of God rest upon you, may his peace abide with you, may her spirit illuminate your heart now, in this moment."

"With the power vested in me by the Internet, it is my great pleasure to tell you that you are now married people," the star concluded.

Less than an hour later, at 11:17 p.m., Woodie passed.

His new bride called Curtis the next day to tell her the news; the two remain in touch, according to the paper.

Halloween Kills opens October 15, 2021.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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