Jussie Out? Taraji Staying? Oscar Host Gone!

No Oscar host for the Academy Awards in 2020. Last year, the plan was to have Kevin Hart. This fell through after some tweets from Hart years back about homosexuality were revealed and republished by the press. Hart apologized, but stepped down as Oscar host as not to be a distraction. And the Oscars proceeded in 2019 without a host. It actually went pretty well and fairly quickly, so the plan is for no host this year as well. The Oscars air on Sunday, February 24th at 8pm on ABC.

Empire will not have Jussie Smollett back for the finale, but they may be considering a Cookie spinoff. Empire’s current sixth season will be its last and all season there’s been an absence of the middle son Jamal. His character was married off and then went on a super extended honeymoon. In reality, Smollett was written out of the show after Chicago authorities charged Smollett with staging the alleged racial and sexual orientation bias attack in Chicago he reported a year ago. Those charges were eventually dropped, but not before Chicago police took to the airwaves and declared Smollett a fake. The fallout was too hot for the FOX network and they moved Empire on without Smollett and haven’t looked back. An executive at FOX, while promoting the winter return of their shows, apparently let it slip no Smollett in the finale.

Meanwhile, could a Cookie spinoff be in the works for Empire and her portrayer Taraji P. Henson. While the ratings for Empire have taken a tumble through the years, Henson and her character have remained high profile. Economically, this would save FOX money to just have one superstar salary and still keep some of those Empire fans. Would Henson be open to do this? She’s been on a roll with doing the show and movies at the same time. No word yet from Henson about this.

Congratulations to the CW’s Black Lightning being renewed for a fourth season. Black Lightning was developed and produced by Girlfriends/The Game/Jumping The Broom husband & wife producing team Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil along with Supergirl and The Flash’s Greg Berlanti. This African American family happens to have patriarch Jefferson Pierce,a charter school principal who is also the superhero Black Lightning. Pierce brings his superheroes in training daughters along for the ride. Starring Cress Williams (Living Single; Heart Of Dixie), Christie Adams, China Anne McClain and West Philly’s own Nafessa Williams, Black Lightning airs Mondays at 9pm after All American on the CW.

Lifetime has now made another artist unhappy and this time we’re talking about Faith Evans. She was married to the late Rapper Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G., and their story coming to the Lifetime series Hopelessly in Love. What’s the problem? The show holds nothing back. They’re not just interested in bliss, but the bumps in the road too. So the show talks about alleged mistresses Charli Baltimore, Lil’ Kim and will Faith’s alleged affair with her husband’s top rival Tupac Shakur come up as well? Ouch!! Hopelessly In Love airs Fridays at 8pm on Lifetime.

The Grammy nominations saw Lizzo lead all nominees. Song and Record Of The Year cover Lizzo’s debut album, Cuz I Love You, and its number one single, Truth Hurts. Michelle Obama scored her first Grammy nomination for the spoken word edition of her bestselling book Becoming. Alicia Keys hosts The Grammys on Sunday, January 26th at 8pm on CBS.

There’s life after Power for 50 Cent because he’s going from Starz! To ABC in a new legal drama called For Life. 50 plays a man wrongly imprisoned, he wins his freedom by becoming a lawyer. He then not only uses his legal knowledge to work on getting his family back, but he helps others get an actual fair shot in the criminal justice system. Co-starring Joy Bryant (Parenthood), Nicholas Pinnock (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Mary Stuart Masterson (Fried Green Tomatoes). For Life is slated to debut February 11, 2020 on ABC.

At the movies this week, Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek-Pinault star in the new film comedy Like A Boss. Two friends (Haddish and Byrne) and their benefactor (Hayek-Pinault) team up to start a beauty company, but things take a turn when dishonesty comes into play. Like A Boss is in theaters now. Speaking of Tiffany Haddish, she’s back on the road doing stand-up and is headed to Atlantic City February 28th at the Borgata.

Will Smith reteams with Martin Lawrence for Bad Boys For Life reprising their roles as Detectives Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett. Bad Boys For Life opens Friday, January 17th.

Philly’s own Da’Vine Joy Randolph is making a big splash in the acting game and her Philly roots are all coming full circle. First, she’s starring as Lady Reed along with Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name. Randolph, who is a Temple University alum, is holding her own with fellow castmembers Wesley Snipes, Mike Epps, Chris Rock, Tituss Burgess, Keegan-Michael Key, Ron Cephas Jones, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Craig Robinson, Snoop Dogg and, our Bestie, Comedienne/Actress Luenell. Now, Randolph is up in Canada with fellow Philadelphian Lee Daniels. Daniels is filming the bio pic of Billie Holiday. Singer/Actress Andra Day is playing Holiday, and Randolph has joined the cast. The United States Versus Billie Holiday is filming now, and Dolemite Is My Name is currently streaming on Netflix.

Essence magazine undergoes its new bi-monthly format. Instead of 12 times a year, it’s now six. The debut is the January/February issue with the incredible story of Kenyan-born refugee turned Supermodel Halima Aden.

Actress Zoe Kravitz is on the cover of Elle magazine.

Check out who’s coming to town:

Saturday, January 18th - Coolio, Tone Loc and Young MC in concert at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheater.com

Sunday, January 19th –The 10th Anniversary of The All-Stars of Hip Hop starring KRS-1, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Eric B & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee, Sugar Hill Gang & The Furious Five, Chubb Rock, Special Ed, Dana Dane, Monie Love, Kwame, Three Times Dope, Tuff Crew, Tracey Lee and Schoolly D at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com

Friday, February 14th – Boyz II Men’s Valentine’s Day Concert at the Met Philly, Broad & Poplar Streets. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com

Saturday, February 15th –Valentine’s Day Concert starring Johnny Gill, Next, KeKe Wyatt and Stokley from Mint Condition at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com

Sunday, February 16th – Valentine’s Soul Jam starring The Stylistics, Enchantment, Bloodstone, The Intruders and Peaches & Herb at Ovation Hall at The Ocean Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com

Friday, February 28th – Tiffany Haddish comedy show at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto theborgata.com

Saturday, March 7thThe Millennium Tour starring Omarion, Bow Wow, Ashanti, Pretty Ricky, Soulja Boy, Lloyd, Ying Yang Twins and Sammie at The Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University on Broad Street between Montgomery and Cecil B. Moore Avenues. For tickets and information log onto liacourascenter.com.

Saturday, March 28th – Charlie Wilson in concert at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto theborgata.com

Saturday, April 4th –Martin Lawrence hosts The Lit AF 2020 Comedy Tour starring Michael Blackson, Donnell Rawlings, Benji Brownand more at The Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University on Broad Street between Montgomery and Cecil B. Moore Avenues. For tickets and information log onto liacourascenter.com.

Saturday, April 18th – Marlon Wayans comedy show at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto theborgata.com

Saturday, May 16th – Sinbad comedy show at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto theborgata.com

If you would like more info please email me at PattyJackson@iHeartMedia.com or check me out with my midday reports at 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm during the day.

 

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