Congratulations! Hoda Kotb is the new Today Show Anchor. She and Savannah Guthrie are also on the cover of People magazine. They made the announcement this week after returning from the holidays. The two anchors made the announcement on the air to kick off 2018 and close the book on a most controversial couple of years of unwanted changes: The loss of Tamron Hall to bring in Megyn Kelly; The firing of Billy Bush after his raunchy conversation with now President Trump leaked to the press; And of course, the immediate firing of Matt Lauer after allegations of sexual misconduct at the workplace. Kotb and Guthrie told People they actually shared a moment of prayer together before making the announcement of Lauer’s firing on air, and then spoke from the heart about the situation. NBC executives and the co-anchors themselves say Kotb’s promotion felt very natural ever since she stepped in, and the two ladies have been guiding the ship since. WDAS alum Tamron Hall took to social media to congratulate her friend Kotb, and Matt Lauer texted her his well wishes to, as Kotb confirmed to the media. Kotb will still continue on the 10am hour of Today with Kathie Lee Gifford. Kotb is also avoiding the talk about the pay disparity that's a reported $18 million less than what Lauer made. She told the press it's not polite to talk about money.
DJ Khaled is the new weight watchers spokesperson. Khaled is already super busy being a judge on the new FOX singing reality show The Four: Battle For Stardom. The other judges are Meghan Trainor, Record Executive Charlie Walk and P Diddy. As for Weight Watchers, Spokesperson, and big time investor, Oprah Winfrey is ecstatic to welcome Khaled to the Weight Watchers family. Meanwhile, The Four: Battle For Stardom, with host Fergie, airs Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.
Essence Magazine has kicked off 2018 with a brand new purpose as they've become a black owned publication once again. Essence was part of the huge Time-Warner media conglomerate for many years. The magazine went through many changes in that period. Last year, the Time, Inc. of Time Warner was sold to the Meredith Corporation, but that sale didn't include Essence. That created an opportunity for the 48-year old entrepreneur and founder of SheaMoisture, Richelieu Dennis, to create Essence Ventures and buy Essence magazine. The deal was only revealed this week, and new owner Dennis will serve as chairman. He also released a statement that current Essence President, Michelle Ebanks, will continue in her role and join the board of directors. Ebanks’ own statement noted the executive board's consisting entirely of African American women and how this new ownership will continue to support this. Congratulations Essence. The current issue is Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Actor Kofi Siriboe (Girls Trip; Queen Sugar) sharing the December/January cover of Year in Review: Everyone Who Gave Us Life.
Anita Baker is approaching her 60th birthday and says she's mounting a farewell tour. The Songstress took to social media and invited her fans to join her in March so she and they can party when she begins her farewell concert tour. No dates or venues have been announced as of yet. Baker's social media hashtag #OneLastTime is being flooded with well wishes from her fans along with many pleas for her to change her mind.
Singer/Songwriter Brian McKnight got married on New Year's Eve. The 48-year old Back At One crooner walked down with Leilani Mendoza in a lavish New York City ceremony. The bride wore a wedding gown made of 50,000 Swarovski crystals. This is McKnight's second marriage. He was married to his high school sweetheart Julie from 1990 to 2003, and they share two sons. Last year, McKnight and Menoza announced their engagement on Instagram after being together since 2014. Congrats to the happy couple.
In other couples’ news, Actor Michael B. Jordan has a new girlfriend and its causing a sensation, but not the kind anyone wants. Last year, the Creed actor posted a holiday picture of himself with most of the men in his family, and he broke the internet as fans swooned for him and the men. This year, he took a holiday picture with the family along with reported non-African American girlfriend Ashlyn Castro. This coupled with an alleged ex-friend who spoke negatively about Jordan’s alleged dating history with African American women sparked a debate on social media. Some called for a boycott of Jordan's work. Some called out the double standard of all the support Meghan Markle is getting for marrying Prince Harry or Serena Williams’ recent marriage. Jordan for his part hasn't confirmed who he's dating, but did take to social media to say no one wins win the family feuds but was proud to be a part of the conversation.
In more Michael B. Jordan news, he confirmed Creed II is coming in November of 2018. The spinoff from Sylvester Stallone's successful Rocky film franchise will still be helmed by an African American. Director Ryan Coogler wasn't available for Creed II. Jordan announced the reigns have been handed over to Director Steve Caple, Jr. Meanwhile, Jordan and Coogler will reunite next month for Black Panther. Jordan will play a villain opposite Chadwick Boseman in the big screen adaption of the Marvel Comics series. Co-starring Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya and Forest Whitaker, Marvel Comics’ Black Panther hits the big screen February 16th, boycott or no boycott.
Scandal, starring Kerry Washington, and How To Get Away With Murder, starring Viola Davis, are having a crossover episode. The two shows are part of Writer/Producer Shonda Rhimes’ TGIT -ABC Thursday night lineup. The crossover will revolve around the lead characters of both shows' very first meeting. Both shows along with Grey's Anatomy return from winter break Thursday, January 18th beginning at 8pm on ABC.
Kendu Issacs needs more money because he can’t pay his bills. Why? Because he’s in the hospital. Mary J. Blige's soon to be ex-husband won a judge’s order for Blige to pay him $30,000 a month in temporary spousal support. Now Isaacs has been hospitalized and is blaming the stress of the divorce proceedings on his health problems. He's now asking for more money because those medical bills are keeping him from paying rent, and his distressed health is keeping him form working. Looks like more drama in the '18 for The Queen Of Hip Hop Soul.
Tracee Ellis Ross is on the cover of Glamour. The Emmy nominated and Golden Globe winning actress talks about being single, loving life and sexuality. The Black-ish star servers it up for real for Glamour's February issue.
The Real has been renewed for two more seasons. The syndicated daytime talker, which also airs on BET, remains as popular as it was when it premiered. The hosts are Loni Love, Tamera Mowry, Adrienne Bailon and Jeannie Mai.
Spike Lee's She Gotta Have It, the Netflix series, has been renewed for season two. Lee and his wife, series Co-Executive Producer Tonya Lewis Lee took to social media, thanked fans and confirmed the show was returning. She's Gotta Have It is based on the 1986 Spike Lee movie of the same name about a most liberated woman fully embracing her social life and sexuality along with the partners she chooses. The casts includes DeWanda Wise, Anthony Ramos, Lyriq Bent and Cleo Anthony.
Meanwhile, the news wasn't as good for White Famous. The Showtime series starred ex-Saturday Night Live Castmember and Comedian Jay Pharoah. The show was loosely based on the rise of Oscar Winner Jamie Foxx, who served as an executive producer on the show. Race, politics and the shadier side of Hollywood were up front as a theme. Reports say the ratings weren't up to snuff.
Singer/Songwriter/Actor John Legend is coming to TV as…..Jesus Christ. The Oscar winner will star in NBC’s revival of the legendary Broadway smash Jesus Christ Superstar. Legend is no stranger to Broadway works as he won a Tony for producing the revival of August Wilson’s Jitney. This project is the latest in the live revivals of movies and plays by network television. Rock Legend Alice Cooper will also be in the cast. Jesus Christ Superstar will air live on NBC Easter Sunday, April 1st.
The concert scene is ready to roll. First, there’s the Philly Spring Jam starring Ginuwine, Tank, Brandy, Teddy Riley & Guy at the Liacouras Center on Monday, April 9th. More information is at liacourascenter.com/events. Next up is Mother’s Day Weekend as Platinum Shows celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Mother’s Day Music Festival in Atlantic City. Singers Joe and Stokley (from Mint Condition) kick things off Friday, May 11th at Caesar’s Palace. Then Saturday, May 12th, it’s Maxwell, Gladys Knight and Vivian Green at the Boardwalk Hall. Finally, The Whispers and L.J. Reynolds & The Dramatics close out at The Tropicana Sunday, May 13th. More information to come at ppshows.com
Ocean’s 8 has just dropped its official trailer, and you can see it on my Patty TV page on wdasfm.com. The movie is a spinoff of the recent George Clooney/Brad Pitt/Julia Roberts update of the Frank Sinatra Rat Pack movie Ocean’s Eleven. Clooney produced and starred in a trilogy of the Oceans movies from 2001 to 2007. Now, the ladies take over with an all-female reboot of the famous comedy/adventure/ heist film. The all-stars include Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Rapper/Comedienne Awkwafina, Anne Hathaway and Sandra Bullock. Ocean’s 8 is set to hit theaters June 8th.
The Mighty O is on the cover of Time magazine. She shares the cover with actresses Storm Reid, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling as the foursome join forces for Director Ava DuVernay’s $100 million epic A Wrinkle In Time. The 1962 novel is coming to the big screen through Disney as a big budget sci-fi adventure. Winfrey calls this film the new Wizard Of Oz. A Wrinkle In Time hits theaters March 9th.
In more Oprah news, she will be the first African American woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards. The DeMille, named after the co-founder of Paramount Pictures and the famed director of The Ten Commandments, is given to an incredibly impactful talent in the world of entertainment. Meanwhile, The Golden Globe nominations are out. In film there’s Get Out (Best Picture), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Mary J. Blige (Netflix’s Mudbound) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape Of Water). For TV there’s Black-ish (Best Comedy), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Aziz Ansari (Master Of None) and Issa Rae (Insecure). There were some big snubs. In film, the blockbuster thriller Get Out’s nominations are for comedy. What?!!! The summer blockbuster Girls Trip and its entire cast (Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish, were overlooked. In TV, last year’s Best Actress Tracee Ellis Ross was not nominated and the entire cast and series Empire was overlooked. The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards air this Sunday, January 7th at 8pm on NBC.
Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, is on the cover of Ebony magazine. It’s the power issue for December/January, and Johnson talks fame, fortune and fatherhood. He’s also on the cover of InStyle magazine. And of course, he and Kevin Hart in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle in theaters now.
Also at the movies, Actress/Singer/Activist Zendaya hits the circus by way of the big screen. The actress/social activist goes on the adventure side with her new movie The Greatest Showman. Co-starring Hugh Jackman, Zach Efron, Michelle Williams and Rebecca Ferguson, the bio pic is the story of how Barnum & Bailey Circus was begun by P.T. Barnum.
Actress/Comedienne Tiffany Haddish has a new book called The Last Black Unicorn. She details her abusive childhood because of her schizophrenic mom who had more problems after a car accident. Haddish talks about her abusive ex-husband who even attacked her at a comedy festival. Haddish also talks about her journey through the world of comedy. The Last Black Unicorn is available now online and in bookstores.
Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o returns to the cover of Vogue for the January issue. For her cover and photo shoot, Nyong’o talks about her fashion prowess, her exercise regimen and becoming the next great superhero. That’s because her next feature is the big screen adaption of Marvel Comics’ Black Panther, hitting the big screen February 16th, 2018. Nyong’o appearance on Vogue’s January cover is available now.
Although Tyler Perry has signed a new deal with Viacom, he still has programming for Oprah’s OWN coming in 2018. Perry is rebooting The House Of Payne into The Paynes. This new reboot won’t have Allen Payne, Demetria McKinney, Lance Gross or Keshia Knight Pulliam as regulars. No word yet on whether they’ll be guest stars. Emmy Winner Jackee Harry will join original castmembers LaVan Davis and Cassie Davis. The Paynes premieres Tuesday, January 16th with back to back episodes at 10pm. Perry’s nighttime dramas The Haves & The Have Nots, premiering Tuesday, January 9th at 9pm, and If Loving You Is Wrong, premiering Wednesday, January 10th at 10pm, will also be back on the OWN schedule for 2018.
The 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards will air on The Martin Luther King Day holiday. The two-hour show will air live and be a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. Among the leading nominees are Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z with five nominations. Issa Rae (Insecure), Bruno Mars and Sza have four. Charlie Wilson, Ledisi and Idris Elba have three nominations. Netflix and OWN lead in the TV categories. The NAACP Image Awards with Host and Nominee Anthony Anderson air 9pm, Monday, January 15th on TV One.
The 2018 Grammy nominations have been announced. Sza is among the standouts with nominations for her songs The Weekend and Love Galore and for herself as Best New Artist. Other nominees include Jay-Z with eight, Kendrick Lamar with seven nominations, Bruno Mars with six and Khalid (Location) with five nominations. The Grammys air Sunday, January 28th on CBS.
Taraji P. Henson will star in the action-thriller Proud Mary, which will reunite Color Purple Co-stars Danny Glover and Margaret Avery, and opens January 12th. Then there's the Tyler Perry psychological thriller Acrimony, co-starring Tika Sumpter (The Haves & Have Nots; Ride Along), opening March 30th.
Larenz Tate (Love Jones; Dead Presidents) and Erica Ash (The Real Husbands Of Hollywood) will host The 2018 Trumpet Awards, the celebration of African American achievement and history in society, airing Sunday, February 11th at 9pm on Bounce TV.
Check out who’s coming to town:
Saturday, January 13th – Babyface at The Tropicana in Atlantic City. For tickets or for more information log onto Tropicana.net
Sunday, January 14th – The All-Stars Of Hip Hop starring Nelly, Ja Rule, KRS1, Redman & Method Man, Fatman Scoop and Three Times Dope at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ppshows.com.
Saturday, January 27th – The O’Jays at The Sugar House Casino, 1001 Delaware Avenue. For tickets or for more information log onto sugarhousecasino.com
February, Friday, the 16th and Saturday, 17th – Mary J. Blige in concert at the Borgata in Atlantic City. Tickets and more information at WWW.THEBORGATA.COM!
Saturday, February 10th – Chris Tucker comedy show at The Sugar House Casino, 1001 Delaware Avenue. For tickets or for more information log onto sugarhousecasino.com
Saturday, February 17th – Kem/Fantasia/Avant in concert at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com.
Sunday, February 18th – The Soul Jam starring The Stylistics, The Delfonics, Blue Magic and Bloodstone At The Tropicana in Atlantic City. Tickets and more information log onto Tropicana.net
Saturday, February 24th – Katt Williams in concert at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto boardwalkhall.com/events.
Friday, March 9th – Keith Sweat in concert at The Liacouras Center, Broad & Montgomery. Tix are on sale Friday, October 13th 2017 and for more information log onto Liacourascenter.com/events.
Thursday, April 5th – Patti LaBelle in concert at The Academy Of Music, 240 South Broad Street, between Locust and Manning Streets. For tickets and information log onto kimmelcenter.org
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.