We’re keeping our friend Al Roker in prayer. The long time NBC Today Show veteran publicly announced he’s being treated for prostate cancer. Roker said although it appears aggressive, it was found early. Roker was quite candid and noted he’s having his prostate removed. All his friends at Today and his celebrity friends and fans are sending their best wishes to the beloved weather man, his wife ABC News Journalist Deborah Roberts and their family. Roker will be off The Today Show for a couple of weeks to have surgery and then recovery.
Anthony Anderson and his mom return for ABC’s To Tell The Truth. The classic game show features three people who all claim to have an incredible job, talent or achievement, but only one is telling the truth. A celebrity panel joins Anderson as host and Mama Doris asking questions and beginning a mostly comical journey to who is actually telling the truth. To Tell The Truth returns to ABC Tuesday, January 26th at 8pm.
The Black Bachelor and Bachelorette are in full effect. First, the ABC romantic-realty show The Bachelorette ran into a first-time glitch. Bachelorette Clare Crawley met ex-NFL player Dale Moss, and they fell for each other…. immediately. So much so that Crawley dumped the other 30 some odd contestants and accepted Moss’ marriage proposal. That threw the show for a loop, so now the second African American Bachelorette in franchise history is rescuing the season. Tayshia Adams appeared on the 6th season of Bachelor In Paradise and as a contestant in the 2019 Bachelor series. Now Adams takes over for Crawley and becomes the second African American, after Lawyer/Media Personality Rachel Lindsay to be the lead and Adams is with the same contestants as the departing Crawley. The additional hook is how the guys react to her coming into the series from this point. The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC.
In more Bachelor franchise news, Real Estate Broker Matt James debuts for 2021 and kicks off season 25 as the first African American male lead in the show’s history. James was originally scheduled to be a contestant on the Bachelorette, but the pandemic shut down production. When new plans were drawn out and with this year of diversity awareness, James was lifted out to be The Bachelor. James is familiar to audiences as he’s roommate and best friend to former Bachelorette Contestant Tyler Cameron. Look for Matt James on The Bachelor premiering on ABC on Monday, January 4th at 8pm.
American Idol returns to ABC on Valentine’s Day on ABC. Ryan Seacrest is back as host with judging duties handled by Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and my fave, Lionel Richie. American Idol’s season premiere airs Sunday, February 14th at 8pm on ABC.
Craig Robinson is hosting a spinoff of the Mask Singer called The Mask Dancer. Who’s dancing under the costume? Just like its parent show, we need to figure out the celebrity dancing undercover. It kicks off where The Mask Singer leaves off. The Mask Dancer debuts in December.
Dave Chappelle’s ratings were through the roof for SNL. A lot of people are calling it the controversial monologue, but I like to call Chappelle The Thinking Man’s Comedian. Chappelle gave a brilliant commentary on the post election on this past Saturday Night Live. I’m hearing he’s working on a brand new special. By the way, that episode of SNL included Jim Carrey and Maya Rudolph, who did a super wardrobe trick by copying Kamala Harris’ suit with only hours notice.
Kevin Hart has a new Netflix special that begins streaming this month. “My Nephew” will premiere his comedy special called Zero F’s. You gotta figure it out because I’m not cussin’. LOL. Check out Philly’s own Kevin Hart’s Zero F’s which begins streaming November 17th on Netflix.
Speaking of hometown, congratulations to Philly’s own Leslie Odom, Jr. because he’s got wonderful things going on. Odom is best known for his Tony Award winning performance in Hamilton. To begin with, he and his wife are expecting their second child. Next, Odom will play the late Singer Sam Cooke in a motion picture called One Night In Miami directed by Oscar and Emmy Winner Regina King. You know I’ve been riding with Regina since she was Marla Gibbs’ TV daughter Brenda on the NBC sitcom 227 (1985-1990). Anywho, four greats meet one night shortly after Boxer Cassius Clay defeats Sonny Liston. In 1964, Clay, before he changed his name to Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Football Great Jim Brown and Singer Sam Cooke all meet up together at this one hotel. They would all go on their separate ways, and keep in mind months later Cooke would be killed in December of that year and Malcolm X in February of the next year. One Night In Miami also stars Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom, Jr. with Regina King handling directing and executive producer duties. One Night In Miami is coming out in theaters on Christmas Day and begins streaming Martin Luther King Weekend on Amazon Prime.
On November 24th, The American Music Awards return to ABC. Taraji P. Henson is hosting and Megan Thee Stallion, BTS, Shawn Mendes and Dua Lipa are all scheduled to perform. The Weeknd and Roddy Ricch lead the nominations with 8 a piece followed by Megan Thee Stallion with 5. Henson promises an electrifying night of music. The AMA’s air on ABC Tuesday, November 24th at 8pm.
We remember Alex Trebek, the Canadian-born television legend lost his valiant battle with pancreatic cancer over the past weekend. Trebek came to America when fellow Canadian Alan Thicke (Growing Pains) was still working as a TV producer in the 1970’s. He hired Trebek to host the game show Wizard of Odds. Trebek was off to the races as he consistently worked on several game shows and for close to five decades was never out of work for much more than six months. Double Dare, Battle Stars, Classic Concentration and High Rollers were just a few of the shows for which Trebek logged hosting duties. Then in 1984, fellow TV Legend Merv Griffin revived his game show Jeopardy, the famous flip concept in the form of an answer and question challenge. Griffin tapped Alex Trebek as host and the rest was ratings gold and history. Trebek was still hosting the show up until late last month giving him 37 seasons. Trebek even broke Bob Barker’s record for hours on a game show. Trebek also became the first host of three game shows simultaneously in 1991 with Jeopardy, Classic Concentration and taking over for Lynn Swann in To Tell The Truth, which is now hosted by Anthony Anderson. Trebek also joked about how he was actually mistaken for being African American because of his 70’s afro and tan. Adding to that notion were his friendships, TV and charitable appearances with Dancer/Actor Gregory Hines, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, competing in Bill Cosby’s Celebrity Tennis Tournaments and serving years as co-host on the Lou Rawls-United Negro College Fund Parade Of Stars telethon. Trebek tributes have been pouring in and his final episode of Jeopardy will air on Christmas Day. Alex Trebek was 80 years old.
Because of COVID-19, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was postponed from May, but finally happened this past weekend. The Notorious B.I.G., Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, T-Rex, The Doobie Brothers and Whitney Houston were all inducted. The Doobie Brothers, with Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston and Michael McDonald, were set for a 50th anniversary tour before the pandemic hit. They vowed to their fans that tour will happen. As for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductions, the ceremony took place virtually. Whitney’s mom, Cissy Houston, and sister-in-law, Pat Houston accepted the honor for the woman known as the voice of a generation. Alicia Keys, who produced Million Dollar Bill on Houston’s last album I Look To You, did the presentation. The late Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen was also honored. The 35th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony aired this past weekend on HBO, but look for it to be repeated.
The long awaited memoir of the United States first black president is coming soon. President Barack Obama is currently on the campaign trail, but after the election, he’ll be in author mode. The former POTUS has penned Promised Land, and it’s the first of two volumes. Quick! What was one of the most difficult parts of Obama’s presidency? The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Promised Land will be available November 17th.
Coming To America II begins streaming on Amazon December 18th.
Jamie Foxx has a new film coming to Disney Plus. The animated feature is called Soul. It’s about a musician who finds his soul. Foxx provides the voice of the musician. Soul is coming to Disney Plus on Christmas Day.
Newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris is on the cover of Essence magazine’s digital issue and on the cover of Elle magazine.
Naomi Campbell is on the cover of Vogue celebrating her 50th.
Supermodel Liya Kebede is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar as the debut issue from Samira Nasr, the first woman of color to become the magazine’s editor in chief.
Essence magazine has launched EssenceGU (Girls United) and Actress/Producer Marsai Martin is on the cover of the first digital issue.
Singer/Songwriter Solange Knowles is on the digital cover of Harper’s Bazaar with a series of essay and poems focused on the whirlwind year that is 2020.
Congratulations to Singer/Actress Kelly Rowland and her husband Tim Witherspoon. The former Destiny’s Child member now solo artist confirmed her pregnancy with her second child with her cover shoot for Women’s Health magazine.
Actress/Producer Gabrielle Union is on the cover of Marie Claire’s digital October issue and she’s talking the Supreme Court, her new action series L.A.’s Finest with Jessica Alba and America’s Got Talent (Union and NBC recently settled).
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.