Kadabra Is Back and It’s a Pokemon Christmas Miracle

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and think about what we’re grateful for. And gaming fans everywhere are thankful this year for one very specific thing: Kadabra is back on Pokemon trading cards.

The psychic character’s 20-year absence from Pokemon cards is due to both his appearance and his Japanese name. Famed illusionist Uri Geller, who is said to bend spoons with his mind, sued Nintendo in 2000 for using his likeness and moniker without his initial permission. Kadabra’s Japanese name is “Yungera,” and he, like Geller, wields a spoon, prompting Geller to claim the character was an unauthorized appropriation of his identity.

Geller requested Kadabra not to be printed on Pokemon cards. The company agreed to his request and, as a result, for over 20 years, the character has not existed on trading cards.

According to “The Gamer,” thanks to the many emails he’s received over the years from fans asking for the character to come back, Geller has made the decision to let Nintendo print the character on cards again. He told The Gamer that “due to the tremendous volume of emails I am still getting begging me to allow Nintendo to bring back Kadabra/Yungeller, I sent […] a letter to the chairman of Nintendo giving them permission to relaunch the Uri Geller Kadabra/Yungeller worldwide.”

Kadabra originally appeared in Pokemon’s first official card game set. It joined the evolution line of Abra and Alakazam, but because of the character’s absence, Abra has been able to skip over Kadabra and evolve directly into Alakazam. Fans have gotten used to workarounds for this particular evolution line, but that’s all about to change — because Geller has finally had a change of heart.

It’s about time something went right in 2020, and the fact that it’s restoring order to Pokemon trading cards somehow makes the most sense.

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Trump Calls Fox News ‘Unwatchable, Especially During Weekends’ Day Before His Fox News Interview

Donald Trump was again in the mood to trash his once-beloved Fox News, Saturday calling it “unwatchable, especially during weekends”… just a day before his scheduled interview on that very network’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

The outgoing president is usually a numbers man, focusing his efforts on getting the biggest audiences to listen to whatever he has to say at any given moment, whether at rallies or during TV appearances, so his Sunday tweet was a bit surprising.

@FoxNews daytime is virtually unwatchable, especially during the weekends. Watch @OANN, @newsmax, or almost anything else. You won’t have to suffer through endless interviews with Democrats, and even worse!” he tweeted,

The tweet came just one day before he is set to talk to Maria Bartiromo on the channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” The other interviewee for her Sunday show will be Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican running in a key runoff race in Georgia. There is only one Democratic lawmaker in Sunday’s lineup, in fact: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will be interviewed by Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday.”

Trump has been bad-mouthing Fox News for months for giving Democrats a platform and for their increasingly critical comments about his. Recent reports also indicate that he’s even interested in creating his own competing conservative outlet after his tenure as the 45th president ends at noon ET on Jan. 20, 2021 when Joe Biden is sworn in.

While Newsmax has seen a viewership spike since the election and Trump has been urging his followers to tune in there or the equally Trump-friendly OANN, Fox News’ ratings still remain high. According to Nielsen Media Research data, Fox News has held the highest-rated primetime hours in all of television since Memorial Day. Fox News’ primetime hours have averaged 3.930 million total viewers since May 25. Broadcast channel NBC is close behind with 3.929 million, on average.

When asked during a recent call with investors about new competitors popping up in the market after the election, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch said, “We love competition. We have always thrived with competition and we have strong competition now.”

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Football Player Sarah Fuller Encourages Girls to ‘Do Big Things’ After Breaking Gender Barrier

Vanderbilt University’s Sarah Fuller made football history Saturday, becoming the first woman to play in a Power Five game. She used her moment — which saw her trending on Twitter — to share a message with girls to “do big things.”

“I just want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to; you really can. And if you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things,” the student-athlete said in an interview with ESPN’s SEC Network.

“Honestly, it’s just so exciting,” the kicker said. “And the fact that I can represent the little girls out there who wanted to do this or thought about playing football or any sport, really. And it encourages them to be able to step out and do something big like this.”

Fuller, who is a senior goalkeeper on Vanderbilt’s SEC championship soccer team, joined the Commodores’ game against the University of Missouri Tigers by delivering the opening kickoff of the second half. Though the Commodores lost the game 41-0, Fuller recently helped lead their women’s soccer team to its first SEC title since 1994.

She was cheered on social media by athletes and viewers on Saturday for the milestone. Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee hailed her for not going out of bounds, giving up a touchdown or offering a chance for return. College football commentator Alex Kirschner praised her, writing alongside a highlight clip, “Sarah Fuller squibbed it exactly where she was supposed to (watch Vanderbilt’s coverage guys all funneling short right) and left it un-returnable for Mizzou. Probably one of Vandy’s best-executed plays of the day in all honestly.” Sports journalist Holly Rowe declared she was “all choked up.”

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Kevin Hart Defends Joking That His Teen Daughter Is Showing Signs of ‘Ho Activity’

Kevin Hart found himself in the hot seat and forced to defend a joke in his current Netflix special about his daughter engaging in “ho activity,” insisting to critics that his comment wasn’t a degradation of Black women.

The actor-comedian joined a live chat room conversation on the social app Clubhouse that asked the question, “Is Kevin Hart funny?” The topic was chosen to discuss, among many things, Hart’s joke in his Netlfix special “No F***s Given” that he’s seeing “ho activity” in his 15-year-old “boy crazy” daughter, who said “I want him” of a male classmate.

The Clubhouse chatters questioned that particular story and what the implications might be of labeling his daughter and a woman he used to know as hoes. The conversation quickly devolved from there, with four-letter words flying around and people talking over each other. One woman in the group accused the men on hand of backing Hart to get his “validation” with disregard for the other women in the space. Another participant decried the conversation turning into a “man vs. woman thing.”

Hart attempted to cool everyone’s jets. “Ask yourself one question: Why is this turning to this?” he said. “Guys, we were in a great vibe. We were in a great space. Don’t let it turn left.” None the less, the angry vibe prevailed.

Hart later posted a video on Instagram with one very strong message: “Stop it.”

“Stop with the false narrative,” he said. “It’s a false narrative that’s being created. If you were in the Clubhouse and part of the conversation, this wasn’t about Black women, it wasn’t about me goin’ against Black… stop.”

He joked, “I called three former hoes that I know and asked them, ‘Is this hoe-like activity?’ We had a conversation about it. A good back and forth.”

Getting serious, he explained why he popped up in the Clubhouse chat in the first place.

“Understand, guys, there is no other way to market or promote because we’re in a pandemic. I can’t go and do the talk shows that I once did, or go out and do the public stunts. I have no other way to market and promote except to go viral. I have to create conversations, generate back and forth,” he said. “It’s common sense here, guys. Marketing. Promotion. That’s why I was in Clubhouse.”

You can watch his Instagram message below, and below that, a clip from his Netlfix special, “No F***s Given.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kevin Hart (@kevinhart4real)

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Peacock Apologizes for Selena Gomez ‘Saved by the Bell’ Jokes, Donates to Her Lupus Charity

Peacock has apologized for a “Saved by the Bell” episode that used Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant for a few jokes and is putting its money where its mouth is.

A spokesperson for NBC’s streaming platform told TheWrap Saturday, “We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena’s health.  We have been in touch with her team and will be making a donation to her charity, The Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC.”

There was an outcry on social media Saturday, as fans of the actress and singer demanded an apology or for the episode to be removed from the platform. They sent “RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ” trending on Twitter for hours.

In the season’s sixth episode, the Bayside High teens have their phones taken away and the school devolves into chaos as students say out loud the kind of pop-culture commentary they would reserve for social media, among other things. During the scene in question, two teens argue in the hallway about who donated a kidney to Gomez in 2017 after she had been diagnosed with lupus years earlier. (In reality, the donor was her friend Francia Raisa.) In the clip, the two characters bicker, with one insisting it was the mother of her ex-boyfriend, Justin Bieber, while another said it was her former best friend, Demi Lovato.

Graffiti is seen in another part of the video asking, “Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?”

We would love if you take out the episode with those things wrote on wall. When someone does a joke with a person with Lupus, it’s disrespecting all people that fighting daily for survive, with problems on immune system, kidneys, skin…” one tweet directed at Peacock says.

Fans also shared photos of the star recovering in the hospital and clips from an interview Gomez did with NBC News’ own Savannah Guthrie. In the interview, done alongside Raisa, Gomez says as she fights tears, “I just really hope that we can help somebody. I really do. I don’t think what we went through was easy. I don’t think it was fun. I hope that this inspires people to feel good, to know that there is really good people in the world.”

The reboot premiered on Thanksgiving.

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Glenn Close Says Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Shakespeare in Love’ Oscar Win ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’

Glenn Close said this week that Gwyneth Paltrow’s 1998 “Best Actress” Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love” just “doesn’t make sense.”

Close was on ABC News’ “Popcorn with Peter Travers” to promote her new Netflix film, “Hillbilly Elegy,” when she shared her distaste for awards on the grounds that she can’t justify comparing artists’ works.

“I’ve never understood how you could honestly compare performances. I remember the year Gwyneth Paltrow won over that incredible actress who was in ‘Central Station,'” she said, referring to Fernanda Montenegro. Paltrow and Montenegro were also up against Cate Blanchett (for “Elizabeth”), Meryl Streep (for “One True Thing”) and Emily Watson (for “Hilary and Jackie”).

Close went on, “I thought, ‘What?’ It’s like, it doesn’t make sense, so I think who wins has a lot of things to do with how things have been, whether it has traction or whatever. Publicity, how much money did they have to put it out in front of everybody’s sight? So, you know, I have to be philosophical about it.”

The “they” in question here is Harvey Weinstein’s production company, which was behind “Shakespeare in Love.” The film also won “Best Picture” at that year’s awards ceremony.

Close herself has been nominated for seven Oscars, giving her the title of the most-nominated actress without a single win. Travers brought up the industry surprise at her failure to net a win so far, calling her “gracious” about the whole thing.

He asked, “How do you handle things like that?” The conversation led to her sharing her thoughts, including her conviction that even to be nominated by her peers is “as good as it gets.”

Watch the interview above, via ABC News.

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Selena Gomez Fans Furious Over ‘Saved by the Bell’ Joke About Her Kidney Transplant

Selena Gomez’s fans came out in full force against the “Saved by the Bell” reboot Saturday after a joke was made in an episode about the singer’s kidney transplant.

“RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ” trended and generated almost 150,000 tweets on Twitter by the afternoon, as fans shared their outrage over the quips. Many of them called on Peacock, the NBC streaming service airing the reboot, to apologize or remove the episode.

On the show, two teens argue in the Bayside High School hallway about who donated a kidney to Gomez in 2017 after she had been diagnosed with lupus years earlier. (In reality, the donor was her friend Francia Raisa.) In the clip, the two characters bicker, with one insisting it was the mother of her ex-boyfriend, Justin Bieber, while another said it was her former best friend, Demi Lovato.

Graffiti is seen in another part of the video asking, “Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?”

We would love if you take out the episode with those things wrote on wall. When someone does a joke with a person with Lupus, it’s disrespecting all people that fighting daily for survive, with problems on immune system, kidneys, skin…” one tweet directed at Peacock says.

Another wrote: “selena suffered so much from lupus. she thought she will die in the surgery and even said goodbye to us. also she was really dying. her surgery was so critical. how can you be so cruel? RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ.”

And the fury continued:

selena's surgery lasted 9 hours due to complications, she broke an artery and they had to use a vein from her leg to build a new one to keep the kidney in place, she almost lost her life and people to this day still want to use this as a joke?


— blanca (@selsweeknd) November 28, 2020

Fans also shared photos of the star recovering in the hospital and clips from an interview Gomez did with NBC News’ own Savannah Guthrie. In the interview, done alongside Raisa, Gomez says as she fights tears, “I just really hope that we can help somebody. I really do. I don’t think what we went through was easy. I don’t think it was fun. I hope that this inspires people to feel good, to know that there is really good people in the world.”

A representative for the streaming service did not immediately return a request for comment.

The reboot premiered on Thanksgiving.

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Did ‘The Mandalorian’ Just Ruin Baby Yoda?

(Spoilers ahead for the “Chapter 13” episode of the Disney+ “Star Wars” series, “The Mandalorian”)

I’m gonna be totally honest here. I never really wondered what Baby Yoda’s real name was. It’s almost as though “Baby Yoda” was his real name. It was cute enough that it seemed fitting, and unless his name was gonna be Yoda Jr it didn’t seem like it would be a big deal. And it wasn’t! We learned his name this week, and that name is totally incidental. Except for the fact that the name is disgusting to both hear and say and doesn’t fit the mood at all. Grogu. Ugh.

The “Star Wars” nerds seem to have liked this episode overall, given Rosario Dawson’s first appearance as Ahsoka Tano and all the other references — and implied references — to the “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” shows. But I have a hard time even thinking about all that stuff right now as I try to wrestle with Baby Yoda’s name actually, truly, for real being “Grogu.”

This revelation might have completely destroyed the appeal of Baby Yoda for me. This season had already been unkind to Baby Yoda. He’s barely been present in most of the episodes — Mando literally dropped him off at school for an entire episode since he’s almost never actually helpful in any way, and when he has been around, he just does stuff like eat that frog lady’s eggs.

And now we have to deal with the fact that he has a decidedly uncute name that’s just so unpleasant to say. Grogu. Disgusting.

It’s going to be pretty hard to look at Baby Yoda the same after this, especially if all the characters are just going to constantly refer to him as Grogu now. Every time Ahsoka or Mando called him that this week, I couldn’t help but shutter and say the name in exasperation. Grogu. Ugh.

Giving Baby Yoda that name is as severe a crime against “Star Wars” as anything that happened in “The Rise of Skywalker,” which has been reviled by fans and received the worst critical reception of the entire movie franchise. It’s the kind of thing that retroactively makes the whole show worse. If I were to watch “The Mandalorian” from the beginning, I think I’d enjoy Baby Yoda less just knowing that Grogu is a thing.

It’s just astonishing, honestly. That name isn’t cute. It doesn’t sound good when anyone says it. It’s often felt to me like actors on “The Mandalorian” struggle to convincingly to say some of the goofier “Star Wars” terms — and now they’re being saddled with a word that no one could sell.

Maybe Grogu wouldn’t be so upsetting if we’d known about it from the start. If they’d introduced that word at the beginning, before Baby Yoda became such a thing — remember, he didn’t show up until the very end of the first episode — I would feel differently. If Mando had been told he had to find an alien named Grogu at the start of his mission, it would have been funny to learn that such a gross name belonged to such a precious little fella.

But that’s not how it went. And now we’re stuck with a name that I think will change my entire perception of Baby Yoda. Every time somebody calls him Grogu I’m gonna cringe. It’s just that bad.

We’ve been through so much in 2020 with the pandemic and a remarkably intense presidential election cycle. And now we have to deal with Grogu too.

Angelina Jolie Showered With Support After ‘Bats– Dad’ Jon Voight Posts Another Pro-Trump Video

Note to Angelina Jolie: Do you feel the Twitter love?

The Oscar-winning superstar was pulled into the social media whirlpool that was rolling their eyes at her dad, Jon Voight, who posted another of his videos in support of President Donald Trump. But while Twitter users were calling Voight a “totally bats— dad,” they were offering Jolie sympathy for sharing DNA with the outspoken POTUS fan.

“Every time Jon Voight goes on tv to tell us again that America needs Trump, I recall that he once went on tv to tell us his daughter Angelina Jolie was crazy, & the media treated it as fact,” one person wrote. “It must suck hard when the world thinks you’re nuts bc your totally bats— dad said so.”

In addition to being one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, Jolie’s humanitarian work has led to her being named a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and made an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St George.

Investigative journalist Victoria Brownworth was among those who noted Jolie’s contributions and compared them to her father’s: “Every time Jon Voight turns up to say something embarrassing and fascistic, it reminds everyone of why his daughter, Angelina Jolie, is estranged from him and has dedicated herself to humanitarian causes for women and children.”

Another said, “Every time I see Jon Voight I can’t help but wonder what miracle allowed him be the father to Angelina Jolie. I wonder if they’ve done a DNA test. I’m not buying it.”

“Angelina Jolie deserved far better for a father than Jon Voight. Jon Voight never deserved a beautiful soul like her as his daughter. Angelina is on the right side of history…Jon is on the wrong side forever,” Chrissi Nielsen said.

Alexander McKinley noted the public estrangement of the famous father/daughter: “Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight are trending right next to each other. I think that’s the closest they’ve been in years.”

In a video posted Tuesday, Voight said, “We’re heading down a street that has no name now. We must not allow our nation to crumble. This is what they want: To destroy America. Let me warn you all that we are in great danger if we fall under a Biden administration.”

He went on to claim California is “ruled by a leftist mob” and call Gov. Gavin Newsom and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi each a “disgrace to mankind.” He urged Trump’s supporters to “fight this evil now,” but insisted that while his peers have said he is advocating violence, it is his opinion that, in fact, they are the ones advocating violence.

America @realDonaldTrump

— Jon Voight (@jonvoight) November 25, 2020

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Is There a New ‘SNL’ Episode Airing This Week?

“SNL” is back, now in its 46th season. The most recent new episode, which aired on November 7, was hosted by Dave Chappelle, with the Foo Fighters as the musical guest. The cold open saw Jim Carrey and Maya Rudolph take the stage as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, respectively, to gloat about Biden’s decisive election victory over Donald Trump. And yeah, Alec Baldwin showed up as Trump to play piano and sing a very sad version of “Macho Man” by the Village People.

Along with Jim Carrey joining up to play Joe Biden, Alec Baldwin is once again playing Donald Trump in season 46 of “SNL.” This is the fifth season in which Baldwin will play Trump. In season 45 he made eight total appearances across the 18 episodes of the shortened season — including in two of the three quarantine episodes.

Even with it looking like Trump is on the way out we probably shouldn’t expect Baldwin to go away completely just yet — since Trump isn’t actually leaving office until January, and he’s continuing to protest his own election failure in the meantime.

And the good news for those who have enjoyed Carrey as Biden is, well, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of him over the next four years.

And the same goes for Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris this season. The former “SNL” cast member should be around a lot this year, and I think that’s something just about everybody who watches the sketch show can get behind.

This week, on Saturday, Nov. 28, there WILL NOT be a new episode of “SNL.” The show started season 46 with six straight new episodes, and now it’s time for a few weeks of break.

It’s actually extremely rare for us to get more than three “SNL” episodes in a row without any breaks, but the election was obviously a special circumstance. But the show will return on December 5, when it’ll be hosted by Jason Bateman.

There are, as is usual for off weeks, two reruns on Saturday night. The first, at 10 p.m., is the season 22 episode that was hosted by Phil Hartman, with Bush as the musical guest. Then, as is standard, there’s be a rerun from this current season at 11:30 — this time it’s the episode hosted by Issa Rae, in which Justin Bieber served as the musical guest.

You can be pretty sure this season of “SNL” be very political for the full stretch. This is an election year, and an impossibly hectic one at that, so it’s been hard for any of us to think about anything other than politics. And, well, not many folks are really expecting things to calm down all that much even now that we’re past Election Day.

The premiere episode came out hard with political commentary, with the debate cold open, a very political monologue from Chris Rock, and a stunned discussion of Trump’s COVID-19 infection from Michael Che on Weekend Update.

And “SNL” hasn’t slowed down with its political content, with each cold open in season 46 being about the election. After that debate sketch in the premiere, we got two other debate sketches, one for the VP candidates and one other for the presidential candidates, as well as one about the dueling town halls from when Trump was infected with COVID-19 and refused to submit to safety measures.

“SNL” tried to drift away from that political focus during season 44, but certainly didn’t shy away from politics in season 45 — a season in which the actual Elizabeth Warren popped up to play herself in a sketch.

The renewed focus on politics in season 45 was not just about mocking Trump, but also lampooning the circus that was the run up to the Democratic primaries. Not that the sketch show has in any way shied away from mocking Trump. The impeachment has certainly been a common topic for cold open sketches this season.

There was the one where Baldwin’s Trump went through his contacts list trying to find a fixer who could make the impeachment stop, ending with a call to Liev Schreiber playing himself — Trump thought his character Ray Donovan, a fixer on the eponymous Showtime series, was actually a real person.

There was also that one where “SNL” sent up the impeachment hearings by doing a “Days of Our Lives” parody that starred Jon Hamm.

As for the madness with the Democratic primary, we had numerous big cameos in the debate sketches in season 45. The show tried out multiple different Joe Bidens last year, with Woody Harrelson taking up the role a couple times and Jason Sudeikis giving it a shot as well.

They also brought in many other celebs to play other candidates in the Dem primary, including Lin-Manuel Miranda as Julian Castro, Larry David as Bernie Sanders, Rachel Dratch as Amy Klobuchar, Fred Armisen as Michael Bloomberg, and Will Ferrell as Tom Steyer. Maya Rudolph also played Kamala Harris a few times, and it was only natural that they’d keep her around for season 46.

That’s a lot of cameos, and “SNL” actually managed to jam nearly all of those folks into a single sketch — a 12-minute debate parody from a late November episode. Miranda did not appear in that one, but he had previously popped up as Castro in October in a parody of the Democrats’ LGBTQ town hall that was moderated by Billy Porter in character as himself.

Tony Hsieh, Former Zappos CEO, Dies at 46

Tony Hsieh, the entrepreneur who led the online shoe retailer Zappos for more two decades, died Friday at age 46, the company announced.

Puoy Premsrirut, a lawyer for Hsieh, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Hsieh died “due to complications from injuries sustained in a house fire” in Connecticut.

Hsieh joined the Las Vegas-based startup Zappos — then known as — in 1999 and helped grow it into an online retail giant. In 2009, Amazon acquired the company for $1.2 billion. Hsieh remained as CEO until his retirement in August of this year.

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Hsieh graduated from Harvard University before embarking on a successful career as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and civic leader.

Prior to joining Zappos, Hsieh co-founded the online advertising network LinkExchange, which he sold to Microsoft in 1998 for $265 million.

While at Zappos, he also became a leading figure in public and private efforts to redevelop downtown Las Vegas. In 2013, he moved Zappos’ headquarters to the former Las Vegas City Hall building and pledged $350 million to other revitalization efforts.

“Tony Hsieh played a pivotal role in helping transform Downtown Las Vegas,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted. “Kathy and I send our love and condolences to Tony’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Other tributes soon poured in for Hsieh.

“Tony Hsieh might be the most original thinker I’ve ever been friends with,” entrepreneur and venture capitalist Chris Sacca tweeted. “He questioned every assumption and shared everything he learned along the way. He genuinely delighted in making anyone and everyone happy.”

Andrew Yang, the internet entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate, also offered his condolences: “I am stunned. Tony Hsieh touched so many lives and inspired so many entrepreneurs. His impact and legacy will go on and on.”

Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk added, “Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone.”

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Is There a New ‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’ Airing This Week?

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, John Oliver has been broadcasting his weekly “Last Week Tonight” from home in a white-backgrounded “blank void” that looks very different from his usual New York City studio.

Now in its sixth season, the HBO show picked up four Primetime Emmy Awards this year, including for Outstanding Variety Talk Series for the fifth straight year. And the former “Daily Show” regular has spent much of the year chronicling not only the pandemic but also the presidential election.

In the Nov. 15 episode, Oliver focused primarily on President Trump’s continued refusal to concede the election to Joe Biden despite the certification of vote tallies in multiples states that gave the Democrat the clear victory both in the popular vote and in the electoral college.

And since it was the show’s season finale — not only is there no new episode this week but the show won’t return until February 2021 — Oliver also took the opportunity to recap some of his personal highlights from the momentous year of 2020.

“We sponsored a marble league, we made stamps to help the Postal Service, we tracked down this magnificent piece of rat erotica,” he began. “I got into a fight with Danbury, Connecticut, which resulted in them naming a sewage plant after me.”

He also recapped his yearlong taunting of Oscar-nominated actor Adam Driver, who gamely called in to inquire about “this strange, strange bit that you’ve somehow pulled me into” and then dragged Oliver into offering a very begrudging apology.

Oliver closed the season finale with a more spectacular bit, getting up from his seat in the “blank void” to reveal a giant stage-set in some remote ravine-like location. As he walked toward the camera and away from the set, we saw that it was in fact shaped like a giant 2020 sign — which he promptly blew up in a fireball.

“Let tomorrow be about solutions,” Oliver said to close the show, and the season, and the year. “Today is about vengeance. F— you, 2020. Get f—ed.”

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Sarah Cooper Mentors Trump Lawyer Jenna Ellis in Latest Parody Video

Sarah Cooper is finding new ways to mock Donald Trump, once again ditching her lip-sync routine and this time pretending to be the woman who mentored one of his campaign attorneys, Jenna Ellis.

A recent addition to Trump’s team, Ellis was with Rudy Giuliani during his press conference last week where he quoted “My Cousin Vinny” in an attempt to somehow prove voter fraud in this month’s election. Ellis herself was mocked this week on Twitter for attributing a quote about liberals to Teddy Roosevelt even though she later admitted “there isn’t a specific record of him saying this in a speech.”

In her new video, Cooper gave herself a fake name and explained, “I thought I’d just make this video and kind of teach yous what I taught her. ‘Cause, you know, there’s a bit of different philosophies with law, when it comes to law, and I have a different philosophy is what I taught her.”

Cooper continued, “Like, for example, with the evidence — some people say, ‘Show your evidence.’ I say, ‘Don’t show your evidence.’ Keep that to yourself. That’s for you. That’s so you know you have a case, you don’t need to prove it to anyone else. OK? That’s for you. All you have to do is get some like looseleaf printer paper, and get some binders, then just like hold that up and say, ‘Affidavits. Signed affidavits.’ And that’s as good as gold.”

In a second video, Cooper continued, “The other thing I always like to say is, ‘Don’t use spellcheck.’ Because those squiggly lines, they’re just jitter and they just distract you. So just turn the spellcheck off … And then it’ll be good because when you file your documents, and you have spelling errors, they’ll think that maybe you’re very busy. And they’ll put you to the head of the line.”

I’m the law mentor of Jenna Ellis esquires

— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) November 28, 2020

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‘Utopia’ Canceled by Amazon After 1 Season

“Utopia” is done at Amazon after only one season, an individual with knowledge told TheWrap.

The drama was from “Gone Girl” and “Sharp Objects” author Gillian Flynn, and starred John Cusack and Rainn Wilson.

“Utopia” follows “a group of comic fans who meet online and bond over their obsession of a seemingly fictional comic called ‘Utopia,'” per Amazon. “Together, Becky (Ashleigh LaThrop), Ian (Dan Byrd), Samantha (Jessica Rothe), Wilson (Desmin Borges) and Grant (Javon “Wanna” Walton) unearth hidden meanings cloaked within the pages of ‘Utopia,’ predicting threats to humanity. They realize these are not just the makings of a conspiracy; they are very real dangers coming alive right now in their world. The group embarks on a high-stakes adventure, bringing them face-to-face with the comic’s famed central character, Jessica Hyde (Sasha Lane), who joins them on their mission to save the world while harboring secrets of her own.”

“Utopia” premiered its one and only season in September.

Flynn previously told TheWrap about her plans for a potential second season, saying she “always intended for there to be a Season 2” of her adaptation of Dennis Kelly’s British TV series of the same name. That will, of course, no longer be the case.

The “Utopia” news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

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SantaCon NYC Canceled This Year: ‘All of the Reindeer Got the ‘Rona’

SantaCon NYC — the polarizing annual pub crawl for charity where everyone dresses like Santa Claus — has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“All of the reindeer got the ‘rona, so the elves have advised Santa to hold off on the in-person merriment,” a message on the event’s official site read. “There is no SantaCon NYC this year.”

On Twitter, the event encouraged people to still give to charity, writing, “You may have heard, Santa’s Ho Ho Hos will NOT be making an appearance for SantaConNYC 2020. Plz keep the magic alive in your hearts & homes til we can safely & merrily gather again. You can still dress up, give to CHARITY & play reindeer games at home!”

The yearly event is a divisive one for the residents of New York City. Either you love dressing up as Saint Nick and getting wasted in public … or you hate being surrounded by drunk idiots. There’s really no middle ground.

Comedian David Alan Grier is apparently part of the latter group, tweeting after hearing the news, “Thank you Jesus, THANK YOU LORD!!!!! New York City SantaCon canceled due to coronavirus pandemic.”

Josh Crutchmer, an editor at the New York Times, wondered, “What is the highest office you could attain running solely on banning santacon? at a minimum you could land a council seat. mayor might be in play.”

And journalist Erin Biba echoed that sentiment by writing, “WE GOT RID OF TRUMP AND SANTACON THINGS ARE LOOKING UP FOR US AMERICA.”

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Jake Paul Denies Calling COVID ‘a Hoax’ — So Reporter Produces the Receipts

YouTube star Jake Paul has claimed he was misquoted when saying COVID-19 is a “hoax” during a recent interview with The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern. But on Friday, Stern dropped the receipts that prove otherwise.

Paul, who is certainly no stranger to inciting controversy, made the claims against Stern on Friday in a separate interview with The Verge, in which he was asked about his prior comments on the pandemic.

“So this guy, this reporter, he misquoted me. He took what I said out of context, and I told him that. I told him that the whole entire time,” Paul said. “COVID is very, very real. COVID is very real, like, it’s killed so many people. It’s killed people I know. It’s killed someone very, very close to me. So that’s what I’m saying. I don’t even know where that came from.”

Shortly after the Verge interview ran, Stern — a senior entertainment editor at The Daily Beast — posted the entire audio file of his conversation with Paul on Soundcloud, which you can listen to here.

Here's the audio of @JakePaul telling me COVID is "a hoax," that America should open back up, and comparing it to the flu:

— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) November 27, 2020

In his interview with Stern, Paul called the COVID-19 pandemic a “controversial subject” and said he believes the country needs to “open up and go back to normal.” When pressed if he really believed it was time to move away from lockdowns, the 23-year-old said he was “100%” certain, before expanding on his stance.

“There are people losing jobs, there are small businesses who are going bankrupt, there are millions of people who are unemployed right now, people are turning to alcohol and drugs to cope with everything that’s going on. This is the most detrimental thing to our society,” Paul said. “COVID cases are at less than 1%, and I think the disease is a hoax.”

Paul continued, “You know, 98% of news is fake, so how do we know what’s actually real, and what we’re actually supposed to do?”

Jake Paul, who rose to fame on YouTube, has more than 20 million subscribers on his channel.

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LA County Implements ‘Targeted’ Safer-at-Home Order Amid COVID Surge

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, Los Angeles County is putting into effect a new “targeted” safer-at-home order that will go into effect on Monday.

The new order, which is significantly less restrictive than earlier lockdowns in the spring, will last for three weeks through Dec. 20. L.A. County reported 4,544 new cases and 24 deaths on Friday, bringing the 7-day average to 4,751.

The order mostly bans all gatherings, either inside or outside, of people outside ones’ household and implements new capacity restrictions in an attempt to allow some businesses to stay open. There are exceptions for church services and protests, both of which are constitutionally protected rights. The move follows the earlier closure of all restaurants, breweries and wineries for dine-in service last week.

“To those who recently lost loved ones from COVID-19, we send you wishes for healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health. “With the recent surge of COVID-19 across our community, we must take additional safety measures to reduce the risk of illness and death from this terrible virus and protect our healthcare system. These targeted measures are in effect for the next three weeks and still allow for many essential and non-essential activities where residents are always masked and distanced.

Here is brief rundown of the new restrictions:

Gatherings: All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for church services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.

Occupancy limits at various businesses; all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance:

Outdoor recreation activities all which require face coverings (except for swimming) and distancing:


Closed non-essential businesses/activities:

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Johnny Depp Commercial During UK’s ‘Great British Bake Off’ Finale Draws Complaints

Fans of the hit U.K. show “The Great British Bake Off” were surprised during this week’s finale to see a cologne commercial featuring Johnny Depp, just weeks after he lost a libel case in which a judge ruled that “wife beater” accusations by his ex, Amber Heard, were “substantially true.”

“We have received a total of 11 complaints about this ad,” a spokesperson for the Advertising Standards Authority told The Guardian, “with the complainants believing that Johnny Depp shouldn’t be in the ad due to details concerning his recent court case.”

Depp has been the face of Sauvage, a fragrance from Dior, since 2015.

While some may have complained, Depp isn’t without his share of loyal fans — many of whom have voiced their support for the former “Fantastic Beasts” star, especially when it comes to the Dior commercial.

“The fact that the Johnny Depp Sauvage ad is still being played makes me so happy,” one fan wrote. Another added, “Well done @Dior for not dropping Johnny Depp for your #Sauvage scent. About time he got some kind of public support.”

Another summed it up directly by tweeting: “The way to support Johnny Depp is to keep streaming, buying his movies. Also buy SAUVAGE & keep it best seller. #JusticeForJohnnyDepp.”

A judge ruled against Depp back on Nov. 2, and earlier this week, the actor was hit with another loss when he was ordered to pay $845,450 in legal costs to The Sun.

Depp had sued The Sun for libel over an August 2018 story that called the star a “wife-beater” in his relationship with now ex-wife Amber Heard. Earlier this month, Justice Andrew Nicol said that News Group Newspapers and Sun executive editor Dan Wootton had proved that the tabloid’s story was “substantially true.” His ruling concluded, “I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard.”

Following the judge’s decision, Depp was forced to quit Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts 3.” Mads Mikkelsen has been announced as his replacement.

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How ‘The Mandalorian’ Brought the ‘Star Wars’ Extended Universe to Life

“The Mandalorian” gave die-hard “Star Wars” fans across galaxies both near and far, far away a Black Friday present: Rosario Dawson’s debut as the dual lightsaber-wielding Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano. But more casual viewers were probably left asking, “Who?”

Tano isn’t the only one who had hardcore fans celebrating and everyone else scratching their heads. The second season of Jon Favreau’s Disney+ series has featured several nods and appearances to characters who are part of the vast “Expanded Universe” of “Star Wars” tie-in novels and TV series.

And that’s why we’re here: to give you a rundown of who’s who, their place within the “Star Wars” galaxy and why they’re important. It goes without saying, but if you haven’t seen the latest “Mandalorian” episode (or any of them), steer clear of the spoilers below.

For starters, we’ll give you a brief explainer of just what the “Expanded Universe” is. In short, it’s a series of tie-in novels and TV series that, yes, expand the world of “Star Wars” past the Skywalker family, the Empire, the Jedi and the Sith.

After Disney bought LucasFilm in 2012, they rebranded the Expanded Universe as “Star Wars Legends” and declared they were non-canon. Only the films and the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” — Disney revived the Cartoon Network series for a final season on Disney+ earlier this year — and “Star Wars Rebels” (which debuted after Disney’s purchase) are considered canon. However, new stories like “The Mandalorian” are clearly drawing from “Star Wars Legends” material.

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson)

After being name-dropped in an earlier episode, Dawson made her debut as Ahsoka Tano in the opening minutes of Friday’s episode, aptly titled “The Jedi.”

She’s arguably the most famous Jedi Knight you’ve never heard of. Tano first appeared in the 2013 animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” film and the TV series that followed. She was the Padawan of none other than Anakin Skywalker, and fought by his and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s sides during the Clone Wars, which took place between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” She also had own self-titled novel.

Tano and Anakin developed a close father-daughter relationship — which made it all the more heartbreaking when Anakin turned to the Dark Side, sending Tano into hiding while the rest of the Jedi Knights were slaughtered in “Revenge of the Sith” (the infamous Order 66). She reappeared in another animated series, “Star Wars Rebels,” which took place in the years between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope.”

Ahsoka Tano was believed to have died in “Rebels,” though Dave Filoni, who created both “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” and serves as an executive producer on “The Mandalorian,” said her fate was purposely left ambiguous. Her voice was briefly heard by Rey in “Rise of Skywalker” as part of a group of dead Jedi, including Luke and Obi-Wan, who helped Rey defeat Emperor Palpatine. Ashley Eckstein voiced the character in all her prior appearances.

Bo-Katan (Katee Sackoff)

Like Ahsoka Tano, Bo-Katan was a key player in both “Clone Wars” and “Rebels.”

Her full name is Bo-Katan Kryze and, like Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal’s title character), she’s a Mandalorian. Unlike Djarin, however, she’s totally cool with taking her helmet off. She was the leader of the Nite Owls, a Mandalorian group of elite female fighters, and later joined the Death Watch, a terrorist splinter group of Mandalorian warriors.

Bo-Katan is best known for her battles against Darth Maul (who was revived after he died in “A Phantom Menace”) to rid her home planet of Mandalore against the Empire’s occupation. She is also a major ally of Tano’s, and is the one who told Djarin to take The Child (Baby Yoda, er… Grogu) to her. Bo-Katan was assumed dead at the end of “Star Wars: Rebels” when she lost the Darksaber that’s now in the hands of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito).

For Sackoff, this one was doubly special: She also lent her voice to Bo-Katan in both earlier series.

Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant)

This one is more of a deep cut, as Vanth had never before appeared on screen. A minor character, Cobb Vanth was introduced in Chuck Wendig’s novel series “Star Wars: Aftermath,” which takes place in the years following “Return of the Jedi.” Vanth becomes the Marshall of Freetown on Tatoonie and sports the armor of Boba Fett.  Throughout the three novels, Vanth battles the Tusken Raiders and a krayt dragon, which he finally vanquishes with help from Djarin in “The Mandalorian” Season 2 premiere, in exchange for his Boba Fett armor.

Bonus: Grand Admiral Thrawn

We’re cheating a bit here since Thrawn hasn’t actually showed up yet, but he was name-dropped by Tano in Friday’s episode, teasing his eventual live-action debut. Thrawn was first introduced in the 1991 novel “Heir to the Empire” and took over the Empire’s forces in the years after their defeat in “Return of the Jedi.” He also faces off against Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo and the other main heroes in his own self-titled novel trilogy. He’s later thought to be defeated after his appearance in “Star Wars Rebels,” though “The Mandalorian” hints that’s not the case.

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Nexstar Warns of Dish Network Blackout as Contract Deadline Approaches

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Nexstar Warns of Dish Network Blackout as Contract Deadline Approaches

A contract deadline between Dish Network and Nexstar Media Group is approaching this Wednesday, and Nexstar is warning that millions of subscribers could lose access to programming including NFL games and local news if a deal is not met.

Nexstar is the owner of cable network WGN America along with dozens of local TV networks and also is a major broadcasting partner for CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox. The company is negotiating with Dish over a new contract to replace the one signed in 2016.

“Since July, Nexstar has been negotiating tirelessly and in good faith in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable multi-year contract with Dish, offering Dish the same fair market rates it offered to other large distribution partners with whom it completed successful negotiations in 2019 and 2020,” Nexstar said in a news release today.

“Despite generating nearly $11 billion in revenue during the first nine months of this year and completing a billion-plus dollar acquisition of a wireless company, Dish has proposed rates that go significantly backwards and, in addition to risking the removal of Nexstar’s local broadcast stations, is threatening to also drop Nexstar’s cable network, WGN America, from its system.”

Dish has been known for tough negotiations with networks over carriage deals, dropping HBO and networks owned by Sinclair after stalled negotiations with those companies while other networks like Univision were reinstated after months of holdouts. Dish says that Nexstar is  “trying to strong-arm companies like Dish to pay outrageous rates and force unprecedented increases onto customers” and “trying to use its market power to demand unreasonable rate increases while intentionally using millions of Americans as pawns in their negotiations.”

The deadline for a new contract is 8 PM ET on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

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9 Christmas Horror Movies That Scared Up Box Office, From ‘Gremlins’ to ‘Black Christmas’ (Photos)

TheWrap looks at the 6 top-grossing holiday shock-fests

8. Silent Night (2012)
Opening: $9,779
Cumulative: $14,567

Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King and Donal Logue star in the film about a murderous Santa who picks off people one by one.

7. Better Watch Out (2016) 

Opening: $12,569
Cumulative: $20,369

Olivia DeJonge plays a babysitter who must protect a 12-year-old boy after a home invasion while his parents are out at a holiday party.

6. “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” (2010)
Opening: $9,281
Cumulative: $236,347

The film follows a group of people living near the Korvatunturi mountain who discover the secret behind Santa Claus.

5. “Anna and the Apocalypse” (2018)

Opening: $52,588
Cumulative: $493,877 (as of Dec. 20, 2018)

In this comedic musical with grossout touches, a teenager and her friends ward off the zombie apocalypse when it comes at Christmas-time.

“Silent Night, Deadly Night” (1984)
Opening: $1.4 million
Cumulative: $2.5 million

4. “Black Christmas” (2019) 

Opening: $4.2 million
Cumulative: $7.2 million (as of Dec. 22, 2019)

A second remake of a 1974 Canadian film, starring Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue and Brittany O’Grady, this slasher film about sorority sisters fighting off a stalker takes a stab at feminist themes.

In the slasher film, a young boy loses his parents and years later becomes a spree killer in a Santa costume.

3. “Black Christmas” (2006)
Opening: $3.7 million
Cumulative: $16.3 million

Michelle Trachtenberg, Lacey Chabert and Katie Cassidy star in the slasher film about sorority girls getting murdered one by one.

2. “Krampus” (2015)
Opening: $16.3 million
Cumulative: $42.7 million

A boy in a dysfunctional family turns his back on Christmas — and accidentally unleashes a demon force as a result.

1. “Gremlins” (1984)
Opening: $12.5 million
Cumulative: $148.2 million

The movie follows a young boy who breaks rules and unleashes a horde of mischievous monsters.

Yes, Kristen Stewart Watched ‘The Crown’ Before Playing Princess Diana in ‘Spencer’ (Video)

Kristen Stewart is gearing up to play Princess Diana in Pablo Larraín’s upcoming biopic “Spencer,” due to shoot early next year, and to prepare for the role she’s turned to another Di-heavy source of material for assistance: Netflix’s “The Crown.”

“I feel really lucky to have ‘The Crown’ because I’ve emotionally invested in people that to me feel — like, I know that they’re real people, and there’s ample material to reinforce that and sort of remind yourself of that — but now I feel this emotional attachment to these characters and I have this accompaniment that I can go to sleep with and feel like, ‘Oh, God, I already I already have feelings about these people,'” Stewart told TheWrap. “That speaks to the show’s credit.”

But while she’s a fan of the show, she’s also happy that it doesn’t overlap tonally or time-wise with her upcoming film.

“Spencer” will look at Princess Diana over the course of one of her final Christmas holidays with the House of Windsor in their legendary Sandringham estate. Steven Knight wrote the screenplay. The fourth season of Netflix’s “The Crown” introduces us to a young Diana Spencer, before she was the princess we all knew and loved, through her courtship with Prince Charles and the early years of their tumultuous marriage. “The Crown’s” depiction of Diana (played by Emma Corrin) also focuses heavily on her struggle with bulimia nervosa.

Season 4 of “The Crown” ends in 1990, while “Spencer” takes place in the early 1990s.

“Luckily, there’s no overlap time-wise, and also historically, and tonally, they’re very different, so I’m really cool with it,” she said. “There’s this idea that it could be horrible that we had like two of the same things at the same time. But they do feel so different.”

Stewart is getting ready to head to London for a late January production start, and is aware that the ever-changing landscape due to the coronavirus might impact production. However, she says she’s impatient to get started.

“Luckily, it’s such a contained movie that our quarantine is going to be really particular and we’re going to have a tiny little bubble,” she said. “I really hope that nothing gets in our way and messes that up because I’m very much raring to go on, like not in a bad way at all, but I’m like, ‘oh, man, I can’t wait another month!’ I really want to just eat that and have it off the plate. I’d really like that to be behind me, even though I can’t wait to see how it goes!”

Watch the video above.

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Crowd-Free Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Tops 20 Million Viewers

The 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a welcome — but atypical — sight. Though no crowd could be in attendance, 20.7 million TV viewers tuned in from 9 a.m. to noon, when it averaged a 5.3 rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen.

Those numbers made the Thanksgiving parade NBC’s highest-rated and most-watched entertainment broadcast of 2020.

The parade had 4.7 million YouTube streams, NBC said. An encore presentation of the parade got 3.5 million TV viewers and had a 0.9 rating in the key demo.

The year-ago 2019 parade, when people were still allowed to congregate in the New York City streets (and around Thanksgiving tables, for that matter) scored 22.11 million total viewers, the annual event’s smallest TV audience since 2008 (21.69 million viewers). This year’s eclipsed that mark (in the wrong direction).

See how the previous dozen Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades have fared here. In 2013, the parade topped 25 million viewers, the largest sum of this grouping.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a consistent and reliable ratings hit for NBC. The Manhattan march was last below 20 million total TV viewers back in 1996.

The 2020 National Dog Show followed Santa Claus’ parade arrival, and fetched 11.3 million total viewers to go along with its 3.4 demo rating from noon to 2 p.m. Good dogs.

While the parade and dog show both scored big audiences, NBC suffered a tough (ratings) break later on Thursday. Due to COVID-19 running rampant within the Baltimore Ravens organization, last night’s primetime NFL game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed until Sunday afternoon. It’s now been postponed again until Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That initial postponement off turkey day likely cost NBC 20 or so million viewers — at least, temporarily. Tuesday night should have a nice haul.

An encore of the National Dog Show in the football game’s place received a 0.6 rating and 3 million viewers last night. Happy (enough) Thanksgiving, NBC.

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Is There a New Episode of Bill Maher’s ‘Real Time’ Airing This Week?

After spending much of the year taping his weekly HBO show from his home due to the coronavirus, Bill Maher returned to his L.A.-based studio in September — though with a limited studio audience and live guests who were kept at least six feet apart from each other.

The comedian spent much of the fall railing against President Donald Trump — and touting his prescient predictions that the Republican would refuse to concede the election even if he lost (as he did, decisively) or voluntarily leave the White House.

In his Nov. 20 episode — his last new episode of 2020 — he touched on a related subject: What to do about Trump’s supporters who, for now, seem intractably unwilling to accept that Joe Biden defeated their candidate and will take office in January despite the Trump campaign’s many so-far-unsuccessful legal challenges.

In his “New Rules” segment, Maher suggested taking a page from the NXIVM cult scandal and the story of how actress Catherine Oxenberg managed to save her daughter, India, from it, and “‘hate the cult, love the cultist.'”

“She didn’t scream at her daughter that she was stupid. She didn’t cut her off. She just kept trying to remind her of who she used to be,” Maher said. “I think we need to try that on QAnon. You know, the ones who believe that rich liberals are running a massive pedophile ring and eat babies and in some cases are really lizard people wearing a human mask. And they were sure that Trump was going to win re-election.”

“Understand they have been through a traumatic event. Their savior, their strongest, smartest, manliest hunk of a leader who ever lived just got his ass kicked by the 2,000-year-old man. So don’t gloat, don’t even try to argue, because arguing with cult people only makes it worse,” Maher said. “If there’s hope, it’s not in any of the words that were communicated. It’s in here,” referring to her heart.

Maher signed off for the year with that truly heartfelt commentary — but promised to return in January. On January 17, in fact, just ahead of the swearing-in of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.

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Eric Clapton Sparks Backlash for New Anti-Lockdown Song With Van Morrison

In his ongoing musical protest against the closures forced by COVID-19, Van Morrison has employed the help of Eric Clapton with a new song aimed to raise funds to support musicians that are struggling financially because of the pandemic. But the song has prompted a backlash against the classic rock stars for their history of right-wing and sometimes racist comments.

Morrison’s new collaboration with Clapton, titled “Stand and Deliver,” is the fourth anti-lockdown song the star has released since the start of the pandemic, joining songs with more blunt titles like “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out” and “No More Lockdown,” which the artist says he created to protest closures ordered by the British government.

In their statement announcing the song, Morrison and Clapton kept their focus on supporting musicians and others in the live venue industry that have lost their livelihoods. All proceeds from the song will go to Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund.

“There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration,” Clapton said in a statement to Variety. “We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”

“Eric’s recording is fantastic and will clearly resonate with many who share our frustrations,” Morrison said in a statement via Save Live Music.

But news of the song was met with backlash on Twitter, with people accusing Clapton and Morrison of disregarding the deaths inflicted by the virus on poorer communities. Jeffrey St. Clair, editor for left-wing news and commentary site CounterPunch, said that news of the song “Confirms everything I’ve ever thought about Clapton, a musician who has spent his entire career appropriating black music and now records his first ‘protest’ song against meager restrictions to slow a disease that is ravaging black communities.”

“What the f–k is wrong with these rich assholes?” asked The Mountain Goats, the band behind the pandemic anthem “This Year.” “I ask this as a Van Morrison fan.”

And novelist Hari Kunzru brought up Clapton’s infamous racist tirade at a concert in 1976, in which he called non-white attendees various racial slurs and repeatedly shouted “Keep Britain White.”

“Last time Clapton weighed in on politics they had to start Rock Against Racism,” Kunzru tweeted, referring to the musician movement triggered in 1976 in part because of Clapton’s remarks. Clapton is the worst. He has always been the worst. He was even the worst member of Cream. Van Morrison is also the worst. Even when making Astral Weeks, a sublime record that still makes me cry, he was (I have reluctantly come to accept) the worst.”

In Britain, 57,551 deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic, and daily infections hit a new peak two weeks ago of over 33,000 new cases on November 12. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a three-tier reopening system would go into effect starting next week, and lockdown restrictions would be temporarily relaxed during the Christmas season.

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‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ – 15 Things That Still Bother Fans About Netflix Revival of CW Series (Photos)

It’s been four years since the “Gilmore Girls” revival dropped on Netflix, and it would be an understatement to say that not all fans were thrilled with what they saw when Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) reentered their lives almost a decade after the show ended.  With the four-part series’ broadcast debut on The CW earlier this week, TheWrap thought it was a good time to reflect on everything that bugged viewers about “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” in 2016. Enjoy reliving the madness that ensued when we got back to Stars Hollow.  But first, grab some Pop-Tarts and coffee, because you’re gonna need them to get through this list.  Actually, skip the coffee.  It will just get you more worked up.

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Courteney Cox Re-Creates Monica’s Iconic ‘Friends’ Thanksgiving Turkey Dance

Courteney Cox may be an unwitting Thanksgiving Day representative, but she’s owning her role nonetheless.

The actress gave “Friends” fans what they wanted and recreated one of Monica’s most iconic scenes: the one where Monica puts a raw turkey on her head and dances for Chandler.

Cox posted a silly video of the shimmy on Instagram, joking about how the Season 5 moment has been immortalized online as a gif — that apparently keeps sliding into her DMs.

“If I get one more goddamn gif with that turkey on my head…” the actress says in the clip.

Watch the video below or click here.

“Friends” ran from 1994 to 2004, airing holiday episodes that have become pop culture classics. A reunion special is set at HBO Max, but the pandemic has delayed the show’s filming and premiere.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Courteney Cox (@courteneycoxofficial)

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‘Tron: Legacy': Jeff Bridges Gets FX Update With Fan’s Deepfake (Video)

Next month marks the 10th anniversary of “Tron: Legacy,” the sequel to the groundbreaking 80s sci-fi film that also set a special effects milestone of its own with the early de-aging technology used on the film’s star, Jeff Bridges. A decade later, in an era of deepfakes and even more powerful CGI technology, one YouTuber has decided to update the film with today’s visual effects.

In the video posted by Youtuber Shamook, we see a scene featuring Clu, a program created by Jeff Bridges’ character and original “Tron” protagonist Kevin Flynn. Created to resemble Flynn’s younger self and to make Flynn’s virtual, The Grid, a more perfect world for both programs and users, Clu became corrupted by his quest for perfection and took over The Grid.

Clu was played by the then-60-year-old Bridges, with CGI technology used to de-age him down to his mid-30s. But critics were lukewarm on the results, with the phrase “uncanny valley” regularly being used to describe the character. Since then, films like “Captain Marvel” and “The Irishman” have pushed the boundaries of de-aging tech, while deepfakes have shown how easily one’s likeness can be imitated by a computer. Using a program called DeepFaceLabs, Shamook was able to make Clu look closer to 1982 Jeff Bridges than ever before.

“Tron: Legacy” is available to stream on Disney+. Watch the deepfake comparison in the clip above.

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'The Croods: A New Age' Takes In $2.7 Million on Pandemic-Stricken Thanksgiving

‘The Croods: A New Age’ Takes In $2.7 Million on Pandemic-Stricken Thanksgiving

While this Thanksgiving weekend continues to be the lowest in box office history thanks to the pandemic, Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods: A New Age” actually saw a small uptick on Thursday with $2.7 million grossed from 2,211 screens. When added to the film’s $1.85 million on Wednesday, the sequel’s total is now up to $4.6 million.

“Croods 2” is the first major studio film since “Tenet” to brave the pandemic box office and comes as hundreds of theaters have been forced to close again due to escalating infection rates. Still, Universal chose to press forward with releasing the film now rather than move it to 2021 thanks to its new deal with AMC, Cinemark and Cineplex that allows it to release “Croods 2” on PVOD after three weekends in theaters. While an exact home release date has not been set, the film is expected to hit PVOD in mid-December.

While “Croods 2” will provide a small degree of revenue for theaters that are still trying to fend off closures, this Thanksgiving weekend is a far cry from last year’s, which saw “Frozen II” top the charts with a $125 million 5-day total while newcomer “Knives Out” contributed $41 million. While a vaccine for COVID-19 is expected to be approved in the coming weeks, it will take months to administer it to the public, meaning that normal moviegoing won’t resume until Q2 of 2021 at the earliest.

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‘The Mandalorian’ Reveals Baby Yoda’s Name, Rosario Dawson Debuts as Ahsoka

WARNING: Contains major spoilers for episode 13 of “The Mandalorian.”

It’s safe to say that the post-Thanksgiving episode of “The Mandalorian” is the biggest one yet for the “Star Wars” series. Titled “The Jedi” and written and directed by “Clone Wars” creator Dave Filoni, the episode ties the Disney+ series into the larger Star Wars mythos by introducing one of the most popular characters ever to come from the series’ prequel era.

Oh, and Baby Yoda has a name now. His name is Grogu. Cute.

That big reveal comes when the Mandalorian and his little green charge arrive on the burnt-down planet Corvus and come face-to-face with “Clone Wars” heroine and Anakin Skywalker’s former padawan, Ahsoka Tano, played here by Rosario Dawson in the character’s live-action debut. Communicating through Force telepathy with the child, Ahsoka reveals Grogu’s name and origins.

It seems that Grogu was raised in the Jedi Temple of Coruscant, before Anakin killed all the younglings there and destroyed the place in “Revenge of the Sith.” Where he was after the rise of the Empire is still unknown. “Someone took him from the temple,” says Ahsoka, “then his memory becomes dark.”

When Mando asks Ahsoka to train the child, she refuses, saying that she sensed that Grogu has become quite attached to the bounty hunter since he rescued him from Evil Werner Herzog last season and that such attachment risks turning him into another Anakin. “I’ve seen what feelings do to a fully trained Jedi Knight,” she warns. “I will not start this child down this path; better to have his abilities fade.”

But after Ahsoka and Mandalorian team up to overthrown a corrupt magistrate on the planet, Ahsoka gives him another option: on the planet Tython, there is an abandoned Jedi Temple where Grogu can plug into the Force and find another Jedi that might be willing to train him. If he reaches out through the force, there’s a chance a Jedi may sense his presence and come searching for him. Then again, there aren’t many Jedi left,” she says.

As for Ahsoka, she has her own quest, and it too ties into her animated series past. During her fight with the magistrate, she demands the whereabouts of Grand Admiral Thrawn, the villain in the Filoni series “Star Wars Rebels” who was an ally to Darth Vader. It may be possible that Filoni and “Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau may bring Thrawn into the show as well as they continue to fill out the post-Empire galaxy that the Disney+ series is set in.

“The Mandalorian” is streaming now on Disney+, with the season finale set to air Dec. 18.

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‘Small Axe: Lovers Rock’ Review: Steve McQueen Would Like to Dance With You, in 1979

If you’ve seen “Hunger,” “Shame,” or his Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave,” you know that director Steve McQueen has a singular gift for plunging viewers into his characters’ central nervous systems, even when they’re undergoing sensations you’d just as soon avoid. With “Lovers Rock,” one of five segments in his upcoming miniseries “Small Axe,” that gift is used for delight. It’s a great kick-off for this year’s New York Film Festival, where “Lovers Rock” will be the opening-night film.

A “one wild night” movie akin to “Dazed and Confused” or “American Graffiti,” “Lovers Rock” takes us to a West Indian “Blues party” in 1979 London. As with any such gathering of young people to flirt, dance, and listen to music, there are friendships and rivalries, intra-community and intra-family squabbles and alliances, the promise of love and the threat of violence.

Specifically, for 2020 pandemic audiences, there is the sight of a room full of people gathering close together, which can be a little overwhelming for those of us who haven’t been in a similar situation for some time. But McQueen and co-writer Courttia Newland, working with a talented cast and crew, bring us in so close that we can smell the smoke and the sweat, and swoon over the sensuality of slow dancing.

Cinematographer Shabier Kirchner (“Skate Kitchen”) gets us so close to the action that we’re reminded of why students at Catholic high-school dances are always admonished to leave room for the Holy Spirit.

This is very much an ensemble piece, introducing us to various members of London’s West Indian community, but our protagonist is Martha (Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, whose character also turns up in another “Small Axe” chapter, “Mangrove”). Martha’s a church girl, but tonight she sneaks out with her friend Patty (Shaniqua Okwok) to go dancing and maybe meet some boys. Early on, the women at the party do all the dancing while the men hug the walls, but the DJ has a secret weapon to get everyone on the floor: Carl Douglas’ one-hit wonder “Kung Fu Fighting.”

Other songs play a key role here as well, whether it’s Martha beginning to respond to the attentions of Franklyn (Micheal Ward, who also returns in “Mangrove”) as they dance to Janet Kay’s “Silly Games” – the whole room gets so into it that even when the record ends, all the partiers sing a reprise so they can continue dancing – or the young men being energized into literal ecstatic dance by the Revolutionaries’ “Kunta Kinte.”

The artist’s eye for detail that McQueen has brought to his earlier, emotionally wrenching work remains spot-on here, from the making of curry in a tiny kitchen (presented in several phases) to a close-up of the wall itself sweating as the temperature of the dance area climbs. McQueen and Newland’s dialogue is light on exposition, and the mix of Jamaican patois and British working-class accents will no doubt make American viewers who are unfamiliar with either jump to the captioning option when “Small Axe” premieres on Amazon Prime.

But we don’t need clunky exposition to introduce us to a dozen or so principal characters when Gary Davy has cast such singularly memorable faces, and Lisa Duncan has designed such distinctive costumes.

I’m watching the episodes of “Small Axe” one at a time, so I don’t know yet what the cumulative effect of the miniseries will be nor how “Lovers Rock” fits into it. But it’s clear that filmmakers working in the streaming venue are being given freedoms that even the big screen can’t offer – “Lovers Rock” runs a brisk 70 minutes or so, while other chapters exceed two hours. The necessities of the theatrical marketplace would have forced McQueen to pump up “Lovers Rock” to at least 85 minutes, but it’s just fine the way it is. Streaming is great for audiences who want to dive into sizable epics like “War and Peace” or “Sátántangó” at their own pace, but it should also be a place where filmmakers can let their films organically run any length they choose.

“Lovers Rock” might be a small bite, but it’s a full meal.

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3 Series Each Broadcast Network Is Most Thankful for This (Weird) TV Season

Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for the blessings we have in our lives. Yes, even this year. And despite the troubles facing the broadcast networks in recent seasons — especially the current weird one — with eroding audiences and the rise in streaming giants, there are some bright spots on each network’s lineup: the entertainment series that likely got a mention in executives’ recitals of grace before (nuclear family) dinner yesterday.

Below are the three highest-rated primetime shows among adults 18-49 on each of the Big 4 free over-the-air channels. The numbers are from Nielsen’s “most current” ratings metric, and include a week’s worth of delayed viewing (mostly DVR catchup) where available. To avoid an anomaly sneaking in, we only included shows that have aired multiple episodes (so, at least two) so far this fall, which counts the eight weeks since Sept. 21.

We excluded sports programming here, as the NFL would have gobbled up the top few slots for NBC and Fox. We also excluded news, which includes live news like the presidential debates, as well as CBS’ highly rated “60 Minutes” newsmagazine show.

Note: We dragged them out to two decimal places to break potential ties.


  1. “Big Brother” (Thursday): 1.44
  2. “Big Brother” (Wednesday): 1.42
  3. “Big Brother” (Monday): 1.34

Notice a trend? “NCIS,” which premiered relatively late in the fall, would be among the CBS series to have something to say about this whole “most thankful for” thing. Be cool, “Young Sheldon” & Co. — we’ll see how things stack up when a few more weeks of “live” and delayed viewing are accounted for.

Told you it was a weird season, but we’re staying true to the numbers.


  1. “This Is Us”: 2.55
  2. “The Voice” (Monday): 1.39
  3. “The Voice” (Tuesday): 1.38

“This Is Us” is currently the No. 1 non-sports show on television. “The Voice” ain’t too shabby — even in its 19th season.


  1. “The Masked Singer”: 2.38
  2. “I Can See Your Voice”: 1.32
  3. “The Simpsons”: 1.22

“The Masked Singer” is currently runner-up to “This Is Us” on broadcast TV, though the silly singing show has aired five more episodes to date than the Dan Fogelman drama. “I Can See Your Voice” has “Masked Singer” to thank for much of its success, since it airs right afterward on Wednesday nights. And “The Simpsons,” which is heavily reliant on late-afternoon NFL football, is still killing it in its 32nd (!) season.


  1. “The Bachelorette”: 1.88
  2. “The Good Doctor”: 1.42
  3. “The Conners”: 1.31

“Grey’s Anatomy” and its spinoff, lead-in and benefactor (yes, it is all of those things) “Station 19” would make ABC’s list, but the long-running medical drama got off to too late of a start this season for early DVR viewership to factor into the current Nielsen reports. So enjoy the (temporary) grace inclusion, “The Conners.”

“The Bachelorette,” now on its second bachelorette of the season, is the No. 3 entertainment show on television. And Freddie Highmore’s “The Good Doctor” is still drawing viewers in its fourth season.

So those are the series network television executives are most thankful for this season. Now enjoy the Turkey Day leftovers, readers, and be sure to load up on some (online) Black Friday deals today like they’re day-old mashed potatoes.

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‘Contagion’ Star Jude Law Says Film’s Pandemic Predictions ‘Scared the Hell Out of Me’ – and Were Spot On

Jude Law says he wasn’t “hugely surprised” by the way the coronavirus pandemic has crippled the world this year — due to his work on director Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 thriller “Contagion” that forecast how a virus could spread so quickly and so insidiously.

“When 2020 started, and we heard about what was initially happening in China, what fast became apparent around the world, it rang alarm bells,” Law said in a video interview with GQ to promote his new film, “The Nest.”

The actor recalled how Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns brought scientific experts on set to advise the production. “There was absolutely the sense that this was going to happen,” Law said. “They all said to us that this was going to happen — and it was a case of when rather than if.”

And Law, who played an anti-government conspiracy theorist who claims to have cured himself of the disease with a forsythia-based “cure,” said he has thought back to those on-set scientists frequently this year. “The way they described it, which is exactly as it has happened, just made sense. They painted out all the obvious areas and reasons why it would spread so quickly.”

But he hasn’t been dwelling on those stark warnings in the decade since he finished shooting the film. What’s scary is that you learn on a set, on a film like that because you’re being advised by experts, but it doesn’t necessarily sit,” he said.

“That maybe sat in my system and scared the hell out of me for, what, all of 18 months,” he added. “After that I don’t know that I was as aware of it as I probably was when I came off the back of it.”

Law also admired how Soderbergh and Burns predicted not only a global pandemic — but the influence of conspiracy theorists like his character who build huge online followings while sowing confusion and misinformation. “Scott and Steven had done a huge amount of research and really sent me all sorts of links to different characters online who were gathering and building followings of their rants and predictions,” he said. “What’s extraordinary, maybe more in a way than the virus spreading, is how characters like that have really started to pop up.”

Watch the video above.

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11 Hollywood Stars Who Stripped Down for Playboy, From Kim Basinger to Lindsay Lohan (Photos)

Kim Basinger, Jenny McCarthy, Charlize Theron, Madonna, Lindsay Lohan and Sharon Stone are just a few of the actresses who posed for the men’s magazine Playboy before it abandoned full nudity — and then quickly brought it back.

In fact, the magazine became famous in large part by featuring Marilyn Monroe when she was one of the most famous, glamorous and celebrated of Hollywood stars. It’s clear Hugh Hefner has always had a close relationship with Hollywood — inviting both luminaries (and not-so-luminary celebrities) to visit his mansion. He has sold it, but continues to live there.

It  unveiled new original digital video programming and a branded content studio recently at its first ever NewFront event.

Deputy editor Hugh Garvey will head playboy Studios, the company’s in-house branded content studio.

“For decades, Playboy has been a platform for expression and creativity – a catalyst for progress,” Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders said. “We’ve often been an advocate and an activist – a proponent of individual freedom. We have always pushed the boundaries of imagination; we’re an aspirational brand and have been a vanguard for exploration, all the while giving a voice to provocative opinions. Now, with the debut of our original video slate, we’re continuing to usher in a new era of Playboy. And we’re just getting started.”

8 Hanukkah Movies That Will Light Up Your Holiday (Photos)

Chag Sameach everyone! Hanukkah 2019 kicks off on Sunday, which means festivities through Dec. 22 for those of you celebrating. And to help get you in the spirit of the season, here are 8 Hanukkah movies to light up your holiday.

“An American Tail”: Steven Spielberg’s 1986 allegory for the Jewish immigrant experience became the highest grossing non-Disney animated film of its time. Telling the story of a family of mice (the Mousekewitzes) who emigrate to America to escape persecution from cats, it spawned a theatrical sequel, “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West,” a slew of direct-to-DVD sequels and a PlayStation game. This classic film is sure to keep you warm this Hanukkah. Just don’t tell your cat about it.

The Hebrew Hammer: How does a Jewish private (circumcised) dick talk dirty? He tells his ladies that he wants to “have lots of children” by them. “The Hebrew Hammer” is ultimate Hanukkah flick starring Adam Goldberg as a private detective who is “part man, part street, 100 percent kosher” and whose mission is to save Hanukkah from the clutches of Santa Claus’ evil son.  The 2003 film, directed by Jonathan Kesselman, has garnered a fierce cult following over the years. And if it seems like it packs every possible Jewish stereotype, it’s because it does.

“Eight Crazy Nights”:
For the outsider at the party who needs a crash course in latkes and dreidels, “Eight Crazy Nights” is a good start. Adam Sandler gives us his classic “The Hanukkah Song” during the movie, which let the world know O.J. is in fact not a Jew. But David Lee Roth? Definitely.

“Little Fockers”: The third installment in the “Meet the Parents” trilogy isn’t exactly Oscar material. The movie was dubbed “the worst film of any trilogy to appear in a movie theater,” by Vanity Fair, even “worse than ‘Look Who’s Talking Now,’ ‘Major League: Back to the Minors,’ and ‘Porky’s Revenge’ (ouch). The Fockers come together for a mixed holiday shindig. And if that’s not enough to put you in a Hanukkah spirit, there’s enough Barbra Streisand and Ben Stiller to last you a lifetime… or at least eight days.

“Call Me By Your Name”: You may be surprised to see this flick on the list. But as Refinary29 aptly noted, “Call Me By Your Name” is the perfect Hanukkah movie. Not only are Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) both Jewish, the movie also has one of the rare explicit Hanukkah scenes where housekeeper Mafalda makes latkes, Elio plays with gelt (for all you goyim out there, it means money) and there’s even a Menorah with seven lit candles. And if that’s not enough reason to watch, the movie won a gazillion awards including an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Peaches not included.

“Full Court Miracle”:  A Hanukkah staple, the movie revolves around Alex Schlotsky (Alex D. Linz), the young leader of an inept Jewish basketball team, who recruits a washed up college basketball star to be their coach. Inspired by the true story of University of Virginia Cavaliers basketball star Lamont Carr, the 2003 movie is a good old fashion sports movie with a side of latkes that is sure to make you cry.

“The Holiday”: OK, this isn’t a Hanukkah movie per se. It’s actually a very Christmasy. But one of neighbors is Jewish and, well, we needed eight films so this one made the cut. In any case, if you’re a fan of holiday romantic movies, look no further. The film stars Kate Winslet as Iris, a freshly dumped British woman who swaps homes with another unlucky in love Californian gal named Amanda (Cameron Diaz) for a much-needed escape. The women soon bump into local boys and… well, you can figure out the rest.

‘The Masked Singer’ Reveals Another Masked Contestant: And Broccoli Is…

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Thursday’s “The Masked Singer.”)

“The Masked Singer” aired on a special night this week as a Thanksgiving treat from Fox, but the end of the episode was the same as always: another contestant eliminated and unveiled for fans at home.

On tonight’s Turkey Day installment of “The Masked Singer,” Group C competitors Broccoli, Jellyfish and Mushroom performed to see which two would get slots in the “Super Six” showdown alongside Group A’s Popcorn and Sun and Group B’s Seahorse and Crocodile.

After those hidden celebs performed, it was time for panelists Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke, as well as guest judge Jay Pharoah and “The Masked Singer” super fans voting from home, to pick their favorites. They chose Jellyfish and Mushroom, which meant Broccoli was deemed the weakest performer and unmasked.

Broccoli, who had performed Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll,” was revealed to be singer Paul Anka.

Along with Broccoli, the full Season 4 lineup of “The Masked Singer” contestants includes Serpent (Dr. Elvis Francois), Whatchamacallit (Lonzo Ball), Snow Owls (Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black) Squiggly Monster (Bob Saget), Lips (Wendy Williams), Baby Alien (Mark Sanchez), Giraffe (Brian Austin Green), Gremlin (Mickey Rourke), Dragon (Busta Rhymes), Popcorn, Sun, Crocodile, Seahorse, Broccoli, Jellyfish and Mushroom.

According to Fox, those 16 contestants — but 17 celebrities, because of the Snow Owls — combined “have sold more than 281 million records worldwide, appeared in more than 5,120 episodes of television and 204 films, appeared in five Super Bowls, have four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one Academy Award nomination and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.”

Next up, the remaining contestants from Groups A, B and C will come together for the first time for Season 4’s “Super Six” episode.

“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.

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How to Stream the National Dog Show

Who couldn’t use a little happy-time with man’s best friends on Thanksgiving Day, huh? Well, the 19th annual family-favorite special “The National Dog Show” hosted by John O’Hurley and David Frei is here to put a smile on your face.

The annual National Dog Show is airing from 12 p.m. ET  on Thanksgiving Thursday as usual and can be streamed via NBC Sports with a 45-minute preview. Click this link to check it out. Stream the entire thing by entering cable credentials or tune into NBC on television to watch.

NBC has streamed the event, hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2002, and fans can stream the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 National Dog Shows for free on Peacock on the NBC Sports Channel.

This year is different, of course. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, no spectators, vendors, sponsors or media will be present as the purebred dogs compete. Fewer dogs are competing this year, too, according to NBC. Only 600 dogs will be in the 2020 National Dog Show, down considerably from the typical amount, which is around 2,000. Three breeds will be making their National Dog Show debut this year, too.

Each competing dog must be registered with the American Kennel Club, as usual. The club recognizes 208 breeds and those are split into seven categories. In addition to longtime hosts O’Hurley and Frei, NBC Sports correspondent Mary Carillo will also offer her insights during the telecast.

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Don’t Be a Turkey, SAG-AFTRA – Let’s Give Thanks for Our Senior Performers (Guest Blog)

She made her wardrobe call at 4 p.m. The recognition on the parking attendant’s face wasn’t lost behind the Dodgers logo on his facemask. His eyes crinkled from the wide grin that comes with coming face-to-face with a celebrity. After all, this is a famous woman who had helmed one successful series after another for almost a generation. She returned his smile while donning her own mask. Following the guard’s directions, she found the wardrobe trailer and stepped inside. It could very well have been fatal.

She was shocked by what she saw. The only mitigation being practiced was the unmitigable gall of zero social distancing and no masks to be found on those who were fitting her for a prestigious national account commercial. The kind of commercial that pays residuals. The kind that used to qualify you on its own for SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Insurance.

The kind of coveted policy that SAG-AFTRA seemingly negotiated away from senior performers. Yes, those performers — beloved character actors who make the sacrifice of being type-cast in part because of the promise that their union will provide for that sacrifice when all the income they have coming from decades of work are residuals. That, and the occasional fan convention, if they’re lucky.

This woman is an actor who is afraid of her union. I had to promise not to use her real name, and she’s not the only senior actor who did not want to go on the record with me. She has a right to be afraid. In an industry where ageism begins at puberty, you are pretty much screwed once you reach that age where your residuals promise an easy quasi-retirement and the comfort of their dependence on the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Insurance — the gold standard in health care that many other unions aspire to provide.

“I used to be afraid of being out of work. Now I’m afraid of going back to work,” lamented a well-known and grizzled character actor who hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since SAG-AFTRA notified him and the 160,000+ other members that life as they’ve known it was about to change.

A bit much Mr. Blogger? Isn’t this a reach, even for you? Not at all – ask yourself how you would react upon notification that your health plan was being shape-shifted into something that even COBRA puts out of reach for you and your dependents. There aren’t many people of retirement age who are used to subsisting on residuals that can now pay hefty COBRA charges.

What a joke.

One thing is obvious: Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Tom Hanks and other “hi-pros” won’t be affected. They can afford the best supplemental retirement plans available. Who is affected are the actors who struggle to work in order to meet the minimum requirements for eligibility. The actors who now are being urged to augment their SAG-AFTRA Health Plan with Medicare.

But as the pitchman says, “That’s not all!”

In an age of COVID, many senior actors fear the workplace, and for good reason. They feel now as if they’ve been forced out of retirement and put back on active duty if they want to keep their health plan. The health plan that needs to be seriously cut because it’s running out of money. Sound familiar? It should. The same reason was given a decade ago when the Motion Picture and Television Fund tried to shutter motion picture long term care. I can still hear the plaintive refrain of “We can no longer afford it,” said by some of the richest entertainment moguls on the planet.

I remember those days. Seemingly good people forced to execute a plan that efforted to remove long term care from the storied Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills. People like my mother were urged to relocate to facilities that accepted MediCal and Medicare as primary payment for their care. I can still smell the piss and excrement masked by Lysol that greeted us as we toured these kennels. We became intimately familiar with the term “transfer trauma,” when motion picture and television elderly died after transitioning to these human warehouses.

“Remind you of the Motion Picture Home?” one senior performer asked me. “This time you can’t blame Katzenberg. The enemy is even bigger!”

Old habits die hard. We fought then and we won a decisive victory to keep the doors to long term care open — and we will fight again.

Actors weren’t the only ones who refused to go on the record. The plan administrators also spoke to me on condition of anonymity.

In conversation with a senior health plan executive, his response to my query on the fears and hesitation of senior performers who have to now find work in a Covid-riddled world will not soon be forgotten: “I would be fearful too.”

Fear is the last thing that SAG-AFTRA wants to convey to their senior members. Yet fear is the knee-jerk reaction in those most affected by these changes.

A recent article stated over 3,500 performers and 2,800 of their dependents are projected to lose their healthcare under restructuring. But, that’s not true. Those 3,500 are just on one of the plans — Plan 2. There are another 8,200 who will be losing their Senior Health coverage from other plans; logic dictates that it’s probably called Plan 1. That’s a total of 11,750 “participants,” not counting their dependents.

SAG-AFTRA complains that they are running out of money because of the hit that production is taking from COVID. That should mean that when production comes back, ultimately the health plan would once again be funded properly. Then, let’s just wait. Not only do we have vaccines waiting in the wings, but if George Clooney can gift 14 friends with one million dollars each* then surely he, Messrs. Hanks, Cruise, Freeman, Streep, etc., etc. might be interested in helping to augment the shortfall.

I mean, come on – the actors who are set to lose this important benefit of their health plan are the actors whose shoulders they stand on. Clint Eastwood wouldn’t let this happen. Neither would Dustin Hoffman or Julia Roberts. No way.

This is not too much for a great union like SAG-AFTRA to figure out.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Actors' Equity Association Slams Cuts to Live Theater Actors' Health Plan

SAG-AFTRA's 'Unconscionable' Health Plan Changes Spurs Petition With Over 11,500 Signatures

SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Raises Rates, Eligibility Requirements in Response to Projected Pandemic Losses

‘The Crown’ Season 4: Did That Lord Mountbatten Boat Explosion Really Happen?

(This article contains some spoilers for the season 4 premiere of “The Crown” on Netflix.)

Four seasons in, we know “The Crown” doesn’t shy away from dramatic tragedies and threats, especially as they relate to the royal family — that is, in fact, kind of the whole thing with this show. And this season opened with a bang — literally. In the season premiere, Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten (otherwise known as Lord Mountbatten, and Queen Elizabeth’s cousin) is killed by a bomb that was planted in his fishing boat by the Provisional Irish Republican Army — better known generally as the IRA — in 1979.

The episode shows us an otherwise serene summer day in August, a day where Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) has decided to take a boat out for fishing with several family members including his daughter, his son-in-law, and his grandsons. He’s unaware that a Provisional Irish Republican Army member named Thomas McMahon has put a radio-controlled bomb on the boat, and “The Crown” jumps between Charles fishing, Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies) shooting, and the Queen (Olivia Colman) at Balmoral before showing Lord Mountbatten’s boat explode.

It’s no doubt a shocking way to start a season, and it sets a tone for the political and familial violence we’ll see during later episodes of “The Crown.” But just how much of Lord Mountbatten’s death was real, and how much was played up for the sake of flashy television drama?

As it turns out, quite a lot of what you saw was real. The Provisional IRA really did kill Lord Mountbatten — along with his daughter’s mother-in-law, his grandson Nicholas, and a young crew member named Paul — with a bomb planted on his fishing boat. Andrew Lownie, author of “The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves,” described the on Aug. 27, 1979 incident as “fifty pounds of gelignite exploded, sending showers of timber, metal, cushions, lifejackets and shoes into the air. Then, there was a deadly silence.”

Though the assassination came as a shock, it wasn’t surprising that he was targeted. He was close to the royal family, serving as a mentor to Prince Charles, and one of their more beloved members. He also was considered an easy target, as he refused any security deal in the Irish town he routinely vacationed in. The IRA basically saw him as an easy target.

But his assassination was only part of what turned out to be one of the deadliest days of The Troubles, the roughly 30 year period of sectarian and political violence in Northern Ireland beginning in the late 60s and ending with the 1998 Good Friday accords. Just hours after killing Mountbatten, the IRA ambushed a British army convoy near the Northern Ireland town of Warrenpoint, just across the border from Ireland. Using two bombs — one of which was timed to affect incoming reinforcements — the group killed 18 British soldiers and wounded 20 more. Two civilians were also killed by British forces exchanging fire across the border with Provisional IRA guerillas.

As depicted on “The Crown,” the attacks had huge political consequences for England, in particular hardening newly elected Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher against the IRA and leading her to embrace the idea of treating its members like criminals. That’s something that “The Crown” deals with later in the season.

This is “The Crown,” and there will always be moments when the drama is heightened for the sake of our viewing pleasure. But in this case, the tragedy that sets up season 4 is just about as real as it is in the history books.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Crown': Emma Corrin on 'Harrowing' Scenes That Do 'Justice' to Princess Diana's Bulimia Battle

'The Crown' Stars Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin Struggled 'Not to Play the Ending' With Charles and Diana

Did 'The Crown' Foreshadow Prince Andrew's Connection to Jeffrey Epstein's Sex Trafficking Scandal?