Culture Representation: Taking place in various parts of United States in 2020, including Kansas and California’s Silicon Valley, the animated movie “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a a few African Americans, Latinos and Asians) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: A teenage aspiring filmmaker, who’s about to start her first year of college, reluctantly goes on a road trip with her family when they all experience an apocalypse where machines try to take over the world.
Culture Audience: “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching family-oriented animation films that have larger commentaries about modern society.
The animated film “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” puts a high-energy spin on the over-used apocalypse concept, by balancing heartwarming earnest about family with biting satire about technology obsessions. The movie has an entirely predictable story arc, but there are enough engaging characters and comedy in this adventure story to make it a memorable experience that will inspire repeat viewings.
Written and directed by Michael “Mike” Rianda and Jeff Rowe, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” has the type of protagonist that is often at the center of animated films: a teenager on the cusp of adulthood and restless to assert independence from the rest of the family. However, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” has a teen protagonist who often isn’t seen in animated films: a female aspiring filmmaker.
Her name is Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobson), who is excited to start her first year of at an unnamed college in California, where she plans to study filmmaking. It will be the first time that she will be living apart from her family in her unnamed hometown in Michigan. Katie’s family includes her sometimes-bumbling but well-meaning father Rick Mitchell (voiced by Danny McBride); sensible and even-tempered mother Linda Mitchell (voiced by Maya Rudolph); and nerdy younger brother Aaron (voiced by Rianda), who is about 12 or 13 years old. The movie never mentions what Rick and Linda do for a living.
Aaron is so fascinated with dinosaurs, he randomly calls strangers in the phone book to find out if they like dinosaurs too, so he can find other people to talk to about his dinosaur obsessions. It’s an example of the personality quirks that “Mitchells and the Machines” has for some of the main characters that set this animated film apart from others that tend to have very generic and forgettable characters. Aaron is also at an age where he feels awkward around girls. He’s too young to date but he’s also not sure how to express himself when he’s attracted to a girl.
Katie has her own insecurity issues (she thinks of herself as an outsider at her high school), but one thing she is sure about is that she wants to be a storyteller in filmmaking. Flashbacks show that ever since she was a very young child, Katie wrote and directed stories, with Aaron often being someone she “cast” in roles to act out these stories. Katie and Rick used to have a very close father-daughter bond, but sometime around the time she reached adolescence, they began to drift apart emotionally.
Katie says early on in the story: “My parents haven’t figured me out yet. To be fair, it took me a while to figure myself out. My little brother Aaron gets me, but he has his own weird interests.”
Rick is an outdoorsy type who likes to fix things, but he isn’t as skilled as he would like to think he is. Rick doesn’t really understand Katie’s love of creative arts, which is one of the reasons Rick and Katie have become alienated from each other. Linda is more understanding of Katie’s filmmaker aspirations, but Linda isn’t as immersed in cinema as much as Katie is.
Katie’s irritation with Rick grows to new levels when they have an argument over the dining table because she’s working on her laptop computer during this meal. Rick wants Katie to stop working on the computer and pay attention to the family while at the table. Rick takes the computer, a tug of war ensues between Rick and Katie, and it ends with the computer being dropped and getting broken.
But that’s not all. Katie becomes even angrier at her father when he announces that he canceled the plane ticket for Katie’s trip to California for her college enrollment. Instead, Rick has decided that all four of the Mitchells will take a road trip together to the college. It will mean that Katie will miss the college’s orientation week, which she sees as a crucial way to get to start making friends and getting to know the campus before classes begin.
Meanwhile, in Cupertino, California (which, not coincidentally, is the headquarters of Apple Inc.), a 21-year-old billionaire technology mogul named Mark Bowman (played by Eric André), the found of PAL Labs, makes a major announcement at a PAL Labs event: The company, which is famous for inviting the PAL digital assistant (a hand-held device that looks a lot like an iPhone) is about to introduce Pal Max Robots, which are essentially walking versions of a PAL digital assistant.
The Mitchell family’s road trip starts on September 22, 2020. Even though Katie doesn’t really want to be stuck with her family, she takes solace in making videos to document this excursion. But something goes terribly wrong: The PAL operating system, which has extraordinary artificial intelligence, finds out that the digital assistant will be “downgraded” and eventually marketed as obsolete, compared to the PAL robots.
And so, the PAL operating system (voiced by Olivia Colman) incites and mass rebellion of all machines to take over the world and capture humans at PAL’s command. The Mitchells are on the road when this Machine Apocalypse turns their lives upside down, as they try to escape from being captured. People who’ve seen enough of these movies can predict what happens in the story and the lessons learned by the family members along the way.
One of the many ways that “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” pokes fun at how technology has taken over people’s lives (and not necessarily for the better) is when it shows how people get social media envy when they think other people on social media are living much more glamorous lives, based on what’s presented on social media. Linda has a lot of this envy about the Posey family, a seemingly picture-perfect clan of three whose lives are fashionably curated and documented on social media platforms such as Instagram.
In a case of inspirational casting where art imitates life, real-life spouses John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, who have put their lives on social media, are the voices of spouses Jim Posey and Hailee Posey, who have a bright and inquisitive daughter named Abbey Posey (voiced by Charlyne Yi), who is about the same age as Aaron Mitchell. Abbey predictably becomes Aaron’s crush but he doesn’t know how to handle his feelings about her.
In many scenes, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” makes clever spoofs and observations about how, if the machines we used came alive, they would have a love/hate relationship with people. Humans overly rely on technology, but think no matter what happens, people are smart enough to be superior to technology.
Meanwhile, technology has the power to being people from long distances together, but it can alienate people who are in close proximity. Just go to any party and see how many people would rather look at their phones than engage with other people at the party. It’s why Katie’s father Rick, who’s a self-confessed “technophobe,” is the most insulted int he family when Katie would rather look at a computer or phone screen than talk to him. You can bet that Rick’s technophobia is a big part of the battles that the Mitchells have to do against the warring machines.
All of the voice cast members take on their roles with gusto, especially Jacobson, McBride and Colman, whose hilarious villain antics and quips as PAL are among the movie’s many highlights. In addition, the animation conveys a thrilling array of zany misadventures, and problem solving in the midst of an apocalypse. This is not a movie where viewers will get bored, because there’s so much hyperactivity going on.
Of course, the heart of “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” is about family relationships and accepting flaws and quirks in loved ones when it’s unlikely those flaws and quirks are going to change. The Mitchells start off their road trip as an emotionally fractured family. And the movie’s message is that it shouldn’t have to take an apocalypse to appreciate family members whose love might not be perfect but it’s there when it matters.
Netflix premiered “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” on April 30, 2021.
Culture Representation: The documentary “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” features a racially diverse group of people (African American, white, Latino and Asian) discussing their connection to the groundbreaking children’s TV series “Sesame Street.”
Culture Clash: “Sesame Street,” which launched in 1969 on PBS, was the first nationally televised children’s program in the U.S. to be racially integrated, and “Sesame Street” has endured controversy over racial diversity, AIDS and representation of the LGBTQ community.
Culture Audience: “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in a comprehensive overview of “Sesame Street,” with an emphasis on how “Sesame Street” is responding to current global issues.
ABC’s documentary “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” offers some nostalgia for “Sesame Street” fans, but the movie is more concered about how this groundbreaking children’s culture has made an impact around the world and with contemporary social issues. Directed by Rebecca Gitlitz, it’s an occasionally repetitive film that admirably embraces diversity in a variety of viewpoints. The major downside to the film is that it won’t be considered a timeless “Sesame Street” documentary, because the movie very much looks like it was made in 2020/2021. Therefore, huge parts of the movie will look outdated in a few years.
“Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” premiered on ABC just three days after director Marilyn Agrelo’s documentary “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” was released in select U.S. cinemas. “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street,” which focused mainly on “Sesame Street’s” history from 1969 to the early 1990s, interviewed people who were “Sesame Street” employees from this time period, as well as some of the family members of principal “Sesame Street” employees who are now deceased. “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” takes a broader approach and includes the perspectives of not just past and present employees of “Sesame Street” but also several “Sesame Street” fans who are famous and not famous.
In addition, “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” (which was produced by Time Studios) makes a noteworthy effort to convey the global impact of “Sesame Street,” by including footage and interviews with people involved with the adapted versions of “Sesame Street” in the Middle East and in South Africa. “Sesame Street,” which is filmed in New York City, launched in 1969 on PBS. In the U.S., first-run episodes of “Sesame Street” began airing on HBO in 2016, and then on HBO Max in 2020. “Sesame Street” is now available in more than 150 countries.
“Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” quickly breezes through how “Sesame Street” was conceived and launched. There are brief mentions of “Sesame Street” co-creators Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, but this documentary does not interview them. “Street Gang” has interviews with Ganz Cooney and Morrisett, who go into details about how they were inspired to create “Sesame Street” to reach pre-school kids, particularly African American children in urban cities, who had television as an electronic babysitter.
“Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days,” just like “Street Gang” did, discusses that the concept behind “Sesame Street” was to have a children’s TV show with a racially integrated cast and puppets, which were called muppets. A lot of research went into creating the show before it was even launched. The intent of “Sesame Street” was for the show to be educational and entertaining.
But the creators also wanted “Sesame Street” to include real-life topics that weren’t normally discussed on children’s television at the time. For example, when actor Will Lee, who played “Sesame Street” character Mr. Hooper, died in 1982, “Sesame Street” had an episode that discussed Mr. Hooper dying. “Sesame Street” did not lie to the audience by making up a story that Mr. Hooper had moved away or was still alive somewhere.
Time For Kids editorial director Andrea Delbanco says, “Many people avoid the topics that they know are going to be lightning rods. ‘Sesame Street’ goes straight for it. And they handle each and every one of them with the amount of thoughtfulness and research and care that they require.”
David Kamp, author of “Sunny Days: The Children’s Television Revolution That Changed America,” mentions that one of the reasons for the longevity of “Sesame Street” is the show’s ability to adapt to changing times: “They’ll pivot. They’ll adjust. They’ll say, ‘We got it wrong. Now, we’re going to get it right.’ That’s one of [the show’s] great virtues.”
One of the noticeable differences seen in comparing these two “Sesame Street” documentaries is how racial diversity has improved for “Sesame Street” behind the scenes. “Street Gang,” which focused on the first few decades of “Sesame Street” shows that although the on-camera cast was racially diverse, behind the scenes it was another story: Only white people were the leaders and decision makers for “Sesame Street” in the show’s early years. Several current “Sesame Street” decision makers are interviewed in “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days,” and it’s definitely a more racially diverse group of people, compared to who was running the show in the first two decades of “Sesame Street.”
Sonia Monzano, an original “Sesame Street” cast member (her character is Maria), says that although the show has always had a racially diverse cast, the muppets are the “Sesame Street” characters that people remember the most. “I remember my first scene with [muppet character] Grover,” Monzano comments with a chuckle. “It took me a while to be comfortable, not try to upstage them. And that’s the same with kids. You give them the platform. Get out of their way.”
As memorable as the “Sesame Street” muppets are, the human characters on the show had a particular impact on children, who saw “Sesame Street” people who reminded them of their family members or neighbors. Several celebrities who are interviewed in the documentary grew up watching “Sesame Street”—including Lucy Liu, Rosie Perez, Olivia Munn and Questlove—and they talk about the importance of seeing their lives and experiences represented on the show.
Perez comments on the show’s racial diversity: “We needed to see that, because when you’re a little girl in Brooklyn watching ‘Sesame Street,’ it’s nice to know that when you opened your door and walked down your stoop, you had the same type of people on your television.” Perez says about “Sesame Street’s” Maria character: “She was my Mary Tyler Moore,” and that until Maria came along, “Desi Arnaz Jr. was our only [Hispanic TV] role model for years.”
Racism, social justice and AIDS are some of the topics that “Sesame Street” has openly discussed over the years, sometimes to considerable controversy. But one topic was apparently too much to handle in “Sesame Street’s” first year: divorce. In “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days,” it’s mentioned that the original pilot episode of “Sesame Street” had a segment about muppet character Mr. Snuffleupagus dealing with his parents’ divorce. The “Sesame Street” executives did a test screening of this episode with children.
“The kids freaked out” because the idea of divorce was too upsetting for them, says Time staff writer Cady Lang. And the episode was “tossed out.” The documentary has some of this unaired Mr. Snuffleupagus “divorce” footage. In the documentary, Martin P. Robinson, the puppeteer and original voice for Mr. Snuffleupagus, expresses disappointment that this decision was made to eliminate talk of divorce on the first “Sesame Street” episode, because he says it was a missed opportunity for “Sesame Street” to start off with an episode that would have been very cutting-edge at the time.
However, there would be plenty of other episodes that would rile up some people. It’s not mentioned in the “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” documentary, but it’s mentioned in the “Street Gang” documentary that TV stations in Mississippi briefly wouldn’t televise “Sesame Street” in 1970, because they said people in their communities thought the show’s content was inappropriate. They denied it had to do with the show having a racially integrated cast. But considering that Mississippi was one of the last U.S. states to keep laws enforcing racial segregation, it would be naïve to think that racism wasn’t behind the “Sesame Street” ban.
The topics of racism and race relations take up a lot of screen time in this “Sesame Street” documentary, but mostly as pertaining to a contemporary audience, not the “Sesame Street” audience of past decades. Black Lives Matter protests and the racist murders of George Floyd and other African Americans have been discussed on “Sesame Street.” And there has been a concerted effort to have all races represented on “Sesame Street,” for the human cast members as well as the muppets.
Roosevelt Franklin (the first African American muppet on “Sesame Street”) was on “Sesame Street” from 1970 to 1975, and was voiced and created by Matt Robinson. The “Sesame Street” documentary briefly mentions Roosevelt Franklin, but doesn’t go into the details that “Street Gang” did over why the character was removed from the show: A lot of African American parents and educators complained that Roosevelt Franklin played too much into negative “ghetto” stereotypes. In the “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” documentary, musician Questlove and TV host W. Kamau Bell mention that they have fond memories of watching Roosevelt Franklin on “Sesame Street” when they were kids.
Although most muppets aren’t really any race, some of have been created to be of a specific race or ethnicity. Some muppets look like humans, while others look like animals. For the human-looking muppets, there have been Asian, Hispanic and Native American muppets in addition to the muppets that are presented as white or black people. And the documentary also gives significant screen time to Mexican muppet Rosita, a character introduced in 1991, which is considered a role model to many, particularly to Spanish-speaking people. Carmen Osbahr, the puppeteer and voice of Rosita, is interviewed in the documentary.
The documentary features a Mexican immigrant family called the Garcias, including interviews with mother Claudia and her autistic daughter Makayla, who are the only U.S. citizens of the family members who live in the United States. The Garcias say they love watching “Sesame Street” for Rosita, because she represents so many American residents who are bilingual in Spanish and English. Claudia Garcia, who moved from Mexico to the United States when she was 12, comments in the documentary: “When I was 12, it was not cool to speak Spanish. Now, it [the ability to speak Spanish] is a super-cool thing that you have.”
Four other diverse muppet characters are the Walker Family, an African American clan that is intended to be a major presence in contemporary “Sesame Street” episodes. Elijah Walker (a meteorologist) and his underage son Wesley, also known as Wes, have already been introduced. The characters of Elijah’s wife Naomi (a social worker originally from the Caribbean) and Elijah’s mother Savannah were being developed at the time this documentary was filmed. The documentary includes concept art for Naomi and Savannah.
According to Social Impact U.S. vice president Rocío García, “The Walker Family is a new family we’re creating for the racial justice initiative [Coming Together].” Wes and Elijah are characters that are supposed to contradict the media’s constant, negative narrative that black males are problematic. “Sesame Street” producer Ashmou Young describes the Wes Walker character as “a happy, energetic, innocent child who loves reading and architecture.” Elijah is a positive, intelligent role model. And no, he does not have an arrest record.
Bradley Freeman Jr., the puppeteer for Wes Walker, says in the documentary how proud he is to be part of this character, which he knows can be a role model for all children. “I was bullied at school for being black. That’s something that can hurt you, and you don’t know how to talk about it.” In “Sesame Street,” Elijah and Wes candidly discuss race issues and what it means to be an African American.
Omar Norman and Alisa Norman, an African American married couple, are in the documentary with their two daughters and discuss how the Walker Family on “Sesame Street” means a lot to them. Elder daughter Macayla says it’s impactful when Elijah talks to Wes about racism and how being a black male means being more at risk of experiencing police brutality. Omar gets emotional and tries not to cry when he thinks about how it’s sadly necessary for these topics to be discussed on a children’s show.
All the muppet characters were designed to not only teach kids (and adults) about life but also show what the world is all about and how to cope with problems in a positive way. Chris Jackson (who’s known for his role in the original Broadway production of “Hamilton”) talks about writing the song “I Love My Hair,” which debuted on “Sesame Street” in 2010. The song was written for any girl muppet to sing, but it has special significance to black girls because of how black females are judged the harshest by what their hair looks like. Jackson says that after he wrote the song, he thought, “I think I just wrote a black girl’s superhero anthem,” which he knows means a lot to his daughter.
And if some people have a problem with “Sesame Street” supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, well, no one is forcing them to watch the show. Kay Wilson Stallings, executive vice president of creative and production for Sesame Workshop, comments: “Following the murder of George Floyd, the company decided to make it a company-wide goal of addressing racial injustice [on ‘Sesame Street’].” U.S. first lady Dr. Jill Biden adds, “‘Sesame Street’ is rising up to he movement and addressing what’s going on and what kids are seeing and feeling around them.”
Wilson Stallings says, “We showed diversity, we showed inclusion, we modeled it through our characters. But you can’t just show characters of different ethnicities and races getting along. That was fine before. Now what we need to do is be bold and explicit.”
Sesame Workshop CEO Steve Youngwood comments on increasing “Sesame Street’s” socially conscious content: “We realized that nothing was hitting the moment the way it needed to be. And we pivoted to address it. The curriculum we developed is going to be groundbreaking, moving forward.”
LGBTQ representation on “Sesame Street” is still a touchy subject for people who have different opinions on what’s the appropriate age for kids to have discussions about various sexual identities. In 2018, former “Sesame Street” writer Mark Saltzman, who is openly gay, gave an interview saying that he always wrote muppet characters Ernie and Bert (bickering best friends who live together) as a gay couple. The revelation got mixed reactions. Frank Oz—the creator, original voice and puppeteer for Bert—made a statement on Twitter that Ernie and Bert were never gay.
Sesame Workshop responded with a statement that read: “As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach pre-schoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identifiable as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most ‘Sesame Street’ muppets do), they remain puppets, and have no sexual orientation.”
In retrospect, Sesame Workshop president Sherrie Westin says: “That denial, if you will, I think was a mistake.” She also adds that people can think of Ernie and Bert having whatever sexuality (or no sexuality) that they think Ernie and Bert have. As for LGBTQ representation on “Sesame Street,” Jelani Memory (author of “A Kid’s Book About Racism”) is blunt when he says: “It’s not enough.”
And it’s not just social issues that are addressed on “Sesame Street.” The show has also discussed health issues, such as the AIDS crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Although “Sesame Street” got pushback from some politically conservative people for talking about AIDS on the show, this criticism didn’t deter “Sesame Street,” which was supported by the majority of its audience for this decision. Dr. Anthony Fauci is in the documentary praising “Sesame Street” for helping educate people on health crises.
The documentary includes a segment on the first HIV-positive muppet Kami, a character in “Takalani Sesame,” the South African version of “Sesame Street.” Kami, who is supposed to be a 5-year-old girl, was created in 2002, in reaction to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Her positive outlook on life and how she is accepted by her peers can be viewed as having an impact on people that’s hard to measure.
Marie-Louise Samuels, former director early childhood development at South Africa’s Department of Basic Education, has this to say about Kami: “It wasn’t about her getting some sympathy. It was really about how productive she is in society with the virus.” Even though Kami was well-received in South Africa, “the U.S. was not as receptive,” says Louis Henry Mitchell, creative director of character design at Sesame Workshop.
Also included is a segment on Julia, the first autistic muppet on “Sesame Street.” It’s a character that is near and dear to the heart of Julia puppeteer Stacey Gordon, who tears up and gets emotional when she describes her own real-life experiences as the mother of an autistic child. Julia is one of several muppet characters that represent people with special needs. As an autistic child of a Mexican immigrant family, Makayla Garcia says in her interview that Rosita and Julia are her favorite muppets because they represent who she is.
The documentary shows how “Sesame Street” is in Arabic culture with the TV series “Ahlan Simsim,” which translates to “Welcome Sesame” in English. The Rajubs, a real-life Syrian refugee family of eight living in Jordan, are featured in the documentary as examples of a family who find comfort in “Ahlan Simsim” even though they’re experiencing the turmoil of being refugees. David Milliband, CEO of International Rescue Committee, talks about how “Sesame Street” being a consistent presence in children’s lives can help them through the trauma.
Other people interviewed in the documentary include Shari Rosenfeld, senior VP of international at Social Impact; Elijah Walker puppeteer Chris Thomas Hayes; Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, senior vice president of education and research at Sesame Workshop; Dr. Sanjay Gupta; Peter Linz, voice of muppet character Elmo; “Sesame Street” actor Alan Muraoka; Nyanga Tshabalala, puppeteer for the mupppet character Zikwe on “Takalani Sesame”; and former “Ahlan Simsim” head writer Zaid Baqueen. Celebrity fans of “Sesame Street” who comment in the documentary include Usher, Gloria Estefan, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen and John Oliver, who says about the show: “It was my first introduction to comedy, because it was so relentlessly funny.”
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCR) special envoy Angelina Jolie comments that The Count (the muppet vampire who teaches counting skills) is her favorite “Sesame Street” character: “He had a wonderfully bold personality: The friendly vampire helping you learn how to count. It worked for me.” Whoopi Goldberg adds, “All the things that ‘Twilight’ did for vampires, The Count did more. [The Count] made vampires cool because they could count.”
Jolie also comments on “Sesame Street’s” social awareness: “What they’re bringing is more relevant to today than ever.” The documentary includes 2021 footage of “Sesame Street” executives cheering when finding out that Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee won the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100 and Change Award, a grant that gives the recipients $100 million over a maximum of six years.
There’s also a notable segment on the music of “Sesame Street.” Stevie Wonder (who has performed “123 Sesame Street” and “Superstition” on “Sesame Street”) performs in the documentary with a new version of the “Sesame Street” classic theme “Sunny Days.” The documentary has the expected montage of many of the celebrity guests who’ve been on “Sesame Street” too.
“United Shades of America” host Bell says that being asked to be on “Sesame Street” is a “rite of passage” for “famous people at a certain point. Got to get that ‘Sesame Street’ gig! That’s when you know you really made it: When ‘Sesame Street’ calls you.”
Although there’s a lot of talk about certain “Sesame Street” muppets, the documentary doesn’t give enough recognition to the early “Sesame Street” muppet pioneers who created iconic characters. The documentary briefly mentions Jim Henson (the creator and original voice of Kermit the Frog and Ernie), but Frank Oz (the creator and original voice of Grover, Cookie Monster and Bert) isn’t even mentioned at all.
Big Bird is seen but not much is said about Caroll Spinney, who was the man in the Big Bird costume from 1969 to 2018, and who was the creator and original voice of the Oscar the Grouch muppet. Spinney died in 2019, at the age of 85. Henson died in 1990, at age 53. Oz did not participate in the documentary.
The movie doesn’t mention the 2012 scandal of Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigning from “Sesame Street” after three men accused him of sexually abusing them when the men were underage teenagers. The three lawsuits against Clash with these accusations were dismissed in 2014. Clash had been the puppeteer and voice of Elmo since 1984.
“Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” tries to bite off a little more than it should chew when it starts veering into discussions about United Nations initiatives and how they relate to “Sesame Street.” There’s no denying the global impact of “Sesame Street,” but “Sesame Street” is a children’s show, not a political science show about international relations. And some viewers might be turned off by all the talk about social justice content on “Sesame Street.”
The documentary could have used more insight into the actual process of creating these memorable muppets. Except for some brief footage in a puppet-creating workspace, that artistic aspect of “Sesame Street” is left out of the documentary. Despite some flaws and omissions, the documentary is worth watching for people who want a snapshot of what’s important to “Sesame Street” in the early 2020s. Whereas “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street” is very much about the show’s past, “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” tries to give viewers a glimpse into the show’s future.
ABC premiered “Sesame Street: 50 Years of Sunny Days” on April 26, 2021. Hulu premiered the documentary on April 27, 2021.
The following is a press release from the Tribeca Film Festival:
The Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, today announced its lineup of Talks and Reunion Screenings with the stars and directors from iconic films, and conversations with the driving forces behind film, television, music, business and politics. These once-in-a-lifetime conversations will be part of the 20th Anniversary Festival celebration taking place city-wide June 9-20, the first major film festival to host in person events.
Tribeca Talks: Storytellers celebrates groundbreaking creators working across multiple mediums. This year’s multi-talented group includes: Mike Jackson and John Legend of Get Lifted Film Company; Oscar-nominated actor and director Bradley Cooper in conversation with Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro; comedian and actress Amy Schumer in conversation with Emily Ratajkowski; screenwriter Scott Z. Burns in conversation with Emmy Award-winning actor Matthew Rhys; Shira Haas, the breakout star of Unorthodox and Tribeca Festival Best Actress-winner for ASIA with actress and comedian Ali Wentworth; and Debbie Harry, Clem Burke and Chris Stein of the legendary punk band Blondie.
Tribeca Talks: Directors Series features intimate conversations with renowned directors who will share memorable moments from their prestigious careers. This year’s participating directors include Doug Liman, M. Night Shyamalan and Gina Prince-Bythewood.
Additional Tribeca Talks events include Scott Rechler, CEO and Chairman of RXR Realty, recording two new episodes of his podcast, Recalibrate Reality: The Future of NY, and conversations with Jason Hirschhorn, CEO of REDEF, about the business of entertainment and the future of podcasting.
The 2021 Tribeca Festival will also celebrate milestone anniversaries of some of Hollywood’s most iconic films. Director Joel Cohen will be joined in conversation with stars Frances McDormand and Steve Buscemi to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning Fargo; the 30th anniversary of the critically acclaimed The Five Heartbeats will reunite stars Robert Townsend, John Terrell, Tico Wells, Leon Robinson, Harry Lennix, Michael Wright and Hawthorne James; the 20th anniversary of the classic The Royal Tenenbaums, features stars Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Danny Glover, and director Wes Anderson; Robert De Niro teams up with director Martin Scorsese to discuss creating one of cinema’s eternal masterpieces, Raging Bull; and finally, Tribeca will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s first feature-length film, The Kid, with a special screening event.
“Each year the Tribeca Festival gathers the most esteemed names in film and entertainment for conversations that shine a light on the creative process,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises and the Tribeca Festival. “This year we are particularly proud that we can once again convene these talented names for in-person conversations as we discuss new ways our world and business is being reshaped and reimagined.”
“This year’s Tribeca Talks will have timely conversations about real world issues and how they affect film, television, politics and business,” said Paula Weinstein, Chief Content Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “Tribeca Talks and Reunion screenings are always a big fan favorite, and we look forward to the illuminating conversations that will take place during this milestone 20th Festival.”
Beginning today at 11AM EST, tickets to in-person screenings and events are available for advance reservation at https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets.
TRIBECA TALKS: DIRECTORS SERIES This conversation series showcases the careers of influential filmmakers.
M. Night Shyamalan
Doug Liman in conversation with Jason Hirschhorn
Gina Prince-Bythewood in conversation with Sanaa Lathan
TRIBECA TALKS: STORYTELLERS Sponsored by Montefiore-Einstein
This series celebrates the illustrious careers of today’s most innovative creators, who have broken from traditional roles and pioneered their own forms of storytelling.
Bradley Cooper and Guillermo del Toro
Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski
Scott Z. Burns and Matthew Rhys
Shira Haas and Ali Wentworth
Get Lifted’s John Legend and Mike Jackson
Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Clem Burke and Chris Stein
Scott Rechler – “Recalibrate Reality: The Future of NY”
Jason Hirschhorn – “The Business of Entertainment” and “The Future of Podcasting”
REUNIONS & RESTORATIONS
The Royal Tenenbaums – 20th Anniversary Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his wife, Etheline (Anjelica Huston), had three children — Chas, Margot, and Richie — and then they separated. Chas (Ben Stiller) started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a playwright and received a Braverman Grant of $50,000 in the ninth grade. Richie (Luke Wilson) was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster. The Royal Tenenbaums is a hilarious, touching, and brilliantly stylized study of melancholy and redemption.
After the Screening: A live-streamed conversation with Wes Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston, and Danny Glover.
Fargo – 25th Anniversary Things go terribly awry when small-time Minnesota car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) hires two thugs (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife so he can collect ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. Once people start dying, the very chipper and very pregnant Police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) takes the case. Is she up for this challenge? You betcha.
After the Screening: An-in person conversation Joel Coen, Frances McDormand, and Steve Buscemi
The Five Heartbeats – 30th Anniversary Five friends leave their neighborhood and head for a new type of music – Motown. Coming in on the tail end of a rhythm and blues singing group explosion, The Five Heartbeats (Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon Robinson, Harry J. Lennix, Tico Wells), rise and fall within the space of seven years. Along the way, the group deals with all manner of fame and fortune distractions — jealousy, greed, too much womanizing and drugs all take a toll.
After the Screening: An in-person conversation with Robert Townsend, John Terrell, Tico Wells, Leon Robinson, James Hawthorne, Harry Lennix, Michael Wright moderated by Loren Hammonds.
The Kid – 100th Anniversary Charlie Chaplin was already an international star when he decided to break out of the short-film format and make his first full-length feature. The Kid doesn’t merely show Chaplin at a turning point, when he proved that he was a serious film director—it remains an expressive masterwork of silent cinema. In it, he stars as his lovable Tramp character, this time raising an orphan (a remarkable young Jackie Coogan) he has rescued from the streets. Chaplin and Coogan make a miraculous pair in this nimble marriage of sentiment and slapstick, a film that is, as its opening title card states, “a picture with a smile—and perhaps, a tear.”
Raging Bull – Restoration Robert De Niro teams up with director Martin Scorsese to create one of cinema’s eternal masterpieces. Nominated for eight Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Director, this contemporary classic is “ambitious, violent, poetic and lyrical” (The New York Times). De Niro turns in a powerful, Best Actor Oscar®-winning performance as Jake La Motta, a boxer whose psychological and sexual complexities erupt into violence both in and out of the ring. Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty co-star.
Director Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro discuss the film’s lasting legacy in a pre-recorded conversation.
About the Tribeca Festival The Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, brings artists and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, games, music, and online work. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is a platform for creative expression and immersive entertainment. Tribeca champions emerging and established voices; discovers award-winning filmmakers and creators; curates innovative experiences; and introduces new technology and ideas through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances.
The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Tribeca will celebrate its 20th year June 9 – 20, 2021 www.tribecafilm.com/festival
In 2019, James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, a private investment company with locations in New York and Mumbai, bought a majority stake in Tribeca Enterprises, bringing together Rosenthal, De Niro, and Murdoch to grow the enterprise.
About the 2021 Tribeca Festival Partners: The 2021 Tribeca Festival is presented by AT&T and with the support of our corporate partners: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Audible, Bloomberg Philanthropies, CHANEL, City National Bank, CNN Films, Diageo, DoorDash, FreshDirect, Hudson Yards, Indeed, Montefiore-Einstein, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, P&G, PwC, Roku, Spring Studios New York.
The following is a press release from Dick Clark Productions and NBC:
Post Malone swept the “2020 Billboard Music Awards” (BBMAs), winning a total of nine awards, including Top Artist and Top Male Artist – the most of the evening – bringing his total number of BBMA wins to 10. Echoing the theme of “Music Unites All’ throughout the night Malone said “music can bring everyone together, it’s absolutely incredible.” Airing tonight from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, the BBMAs opened with an unforgettable performance by three-time host Kelly Clarkson, who brought down the house with Whitney Houston’s version of “Higher Love,” joined by two-time BBMA nominees Pentatonix and queen of percussion Sheila E.
Khalid followed Post Malone for the most wins of the night with five, including Top R&B Artist, Top R&B Album, and Top R&B Song. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus tied for the third most wins, with both artists recognized for their hit “Old Town Road” in the Top Hot 100 Song, Top Streaming Song, Top Selling Song, and Top Rap Song categories. Billie Eilish took home three awards including Top New Artist and Top Female Artist. Winners in the fan-voted categories were: BTS (Top Social Artist), Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” (Top Collaboration) and Harry Styles (Billboard Chart Achievement Award).
Rapper and social activist Killer Mike was honored with the inaugural Billboard Change Maker Award from the historic APEX (African American Panoramic Experience) Museum in Atlanta, GA. The award, which honors an artist or group that speaks truth to power through music, celebrity, and community and is active in their community and charitable with time, money, or influence to improve the lives of others, was presented by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. NBC and MRC teamed up to deposit $1M to Killer Mike’s recently established digital bank, Greenwood.
Cher made an appearance on the star-studded night to present Garth Brooks with the elite ICON Award, followed by his incredible performance of multiple chart-topping hits that was nothing short of iconic.
The night was full of spectacular performances:
All the way from South Korea, K-Pop supergroup BTSgave an electrifying performance of “Dynamite,” their first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Demi Lovato gave a chills inducing world premiere performance of her timely and powerful new song “Commander in Chief”
Post Malone delivered a soaring performance of his hits “Circles” and “Tommy Lee” featuring Tyla Yahweh, showing everyone why he took home nine awards
Alicia Keys made a long-awaited return to the BBMA stage for a dazzling perform of her latest single “Love Looks Better”
Brandy made her BBMA performance debut and treated fans to her hit “Borderline” along with her new single “No Tomorrow” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, and “Almost Doesn’t Count”
Bad Bunny was joined by surprise guests Nesi and Ivy Queen for “Yo Perreo Sola” for his dynamic and exciting BBMA performance debut
In her first BBMA performance, Doja Cat set the stage aflame with a dramatic medley of “Juicy,” “Say So,” and “Like That”
EGOT-winner and multi-platinum singer-songwriter John Legendgave an emotional performance of “Never Break”
Kane Brown, Khalid and Swae Lee tore up the stage with an energetic performance of their hit “Be Like That”
In a rare appearance, Sia delivered a powerful moment with her song “Courage to Change”
On the heels of one of his three wins, Luke Combs gave a moving performance of “Better Together”
Breakout artistSAINt JHN, in his television debut, performed his global smash hit “Roses”
And in this year’s Billboard throwback, iconic group En Vogue closed the evening with an empowering performance of their huge hit “Free Your Mind,” which first stormed the charts 30 years ago
In a tribute to legendary guitarist, musician, and songwriter Eddie Van Halen, the show featured a clip from the 2015 BBMAs when his son Wolfgang took the stage with him for a rare live tv performance. Presenters throughout the evening included Addison Rae, Cher, Garcelle Beauvais, Jane Lynch, Jay Ellis, Jharrel Jerome, Julia Michaels, Lilly Singh, Nicole Richie, Spencer X, Taraji P. Henson, TwinsthenewTrend (Fred & Tim Williams), and tWitch.
“Billboard Music Awards” nominees and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data/Nielsen Music. The awards are based on the chart period of March 23, 2019, through March 14, 2020. Since 1940, the Billboard charts have been the go-to guide for ranking the popularity of artists, songs and albums, and are the ultimate measure of success in music.
The “2020 Billboard Music Awards” are sponsored by TikTok and Xfinity. The “2020 Billboard Music Awards” are produced by dick clark productions. Amy Thurlow, Mark Bracco, Barry Adelman, Linda Gierahn, Kelly Clarkson, and Robert Deaton are executive producers.
For the latest news on the Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) visit billboardmusicawards.com and www.billboard.com/bbma. For exclusive content and more, be sure to follow the BBMAs on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube) and join the conversation by using the official hashtag for the show, #BBMAs.
About Dick Clark Productions: Dick Clark Productions (DCP) is the world’s largest producer and proprietor of televised live event entertainment programming with the “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “American Music Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” and the “Streamy Awards.” Weekly television programming includes “So You Think You Can Dance” from 19 Entertainment and DCP. DCP also owns one of the world’s most extensive and unique entertainment archive libraries with more than 60 years of award-winning shows, historic programs, specials, performances, and legendary programming. DCP is part of MRC Live & Alternative, a division of diversified global entertainment company MRC. For additional information, visit www.mrcentertainment.com
Here is the complete list of nominations and winners:
Top Artist: Billie Eilish Jonas Brothers Khalid Post Malone* Taylor Swift
Top New Artist: DaBaby Billie Eilish* Lil Nas X Lizzo Roddy Ricch
Billboard Chart Achievement Award (Fan Voted): Mariah Carey Luke Combs Lil Nas X Harry Styles* Taylor Swift
Top Male Artist: DaBaby Khalid Lil Nas X Post Malone* Ed Sheeran
Top Female Artist: Billie Eilish* Ariana Grande Halsey Lizzo Taylor Swift
Top Duo/Group: BTS Dan + Shay Jonas Brothers* Maroon 5 Panic! At The Disco
Top Billboard 200 Artist: Drake Billie Eilish Khalid Post Malone* Taylor Swift
Top Hot 100 Artist: DaBaby Billie Eilish Khalid Lil Nas X Post Malone*
Top Streaming Songs Artist: DaBaby Billie Eilish Lil Nas X Post Malone* Travis Scott
Top Song Sales Artist: Billie Eilish Lil Nas X Lizzo* Post Malone Taylor Swift
Top Radio Songs Artist: Jonas Brothers* Khalid Lizzo Shawn Mendes Post Malone
Top Social Artist (Fan Voted): BTS* Billie Eilish EXO GOT7 Ariana Grande
Top Touring Artist: Elton John Metallica P!nk* The Rolling Stones Ed Sheeran
Top R&B Artist: Chris Brown Khalid* Lizzo Summer Walker The Weeknd
Top R&B Male Artist: Chris Brown Khalid* The Weeknd
Top R&B Female Artist: Beyoncé Lizzo Summer Walker*
Top R&B Tour: B2K Janet Jackson Khalid*
Top Rap Artist: DaBaby Juice WRLD Lil Nas X Post Malone* Roddy Ricch
Top Rap Male Artist: DaBaby Lil Nas X Post Malone*
Top Rap Female Artist: Cardi B* City Girls Megan Thee Stallion
Top Rap Tour: Drake Post Malone* Travis Scott
Top Country Artist: Kane Brown Luke Combs* Dan + Shay Maren Morris Thomas Rhett
Top Country Male Artist: Kane Brown Luke Combs* Thomas Rhett
Top Country Female Artist: Maren Morris* Kacey Musgraves Carrie Underwood
Top Country Duo/Group: Dan + Shay* Florida Georgia Line Old Dominion
Top Country Tour: Eric Church Florida Georgia Line George Strait*
Top Rock Artist: Imagine Dragons Panic! At The Disco* Tame Impala Tool twenty one pilots
Top Rock Tour: Elton John* Metallica The Rolling Stones
Top Latin Artist: Anuel AA Bad Bunny* J Balvin Ozuna Romeo Santos
Top Dance/Electronic Artist: Avicii The Chainsmokers* DJ Snake Illenium Marshmello
Top Christian Artist: Lauren Daigle* Elevation Worship for KING & COUNTRY Hillsong UNITED Kanye West
Top Gospel Artist: Kirk Franklin Koryn Hawthorne Tasha Cobbs Leonard Sunday Service Choir Kanye West*
Top Billboard 200 Album: Billie Eilish “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”* Ariana Grande “thank u, next” Khalid “Free Spirit” Post Malone “Hollywood’s Bleeding” Taylor Swift “Lover”
Top Soundtrack: “Aladdin” “Descendants 3” “Frozen II”* “K-12” by Melanie Martinez “The Dirt” by Mötley Crüe
Top R&B Album: Beyoncé “Homecoming: The Live Album” Justin Bieber “Changes” Chris Brown “Indigo” Khalid “Free Spirit”* Summer Walker “Over It”
Top Rap Album: DaBaby “KIRK” Juice WRLD “Death Race For Love” Post Malone “Hollywood’s Bleeding”* Roddy Ricch “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial” Young Thug “So Much Fun”
Top Country Album: Kane Brown “Experiment” Luke Combs “What You See Is What You Get”* Maren Morris “GIRL” Thomas Rhett “Center Point Road” Morgan Wallen “If I Know Me”
Top Rock Album: The Lumineers “III” Slipknot “We Are Not Your Kind” Tame Impala “The Slow Rush” Tool “Fear Inoculum”* Vampire Weekend “Father of the Bride”
Top Latin Album: J Balvin & Bad Bunny “Oasis”* Farruko “Gangalee” Maluma “11:11” Romeo Santos “Utopía” Sech “Sueños”
Top Dance/Electronic Album: Avicii “TIM” The Chainsmokers “World War Joy” Illenium “Ascend” Marshmello “Marshmello: Fortnite Extended Set”* Alan Walker “Different World”
Top Christian Album: Bethel Music “Victory: Recorded Live” Casting Crowns “Only Jesus” Hillsong UNITED “People” Skillet “Victorious” Kanye West “Jesus is King”*
Top Gospel AlbumL Kirk Franklin “Long Live Love” Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers “Goshen” William McDowell “The Cry: A Live Worship Experience” Sunday Service Choir “Jesus Is Born” Kanye West “Jesus is King”*
Top Hot 100 Song: Lewis Capaldi “Someone You Loved” Billie Eilish “bad guy” Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road”* Lizzo “Truth Hurts” Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello “Señorita”
Top Streaming Song: Chris Brown ft. Drake “No Guidance” Billie Eilish “bad guy” Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road”* Lil Tecca “Ran$om” Post Malone & Swae Lee “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)”
Top Selling Song: Lewis Capaldi “Someone You Loved” Billie Eilish “bad guy” Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road”* Lizzo “Truth Hurts” Blake Shelton “God’s Country”
Top Radio Song: Lewis Capaldi “Someone You Loved” Jonas Brothers “Sucker”* Khalid “Talk” Lizzo “Truth Hurts” Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber “I Don’t Care”
Top Collaboration (Fan Voted): Chris Brown ft. Drake “No Guidance” Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road” Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello “Señorita”* Post Malone & Swae Lee “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)” Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber “I Don’t Care”
Top R&B Song: Chris Brown ft. Drake “No Guidance” Doja Cat & Tyga “Juicy” Khalid “Talk”* Lizzo “Good As Hell” The Weeknd “Heartless”
Top Rap Song: Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road”* Lil Tecca “Ran$om” Lizzo “Truth Hurts” Post Malone & Swae Lee “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)” Post Malone “Wow.”
Top Country Song: Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber “10,000 Hours”* Maren Morris “The Bones” Old Dominion “One Man Band” Blake Shelton “God’s Country” Morgan Wallen “Whiskey Glasses”
Top Rock Song: Imagine Dragons “Bad Liar” Machine Gun Kelly x YUNGBLUD x Travis Barker “I Think I’m Okay” Panic! At The Disco “Hey Look Ma, I Made It”* twenty one pilots “Chlorine” twenty one pilots “The Hype”
Top Latin Song: Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Ozuna & J Balvin “China” Bad Bunny & Tainy “Callaita” Daddy Yankee ft. Snow “Con Calma”* Jhay Cortez, J Balvin, & Bad Bunny “No Me Conoce” Sech ft. Darell, Nicky Jam, Ozuna, Anuel AA “Otro Trago”
Top Dance/Electronic Song: Black Eyed Peas x J Balvin “Ritmo (Bad Boys For Life)” Ellie Goulding x Diplo ft. Swae Lee “Close To Me”* Illenium & Jon Bellion “Good Things Fall Apart” Kygo x Whitney Houston “Higher Love” Marshmello ft. CHVRCHES “Here With Me”
Top Christian Song: Bethel Music, Jonathan David Helser & Melissa Helser “Raise A Hallelujah” Casting Crowns ft. Matthew West “Nobody” Lauren Daigle “Rescue” for KING & COUNTRY “God Only Knows”* Kanye West “Follow God”
Top Gospel Song: Kirk Franklin “Love Theory” Kanye West “Closed on Sunday” Kanye West “Follow God”* Kanye West “On God” Kanye West “Selah”
BET announces an array of high impact initiatives to support communities of color impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Black Americans are being disproportionately harmed by the health and financial devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. BET, in partnership with the NAACP, United Way Worldwide, leaders in the African American creative, civil rights and business communities will provide critical financial, educational and community support directly to the African Americans hardest hit by this crisis.
These initiatives include the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special; the creation of a relief fund in partnership with United Way Worldwide to assist people of color most impacted by this health and financial crisis, and our support of the NAACP’s Town Hall Series.
For 40 years, BET has been rooted in a legacy of helping afflicted communities of color, raising $12 million for Katrina victims and millions more for Haiti earthquake victims. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BET will use their global platform to provide critical educational and financial resources directly related to the African American community.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is savagely compounding the profound health and financial vulnerabilities many Black Americans face. Every day, there are new reports of how this pandemic is killing African Americans at much higher rates than other communities.” said Scott Mills, President of BET. “BET is using all of our resources – our capital, our media platforms, our relationships with the creative community, sponsors, businesses and charitable organizations to support our community in this time of crisis.”
The “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special, will air on Wednesday, April 22nd at 8 pm EST. The special, co-hosted by Grammy Award-Winning singer and actress Kelly Rowland, TV personality Terrence J, and actress Regina Hall; will feature virtual appearances and musical performances from some of the biggest names in music and entertainment as they share tips on how to manage, cope and help during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Celebrity guest appearances and performances will include DJ Khaled, Charlie Wilson, Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin, Fantasia, Melvin Crispell III, and many more. The special will give up-to-date information and drive viewers to needed resources during this unprecedented time. In partnership with United Way, proceeds are being donated to African American communities severely impacted by COVID-19.
“Our goal for this special is to come together in a collective spirit of strength, community and hope. As we unite in harmony and compassion, through the collective healing power of music, comedy and entertainment, we can bring restoration and inspire the world that our brighter days are ahead,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET.
Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET will serve as Executive Producer for the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” broadcast special along with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment.
To support these initiatives, BET has established a COVID-19 relief fund in partnership with United Way Worldwide to support African Americans that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. United Way, the largest private funder of human services in the U.S., has a presence in 95% of communities across the country, and has, for more than 130 years, mobilized the caring power of the community to advance the common good. United Way is unparalleled in its power to convene local partners, providers and resources to address the needs of vulnerable communities on the ground.
Financial donations from the joint fund will allow United Way to disburse resources to local organizations under United Ways in New York City, Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago, regions that have been most impacted by this crisis. There are long-term plans to expand these resources to other markets going forward. In particular, United Way will be supporting families in crisis who are experiencing food insecurity and are in need of emergency assistance.
“United Way is deeply embedded in communities across our country, and our ‘local-ness’ means we know the needs on the ground and how to get the right kind of help to those who need it most,” said Stan Little, Chief Experience Officer of United Way. “We look forward to partnering with BET to bring much-needed relief and long-term recovery to already vulnerable communities that are being hit especially hard because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
BET is also providing resources and content on COVID-19 across multiple digital platforms including a four-part virtual town hall series in partnership with the NAACP. On Wednesday, April 8, at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT, “Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Powered by NAACP & BET” will stream on NAACP.org and focus on how the pandemic is affecting African Americans and what steps the community can take to build an action plan for positive change. The first town hall will focus on the health, emotional, economic toll, congressional response and how activists can apply pressure to ensure legislation is equitable. Additionally, BET.com is reporting daily on what the African American community needs to know about COVID-19, and how it is impacting our lives.
You can donate to the fund beginning Friday, April 10th. More information on BET’s partnership with UWW and additional extensions of our relief efforts are forthcoming. For further details, please visit BET.com.
April 17, 2020 UPDATE
Today BET announces comedian and actor Anthony Anderson as the fourth host of the upcoming “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” special. Anderson joins stars Kelly Rowland, Terrence J, and Regina Hall as host for the two-hour special broadcast. “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort” is set to air on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 8 PM EST.
Performances include Alicia Keys with a special tribute to New York City, and a Gospel moment with Kirk Franklin featuring Fantasia, Jonathan McReynolds, Kelly Price, Tasha Cobbs, Le’Andria Johnson, and Melvin Crispell III. Exclusive performances by John Legend, Usher, Jhene Aiko, Chloe X Halle, CeeLo Green, H.E.R., Ella Mai, Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris, Swae Lee, Tyrese Gibson, Buju Banton, DJ D-Nice, SiR, D Smoke, and Charlie Wilson.
Additional celebrity guest appearances will include Tiffany Haddish, Idris Elba, Ciara, Don Cheadle, Mike Epps, Deon Cole, Angela Rye, Dr. Rheeda Walker, Charlamagne Tha God, Symone D. Sanders, DJ Khaled andChance The Rapper.
Expanding the reach of the telecast, BET will simulcast the special across BET and BET Her domestically, as well as their channels internationally bringing awareness to over 90 million homes. Additionally, BET will join forces with Bounce to help expand the audience to include free, over-the-air broadcast viewers with Bounce simulcasting “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort.”
BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news, and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.
About United Way
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.9 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide and $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas at naacp.org.
Building on the success of the digital series “One World: Together at Home,” Global Citizen and the World Health Organization (WHO) are partnering for a special one-night event of the same name to air across NBC, ABC, CBS and other global networks and platforms on Saturday, April 18, 2020 (8:00-10:00 p.m. PT/ET).
“One World: Together at Home” is not a telethon – but rather a global broad entertainment special to celebrate the heroic efforts of community health workers and support the World Health Organization and the global fight to end COVID-19. The event is curated by Lady Gaga and will feature exclusive appearances by Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, FINNEAS, Idris and Sabrina Elba, Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder. Friends of Sesame Street will also be on hand to help unify and inspire people around the world.
The two-hour program will be hosted by a trio of network late-night hosts: Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert and will include performances from the world’s biggest artists with multimillion-dollar pledges to the WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund. Audrey Morrissey (“The Voice,” “Songland”) and Live Animals will produce the special in partnership with Global Citizen.
The show will lift viewer’s spirits with exclusive, special cameos from the worlds of music and arts, sports superstars, and comedic sketches, while always drawing back to its core purpose – to educate and inform on COVID-19 risks, prevention and response. The broadcast will feature interviews with experts from WHO as well as stories of frontline healthcare workers from around the world – their courage and sacrifice a reminder of the urgency of this moment.
The special will connect artists with audiences on a global scale, airing on the following networks and platforms:
· NBCUniversal: NBC, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, MSNBC.com, NBCSN, NBC News, NBCNews.com, NBC News on YouTube, Peacock, SYFY and USA.
· Walt Disney Television: ABC, ABC News, ABC News Live, Freeform and Nat Geo.
· ViacomCBS: CBS, Channel 5 in the UK, Network 10 in Australia, and Telefe in Argentina; BET and MTV globally across 180+ countries; and CMT, Comedy Central, Logo, MTV2, Paramount Network, Pop, TV Land and VH1 in the U.S.
· Bell Media platforms in Canada, MultiChoice, and RTE.
· BBC One will broadcast an edited version of the event for UK audiences on Sunday, April 19.
“One World: Together At Home” will also be a multi-hour digital broadcast streaming online on multiple global platforms, including Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Hulu, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube. This digital special will include additional artists and performances from all over the globe as well as unique stories from the world’s healthcare heroes. For information about how to tune in and take action, visit www.globalcitizen.org/togetherathome.
Commitments from supporters and corporate partners will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, powered by the UN Foundation, to support and equip healthcare workers around the world, and to local charities that provide food, shelter, and healthcare to those that need it most. These local groups have been vetted to ensure they are helping communities impacted by COVID-19.
April 14, 2020 UPDATE: International advocacy organization Global Citizen today announced an expanded list of artists that will appear in the “One World: Together at Home” global broadcast special, being held in support of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic being led by the World Health Organization.
The newly announced artists include Alicia Keys, Amy Poehler, Awkwafina, Camila Cabello, Celine Dion, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez, LL COOL J, Lupita Nyong’o, Matthew McConaughey, Oprah Winfrey, Pharrell Williams, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes, Taylor Swift, Usher and Victoria Beckham. Curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga, the artists announced today join a lineup of entertainers who were unveiled last week that includes Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, FINNEAS, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan and Stevie Wonder.
“One World: Together at Home” will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Jimmy Kimmel of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and Stephen Colbert of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Friends from Sesame Street will also be on hand to help unify and inspire people around the world to take meaningful actions that increase support for the global COVID-19 response.
Leading up to the global broadcast special, there will be a six-hour streamed event, curated from around the world, to support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines. The “One World: Together at Home” streamed event will reach millions around the world digitally and will include performances and appearances from Adam Lambert, Andra Day, Angèle, Anitta, Annie Lennox, Becky G, Ben Platt, Billy Ray Cyrus, Black Coffee, Bridget Moynahan, Burna Boy, Cassper Nyovest, Charlie Puth, Christine and the Queens, Common, Connie Britton, Danai Gurira, Delta Goodrem, Don Cheadle, Eason Chan, Ellie Goulding, Erin Richards, FINNEAS, Heidi Klum, Hozier, Hussain Al Jasmi, Jack Black, Jacky Cheung, Jack Johnson, Jameela Jamil, James McAvoy, Jason Segel, Jennifer Hudson, Jess Glynne, Jessie J, Jessie Reyez, John Legend, Juanes, Kesha, Lady Antebellum, Lang Lang, Leslie Odom Jr., Lewis Hamilton, Liam Payne, Lili Reinhart, Lilly Singh, Lindsey Vonn, Lisa Mishra, Lola Lennox, Luis Fonsi, Maren Morris, Matt Bomer, Megan Rapinoe, Michael Bublé, Milky Chance, Naomi Osaka, Natti Natasha, Niall Horan, Nomzamo Mbatha, P.K. Subban, Picture This, Rita Ora, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sebastián Yatra, Sheryl Crow, Sho Madjozi, SOFI TUKKER, SuperM, The Killers, Tim Gunn, Vishal Mishra and Zucchero. The digital stream will be available on Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube.
As part of the “One World: Together at Home” campaign, brands including Analog Devices, Cisco, Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, State Farm(R), Target, Teneo, Verizon, Vodafone and WW International, Inc. have supported the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO and regional charities that are working to meet immediate COVID-19-related needs locally.
“We are grateful to the private sector who have listened to the public’s call for action and come together to support the global response to COVID19. This pandemic is too large for governments to tackle alone,” said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen. “We are also incredibly grateful for the continued support from the artist community to make ‘One World: Together at Home’ a moment of global unity. Our hope for the special is that everyone will come away believing that we, as a shared humanity, can emerge from this moment forever grateful for the work of doctors, nurses, teachers, grocery store workers and all those who are the backbone of our communities.”
“One World: Together at Home” will air on Saturday, April 18, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. PDT/8:00 p.m. EDT, appearing on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, The CW, iHeartMedia and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada. Internationally, BBC One will run the program on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Additional international broadcasters include AXS TV, beIN Media Group, MultiChoice Group and RTE. The digital stream will begin at 11:00 a.m. PDT/2:00 p.m. EDT and will inspire unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19.
At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on individuals, governments and philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts. Changemakers, investors and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts, like stronger health systems and vaccine development.
Last month in response to the global pandemic, Global Citizen launched an urgent campaign in support of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO. Calling on individuals to take action and asking world leaders and corporations to support the response with sufficient resources, Global Citizens from over 150 countries around the world have taken hundreds of thousands of actions in support of the response fund. For information about how to tune in and take action, visit globalcitizen.org/togetherathome.
For more information about Global Citizen and their campaign to support the WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund, please visit globalcitizen.org and follow @GlblCtzn Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #GlobalCitizen.
To learn more about WHO’s response to the pandemic and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, please go to www.who.int/COVID-19 and follow @WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.
The following is a press release from the Academy of Country Music and Dick Clark Productions:
The Academy of Country Music® and Dick Clark Productions announced today the all-star lineup of performers for ACM® Presents: Our Country, a two-hour special featuring intimate conversations and at-home acoustic performances with Country Music’s biggest stars, along with clips from the Academy of Country Music Awards’™ 55-year history. Confirmed performers include Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown & John Legend, Luke Bryan, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Old Dominion, Brad Paisley & Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban. The special will be broadcast Sunday, April 5 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT and 7:00 PM CT) on the CBS Television Network and on CBS All Access.
ACM® Presents: Our Country will also honor 10-time ACM Award® winner Kenny Rogerswith performances by Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker. As previously announced, artists will appear from their homes to share heartfelt thoughts and perform acoustic versions of Country hits. Additionally, video clips from previous ACM Award broadcasts will highlight favorite ACM moments from the past. It will be a night filled with entertainment, hope and reflection, bringing the healing power of music to Americans at a time when they need it most.
The special will broadcast during the time slot previously scheduled for the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards, which will now be broadcast Wednesday, Sept. 16 (live 8:00-11:00 PM ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network and streaming live and on demand on CBS All Access. The 55th ACM Awards, hosted for the first time by reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year and 15-time ACM Award winner Keith Urban, honors the biggest names and emerging talent in the Country Music industry.
About ACM® PRESENTS: OUR COUNTRY
ACM® Presents: Our Country invites fans to join their favorite superstars for a new kind of entertainment special featuring at-home acoustic performances with top Country artists along with clips of their favorite moments from the Academy of Country Music Awards’™ 55-year history. is produced for television by Dick Clark Productions. R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman, Mark Bracco and Amy Thurlow are executive producers. Damon Whiteside is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music®.
The following is a press release from iHeartMedia and Fox:
iHeartMedia and Fox Entertainment (FOX) announced today that the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awardswill feature performances by Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Garth Brooks, John Legend and Kacey Musgraves, with more to be announced. The live, two-hour event airs Thursday, March 14 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The sixth annual 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards will also air live on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and iHeartRadio, the all-in-one digital music, podcast, on demand and live-streaming radio service.
iHeartMedia also announced that Taylor Swift will receive the iHeartRadio Tour of the Year Award for her Reputation Stadium Tour. With more than two million tickets sold in the U.S. and grossing $266 million, it is the highest-selling U.S. tour in history by any artist. The Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour broke Swift’s own record for highest-grossing tour by a woman. It was critically acclaimed for its cutting-edge, large-scale production value that gave tens of thousands of fans in attendance each night a rare and intimate glimpse at what makes Swift one of today’s greatest performers. The tour, which kicked off in May 2018 in Glendale, AZ, also traveled to Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia, and was made into a special concert film for Netflix. Swift will be in attendance to accept her award.
Nominees for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards were announced on January 9. Artists receiving multiple nominations include Cardi B, Drake, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, Post Malone, Maroon 5 and Imagine Dragons. For a full list of categories, visit iHeartRadio.com/awards.
In addition to being a compelling celebration of music and artists, the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards will again celebrate the fans, giving iHeartRadio listeners the opportunity to decide winners in several new and established categories. Fan voting will determine this year’s Best Fan Army, presented by Taco Bell®; Best Lyrics; Best Cover Song; Best Music Video; the Social Star Award; Best Solo Breakout; Cutest Musician’s Pet; and the first-ever Song That Left Us Shook and Favorite Tour Photographer awards.
Social voting began on January 9 and will close on March 7. Fans can vote on Twitter using the appropriate category and nominee hashtags or by visiting iHeartRadio.com/awards.
This year’s awards will feature a broad array of categories, including Artist of the Year, Best Duo/Group of the Year and individual winners for Album of the Year in music’s biggest genres, including Pop, Country, Alternative Rock, Rock, Dance, Hip-Hop, R&B, Latin and Regional Mexican formats. For the third year, the 2019 Best New Artist awards will be grouped by music format and format winners will then become finalists for the top title of Best New Artist.
Proud partners of the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards include the feature film “Five Feet Apart” in theaters March 15, L’Oréal Paris, Taco Bell®, TikTok and Total Wireless, with more to be announced.
Executive producers for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards are Joel Gallen for Tenth Planet and John Sykes, Tom Poleman and Lee Rolontz for iHeartMedia.
For breaking news and exclusive iHeartRadio Music Awards content visit iHeartRadio.com/awards or follow #iHeartAwards on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Tickets are currently on sale to the general public at axs.com.
iHeartMedia is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms including 850 live broadcast stations; streaming music, radio and on demand via its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including smart speakers, digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables, smartphones, virtual assistants, TVs and gaming consoles; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher globally. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics and attribution technology for its marketing partners, using data from its massive consumer base. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK: IHRTQ). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.
About Microsoft Theater
Microsoft Theater hosts over 120 music, family, dance and comedy acts, award shows, televised productions, conventions and product launches with over 500,000 guests passing through the doors annually. The 7,100-seat theater offers guests mid-sized intimacy, with no seat further from the stage than 220 feet. Microsoft Theater offers 12,000 square feet of VIP & hospitality areas, 10 dressing rooms and state of the art technology making it is a favorite indoor venue for performers and fans alike. Since opening in October 2007 with six sold out shows featuring the Eagles and Dixie Chicks, Microsoft Theater has hosted concerts starring the most popular artists including Alan Jackson, Katy Perry, Charlie Wilson, Juan Gabriel, Aretha Franklin, Ed Sheeran, John Fogerty, Gabriel Iglesias, Kanye West, Marc Anthony, Sesame Street Live, John Legend, The Avett Brothers, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Trey Songz, Kelly Clarkson, Rush, Yanni, Nicki Minaj, Juanes, Cat Stevens, The American Idol Finale shows, “Michael Jackson’s This is It,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” move premieres and many more. Microsoft Theater is home to the American Music Awards, ESPYs, Primetime Emmy Awards, BET Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Radio Disney Music Awards, 2010, 2011 & 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, 2014 & 2015 MTV Movie Awards and the 2013 Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Microsoft Theater is centrally located within L.A. LIVE is a 4 million square foot / $3 billion downtown Los Angeles sports and entertainment district adjacent to STAPLES Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center featuring Microsoft Theater, a 7,100-seat live theatre, a 2,300 capacity live music venue, a 54-story, 1001-room convention “headquarters” destination (featuring The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles and JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE hotels and 224 luxury condominiums – The Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. LIVE – all in a single tower) , the GRAMMY Museum, the 14-screen Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 theatre, broadcast facilities for ESPN along with entertainment, residential, restaurant and office space.
Watching a New Year’s Eve special on TV is a tradition for millions of people around the world. After taking a break from a New Year’s Eve Special in 2017, NBC is back with its star-studded party in New York City’s Times Square. Here’s what is planned for the four biggest New Year’s TV specials in the United States:
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2019
Celebrating its 47th year, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (which is produced by Dick Clark Productions and airs in the U.S. on ABC) is still the most high-profile televised New Year’s Eve event. Mariah Carey headlined the show from New York City’s Times Square in 2018 and 2017. In 2018, another Grammy-winning diva—Christina Aguilera—is taking the headlining spot. Ryan Seacrest will once again host the show, which begins airing from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, followed by 11:30 p.m. to 2:13 a.m. ET. Jenny McCarthy will provide on-site reporting. Other performers in Times Square include Bastille, Dan + Shay and New Kids on the Block. Airing just after midnight Eastern Time, Post Malone will perform from a stop on his current tour in Brooklyn, New York, marking the first television performance of the new year. Meanwhile, the special has partnered with YouTube Music for the first time this year for cross-promotional programming.
Ciara will once again host the Los Angeles segments of the show that will feature performances that were mostly previously recorded. Artists in the show’s Los Angeles segments will include Lauren Alaina, Kelsea Ballerini, Bazzi, Kane Brown, Camila Cabello, The Chainsmokers, Ciara, Foster the People, Halsey, Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth and Weezer, as well as collaborations from Brown featuring Alaina; Macklemore with Skylar Grey; and The Chainsmokers featuring Ballerini.
Meanwhile, actress Lucy Hale (former star of “Pretty Little Liars”) will host the show’s second annual Central Time Zone celebration from New Orleans. Florida Georgia Line and Maren Morris will perform from the Allstate Fan Fest, leading up to the midnight countdown and fleur-de-lis drop near Jackson Square. “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2019” is produced by Dick Clark Productions with Seacrest, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco serving as executive producers. Larry Klein is producer.
Fox’s New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square
After televising its New Year’s Eve show (hosted by Pitbull) in Miami from 2014 to 2016, Fox changed locations and hosts in 2017, with the show now taking place at New York City’s Times Square with comedian/talk-show host Steve Harvey and former E! News personality Maria Menounous. This year, Harvey and Menounous return to co-host the show, which airs on Fox from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET and 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET live; CT/MT/PT tape-delayed. Performers will include Sting, Snoop Dogg, Robin Thicke, Florence + the Machine, Jason Aldean, Juanes and Why Don’t We. Additionally, the special will include celebrity cameo appearances by comedians Ken Jeong and Kenan Thompson, as well as “Fox NFL Sunday” commentators Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Michael Strahan and Jimmy Johnson. “Fox’s New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square” is produced by IMG Original Content and Done + Dusted. Guy Carrington, Katy Mullan, Mike Antinoro, Dave Chamberlin and Orly Anderson serve as executive producers; and Eddie Delbridge serves as co-executive producer. IMG also produces Harvey’s self-titled talk show, as well as the Miss Universe Pageant and “It’s Showtime at the Apollo,” which have been hosted by Harvey over the past several years.
[December 30, 2018 UPDATE: Dierks Bentley has been added to the lineup performing in Times Square.]
NBC’s New Year’s Eve
Stars from NBC’s “The Voice” are all over “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” special, which begins airing at 10 p.m. ET from New York City’s Times Square. Not only is “The Voice” host Carson Daly hosting the New Year’s Eve show (with Chrissy Teigen and assistance from Leslie Jones), but “The Voice” coaches Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and John Legend are also performing on the special. Other performers include Jennifer Lopez, Bebe Rexha, Diana Ross and Andy Grammer. Keith Urban and Brett Young will perform at Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville. “NBC Nightly News” and “Dateline NBC” anchor Lester Holt will also appear on stage before the iconic ball drop. “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” will be televised from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, followed by the New Year’s countdown segment 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET. “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” is executive produced by Daly, Teigen and John Irwin through NBCUniversal Television Studio and Irwin Entertainment. It is co-executive produced by Casey Spira.
New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen
For the second year in a row, longtime friends Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will co-host CNN’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which begins at 8 p.m. ET. CNN’s 11th annual New Year’s Eve Show, which is telecast live from New York City’s Times Square has a more star-studded lineup this year than in previous years. Gwen Stefani is scheduled to perform from her Las Vegas residency, while Keith Urban (who also appears on NBC’s New Year’s Eve Special), Dave Chappelle, Patti LaBelle and Jack Black also round out the show’s celebrity lineup. New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will also spotlight Broadway musicals such as “The Band’s Visit,” “Wicked,” “Tootsie” and “Come From Away.” CNN’s New Year’s Eve Show begins at 8 p.m. ET, and will end at approximately 1:05 p.m. ET. CNN anchors Don Lemon and Brooke Baldwin will host a countdown from New Orleans at 12:30 a.m. ET.In 2017, Cohen replaced Kathy Griffin, who was notoriously fired from the show in May of that year for publicly posting a photo of herself holding up a fake bloody head of President Donald Trump. Griffin and Cooper had co-hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve Show since 2007, but the Cooper/Cohen duo brought in the show’s highest ratings so far. Cooper and Cohen have an established rapport, since they have done numerous speaking engagements together.
NBC begins 2019 with music’s biggest names in an evening that can’t be missed. “NBC’s New Year’s Eve” will feature performances by the incredible Diana Ross, Kelly Clarkson, Andy Grammer, John Legend and Blake Shelton. Carson Daly and Chrissy Teigen will host live from the heart of Times Square along with Leslie Jones.
Meanwhile, Keith Urban will join the telecast live from the Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville event with a show-stopping performance of his own as well as an amazing performance by Brett Young. The 10th annual Nashville New Year’s Eve event will take place near the Tennessee State Capitol at Nashville’s Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. The music-filled evening caps off with a Music Note Drop and fireworks to ring in the new year.
The special will air Monday, Dec. 31 from 10-11 p.m. ET/PT, will break for local news and return for the final countdown from 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Prior to “NBC’S New Year’s Eve,” Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb will ring in the new year with “A Toast to 2018,” a star-studded New Year’s Eve primetime special highlighting the year’s biggest pop culture moments, videos and trends. An all-star cast of celebrities – from Michael Bublé and Ellie Kemper to Kenan Thompson and Busy Philipps – will dish on the most talked-about stories that made for an unforgettable 2018. The two-hour special airs at from 8-10 p.m., and will also feature interviews with Chrissy Metz, Jaimie Alexander, Howie Mandel, Melissa Rivers, Ryan Eggold, Savannah Guthrie, Giuliana Rancic, Jason Kennedy, Wanda Sykes, Johnny Weir, Carson Kressley, Al Roker, Lester Holt, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Craig Melvin, Keith Morrison, Andrea Canning, Josh Mankiewicz, Dennis Murphy, Dylan Dreyer, Brad Goreski, Chris D’Elia, Brent Morin, Loni Love, and many more.
ABOUT DIANA ROSS
Diana Ross is an American singer, actress and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, which became Motown’s most successful act in the 1960s and one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. Following her departure from the Supremes in 1970, Ross released her debut solo album, which contained the Top 20 pop hit “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and the #1 pop hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” She later released the album “Touch Me in the Morning” in 1973; its title track reached #1, as her second solo #1 hit. That same year, her album “Lady Sings the Blues,” which was the original soundtrack of her film based on the life of jazz singer Billie Holiday, went to #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, selling more than 300,000 copies within its first eight days of release. By 1976, the “Mahogany” soundtrack included her third #1 hit, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To).” Her 1976 album included her fourth #1 hit, “Love Hangover.” In 1979, Ross released the album “The Boss.” Her 1980 semi-eponymous album “Diana” reached #2 on the Billboard Albums chart and spawned the #1 hit “Upside Down,” and the Top 5 international hit “I’m Coming Out.” Ross’ final single with Motown Records during her initial run with the company achieved her sixth and final #1 pop hit, the duet “Endless Love.” She is the recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Ross has also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award-nominated performance for her performance in the film “Lady Sings the Blues.” She also starred in two other feature films, “Mahogany” and “The Wiz,” later acting in the television films “Out of Darkness,” for which she also was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and “Double Platinum.” Ross was named “Female Entertainer of the Century” by Billboard. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Ross the most successful female music artist in history. She will be performing songs off her new holiday collection, “Wonderful Christmas Time.”
ABOUT KELLY CLARKSON
After winning season 14, Kelly Clarkson returned as coach for season 15 of NBC’s four-time Emmy Award-winning music competition series “The Voice.” Clarkson, who recently released her critically acclaimed eighth studio album, “Meaning of Life,” is among the most popular artists of this era with total worldwide sales of more than 25 million albums and 36 million singles. The Texas-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter first came to fame in 2002 as the winner of the inaugural season of “American Idol.” Clarkson’s debut single, “A Moment Like This,” followed and quickly went to #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, ultimately ranking as the year’s best-selling single in the U.S. Further, Clarkson is, without doubt, one of pop’s top singles artists, with 17 singles boasting multi-platinum, platinum and gold certifications around the world, including such global favorites as “Miss Independent” and “Because of You.” Clarkson has released eight studio albums (“Thankful,” “Breakaway,” “My December,” All I Ever Wanted,” “Stronger,” “Wrapped in Red,” “Piece By Piece,” “Meaning of Life”), one greatest hits album and two children’s books (New York Times Top 10 best seller “River Rose and the Magical Lullaby” as well as the recent follow up “River Rose and the Magical Christmas”). She is the recipient of an array of awards, including three Grammys, four American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, two American Country Awards and a Country Music Association Award. She is also the first artist to top each of Billboard’s pop, adult contemporary, country and dance charts. In addition, this past year Clarkson hosted the “2018 Billboard Music Awards.”
ABOUT ANDY GRAMMER
Acclaimed multi-platinum pop singer and songwriter Andy Grammer is all about inspiring and empowering the world by communicating his truths through his music. Grammer has taken the music world by storm with a succession of anthemic pop hits, six of which are certified gold or better. His debut album featured the platinum singles “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me.” Grammer’s second album, “Magazines or Novels,” featured the triple platinum worldwide hit “Honey, I’m Good,” which was one of the best-selling songs of 2015, and the certified gold anthem “Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah).” Grammer’s third full-length album, “The Good Parts,” was released in December 2017 and includes his global smash hit “Fresh Eyes,” which has become a global streaming phenomenon with over 350 million total streams.
ABOUT JOHN LEGEND
EGOT-winning, critically acclaimed, multi-platinum singer-songwriter John Legend has garnered 10 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award among others. Legend is the first African-American man to earn an EGOT and one of only 15 people in the prestigious EGOT club. In 2016, Legend released his fifth studio album, “Darkness and Light,” to rave reviews and toured to sold-out audiences across the globe. Beyond his music career, he is a principle partner in Get Lifted Film Co., a film and television production company based in Los Angeles. Get Lifted Film Co. served as executive producers on NBC’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!,” the HBO documentary “Southern Rites,” 2018 Tribeca Audience Award winner documentary “United Skates,” WGN America’s series “Underground,” and films such as “Southside With You” and “La La Land.” In 2015, Legend initiated the #FREEAMERICA campaign in an effort to change the national conversation surrounding our country’s misguided criminal justice policies and to end mass incarceration. In April 2018, Legend released a new track, “A Good Night” featuring Blood Pop, and was Emmy nominated as Jesus Christ in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” He also won an Emmy as producer of the telecast.
ABOUT BLAKE SHELTON
Blake Shelton returned to “The Voice” for the 15th season with the incredible accomplishment of being the coach for six champions over the course of the series, including season 13 winner Chloe Kohanski. Shelton’s other winners are Sundance Head, Craig Wayne Boyd, Danielle Bradbery, Cassadee Pope and Jermaine Paul. Shelton has a storied career laden with wins of his own. Shelton earned his latest honors with the 2018 CMT Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year awards for his recent chart-topping single “I’ll Name the Dogs.” He was named Top Country Artist of the Year at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and ended the year as Billboard’s Most Played Country Artist. He is a 20-time ACM nominee and has taken home five CMA Male Vocalist of the Year trophies. His most recent album, “Texoma Shore,” was his sixth record to debut at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and marked his 11th all-genre Top 10. “I’ll Name the Dogs,” the first single from the project, became Shelton’s 25th #1 song, a streak that began in 2001 with “Austin” from his debut album. His current single, “Turnin’ Me On,” is currently climbing the charts at country radio. Shelton was born, raised and lives in Oklahoma, where he has strong community ties. In response to the devastating tornadoes of 2013, Shelton and NBC teamed up on the telethon “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert.” With the help of Reba, Usher, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic among others, the telethon raised more than $6 million for United Way of Central Oklahoma. He recently donated $500,000 to the Jimmy Everest Center, an Oklahoma University hospital for children with blood cancer and blood disorders. In association with Ryman Hospitality, Shelton has opened a string of entertainment-themed restaurants and bars called Ole Red. The first venue opened in 2017 in his hometown of Tishomingo, Okla., with the Nashville location following in June and another in Gatlinburg, Tenn., due this fall.
ABOUT KEITH URBAN
Keith Urban, 2018 CMA Entertainer of the Year and Grammy Award winner, recently released his new album, “Graffiti U,” in conjunction with his “Graffiti U World Tour 2018.” The album, which upon its debut on April 27, hit #1 on charts in the United States, Canada and Australia, and is Urban’s ninth. He’s had an album atop the all-genre charts in the U.S., Canada and Australia twice and is the only male country artist to have achieved the mark even once. He now stands at #8 on Billboard’s All-Time Country Airplay Chart as the artist with the most consecutive top 10 songs on Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart (38) – a streak that started in 2000. Besides four Grammys, Urban has won 12 Country Music Assn. Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, four People’s Choice Awards and four American Music Awards. He is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He’s long supported numerous charities, including the CMA Foundation, for which he is the first Ambassador, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, for which he is an advisory board member, the Mr. Holland’s Opus Fund and the Grammy Foundation.
ABOUT BRETT YOUNG
Academy of Country Music’s New Male Vocalist of the Year Brett Young’s sophomore album, “Ticket to L.A.,” is due Dec. 7 on BMLG Records, and its lead single “Here Tonight” is quickly rising on radio. The highly anticipated release follows his self-titled debut album, which became an instant success in 2017. The release dominated the Top 20 on the Country Albums chart for 37 weeks and quickly reached RIAA platinum certification. Delivering four consecutive #1 platinum-certified hits, Young became one of country music’s new class of hitmakers as each single climbed to the top of the charts, distinguishing himself with “In Case You Didn’t Know” as the first debut country artist since 2014 to garner 3x-platinum certification. The smash hit’s official music video has surpassed 200 million views, while Young was the only artist of 2017 with two efforts listed on VEVO’s Top Country Videos list. Young continues to impress the genre and beyond with nominations from Billboard, Teen Choice, CMT and CMA. He was recently named ASCAP’s 2018 Country Songwriter-Artist of the Year and awarded BMI’s 2018 Song of the Year for “In Case You Didn’t Know.” Above the industry successes, his relationship with fans found Young selling out every single stop on his debut headlining tour in 2017 and earning new followers on the road with Thomas Rhett. Young is currently on his headlining “CMT on Tour: Here Tonight” through the end of the year.
“NBC’s New Year’s Eve” is executive produced by Daly, Teigen and John Irwin through NBCUniversal Television Studio and Irwin Entertainment. It is co-executive produced by Casey Spira and directed by Ryan Polito.