Winfrey already had Ross on the show and, she said, in the spirit of Winfrey's final-season reunions, she brought Williams out onstage. The three exchanged warm embraces once Williams entered.
'The Riches' star has signed on to headline CBS's 'Hail Mary.' According to the Hollywood Reporter, Driver will star in the private investigator drama about a single mom who solves crimes with a hustler. The pilot was written by Jeff Wadlow. He'll executive produce along with with Joel Silver and Ilene Chaiken.
Driver was previously in talks to star in NBC's 'Free Agents,' from 'Party Down' producer John Enbom.
In other casting news ...
• Ashley Judd is nearing a deal to star in ABC's 'Missing.' The drama, previously slated to air this summer, now looks like it'll get a fall launch. Judd will play a former CIA agent who goes to Europe to track down her missing son. Sounds just like an Ashley Judd movie -- all she needs is Morgan Freeman. [Deadline Hollywood]
• 'Firefly' actor Alan Tudyk has joined 'Suburgatory.' The ABC comedy pilot follows a family who moves from Manhattan to the suburbs. Tudyk plays the patriarch's friend who has been living the 'burbs for years. [Deadline]
• Patrick Wilson is heading to TV. The 'Watchmen' actor will star in a medical drama pilot on CBS. Wilson will play a surgeon whose ex-wife dies "and begins teaching him what life is all about from the here-after." [TVLine]
The original 'We Are the World' was recorded almost exactly 25 years ago to benefit the charity, USA for Africa. Recently, 80 stars got together, including co-writer Lionel Richie and producer Quincy Jones, to remake the classic song to help with Haiti relief efforts. The video was supposed to debut last night during the Olympic opening ceremonies, but they just showed an excerpt. We have the full video here.
It's nice to see some of the same people involved in making the first video in the remake, but this version is populated by mostly new faces including Jennifer Hudson, Josh Groban, Wyclef Jean, and Kanye West, among many others. In fact, there were so many artists featured in this video, that I didn't even recognize them all. The new version is about a full minute longer than the original, and the real question is, how does it stack up?
Like many breakout reality TV stars, Sanjaya Malakar was able to successfully steal the spotlight from his more worthy opponents, gliding by on personality and charisma. He's living proof that a winning grin and luscious locks can sometimes take you a lot farther than actual talent.
Special guests Lulu and Peter Noone will prepare the remaining 11 contestants for Tuesday's show (March 20) and then perform live on Wednesday (March 21). Lulu is scheduled to sing "To Sir With Love," while Noone will sing "There's a Kind of Hush."
Peter Noone (whom I really want to call "Herman") writes about his upcoming guest appearance on his blog, saying "I am getting excited about my coaching job on American Idol. I get to hang with my really good friend Lulu who was my teenage heartthrob and we once had a date."
Did America get it right this week? Oddly, the judges didn't say. In fact, they didn't say much tonight. Like I said, we all expected Brandon to go. But still, didn't you expect Paula to weep, and offer him final words of inspiration?
Simon warned, "He's not going to win. I won't be back if he does!"
Last night, Sanjaya gave another monotone performance, droning out "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" while sporting Justin Guarini's bouncy hair. Simon snarked, "When you hear a wail in Beverly Hills, that is where Diana Ross is watching this show."
The guys and girls compete on the same night for the first time since the contest began. The judges all agree that the girls are ahead of the guys so far, but believe anything can happen at this stage.
However, besides being better singers, the girls get a lucky break. It seems logical that the girls will have an easier time than the boys singing the music of Diana Ross and The Supremes. There's also a lot of "old-fashioned belters" in the women's group, and they know how to sell a classic Motown song. The boys, on the other hand, with their hipper, more contemporary singing styles, have a harder time interpreting these classics. The ladies own the night, with Jordin, Melinda, and LaKisha giving the three best performances.
First of all, I'd love to see Diana Ross be a guest judge. I think her zanyness could rival Paula's and maybe even make Paula look sober.
I think the biggest 'get' is Gwen Stefani, who is on top of her game right now. I guess she knows where her fans are. There's no doubt (har, har) that Gwen's young fans are the same people who watch Idol.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though any of these celebrities will actually perform. Idol's press release lists the celebs as "coaches" and "guests". So... they'll be helping performers choose and prepare songs and probably also be guest judges. Performers scheduled for this season are former Idol contestants Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler.
Starting tomorrow evening, Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio will celebrate Black History Month with repeats of episodes featuring Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, Dave Chappelle, Jamie Foxx, Forrest Whitaker and Queen Latifah. On February 19 at 8 p.m., a new two-hour episode will feature Diana Ross in an exclusive interview with host James Lipton. Ross will also perform some of her songs during the episode. The schedule is below:
- Eddie Murphy: February 5 at 7 p.m.
- Will Smith: February 11 at 2 p.m.
- Dave Chappelle: February 12 at 6 p.m.
- Jamie Foxx: February 12 at 8 p.m.
- Diana Ross: February 19 at 8 p.m.
- Forrest Whitaker: February 20 at 4 p.m.
- Queen Latifah: February 26 at 9 a.m.
There isn't an event I look forward to more than the U.S. Open (the tennis one, not the golf one). For two weeks, USA has over 10 hours of coverage each and every day, and it's like I'm in a wonderland. I'm glued to the set for two straight weeks, and there's nothing that can pull me away, not even getting a guy who likes to snort coke and make rude sexual remarks to women to host CBS' late night wrapup shows.
The Insider's Pat O'Brien will host CBS' 12:35am daily highlights show the second week of the Open. Ugh.
But whatever. One less thing to watch at 12:35 in the morning I guess. In other news, Diana Ross will sing at the opening night ceremonies, next Monday on USA. The night will include appearances by John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Venus Williams, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and they will rename the tennis center for veteran player Billie Jean King.
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