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Clarence Gilyard Jr., star of ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ and ‘Die Hard’, dies at 66

Actor Clarence Gilyard Jr., best known for starring in “Walker, Texas Ranger” and his supporting role in “Die Hard,” has died at age 66.  Gilyard’s death was confirmed through a statement by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where Gilyard had been working as a film and theatre professor at UNLV College of Fine Arts. No further details about his death are available at this time.

UNLV film chair Heather Addison said in a statement: “Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him. Whenever we asked him how he was, he would cheerfully declare that he was ‘Blessed!’ But we are truly the ones who were blessed to be his colleagues and students for so many years. We love you and will miss you dearly, Professor G!”

Gilyard was an accomplished film, television and theatre actor, making a series of guest star TV appearances in the 1980’s. Gilyard made his film debut as Sundown in “Top Gun,” and famously portrayed the terrorist computer whiz Theo in “Die Hard”.  In 1989, he became a regular on the primetime series “Matlock,” appearing on 85 episodes before departing the series in 1993. He went on to portray Jimmy Trivette, the right-hand man to Chuck Norris on the hit series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” appearing in all 196 episodes of the series’ eight seasons.

Gilyard is survived by his wife, Elena Gilyard, and six children.

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Jon Batiste to perform at President Biden’s first state dinner

President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are hosting their first White House dinner and have tapped Grammy-winning artist Jon Batiste to perform. The Bidens will be hosting French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Mrs. Brigitte Macron.  A statement issued by the White House read, in part: “President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host President Emmanuel Macron and Mrs. Brigitte Macron of France for a State Visit to the United States, which will include a state dinner, on December 1, 2022.”

Batiste announced the performance on his social media accounts, writing: “From Kenner to the White House” (Baptiste is a native of Kenner, Louisiana). Vanessa Valdivia, a spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden, said in a statement: “An artist who transcends generations, Jon Batiste’s music inspires and brings people together. We’re thrilled to have him perform at the White House for the first state dinner of the Biden-Harris administration.” 

Baptiste won five Grammys this year after being nominated in categories including R&B, jazz, classical, and roots music. His album, ‘We Are’ won the Grammy for Album of the Year.  The 36-year-old Batiste led the band for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert for the last seven years, departing in August to more fully pursue music.

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Take a look at Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford in the official ‘1923’ Trailer

Paramount+ has released the official trailer for “1923,” the upcoming “Yellowstone” spin-off series from returning creator and executive producer Taylor Sheridan. The limited series features a new generation of the Dutton family, starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford as Cara and Jacon Dutton.

According to Paramount+, 1923 will explore the “early 20th century when pandemics, historic drought, the end of Prohibition and the Great Depression all plague the mountain west, and the Duttons who call it home.” The series marks the first major television role for Ford; Mirren’s previous TV credits include Prime Suspect and HBO’s Catherine the Great.

The Yellowstone prequel from Taylor Sheridan also stars Darren Mann (Animal Kingdom), Michelle Randolph (A Snow White Christmas), James Badge Dale (Hightown), Marley Shelton (Scream), Brian Geraghty (Big Sky) and Aminah Nieves (Blueberry).

1923 will premiere simultaneously on the Paramount Network and on Paramount+ on Dec. 18.
Take a look at the trailer – here.

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Mandy Moore joining Season 2 of Peacock’s ‘Dr. Death’

Peacock has announced that Mandy Moore will appear in Season 2 of its anthology series Dr. Death, joining its previously announced star, Edgar Ramirez. The news comes shortly after news broke that Moore had signed on for Hulu’s “Twin Flames,” her first TV gig since the end of “This Is Us”.

Season 2 will be led by showrunner, writer, and executive producer Ashley Michel Hoban.  The ‘Dr. Death’ of Season 2 is Paolo Macchiarini (Ramirez), who was convicted of research fraud and performing experimental surgeries on otherwise healthy patients. Moore will play Benita Alexander, an investigative journalist who falls into a whirlwind romance with Macchiarini while investigating him.

Season 1 of Dr. Death told the story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch (Joshua Jackson), who paralyzed multiple patients in botched spinal surgeries. It was based on the first season of the Wondery podcast. Dr. Randall Kirby (Christian Slater) and Dr. Robert Henderson (Alec Baldwin) exposed Duntsch’s malpractice.

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Netflix shares the trailer for ‘White Noise’ starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig

Netflix shared a trailer for the apocalyptic black comedy film White Noise, featuring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig.

White Noise, based on the Don DeLillo novel of the same name, follows professor Jack Gladney (Driver), his wife, Babette (Gerwig), and their children as they attempt to avoid disaster. An official description reads: “At once hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd, ordinary and apocalyptic, White Noise dramatizes a contemporary American family’s attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world.”

White Noise is written and directed by Noah Baumbach, and also stars Don Cheadle, Raffey Cassidy, André Benjamin, Jodie Turner-Smith and Lars Eidinger.

The film is open in select theaters, and starts streaming Dec. 30 on Netflix.  Take a look at the trailer – here.

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Jennifer Lopez announces first new album in 8 years “This Is Me… Now”

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Jennifer Lopez’s album ‘This Is Me… Then,’ the artist announced her first new album in eight years, titled ‘This Is Me… Now.’  In a video shared on social media, Lopez is seen transforming from her 2002 album cover, which saw her dressed in a frilly pink ensemble, into a white corset and black leather jacket.  Said J-Lo: “This is me then” … “This is me now.”

This Is Me… Then was released during Lopez’s first engagement to Ben Affleck in November 2002. The album, which was dedicated to Affleck, drew inspiration from their relationship for songs such as the ballad “Dear Ben,” and Affleck also starred opposite Lopez in the music video for its lead single, “Jenny From the Block.”

In a similar vein as the original album, This Is Me… Now is once again a love letter to Affleck. The 13-track record includes a song titled “Dear Ben Pt. II” but also “Midnight Trip To Vegas,” a nod to the couple’s Sin City wedding in July.

This Is Me… Now will be released in 2023, nearly a decade after Lopez released her last album, A.K.A., in 2014. She has dropped multiple singles, including 2018’s “Dinero” featuring Cardi B and DJ Khaled, 2020’s “Pa Ti” with Maluma, and 2021’s “On My Way (Marry Me)” as part of her romantic comedy film ‘Marry Me.’

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Take a look at Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie in new ‘Babylon’ featurette

Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, the stars of the upcoming film Babylon, appear in a featurette for the movie. Babylon follows multiple characters ‘as they experience the decadence and debauchery of early Hollywood.’

Writer and director Damien Chazelle, Pitt and Robbie star alongside cast members Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, Jean Smart and Tobey Maguire. Says Chazelle:  “Babylon is about a group of people who find themselves in early Hollywood at a time of extreme depravity and debauchery and excess. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever tried to do.”

Pitt plays Jack Conrad, “the biggest film actor at the top of his game,” while Robbie portrays Nellie LaRoy, “an aspiring actress.” Says Pitt of their characters: “They have an ambition to be part of something bigger than themselves.”

Babylon opens in theaters Dec. 23; take a look at the featurette – here.

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ABC shares details for ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2023′

ABC and dick clark productions announced that “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2023” will return once again to Times Square and has expanded to Disneyland, headlined by 18-time host and executive producer of the show, Ryan Seacrest. Actress and producer Liza Koshy will return as co-host in Times Square alongside Seacrest, and country artist Jessie James Decker will also join the duo in Times Square as the Powerball co-host for her fourth consecutive year.

Disneyland will become home to an additional Rockin’ Eve celebration with veteran hostess Ciara overseeing festivities. The Disneyland segments will be pre-taped prior to the New Year’s holiday. This year’s broadcast event will also kick off Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebration.

“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” will air Saturday, Dec. 31, live on ABC, beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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Miley Cyrus teaming up with Dolly Parton to host ‘Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party’

Miley Cyrus revealed that she’s teaming up with her superstar godmother, Dolly Parton, to host the second iteration of Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party, airing live from Miami, Florida on NBC, and streaming on Peacock.

Cyrus shared a clip on social media with Parton: “Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party is about getting glamorous and dressing your best,” Cyrus says, with Parton replying, “Well, we do that every day, don’t we, Miley?” Cyrus agrees, saying that Parton “taught me well.” Parton promises that the show is “gonna be legendary.”

Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party is set to kick off on Saturday, December 31 at 10:30 p.m. and run until 12:30 a.m. ET. Saturday Night Live creator and EP Lorne Michaels will serve as executive producer, and the lineup will be announced at a later time, according to a press release.  Jen Neal, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Live Events, Specials and E! News, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said: “The inaugural ‘Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party’ was an unqualified success and we know this year’s show will be just as spectacular, with plenty of surprises and lots of fun. We can’t wait to get the party started.”

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Take a look at the final trailer for ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

20th Century Studios shared a final trailer for the new film ‘Avatar: The Way of Water,’ the sequel to the 2009 film Avatar. An official description reads: “Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family, the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.”. Original Avatar writer and director James Cameron returned to write, direct and executive produce the sequel.

The trailer shows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their family meet the Metkayina, a Na’vi clan who live near the ocean along Pandora’s reefs. It also focuses on Jake and Neytiri’s children and features the Metkayina character Ronal (Kate Winslet). Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Britain Dalton, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Bailey Bass and Filip Geljo also star.

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ opens in theaters Dec. 16. You can experience the film in 3D, and pre-purchase tickets at Fandango.   Take a look at the final film trailer – here.

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