TV/STREAMING . . .
Why Tommy Chong Calls The Masked Singer an Actor's "Worst Nightmare" Is Too Good. The Masked Singer is a dream for some, a "nightmare" for others. The Fox singing competition features celebrities from all areas of fame, from sports figures to Broadway stars and everyone in between. Legendary singers such as Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight were contestants. T-Pain and Wayne Brady won the first two seasons. Other contestants have included Destiny's Child veteran Michelle Williams, Saturday Night Live and Broadway vet Ana Gasteyer, Seal, Adrienne Bailon, Raven-Symone, Joey Fatone, Ricki Lake, Tori Spelling and Margaret Cho. Comedian Tommy Chong was in the first season and was eliminated in the second episode, outlasting only Antonio Brown. While promoting a flick in an interview with EW, Chong reflected on his experience dressed as The Masked Singer's pineapple. "You know, visually, it was good for everybody, but as an actor, it was our worst nightmare, because we're hidden and no one knows who we are!" he laughed. The Masked Singer keeps everybody's identity hidden from the audience and panelists, including the incognito star's team. "Contrary to popular belief... we don't know who the contestants are. Nick Cannon, the host, doesn't know. It's like two separate productions in one and if we do ever have to cross paths, the contestants have to wear, like, black hoodie, black visors and a black T-shirt that says, 'Don't look at me,'" judge Ken Jeong told The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. "Their whole squad, they have to wear masks just in case... let's say we would have the same agent or something like that. We don't know who anybody is," he added. The third season of The Masked Singer premieres after the Super Bowl with judges Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Nicole Scherzinger and Jeong joined by Jamie Foxx. Every season they've predicted the Oscar winner has been under a mask, now they won't be able to do that. Cannon returns as host. The Masked Singer season three premieres Sunday, Feb. 2 on Fox. (Eonline)
Prince George Is Coming to TV -- with a Satirical (and Instagram-Inspired!) Twist. Orlando Bloom will voice Prince Harry in a new animated series. Prince George is coming to the small screen -- in cartoon form! HBO Max announced Tuesday that writer and producer Gary Janetti's satirical Instagram page has inspired The Prince, a new animated comedy series. The popular social media page -- which boasts nearly 900,000 followers -- spoofs the royal family from the perspective of 6-year-old Prince George (which an extra touch of attitude). While Janetti will voice the future king, some big names have signed on to voice his royal relatives. Orlando Bloom will give a voice to Prince Harry, Condola Rashad will play Meghan Markle, Lucy Punch as Kate Middleton, Tom Hollander as both Prince Philip and Prince Charles, Alan Cumming as George's butler Owen, Frances De La Tour as Queen Elizabeth and Iwan Rheon as Prince William. Janetti, who is known for his work on hit comedy series Will & Grace and Family Guy, said, "I'm thrilled to be working at HBO Max and bringing them yet another series about a family ruthlessly fighting for the throne." On top of voice acting, Janetti will write and executive produce the series. "We're so excited to bring the world Gary's created on Instagram over to HBO Max, where our viewers can discover what his Instagram fans already know -- that George can be hilarious, shocking, and surprisingly sweet," said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. "We can't wait to see what Gary does with a bigger canvas to paint on than just a 1:1 square." HBO Max is also in business with Janetti on a series with him and husband Brad Goreski, currently titled Brad and Gary Go To... , which begins production in 2020. While Janetti's Prince George often targeted Aunt Meghan, the TV writer shifted to a more sympathetic approach to the Duchess of Sussex amid heightened media scrutiny in the U.K. this fall. "I haven't really watched [the ITV documentary], so I don't really know that much about it, but I do know it feels like they're having a rough go of it -- I think that's the gist," Janetti told PEOPLE two days after Harry & Meghan: An African Journey aired in the U.K. Meghan and Prince Harry's emotional documentary found the 38-year-old opening up about the stress of being a new mom in the public eye, saying in a viral clip that "not many people have asked if I'm okay." "The way I see it, in my world, she is family, they are family, and George rallies around family," Janetti says of his latest memes, including one where the fictionalized George tells Meghan they're going on a spa day together. "Now he sees that people and the press have piled on her, he doesn't like it, and he's rallying around the family. As of now, Meghan -- he wants to take her under his wing. Now we're seeing George might secretly like her. You know, he does not like to kick somebody when they're down." (People)
Netflix's doc about a Texas cheerleading program lacks professional shots of THE big competition, and that's the studio's own damn fault ... so says the gatekeeper to the event. Varsity Spirit -- which is briefly featured in the docuseries -- tells TMZ ... they did, in fact, shoot down Netflix's request to film the competition with their own cameras, but offered a compromise they insist Netflix wasn't interested in ... event footage from Varsity itself. ICYMI, the streaming giant's new docuseries, "Cheer," is all the rave ... but at one point -- SPOILERS AHEAD!!! -- producers switched to iPhones to capture the Daytona cheer tournament that their subjects, Navarro College's cheer team, work toward through 6 episodes. The reason (per Netflix) ... Varsity denied them access to film on the grounds. No official reason was offered, despite Varsity somewhat alluding to it. They spelled it out for us, however, and basically say they don't allow outside production teams to film during the proceedings, mostly to avoid unnecessary distractions for the athletes. As for why Netflix and co. allegedly turned down Varsity's own footage ... unclear. There is good news though for fans of the breakout series -- there seem to be signs of future installments. Varsity tells us they've been in talks with Netflix since this little headbutt -- and apparently, the two behemoths have already discussed working together again. In other words, more flyer, stunter and tumbler drama to feast your eyes on. As Jerry might say ... YASSSS, GET THAT B***H UP!!! (TMZ)
Kristin Cavallari Teases Heidi Montag & Audrina Patridge's Very Cavallari Cameos. The rest is still unwritten for Kristin Cavallari, Heidi Montag and Audrina Patridge! A small The Hills reunion occurred in Nashville on Monday as Cavallari, Montag and Patridge all came together at the Uncommon James flagship store. And, from what the Uncommon James mogul noted on Instagram, this reunion was captured by the Very Cavallari season 3 cameras. So, you could say we're very E!xcited. "WHEN THE HILLS AND VERY CAVALLARI COLLIDE!" the True Roots author teased on social media. "Today with these 2 pretty ladies who will be on an upcoming episode of @verycavallari in a few weeks! @audrinapatridge @heidimontag" As E! readers surely know, the three seasoned reality stars starred together on The Hills for the final two seasons of the (original) show. Yet, due to her Very Cavallari commitments, Cavallari didn't join Montag and Patridge for the 2019 reboot, titled The Hills: New Beginnings. Nonetheless, Cavallari has stayed close with her Hills peers, having once even joked about a crossover episode. "Heidi and I have joked about swapping an episode for an episode. I'll have to bring it up with E! and MTV," Cavallari once exclusively told E! News at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. "But yeah, I'm really excited for them. I can't wait to see it." We're sure Cavallari was thrilled to have her longtime pals in Nashville, especially as this season has detailed her falling out from BFF Kelly Henderson. "So excited to be in Nashville with @kristincavallari @audrinapatridge," Montag added on the picture sharing site. "Make sure you watch the @verycavallari episode we will be in coming up! You won't want to miss it!" While the specifics regarding Montag and Patridge's visit aren't currently clear, the two MTV stars went on to document a night out alongside Cavallari. Not only did the trio enjoy some champagne, they also took in some live music. We'll certainly catch this reunion when it airs on Very Cavallari! Will you? Brand new episode of Very Cavallari Thursdays at 9 p.m., on E! (Eonline)
Planters Announces Mr. Peanut Had Died at Age 104 Ahead of 2020 Super Bowl. Mr. Peanut has passed away at the age of 104, Planters announced on Wednesday. "It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that Mr. Peanut has died at 104," the announcement post reads. "In the ultimate selfless act, he sacrificed himself to save his friends when they needed him most. Please pay your respects with #RIPeanut." In an accompanying video, a 2020 Super Bowl pre-game ad, Mr. Peanut can be seen driving to the big game in the NUTmobile with his pals, Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes. During the drive, Walsh sees an armadillo in the road and yells, "Ah! Look out!" To avoid the animal, Mr. Peanut swerves and the NUTMobile goes over a cliff. The three friends are able to abandon the car and grab onto a branch, however, they soon realize "we're too heavy." After noticing that the branch is breaking, Mr. Peanut tips his hat to his friends and let's go. "Maybe he'll be alright," Snipes tells Walsh as they watch Mr. Peanut land near his NUTmobile. However, seconds later, the NUTmobile explodes as Snipes declares, "Maybe not." According to a press release on Thursday, the ad will play during the Super Bowl pre-game show. Then, during the third quarter of the game, the brand's official commercial will air, broadcasting Mr. Peanut's funeral. The 2020 Super Bowl kicks off in Miami on Sunday, Feb. 2. (Eonline)
Jada Pinkett Smith's 'Red Table Talk' Gets Multiyear Renewal, Spinoff at Facebook . The second talk show in the franchise will feature Gloria Estefan and her daughter and niece. Facebook Watch is doubling down on its popular Red Table Talk. The social media giant's original video arm has struck a three-year deal with host and executive producer Jada Pinkett Smith and Westbook Studios that will keep the talk show running through 2022. Facebook Watch is also adding a second show to the Red Table Talk franchise: Red Table Talk: The Estefans will be hosted by Gloria Estefan, her daughter, Emily, and niece Lili. "We've been fortunate enough to be in business with such wonderful partners and are thrilled to expand the Red Table Talk franchise with Jada Pinkett Smith, the Estefans and Westbrook Studios," said Mina Lefevre, head of development and programming at Facebook Watch. "Red Table Talk is a shining example of how content, community and conversation come together on Facebook Watch. We're proud to keep this conversation going around topics our fans care about." Added Pinkett Smith, "I'm incredibly proud of Red Table Talk, and thrilled to build upon this franchise with my family and with Gloria, Emily and Lili. Red Table Talk has created a space to have open, honest and healing conversations around social and topical issues, and what's most powerful for me is hearing people's stories and engaging with our fans in such a tangible way on the Facebook Watch platform. I'm excited to see the Estefans put their spin on the franchise and take it to new places." The multiyear renewal for the show comes as Facebook Watch is scaling back on scripted series with the recent cancellations of Limetown and Sorry for Your Loss. Scripted series already ordered for the platform, including Blumhouse TV's Sacred Lies and the third season of Real Bros of Simi Valley, will air as scheduled, but Facebook Watch will focus more on unscripted shows going forward. With 7.1 million followers, Red Table Talk is among Facebook Watch's biggest shows by that measure; episodes regularly rack up 5 million or more views, based on Facebook's public-facing metrics. (Like other streamers, Watch doesn't make detailed viewing data available.) Red Table Talk: The Estefans will originate from Miami and continue the original show's MO of candid conversations between family members, celebrity guests and experts. A premiere date hasn't been set. "I'm incredibly excited to carry the Red Table Talk torch with my family in Miami," said Estefan. "Jada and I have spoken about this a lot and feel my daughter, niece and I can tackle issues important to us and our fans with a new and fresh voice. Jada has done this incredibly and continues to do with her family in their candid, intimate, and groundbreaking conversations at the iconic Red Table." Westbrook Studios produces both shows, with Pinkett Smith, Ellen Rakieten and Miguel Melendez serving as executive producers on both. Jack Mori is also an EP of Red Table Talk, and Estefan executive produces the new show. The two shows are part of an unscripted lineup on Facebook Watch that also includes fellow talker Steve on Watch, starring Steve Harvey, Ball in the Family, Returning the Favor and 9 Months With Courteney Cox. (Hollywood Reporter)