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Vanessa Williams and John Stamos host a socially-distanced 40th Anniversary of 'A Capitol Fourth' for PBS

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PBS(NEW YORK) — For many people in the post-pandemic world, this will be quite a different Fourth of July; in many areas, gatherings of large groups are still forbidden, and so even backyard Independence Day parties have been dashed. 

The same social distancing rules apply for PBS’ annual star-studded salute to the country, A Capitol Fourth. This year’s 40th annual event will be hosted by Vanessa Williams and John Stamos, and all the performances were pre-shot remotely. Live fireworks from Washington D.C. will be added when the show airs on July 4. 

“It’s not on the West Lawn this year,” Williams tells ABC Audio. “John Stamos and I shot across the street, so the Capitol was behind us, but we were on the top. We socially distanced.”

Williams herself will perform two songs, which she chose specifically. “We can’t ignore what’s going on in the United States at this point,” she noted. “There’s been a tipping point and everyone feels very deeply at the moment. So I did a song that I dedicated to all the mothers, ‘Not While I’m Around,’ which basically is, ‘No one’s gonna hurt you. Not while I’m around.’ …And it’s segues into ‘Somewhere,’ which is [from] my very favorite musical of all time, West Side Story. It addresses the heartache. It addresses the issue. And it also addresses the message of hope and unity, which we’re all feeling now.”  

This year’s festivities will also feature a tribute to our nation’s workers on the frontlines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a salute to contributions of African American heroes from our nation’s past and present, presented by Williams. 

A Capitol Fourth starts at 8 p.m. ET, Saturday night on PBS.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Danny Glover says a fifth 'Lethal Weapon' could reflect what's happening in the real world today

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Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In an extensive interview with Variety, actor and activist Danny Glover confirmed that a fifth Lethal Weapon movie could still happen — and might take place in a country still wracked with protests over police brutality. 

While Glover’s by-the-books LAPD Detective Roger Murtaugh and his wildcard partner, Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs, certainly bent the rules over the four previous Lethal Weapon films, Glover insists the series has always had a political message. 

“That’s basically what [series director] Richard Donner and the creators of Lethal Weapon did. One was about drug proliferation; one was about arms proliferation. One focused on South Africa.”

The fourth film in the series dealt with human trafficking, in the form of illegal immigrants smuggled from China.  As for a fifth installment, Glover says it would also have something to say.

“[In] the script that I read…I found the plot had very strong relevance to some of things that are happening today. I can say that. But that was in January,” the actor admits. “History changes so fast.”

Glover adds, “I can only tell you, if it does happen…It would be interesting to do. It would be interesting to see how we take this within the political framework we are in, the economic framework that we are in. And especially that framework as opposed to the communities that have been affected by the kind of police violence, the kind of police standards, and the power that they exert as well.” 

He says, “And what would be interesting from that vantage point is what that attempt could be like at this particular moment. And maybe it will attempt to confront the issue head on, within whatever script comes out.”

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Brie Larson marvels at YouTube creators with her brand-new channel

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ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) — Like many people during the pandemic, Oscar-winner Brie Larson is looking to connect.  To that end, the Captain Marvel star has created her own YouTube channel, as a way to give back to that community and let people know who she really is.

“YouTube has been a place where I have learned so much,” she says in her first post. “Whether it’s been how to use my printer or it’s been watching how to be a considerate activist, this is the place to talk about things that are important and that matter.”

She adds of her channel, “It doesn’t mean that there isn’t also silly content…but there will also be deep conversations, anti-racist rhetoric [and] inclusive content.”

Brie tells People, “For so long the internet perception of me has been through this carefully curated lens of a press day pegged to a specific project I am promoting. I’ve been hesitant to reveal too much about myself, partly out of fear of the unknown, but also because I had this idea that people wouldn’t be able to believe me as other characters. I see my channel as a way to break away from this line of thought and become more vulnerable and open about my flaws, what I am passionate about and who I actually am.”

Larson’s first post teases chats with YouTube stars like Justine Ezarik, make-up artist Nina Park, First We Feast‘s Sean Evans, members of her family and more.

And yes, for those trolls who say Brie Larson never smiles, the giggly video proves she does — a lot.

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By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Former '20/20' host Hugh Downs dead at 99

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Steve Fenn/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images(ARIZONA) — Hugh Downs, who had a broadcast career that spanned more than 50 years, has died, his family has confirmed.

Downs, who was perhaps best known as the co-host of ABC’s 20/20 with Barbara Walters, died of a heart-related condition at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

He was 99. 

In addition to his time at ABC News, two-time Emmy winner Downs hosted NBC’s Today show, which is where he discovered Walters as a writer, and later saw her promoted to co-host. He was also Jack Paar’s sidekick on The Tonight Show, and hosted the game show Concentration.

For years, Hugh Downs held the record for the most-ever hours on broadcast TV with 10,000, until Regis Philbin bested the record in 2004. 

In fact, one of Downs’ books was a memoir called On Camera: My 10,000 Hours on Television.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

The "Amazing" Rest: Reality show host Phil Keoghan talks life after being grounded by COVID-19

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Michael Yarish/CBS 2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved(NEW YORK) — Arguably the most well-traveled TV personality on the planet, The Amazing Race‘s host, Phil Keoghan has been grounded. 

Production on The Amazing Race was suspended back in February due to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, so like millions of people the world over, the multiple-Emmy winner is staying home.

Keoghan explained to ABC Audio that while it’s strange not to have his usual globe-trotting work commute, not hustling in and out of airports from Maine to Marrakesh has its advantages. 

“This is the longest that I’ve been in one place my entire career,” he says.  “So I’ve had more sleep than I’ve ever had, which I’m really treasuring. I realize now, you know, what all the fuss is about with sleep. It’s amazing.”

Other perks from his Amazing Race schedule? Working out every day, and spending downtime with family.

“Just connecting with people I’m close with on a different level,” Keoghan says. “I’ve spent a lot more time with my wife and producing partner and a lot more time with my daughter.”

Though he does admit, “I am missing getting out into the world, I have to be honest.”

Keoghan says of the pandemic, “I do hope this ends soon. But I’m trying to do my part by staying inside and wearing a mask. Please, people. Can you wear a mask? That would be really helpful. Just saying.”  

Keoghan may be working from home, but he’s hard at work preparing for next week’s launch of the reality show Tough As Nails. The series salutes everyday heroes, from fishermen to firefighters, by having them compete in a series of real-world physical, mental and skills challenges. It launches with a two-hour premiere July 8 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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