Jennifer Hudson, the multi-talented actress-singer whose accolades include an Academy Award for the movie “Dreamgirls” and a Grammy for “Best R&B Album” heads back to her hometown of Chicago to share childhood memories of the music, people and places that set the stage for her phenomenal success, in the hour-long primetime music special, “Jennifer Hudson: I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” airing this December on the ABC Television Network.
Production has begun on “Starstruck,” a music-filled Disney Channel Original Movie starring Sterling Knight (“Sonny With A Chance”) and introducing Danielle Campbell. Slated to premiere in 2010, the movie is filming in and around Los Angeles at landmark locations including Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, the Hollywood Sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Venice Boardwalk.
The story follows Jessica Olson (played by Campbell), a down-to-earth girl from the Midwest who collides (literally) with Hollywood’s teen heartthrob, pop star Christopher Wilder (played by Knight). They wind up on a love-struck adventure in Southern California, but their bond is tested when she returns home and he publicly denies their relationship.
Still flying from winning their Creative Arts Emmy the day before, the cast of Disney Channel’s Wizard of Waverly Place held a panel on Sunday in which thousands of fans were treated also to a brief runway fashion show showing off a clothing line inspired by the show, the premiere of the third season (which airs October 9) and a performance by Disney recording artist Honor Society. Hosted by Radio Disney’s Ernie D, the only cast member unable to appear was David DeLuise who had broken his clavicle at the awards ceremony.
Today, in celebration of volunteerism, ABC’s Emmy Award-winning talk and entertainment program, “The View,” launched a search for America’s “Ultimate Volunteer.” The show is asking viewers to nominate someone they know who goes above and beyond to help others in their community and who inspires others to action. The winner will receive one million Starpoints from the award-winning SPG loyalty program of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, plus $10,000 spending cash. In addition, the winner and his or her nominator will travel to New York, where the winner will make a special appearance on “The View” the week of October 19.
A primetime special for preschoolers and their families, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Choo Choo Express,” starring Disney’s beloved Sensational Six – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Pluto – premieres SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25 (7:00-7:45 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. In the colorful special of this Emmy Award-nominated series, Mickey and pals climb aboard the Clubhouse Choo Choo Train for a snow-filled adventure. Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band They Might Be Giants and the Sensational Six themselves each perform a new song in the special.
Two-time Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton (ABC’s new series “The Middle”) and music group Five For Fighting will be the first stars for Season 7 to volunteer in the GET ON THE BUS campaign on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The new season begins with a two-part episode, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (7:00-8:00 & 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.
Capturing the momentum of the Obama administration’s focus on volunteerism, “EM:HE” will show that community service is cool again with the new GET ON THE BUS campaign. For the first time ever for the series, “EM:HE” will have famous celebrities and extraordinary volunteers GET ON THE BUS for the weeks of house-building during the season. So far the other celebrities volunteering include Tyler Perry, David Duchovny, Mary J. Blige, Clint Black, Xzibit, Trace Adkins, Ashley Tisdale and Kellie Pickler.
When the new season begins, these special guests will contribute far more than special appearances – they’ll be part of the design team. In each episode, the iconic “EM:HE” bus will pick up a new volunteer to join the team and help during the build, providing a rare chance to visit America’s heartland and connect with real people who need help. Celebrity volunteers will pull up their sleeves, create a design project and put their personal stamp on the home. They will get to know the family’s circumstances and needs one on one. In between pouring foundations and framing walls, some of the celebrity volunteers will jump right into the center of the town — connecting with the locals, hanging out with the design team, spearheading a community project and bringing their unique personality and talents to the project. It’s not all hard labor and sweat — every episode has plenty of room for good times with good people. Getting on the bus will allow America to get to know the celebrity volunteers in an entirely new way — as a real person who wants to make a real difference.
NEW YORK, Sept. 14 — “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with Emmy Award-winning host Meredith Vieira is making big changes to the show’s “money tree,” giving hot seat contestants the opportunity to win even more money this season! Contestants will still face 15 questions to win the top prize of $1-million, but will be able to reach the higher level questions faster as the monetary values of the first eight questions will increase. The new “money tree” will take effect on Monday, September 14.
Millionaire will no longer start with the first three questions being valued at $100, $200 and $300. Instead, contestants will jump right into big-action game play with their very first question valued at $500. Contestants will reach the first safety level of $5,000 (formerly $1,000) after correctly answering the first five questions. At that point, they are guaranteed to win at least $5,000 from their hot seat appearance. The monetary values for the next three questions will also increase, leading up to the next safety level of $25,000.
“We’ve launched our own little stimulus package this season on Millionaire,” said Michael Davies, Executive Producer on the hit game show. “Regular Americans from all over the country have always been the stars of our show. This season, we’ll be giving them the opportunity to win even more money in the Millionaire hot seat,” he added.
Here is a rundown of the newly revamped Millionaire “money tree”:
All-new episodes of Disney•Pixar’s “Cars Toons,” an animated short series directed by Academy Award©-winner John Lasseter with Rob Gibbs co-directing and starring Lightning McQueen’s rusty friend Mater, will debut beginning FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 on Disney Channel, Disney XD and ABC Family. They are titled “Unidentified Flying Mater,” “Monster Truck Mater,” “Heavy Metal Mater” and “Tokyo Mater.”
Mark Mothersbaugh (“Devo”) composed the music for three episodes and BT (“The Fast and the Furious”), a prominent composer of dance and electronic music, scored “Tokyo Mater.”
The four new stories follow the popular shorts that began debuting in October 2008 and which have reached 22.9 million Kids 2-11, or 56% of all kids in that age group in the U.S., and 67.5 million total unique viewers.
“Cars Toons” are directed by John Lasseter, (“Cars,” “Toy Story 2,” “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story”) and co-directed by Rob Gibbs (“Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc” and “Toy Story 2″). Kori Rae (“The Incredibles” and “Monsters Inc.”) is the producer. Victor Navone (“Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.”) co-directed the episode “Tokyo Mater.”
In “Unidentified Flying Mater,” premiering Friday, November 20 on Disney Channel, Mater meets a cute little bucktoothed UFO named Mator, takes him out for a night of fun and they quickly become best friends. But when Mator is captured by the military, Mater and Lightning McQueen come to the rescue.
Prior to the ABCs of Disney event, the stars (minus Tom Bergeron and Courteney Cox) appeared on a small red carpet for photos and media interviews, mostly by outlets like Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight. I actually stumbled onto this event by accident when determining what the queue would be like for the event and was initially told I had the wrong type of pass to be allowed into the area, but the cast members had a change of heart and let me in and even called for a media host to be assigned to me so I wouldn’t have any further issues.
Zack, Cody, London, Bailey and Woody are lost at sea in a new one-hour special episode of “The Suite Life on Deck,” premiering FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. Viewers go around the world to the S.S. Tipton’s ports of call during a week-long programming event.
In “Lost At Sea,” Zack, Cody, London, Bailey and Woody find themselves stranded on a deserted island when Woody accidentally hits the release lever on a lifeboat and the gang drifts out to sea. Zack hops into action, putting his survival tactics to use, while London takes it all in stride, believing that they have found a remote five-star resort. When Mr. Moseby realizes that the kids are missing, he sets off on a search to find them.