Lifetime Gives Green Light to “Torn From Her Arms” Movie Inspired by Jimena Madrid’s Separation from Mother at U.S. Border

Jimena Madrid’s heartbreaking immigration story is headed to the small screen…

Lifetime has given a green light to Torn From Her Arms, an original movie from Ozy Media, inspired by the separation of the six-year-old Salvadoran child from her mother at the U.S. border due to the Donald Trump administration’s zero-tolerance family separation policy.

Jimena Madrid

The made-for-television movie, which stems from Ozy Media’s development partnership with A+E Networks, is part of Lifetime’s Ripped from the Headlines franchise inspired by news and true events. Originally covered by Ozy’s reporting arm, Torn From Her Arms marks Ozy’s first foray into scripted programming and an expansion of its television catalog.

Per Lifetime, Torn from Her Arms is the timely story of Cindy and Jimena Madrid, a mother and daughter who fled violence in El Salvador, only to be separated at the U.S. border. Detained in different centers, Cindy and Jimena’s story gained national attention when the audiotape of Jimena crying for her mother was leaked, helping to alert the world to what was happening to undocumented immigrant families at the border. The movie shines a spotlight on the harsh child separation policies in place as part of the zero-tolerance policy and the struggle to reunite families.

Torn From Her Arms is written by Tawnya Bhattacharya and Ali Laventhol. Lifetime and Ozy Media are currently searching for a director and casting for the movie.

The 2020 Ripped from the Headlines winter slate was seen by over 25.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Live+7.

Arantxa Loizaga to Co-Host Telemundo’s Revamped Morning Show “Hoy Dia,” Launching Monday

A new day has come for Arantxa Loizaga

The Latina broadcast journalist will host Telemundo’s revamped morning show Hoy Dia, which launches on Monday.

Arantxa Loizaga

Telemundo is promising Spanish-language viewers a newsier format in the a.m. hours, with the three-hour morning show replacing Un Nuevo Día.

In addition to Loizaga, the new show will feature Nacho Lozano and Nicole Suarez as its new group of hosts.

“Telemundo understands the big responsibility of informing our community, and that’s why Telemundo decided to just have a facelift, to do a makeover of the morning show,” Loizaga said in an interview.

Citing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Latinos as well as the impact of the community in the 2020 presidential results, she said, “we understand the importance of being informed, to have all of the resources that they require to make the right decisions for themselves and their families.”

She described the show as akin to NBC’s Today but “in Spanish with a Latin flair.”

The first 90-minutes will feature headlines, newsmaker interviews and “news you can use,” presented in a less-structured way and in a “creative and engaging format,” she said. The second half of the show will feature entertainment, lifestyle and weather, with Adamari Lopez and Stephanie Himonidis as entertainment hosts. Alfredo Oropeza will be executive chef and Carlos Robles will be chief meteorologist.

Lozano said that while he would like to say that the show will “empower” the Latino community, “They are already empowered.”

“So we are going to provide the information, the argument to participate, and to of course recognize the power they have already,” he said.

He also said that the show would recognize the diversity within the Latino community.

“In order to empower them we need to talk about them, with our work, with our culture, with our accent,” Lozano said.

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, pundits zeroed in on the differences in the Hispanic vote, with Donald Trump doing better than expected in Florida and Joe Biden surprising by winning Arizona.

“The thing is that we understand, and our politicians understand after this 2020 electoral cycle, that the Latino community, we are not a monolith. Not all of the people who speak Spanish are Mexican, right? That is a very important distinction that we want to make,” Loizaga said.

She added, “Even if we all speak Spanish, we all have different cultures, and at Telemundo we recognize that. So for instance, for the Latino community living in the border cities, we understand that maybe immigration is the top priority, and we are going to be able to cater to them. Maybe up north in agricultural states like Wisconsin or Iowa or Illinois, we know that their priorities are conditions of life, working for these meat processing plants and the virus. …So we may be able to provide to them more information about the advantages of receiving the vaccine or their rights that they have as employees.”

Loizaga said that the three news anchors also will bring different personalities to the show. She recently anchored Univision’s national weekend newscast, and has been living in the U.S. for the past 17 years after emigrating from Mexico. Lozano was a news anchor and radio and TV host at Grupo Imagen in Mexico, and “is very jovial and really funny,” she said. Suarez is news correspondent for Noticias Telemundoand was born in the U.S. and raised in Chicago.

“With all of these three different approaches, we will be able to provide something unique,” she said.

As Spanish-language morning shows have been primarily focused on entertainment in the past few decades, Loizaga said, Hoy Dia will stand out.

“We realized there was a need for more information and accurate information and unbiased information as well, and this is what we are going to be able to provide to them,” she said.

Alex Padilla Sworn In by Predecessor Kamala Harris as California’s First Mexican American & Hispanic U.S. Senator

Alex Padilla is officially representing the Great State of California

Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2015, as Vice President Kamala Harris swore in the 47-year-old Mexican American politician as her appointed successor, as well as Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who won their races against Republican incumbents in Georgia his month.

Alex Padilla

On December 22, 2020, California governor Gavin Newsom appointed Padilla to succeed Harris in the Senate, after Harris was elected as vice president. He’s the first Mexican American and Hispanic senator from California, the first senator from Southern California since 1992, and the first male senator to represent the state since 1993.

“I need to catch my breath, so much is happening,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who now is the new majority leader.

Alex Padilla

The Senate split is 50-50 now, but Democrats will have the edge because Harris has a tie-breaking vote. That might be needed, as Joe Biden tries to usher through a series of legislative priorities, including a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and immigration reform.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will be the president pro tem of the Senate, which is third in line for the presidency following the vice president and Speaker of the House.

With Democratic control of Congress and the White House, there is some expectation that legislation will face legal challenges, as Donald Trump was able to appoint more than 200 judges to the federal bench, including three Supreme Court seats.

Rachel Campos-Duffy to Serve as One of the Rotating Hosts of “Fox News Primetime”

Rachel Campos-Duffy will be pulling hosting duties in the near future.

The 49-year-old Mexican American television personality, a former cast member on MTV’s reality television series The Real World: San Francisco, has been added to the list of rotating hosts who’ll anchor Fox News Primetime, which is set for its debut in the 7:00 pm ET hour as part of a plan to fill the slot with opinion programming.

Rachel Campos-Duffy

Campos-Duffy, who has been a regular contributor to Fox News, joins a roster of rotating hosts that includes Maria Bartiromo, Brian Kilmeade, Trey Gowdy, Katie Pavlich and Mark Steyn.

Back in October, Fox News said that they were planning new formats “as appropriate after the election.” But since election day, much has been made of the growth of Newsmax’s viewership, particularly in the 7:00 pm hour, as Greg Kelly Reports was a platform for pro-Donald Trump guests to advance unfounded claims of election fraud.

Fox News topped other cable networks in viewership last year, but CNN has seen gains post election. In the first week of January, CNN topped primetime with an average of 4.18 million viewers, to 3.78 million for MSNBC and 3.19 million for Fox News.

Campos-Duffy was a guest host on the ABC talk show The View, before moving onto Fox News, where she has guest-hosted the show Outnumbered.

Campos-Duffy has served as the national spokesperson for the LIBRE initiative, a non-profit organization that promotes ideas about constitutionally limited government, property rights, rule of law, economic stability, and free market capitalism to the Hispanic community.

Joan Baez Among This Year’s Recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors

Joan Baez is set to receive a special honor in Our Nation’s Capital.

The 80-year-old half-Mexican American contemporary folk singer has been selected to receive the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors alongside Garth Brooks, violinist Midori, choreographer Debbie Allen and the ageless Dick Van Dyke.

Joan Baez

“It has been my life’s joy to make art,” said Baez in a statement. It’s also been my life’s joy to make, as the late Congressman John Lewis called it, ‘good trouble.’ What luck to have been born with the ability to do both; each one giving strength and credibility to the other.”

Traditionally held in December, the 2020 edition of the Kennedy Center Honors was postponed to May 2021 due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live events and filming are planned for the week of May 17-22. The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on CBS as a two-hour primetime special that will air on June 6 at 9:00 pm ET/PT.

But the pandemic will have an impact on how the event is staged, with live-filmed tributes and virtual moments to take the place of the traditional event in a packed Kennedy Center Opera House.

“The center’s entire campus will come alive with small, in-person events and re-envisioned virtual tributes. Featuring multiple events for physically-distant audiences in locations across the Kennedy Center’s campus…Programs for each event will encompass both performances and speaking tributes for the honorees,” according to a statement. “Virtual events will also be held throughout the week beginning May 17, and the viability of additional in-person events will be considered as COVID-19 safety protocols evolve over the upcoming months…An honoree medallion ceremony for the honorees and a limited audience will be hosted by the Kennedy Center during [the week of] May 17–22.”

Joan Baez

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to attend the Honors Gala, as presidents traditionally have done (barring a national crisis). Donald Trump was the first president to decline the invitation every year of his term.

This is the first time in five years that a majority of the honorees have been women. Carole King, Rita Moreno and Cicely Tyson were three of the five honorees in 2015.

“The Kennedy Center Honors serves as a moment to celebrate the remarkable artists who have spent their lives elevating the cultural history of our nation and world,” said David M. Rubenstein, Kennedy Center Chairman.

Here’s a look at each of this year’s honorees:

Joan Baez: The folk legend had three top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 in the 1960s, including Farewell, Angelina. Her classic version of Robbie Robertson’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. Baez was just 21 when she made the cover of Time in November 1962. Baez has one of the longest spans of Grammy nominations in history, from 1962 to 2018. She has yet to win a Grammy in competition (despite nine nods), but she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2007.

Garth Brooks: The country star, 58, is one of the best-selling recording artists in history. The RIAA lists him second only to The Beatles, with 157 million albums sold in the U.S. (compared to 183 million for the Fab Four). He has had nine No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, including Ropin’ the Wind, which topped the chart for 18 weeks, still the record for a country album. Brooks has amassed 14 CMA Awards, including a record seven awards for entertainer of the year. He was artist of the decade for the 1990s at the ACM Awards. He has won two Grammys. He received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song last year. He made the cover of Time in 1992 in a story headlined “Country’s Big Boom.”

Midori: The Japanese-born American violinist, 49, was just 19 when she received her first (and to date only) Grammy nomination for best classical performance, instrumental soloist (without orchestra) for the album Paganini: 24 Caprices For Solo Violin Op. 1. She made her debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 11 as a surprise guest soloist at the New Year’s Eve Gala in 1982. 

Dick Van Dyke: The actor, 95, won three Emmys for The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66), which is widely regarded as the granddaddy of smart, sophisticated sitcoms. He also won an Emmy in 1977 for Van Dyke & Company, which took outstanding variety or music series. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1995. He won a Tony in 1961 for Bye, Bye Birdie (in which he introduced the jaunty “Put on a Happy Face”) and a Grammy for 1964’s Mary Poppins (in which he took the lead in singing the Oscar-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee”).

Debbie Allen: The actress, dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, director and producer, 70, has won three Emmys for choreography: two for Fame and one for Motown 30: What’s Goin’ On. She also received two Tony nods for acting in revivals of West Side Story (1980) and Sweet Charity (1986). She is a former member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Monica Alba to Serve on NBC News’ White House Coverage Team

Monica Alba is heading to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Latina political reporter is joining NBC NewsWhite House team for coverage of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

Monica Alba

Alba covered President Donald Trump and the 2020 campaign. For the first two years of the Trump administration, she worked as a White House producer, traveling extensively with the president domestically and overseas.

Prior to that, Alba followed Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail as an embedded reporter for 18 months. And before the 2016 election, she was an associate producer in the NBC Investigative Unit in New York City.

Alba joins a team that includes Peter Alexander and Kristen Welker, who will serve as chief White House correspondents, and Geoff Bennett and Kelly O’Donnell, who will continue to serve as White House correspondents.

Correspondents Mike Memoli and Carol Lee also will continue in their roles covering Biden and politics.

Hallie Jackson, who had been chief White House correspondent, will take on a new role as senior Washington correspondent. She’ll continue to anchor the 10 a.m. hour on MSNBC, and plans are in the works for a new show on NBC News Now, which streams on Peacock.

NBC News president Noah Oppenheim announced the changes in a memo to employees.

Meanwhile, Andrea Mitchell, who has been chief foreign affairs correspondent, also will take on the title of chief Washington correspondent.

Shannon Pettypiece will continue to serve as senior digital White House reporter, and she’ll be joined by politics reporter Lauren Egan, who will cover breaking news.

Selena Gomez Calls Out Facebook, Twitter & More for Inability to Control Spread of Misinformation & Violent Rhetoric on Their Platforms

Selena Gomez has some harsh words for the leaders of the world’s biggest social media and web outlets…

After a massive crowd of rioters supporting President Donald Trump violently clashed with law enforcement Wednesday, storming the U.S. Capitol and sending the building into lockdown, both social media outlets imposed temporary freezes on Trump’s social media accounts.

Selena Gomez

Gomez, however, is calling out the tech giants for not doing enough, and for their inability to control the spread of misinformation and violent rhetoric on their platforms in recent months — which has allowed for both the President himself and his supporters to spread baseless claims of election fraud.

In a note shared to Twitter following the chaos in Washington D.C., Gomez specifically called out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google as entities, plus YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and CEO of Alphabet Inc. and Google Sundar Pichai.

“Today is the result of allowing people with hate in their hearts to use platforms that should be used to bring people together and allow people to build community,” she wrote, before naming the aforementioned list of tech leaders. “You have all failed the American people today, and I hope you’re going to fix things moving forward.”

Gomez has openly shared her condemnation of Facebook’s misinformation before.

In December, she called out inaccuracies about the COVID-19 vaccine on the platform. “Scientific disinformation has and will cost lives,” she wrote. “@Facebook said they don’t allow lies about COVID and vaccines to be spread on their platforms. So how come all of this is still happening? Facebook is going to be responsible for thousands of deaths if they don’t take action now!”

Alex Padilla to Become First Latino to Represent California in U.S. Senate

Alex Padilla is the next senator from the great state of California…

Gov. Gavin Newsom is appointing the 47-year-old Mexican American politician, the state’s current Secretary of State, to fill Kamala HarrisU.S. Senate seat.

Alex Padilla

Padilla will be the first Latino senator to represent the Golden State.

“Through his tenacity, integrity, smarts and grit, California is gaining a tested fighter in their corner who will be a fierce ally in D.C., lifting up our state’s values and making sure we secure the critical resources to emerge stronger from this pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement. “He will be a senator for all Californians.”

Newsom posted a video, taken on Monday evening, in which he asked Padilla whether he wanted to take the post.

“You serious?” Padilla says in the video.

“This is the official, this is the ask, brother,” Newsom says.

Near tears, Padilla says, “I’m honored, man, and I am humbled.”

Padilla will face an election in 2022.

Padilla was atop the list of possible successors to Harris even before she was elected to the vice presidency. He’s a former Los Angeles city councilman and state senator, and was first elected secretary of state in 2014. He was re-elected in 2018.

He also has longtime ties to Newsom, having been chair of his first gubernatorial campaign in 2009.

“Whether you voted for (Joe) Biden or (Donald) Trump…  whether you live in the North State or the Southland…  whether you grew up speaking English, Spanish, Korean or Cantonese…  we are all Californians,” he wrote. “And I intend to be a Senator for all the people.”

Padilla emphasized his roots in the San Fernando Valley. The son of Mexican immigrants, he grew up in a three-bedroom house in Pacoima. “It wasn’t the safest neighborhood, but we had a backyard,” Padilla wrote.

Harris, the first California Democrat on a presidential ticket, hasn’t said whether she will resign her Senate seat before the President-elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

Naya Rivera Among The Celebrities Featured in Chris Barker’s Annual Beatles-Style Tribute to 2020’s Biggest Losses

Naya Rivera is getting a special tribute…

British artist Chris Barker‘s annual Beatles-style tribute to lost celebrities features some of 2020’s biggest losses, including the late half-Puerto Rican actress/singer and Glee star, who drowned in July while on an outing with her son on California’s Lake Piru, as well as soccer legend Diego Maradona, Little Richard, Chadwick Boseman and Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

Naya Rivera

Barker, who has been meticulously crafting his homage to the infamous cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band since 2016 as a tribute to dearly departed pop culture icons and newsmakers — said his initial idea was to start with a blank slate in January and just add faces as the year went on.

The approach would’ve simply meant swapping out some images for more prominent ones as the year went on for a more “interactive” art project. But as this year just kept getting worse, he was glad he didn’t switch up his style.

Chris Barker's 2020 Sgt. Peppers Tribute

“Early spring I thought the devastating wildfires in Australia would be the defining moment of the year but, goodness me, 2020 just kept piling it on,” he tells Billboard. “So I had a couple of options of how to show this year was a year like no other. My immediate thought was social distancing; to have the characters all really spread out. But that would have proved really impractical.”

Instead, he stuck to the template of cramming as many singers, actors, athletes, public figures and news events as possible into the image, which this year includes everyone from police violence victim George Floyd to actors Kirk Douglas, Dave Prowse (Star WarsDarth Vader), Sean Connery, Diana Rigg, Monty Python‘s Terry Jones, Fred Willard and Jerry Stiller, as well as musical icons Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Kenny Rogers, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), reggae great Toots Hibbert, Neil Peart (Rush), Ronald Bell (Kool & the Gang), DJ José Padilla, Bonnie Pointer (Pointer Sisters) and Afrobeat star Tony Allen, among many others.

Barker’s next idea was to include a nod to how important masks were this year during the pandemic, but that would have made the concept way too complicated to pull off. After starting work a month earlier than usual (in September), he realized masking the figures would make many of them unrecognizable, and posting it around the American election as he usually does would likely leave too many important figures off in a year when the devastating hits just kept on coming.

“Who knew what else could be just around the corner? It has been such an awful, bleak year,” he said, revealing that his original background was a red sky with burning forests in a nod to the devastating Australian and American wildfires. But with Joe Biden‘s victory over one-term President Donald Trump last month and talk of a COVID-19 vaccine right around the corner, suddenly there was a glimmer of hope. And instead of sticking the Biden/Harris logo “in the middle of a burning hellscape,” the Trump campaign gave him an unexpected gift with lawyer Rudy Giuliani‘s legendarily disastrous presser at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

“The surreal backdrop perfectly encapsulates the final nail in the coffin of the nightmarish Trump administration that inspired this whole project,” Barker said. “When I first did the 2016 montage, the loss of such an overwhelming number of iconic heroes was undoubtedly one of the defining stories of the year — even overshadowing Brexit and Trump. But this year, obviously the huge number of deaths from coronavirus is far more significant.”

With the real human cost of losses from COVID-19 piling up every day, Barker decided that the chalky floor of the Four Seasons parking lot was the perfect backdrop for an homage that also includes the losses of nearly 1.5 million worldwide to COVID, Trump’s presidency, Spencer Davis, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne, directors Alan Parker and Joel Schumacher, magician Roy Horn, Glee‘s Rivera, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, Vera Lynn, Kelly Preston, and Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Havilland.

“Every line a reminder of a life taken, a family ripped apart. Every time I do this montage it is an emotional journey, however detached I may get from the subject matter while I’m in the thick of the Photoshop, when I put the list together for the key at the end and look at it, it is a quite sobering moment,” he said. “I know a lot of people who have lost family members this year and I always try to remember that all the people I am including have left people behind too. I have to try to be respectful to everyone and to pay tribute to them and the way they lived their lives.”

There are always a few losses that hit Barker the hardest, and this year for him it was Kraftwerk’s Schneider, Game of Thrones star Rigg and Python’s Jones.

All he asks is that if you are moved by his work, donate to the UK’s NHS charities this year.

Alejandro Mayorkas to Become First Latino to Helm the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is making political history…

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has nominated the 61-year-old Cuban lawyer and former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security as the first Latino to helm department.

Alejandro Mayorkas

Mayorkas will be tasked with rebuilding an agency that carried out some of the most draconian measures associated with President Donald Trump‘s hardline immigration policy, including family separations at the US-Mexico border.

The choice reflects Biden’s desire to construct a diverse Cabinet with experts versed in public policy and deep experience in government.

In taking over the DHS, Mayorkas faces the greatest domestic challenge.

The department became the enforcement arm of some of Trump’s most controversial programs.

His selection received an early endorsement from former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who ran in the Democratic presidential primary and has emerged as a leading immigrants’ rights advocate.

“Alejandro Mayorkas is a historic and experienced choice to lead an agency in desperate need of reform,” Castro tweeted. “As an immigrant and a creator of the DACA program, he’s well suited to undo Trump’s damage and build a more compassionate and common sense immigration agenda.”