Penelope Cruz to Take Part in One World Campaign’s #PassTheMic COVID-19 Awareness Campaign

Penelope Cruz is passing the mic for a good cause…

The 46-year-old Spanish actress is among the celebrities who’ll be surrendering their social media accounts for ONE World Campaign’s #PassTheMic campaign. 

Penelope Cruz

The campaign will have actors like Cruz, Julia RobertsDanai GuriraHugh JackmanDavid OyelowoShailene Woodley and Rainn Wilson handing over their platforms to global health, economic and policy experts and frontline workers. 

The experts will offer pertinent information grounded in data, science and facts as they address why a global response to this pandemic is so crucial.

The campaign will kick off on Thursday with Roberts handing off her accounts to Dr. Anthony Fauci who is a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Yemi AladeConnie BrittonMillie Bobby BrownSarah Jessica ParkerBusy PhilippsRita WilsonRobin Wright and more also set to participate. 

Experts taking over their accounts include Bill Frist (physician and former US Senator from Tennessee, Doctor), Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (former President of Liberia), Vera Songwe (Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa), Craig Spencer (Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center) among others.

#PasstheMic is part of One’s One World Campaign call-to-action for a global response to COVID-19 looks to protect the most vulnerable and supports people worst hit economically while strengthening health systems and creating a more equal world.

Gina Gallego to Star in Showtime’s Drama Pilot “The President is Missing”

Gina Gallegois feeling presidential

The 64-year-old Mexican American actress has been cast as a series regular opposite David Oyelowo in The President is MissingShowtime’s drama series adaptation of the novel by President Bill Clinton and James Patterson.

Gina Gallego

Hailing from Christopher McQuarrieand Anthony Peckham, The President is Missing centers on a powerless and politically aimless vice president (Oyelowo) who unexpectedly becomes president halfway into his administration’s first term, despite his every wish to the contrary. He walks right into a secret, world-threatening crisis, both inside and outside the White House. Attacked by friends and enemies alike, with scandal and conspiracy swirling around him, he is confronted with a terrible choice: keep his head down, toe the party line and survive, or act on his stubborn, late-developing conscience and take a stand.

Gallego will play Mrs. Aceves, Martin’s executive assistant, a position of influence. She is sweet but also an extremely patient adversary.

The project is based on the book by Clinton and Patterson, which was the No. 1 novel of 2018 and has sold more than 2.3 million copies in North America alone.

Peckham is writing the adaptation.

Gallego’s television credits include Shooter, Crazy Ex-GirlfriendNCISThe MiddleShameless and Grey’s Anatomy,among others. 

Her film work includes Erin BrockovichBeverly Hills ChihuahuaAnger Management and Mr. Deeds

Paola Ramos Joins Vice News as Correspondent

Paola Ramos is joining the Vicesquad…

The Latina journalist is joining Vice News as a correspondent, starting this week, in the first notable new hire by Jesse Angelo since he joined the company as head of news and entertainment in June.

Ramos has previously written for Vice.com and hosted Latin-X, a Vice series focused on under-reported stories about the Latinx community. 

In her new role, Ramos will work across platforms. Two key venues for her work will be Vice and Vice News Tonight, which are both set to relaunch on new networks after a multi-year deal with HBO wound down a few months ago. Vice, a documentary series, will debut on Showtime next spring, and Vice News Tonight will start airing on the Viceland cable network in early 2020.

“Paola is an extraordinary talent and has done some incredible reporting in her career. The depth of her coverage on the Latinx community goes beyond the typical stories of immigration and the crisis at the border, and taps into underrepresented issues that matter to Millennial and Gen Z viewers,” Angelo said. “She connects with audiences in ways that make her exactly the type of person we want to tell Vice News stories.”

A regular contributor to Telemundo and MSNBC, Ramos is the former Deputy Director of Hispanic Media for Hillary Clinton and a former political appointee in the Obama White House. She holds degrees from Barnard Collegeand Harvard’sKennedy School.

Next year “will go down in history as one of the most consequential years of our lifetime and I cannot think of a better platform to inspire and mobilize young people across the country,” Ramos said. “I look forward to telling stories that impact our generation, to uncovering untold truths and to shedding light on the voices that are on the front lines of change.”

Fede Alvarez Agrees to Overall Deal with Legendary Pictures

Fede Alvarez has a legendary deal…

The 41-year-oldUruguayan filmmaker, the writer and director behind Sony’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web starring Claire Foy, and his writing partner Rodolfo Sayagues have closed an overall deal with Legendary Pictures

Fede Alvarez

Under the pact, Alvarez and Sayagues will create, develop and produce films through their Bad Hombre Films banner starting with a Washington, D.C.-based horror film written by Joe Epstein, which Alvarez will direct.

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but the pic is described as The Shining set in the White House. Bad Hombre is also set to produce a reboot of the 1974 cult classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which will be penned by Chris Thomas Devlin.

Past projects from the duo include scripting Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe, both of which were directed by Alvarez. The former went on to gross $100m worldwide, while Don’t Breathe has a global cum of $157 million.

NBC Picks Up Jimmy Smits’ Legal Drama “Bluff City Law” to Series

Jimmy Smits is Bluffingit all the way back to a television near you…

NBC has picked up to series the Memphis legal drama Bluff City Law, starring the 63-year-old Puerto Rican actor.

Jimmy Smits

The project hails from The Brave creator Dean Georgaris and producer David Janollari

Co-created by Georgaris and Michael Aguilar and written by Georgaris, Bluff City Law is a character-driven drama that follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis firm that specializes in the most controversial landmark civil rights cases. Led by legendary lawyer Elijah Strait (Smits) and his brilliant daughter, Sydney Keller (Caitlin McGee), they take on the toughest David-and-Goliath cases while navigating their complicated relationship.

This marks Smits’ return to NBC and the legal drama arena. He has starred in three previous NBC series: legal dramas L.A. Law and Outlaw as well as White Housedrama The West Wing.  

Launching a new hit legal drama series has been a priority for NBC. Recent attempts included the Chicago Justice spinoff from the Chicago franchise.

In addition to Smits and McGee, the cast includes Scott ShepherdBarry SloaneMichael Luwoye, MaameYaa BoafoStony Blydenand Jayne Atkinson.

Georgaris will write and executive produce. Aguliar and Janollari will executive produce.

Bluff City Lawis produced by Universal Televisionin association with David Janollari Entertainment.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Teams with Barack Obama for Latest #Hamildrop “One Last Time (44 Remix)”

Lin-Manuel Miranda has reunited with his favorite collaborator…

The 38-year-old Puerto Rican Broadway composer, lyricist, playwright, singer and actor has released One Last Time (44 Remix), a gospel version of a song from his Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton.

Lin-Manuel Miranda & Barack Obama

He is joined halfway through by former President Barack Obama– the US’ 44th president – who delivers part of George Washington’s farewell address during a guitar and piano interlude.

“Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors,” Obama intones. He then segues into Washington’s celebration of retirement and being able to enjoy “the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart.”

Miranda also posted a picture on Twitter of the former president casually hanging out in the studio.

The Obama reworking is the final drop in Miranda’s “Hamildrops” series of tracks, which feature new versions of his songs. Most have been used for charity fundraisers.

Obama and Miranda have teamed before on visits to the White House, and Miranda admits that One Last Time was inspired by Obama reading over Will.i.am’s Yes We Canwhich featured an Obama speech backed by acoustic guitar.

Alvarez Partners with Good Universe to Launch Content Company “Bad Hombre”

Fede Alvarez is taking Donald Trump’s words to task…

The 38-year-old Uruguayan filmmaker, best known for directing Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe, has partnered with Good Universe to launch Bad Hombre, a new content company that will produce films across the horror, thriller and sci-fi genres.

Fede Alvarez

“Bad Hombre” will ring bells for many…

During the third and final presidential debate Trump, who has favored deporting those who have arrived in the U.S. illegally, said, “We have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out.”

Most recently, A White House official confirmed that Trump told Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto earlier this month that he might send U.S. troops to deal with “bad hombres down there” if the Mexican military doesn’t.

The deal marks an ongoing relationship between Good Universe and Alvarez. Good Universe co-founders Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane served as executive producers on Alvarez’s first two feature films as director — Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe via Ghost House Pictures — both of which were successful at the box office.

Evil Dead grossed $97.5M worldwide in 2013, while Don’t Breathe grossed $156.4M.

Alvarez will lead Bad Hombre creatively and has hired longtime collaborator Rodo Sayagues as an executive help build the slate of genre films.

Perez & His Kansas City Royals Teammates Honored at the White House

It’s a special first for Salvador Perez

The 26-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball catcher and his Kansas City Royals teammates were honored by President Barack Obama as the 2015 World Series champions at the White House on Thursday.

Salvador Perez at the White House

Obama described the Royals as one of the “grittiest, most complete teams we’ve seen in a long time.”

The Royals last visited the White House in 1985, when President Ronald Reagan saluted their “never-say-die spirit” in the Rose Garden.

The 2015 team showed the same grit and determination. Six outs away from playoff elimination, the Royals scored seven runs to defeat the Houston Astros. They went on to win that series and to beat the Toronto Blue Jays and later the New York Mets. Obama noted that the Royals held the record for comeback wins in the playoffs.

Obama also acknowledged that it had been a long time between visits to the White House for Kansas City. “Let’s face it, it’s been a long road for Royals fans,” Obama said. “There were some dark years, some tough decades.”

But Obama said that began to change when general manager Dayton Moore was hired and the Royals started to develop talented players through their minor league system. Among them: outfielder Alex Gordon, infielders Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, and Perez at catcher.

Salvador Perez at the White House

Obama called each of the players by his nickname: “Gordo,” “Moose,” “Hos” and “Salvy.” But the president didn’t seem to find those too creative.

“We’re going to have to work on these,” Obama said.

“When the president calls you out, you definitely got to start thinking about something,” Hosmer said after the ceremony. “We’ve got some guys in the locker room, I’m sure they’re starting to bear down on that.”

Obama noted that his press secretary, Josh Earnest, is a big Royals fan, and that the Royals visit Thursday was right up there as far as his best days ever.

Manager Ned Yost, Hosmer and Perez interrupted the day’s press briefing to present the Kansas City, Missouri, native with a team jersey, an upgraded mug and an autographed World Series baseball. Yost said the team didn’t want Earnest to get into trouble “by him trying to hijack” the president’s jersey.

Salvador Perez at the White House

The team gave Obama a Royals jersey with the No. 44 in gold lettering, which nicely matched the ornate drapes in the White House East Room.

Quijano Named Anchor of CBS Weekend News

Elaine Quijano’s weekends have filled up…

The Latina television journalist will anchor CBS News’ evening newscasts, which are being rebranded as CBS Weekend News starting this weekend.

Elaine Quijano

Jim Axelrod, who has anchored the Saturday edition since 2012, and Jeff Glor, who has anchored Sundays, “remain in important roles in the organization,” CBS News said. Axelrod continues as senior national correspondent and Glor as national correspondent and 60 Minutes Sports contributor.

Quijano and Nina also anchor for CBSN, the news operation’s 24/7 digital news service, and the changes to the weekend broadcasts reflect those franchise’s closer ties to the streaming news service going forward. The broadcast network’s weekend newscasts routinely suffer frequent pre-emption and special-out-ings, owing to sports and other considerations. This season to date, the Saturday edition has aired in pattern – in time slot and at full length –  just 11 times in 31 weeks, the Sunday edition has aired in pattern just four times.

Quijano, who will anchor Saturdays, joined CBS News in 2010 and has covered the Boston Marathon bombings, Superstorm Sandy and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Quijano was also part of the CBS News team that received an Alfred I. duPont Award for the network’s coverage of the 2012 Newtown shootings.

In 2011, Quijano revealed in a report that the White House did not send presidential condolence letters to the families of service members who committed suicide, after which broadcast President Barack Obama reversed that policy. Prior to joining CBS News, Quijano worked for CNN since 2006, most recently as a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent, covering the Pentagon, White House and Supreme Court.

Bailon and Her “The Real” Co-Hosts Talk Education with First Lady Michelle Obama

Adrienne Bailon is helping raise awareness for the White House’s education initiatives…

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian American singer, actress, dancer and television personality and her fellow The Real co-hosts visited the nation’s capital recently to interview First Lady Michelle Obama about two student initiatives and more.

The Real

Bailon, Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley’s sit-down focuses on the “Better Make Room” campaign and the first lady’s “Reach Higher” initiative, an effort to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by continuing their education beyond high school.

The interview, conducted on Wednesday in the East Room of the White House, will air on January 26.

“We were honored and excited to bring our show to Washington, D.C., to interview First Lady Michelle Obama,” said Rachel Miskowiec, executive producer syndicated daytime talker The Real. “The ‘Better Make Room’ campaign empowers students to pursue a ‘better’ tomorrow by taking charge of their future, which is exactly the kind of thing our hosts and viewers are passionate about.”