July 15, 2012 in Nation/World

‘Apollo Live’ gets its woman in Knight

From Wire Reports

(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Move over, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez, a veteran singing diva is joining the ranks of judges on reality TV: Gladys Knight.

BET’s sister network Centric announced Wednesday that Knight will work as the “lead judge” on “Apollo Live.” The new series is a singing competition at New York’s famed Apollo Theater and puts a new spin on the venue’s popular “Amateur Night” showcase. It will debut in the fall.

Knight joins previously announced judges Doug E. Fresh and Michael Bivins of New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe.

“Apollo Live” is executive produced by Jamie Foxx. Comedian-actor Tony Rock will host the show.

Comic-Con goes crazy for ‘The Hobbit’

If reaction to “The Hobbit” footage at Comic-Con is any indication, Peter Jackson has another couple of blockbusters on his hands.

The crowd attending Jackson’s “Hobbit” preview at the fan convention Saturday went wild over a 12-minute reel the filmmaker and his colleagues screened.

Broken into two films, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” the 3-D epic is Jackson’s prequel to his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, whose finale won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture and director.

“An Unexpected Journey” arrives in theaters Dec. 14, with “There and Back Again” following in December 2013.

The films are based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, which chronicles how tiny hobbit Bilbo Baggins ( Martin Freeman) acquired the ring of power that causes all the ruckus in “The Lord of the Rings,” Jackson’s three-part adaptation of Tolkien’s fantasy saga.

Along with Jackson and Freeman, “The Hobbit” panel at Comic-Con featured “Lord of the Rings” co-stars Ian McKellen, who reprises his role as the wizard Gandalf, and Andy Serkis, who is back as twisted ring-keeper Gollum. Also on hand was Richard Armitage, who plays the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield.

The birthday bunch

Actor Alex Karras (“Webster”) is 77. Actor Ken Kercheval (“Dallas”) is 77. Actor Patrick Wayne is 73. Actor Jan-Michael Vincent is 68. Guitarist-singer Peter Lewis (Moby Grape) is 67. Singer Linda Ronstadt is 66. Actor Terry O’Quinn is 60. Drummer Marky Ramone (The Ramones) is 56. Guitarist Joe Satriani is 56. Actor Willie Aames (“Eight Is Enough,” “Charles in Charge”) is 52. Actress Lolita Davidovich is 51. Actor-director Forest Whitaker is 51. Drummer Jason Bonham is 46. Actor-comedian Eddie Griffin (“Malcolm and Eddie”) is 44. Bassist Chi Cheng (Deftones) is 42. Actor Scott Foley (“Felicity”) is 40. Actor Brian Austin Green is 39. Guitarist Ray Toro (My Chemical Romance) is 35. Actor Tristan Wilds (“90210”) is 23.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email