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‘The Voice’ Season 20 to Premiere in March with Nick Jonas Returning (TV News Roundup)

In today’s TV news roundup, NBC announced the Season 20 premiere date of “The Voice,” AMC Plus moved the return of “The Walking Dead” on its streaming service up a few days early.

DATES 

The Paley Center for Media will celebrate Black History Month with “A Salute to Black Achievements in Television presented by Citi” beginning Feb. 1. The annual celebration spotlights significant contributions from Black icons, innovators and leaders in media and entertainment. Programming includes “For Life in Conversation with Curtis ‘50 Cent’ JacksonFeb. 1 at 8 p.m.; “Queen Sugar” exclusives Feb. 13-15; a special family preview screening of Netflix’s “Family Reunion” on Feb. 27, and 100th anniversary spotlights of The Negro Leagues and Black women in government and politics on TV on Feb. 28. While these screenings and panels will be available on the Paley Center’s YouTube page, interactive experiences with archival content will also be available on its website. 

AMC Plus moved the return of “The Walking Dead’s” extended 10th season up a few days early, to Feb. 21, one week ahead of the linear premiere date on Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. Subsequent episodes will continue to debut early on AMC Plus every Thursday before the linear release on Sundays, starting March 4. The new episodes find the survivors of the Whisperers War trying to pick themselves up after years of struggle and questioning the state of humanity. 

As part of its “Content for Change” initiative, BET will premiere the six-part series “Boiling Point” on Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. In partnership with CBS News, each hour-long episode will highlight pivotal moments including Bloody Sunday and Hurricane Katrina, and connect racism’s through line in U.S. history to understand if Americans have come to an overdue awakening on systemic racism. It will feature legislators and current activists, including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and activist and professor Marc Lamont Hill.

Also under its “Content for Change initiative,” BET will debut the investigative docuseries “Disrupt & Dismantle”  on Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. In it, award-winning reporter Soledad O’Brien will immerse herself within a community, identifying problems that face Black individuals, and working towards solutions. The first episode sees O’Brien travel to Dallas, Texas to uncover environmental racism in the city’s Southern Sector.

The Voice” Season 20 will premiere on March 1 at 8 p.m. on NBC and feature the return of Nick Jonas to the coaches chairs. He joins consecutive season coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Blake Shelton for the season, which marks the reality competition series’ 10-year anniversaryCarson Daly will continue to host, while this season’s battle advisors include Luis Fonsi (Team Kelly), Darren Criss (Team Nick), Brandy (Team Legend) and Dan + Shay (Team Blake).

HBO will debut “COVID Diaries NYC” on March 9 at 9 p.m. The first-person accounts of five brave young filmmakers uncover their families’ experience during the first wave of COVID-19 in New York City in a collection of short films that feature original animation by Rosemary Colón-Martinez, in addition to the filmmakers’ footage. The films are directed by Marcial Pilataxi, Aracelie Colón, Camille Dianand, Shane Fleming, Arlet Guallpa, and Colón-Martinez; and are executive produced by Carrie Penner, Perri Peltz and Matthew O’Neill.

PBS will air its four-part series “Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer” starting May 11 at 8 p.m. Each episode will explore one aspect of public health that has been crucial in the battle to live longer: vaccines, data, medicine and behavior. Set in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, author Steven Johnson and historian David Olusoga guide viewers through 300 years of medical innovation to understand how the human lifespan has doubled in under a century and how past medical triumphs will provide a blueprint for the future. 

FIRST LOOKS 

Director Nick Bilton created a social experiment to turn three ordinary people into Instagram influencers in his new documentary, “Fake Famous,” of which Variety has obtained an exclusive clip. The docu, which premieres Feb. 2 on HBO, follows an aspiring actor, fashion designer and real-estate assistant as they stage photo shoots and collect engagement from bots in order to be perceived as famous and therefore change their lives. In the clip, which you can watch below, they undergo literal physical makeovers before embarking upon their journeys.

PROGRAMMING

VH1 will premiere “My Celebrity Dream Wedding” on Feb. 9, Variety has learned exclusively. The special follows three of the best wedding planners as they compete to give one deserving bride on a budget the celebrity-inspired wedding of her dreams. Filmed before the pandemic, it features wedding planners Courtney Ajinça, Lance Devereux and Tori Williams, and produced by Tara Long, Madison Merritt, Mark Herwick and Ben Megargel for eOne and executive produced by Tolani Holmes and Dane Joseph for VH1. Watch a sneak peek below.

DEVELOPMENT 

Mattel, Inc. and Fremantle are adapting arcade favorite “Whac-A-Mole” into a reality game show. The unscripted television show will become an elimination competition, during which opposing teams will go head-to-head in life-sized “Whac-A-Mole,” races and obstacle courses. “‘Whac-A-Mole” is a beloved, action-packed arcade game with a deep fan following, and the interactive nature and comedic energy of the game makes it a great franchise for episodic television,” Mattel Television executive producer Adam Bonnett said.  

EXECUTIVE NEWS 

Crown Media Family Networks promoted Casey Gould to senior vice president of ad sales and advanced advertising, as the company deepens its commitment to providing data-driven solutions. Gould, who will now lead the development and execution of strategic advanced advertising opportunities, joined Crown Media in 2007 as an account service representative and last held the title of vice president of advertising and digital sales, which he took in 2016.

WWE appointed Christine Lubrano as senior vice president of creative writing operations. In addition to leading a team of writers for “Monday Night Raw” and “Friday Night SmackDown,” Emmy-nominated Lubrano will oversee the creative writing team’s long-term planning and manage its operations in collaboration with executive director Bruce Prichard.

LATE NIGHT 

Robin Wright, Chris Bianco and Bahamas featuring The Teskey Brothers will be featured tonight on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” while Bryan Cranston, John Cena and Remi Wolf will be on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” will feature Ethan Hawke and Mickey Guyton, and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” will have Post Malone, Mary Steenburgen and Matt Cameron.

INITIATIVES 

Color of Change launched “The Pedestal Project,” an Instagram augmented reality experience that lets users place statues of racial justice leaders on the empty pedestals where Confederate statues once stood. With the aim to offer a refreshing new symbol of equality and progress, the campaign uses technology to see a world where statues finally portray worthy idols. It features the late civil rights leader and former Rep. John Lewis, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and Freedom March NYC co-founder Chelsea Miller.

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