'Today' Show Weatherman Willard Scott Dead at 87

Willard Scott -- the iconic "TODAY" show weatherman who preceded the Al Roker era -- has died.

Al himself confirmed the news this weekend, taking to IG with an honorary post for Willard and writing ... "We lost a beloved member of our @todayshow family this morning. Willard Scott passed peacefully at the age of 87 surrounded by family, including his daughters Sally and Mary and his lovely wife, Paris."

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AR adds, "He was truly my second dad and am where I am today because of his generous spirit. Willard was a man of his times, the ultimate broadcaster. There will never be anyone quite like him."

Willard started at "TODAY" in 1980, and became famous for his jovial anchoring -- be it during a weather segment, or any other special event he ended up hosting for NBC thereafter. The dude's antics were hilarious -- he'd dress up in crazy costumes, joke around like crazy on the air (and during MOTS interviews) ... and was just an overall hoot of a personality.

He's also perhaps best remembered for wishing Americans a Happy 100th Birthday in an ongoing Smucker's segment ... in which he'd feature different centennials who hit the milestone. Willard also hosted some of America's most memorable celebratory moments -- covering presidential inaugurations, holiday parades and parties, expos and more.

He was pretty much the Al Roker of his day, and did indeed pass on the baton when he retired from anchoring in the mid-to-late '90s. Still, they remained great friends ... and Al credits him as his mentor.

BTW, Willard also had quite the history in clowning around -- literally. He played the very first incarnation of Ronald McDonald in TV ads during the '60s, and even had a turn at playing Bozo the Clown too. Dude was just an all-around joy-spreader -- from start to finish.

He's survived by his wife, Paris Keena, and his children. Willard was 87.

RIP

'Ultimate Slip 'N Slide' Network Yanks Show ... Explosive Diarrhea Outbreak the Culprit

NBC is running from its reality show "Ultimate Slip 'N Slide" ... after a bunch of folks on the crew experienced explosive runs themselves.

The network put the show on ice after members of the production staff experienced diarrhea ... apparently from some sort of parasite called Giardia.

The show was being shot in the San Fernando Valley and almost reached the finish line with 1 week of production left, but it was too much. After multiple crew members got sick, production was indefinitely shut down.

Neither of the hosts -- Bobby Moynihan and Ron Funches -- came down with the runs.

An environmental lab tested the water used in the competition, along with restrooms and other facilities, and initially results came back negative, but they got a positive result last month. So, with 7 weeks in the can (sorry) and one week left to go, the door was slammed shut ... this according to PEOPLE.

The show was set to premiere August 8 after the closing ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games.

Did someone say this show is the s***?

'Ultimate Slip 'N Slide' Cut!!! That's Not Water ... Diarrhea Outbreak Shuts Down Show

NBC's competition show "Ultimate Slip 'N Slide" almost had to change the title to "Run 'N Don't Shart" ... after multiple crew members came down with a serious case of diarrhea.

So get this ... the workers reportedly came down with bubble guts on the heels of at least one person on set testing positive earlier this month for giardia -- an intestinal infection caused by a parasite.

The crew was filming in the San Fernando Valley before production was shut down indefinitely. According to The Wrap, things were so bad, some crew members collapsed in pain, while others raced into port-o-potties.

A source close to production confirmed to TMZ ... a number of people reported gastrointestinal symptoms and upset stomachs. We're told it's unclear exactly how many, but it was enough to halt production.

Our sources say the studio paused production on June 2 when it was made aware of the giardia case, and, in coordination with various health departments ... production worked with an environmental lab to test the water on location.

We're told the pond, slide pool, water truck and restroom sinks all tested negative, but a positive test came back on Thursday. They had been shooting for 7 weeks with one week left to go. Btw, we're told the hosts, Bobby Moynihan and Ron Funches, are fine.

A rep for Universal Television Alternative Studios, the production company behind the NBC show, tells TMZ ... the health and safety of everyone on its set is its number one priority, so out of an abundance of caution it has made the decision to stop production at the current location. They're trying to figure out where and when to complete the shoot.

Diarrhea crisis on a show called "Ultimate Slip 'N Slide" ... if it was scripted, no one would buy it. πŸ’©

Kelly Clarkson Taking Over Ellen's Daytime TV Slot ... By Fall 2022

The search for Ellen's successor didn't take long, and doesn't come as much of a surprise ... "The Kelly Clarkson Show" will take over the slot currently held by "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" after her 19th season concludes.

NBC made the announcement that Clarkson's show -- currently in its second season and airing in all of the network's markets -- is expected to replace Ellen's by Fall 2022.

As we first told you ... Kelly had been penciled in as the front-runner for Ellen's coveted, syndicated hour of television pretty much since her talk show launched in Fall 2019.

The show debuted to huge ratings, and with NBC honchos predicting DeGeneres would pull the plug on her show eventually ... Clarkson seemed like the perfect successor.

Problem is, Kelly's show's ratings dipped big time during the pandemic -- as did a lot of other daytime programs -- so there was some uncertainty if NBC would still go with her, or opt for someone new ... like, perhaps, Tiffany Haddish.

Clearly, the network wanted to eliminate all doubt by crowning Kelly.

5/12/21
THANKS FOR THE RIDE
Ellen

BTW, "The Kelly Clarkson Show" was already renewed for 2 more seasons in December 2020 to go through 2023, but obviously, the expectations -- after 19 seasons of Ellen -- are much greater than that.

Nick Jonas I Cracked My Rib in Bike Incident

THE SHOW MUST GO ON
NBC

Nick Jonas says he cracked a rib taking a spill on a bicycle, but he's on the mend.

Nick revealed the extent of his injuries Monday night on NBC's "The Voice," saying he also suffered a few other bumps and bruises, and it hurts to laugh. We're sure Blake Shelton will go easy on him, and by "easy" we mean ... not at all.

TMZ broke the story ... Nick was injured late Saturday night while filming a project, and it was serious enough that he needed medical attention at a nearby hospital.

We were told he was released and back home by Sunday, and wouldn't miss his scheduled Monday appearance on "The Voice."

Remember ... the 28-year-old actor/singer suffered a hand injury in 2018, the result of a post-show workout in Mexico. He posted a pic of that injury at the time, showing bandages and a beer.

He's playing this rib injury much closer to the vest, though. Neither Nick, nor anyone connected to him, will say exactly what he was filming when he got hurt.

While everyone's trying to keep it top secret, there is a report he and his famous brothers are shooting a competition show for NBC ... so, it's possible he was filming something for that when the injury happened.

Ellen DeGeneres Mad Scramble to Replace Her Show Kelly Clarkson's the Frontrunner, BUT ...

The clock is now ticking for NBC to choose the successor to Ellen DeGeneres' coveted time slot, and although they have a star in their pocket, a lot has to go right to make it work.

Sources at the network tell us -- long before COVID -- NBC honchos launched the Kelly Clarkson Show as the heir apparent to Ellen's syndicated hour. They knew back then Ellen was probably going to pull the plug on the show, and Kelly seemed like a likely successor.

The thing is ... Kelly's show struggled during COVID. Producing the show with guests joining remotely was challenging and the ratings slumped -- but that was the case with most shows through the pandemic. We're told a lot depends on the next few months ... whether the show experiences a surge in popularity as production comes back full force.

If that doesn't happen, NBC may well look beyond its current lineup to find a replacement, and a name that's been bandied about is one Tiffany Haddish. There are many reasons why Tiffany's name has bubbled up to the surface ... one of which is that she has guest-hosted for Ellen with considerable success.

The fact is ... Tiffany would probably kill in the timeslot, but we did some checking and no one in her camp is willing to say if she would even entertain the idea of doing a Monday-thru-Friday talk show, which is a real grind.

If she were interested, given the unbelievable number of projects Tiffany has, it would take the contents of a bank vault to seal the deal.

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THANKS FOR THE RIDE
Ellen

Ellen announced Wednesday she'll throw in the towel after her 19th season wraps in 2022. She made it clear, she's not retiring, and will focus on other projects moving forward.

Barack Obama Heckles Barkley For Being Fat, Gambling ... Pushes COVID Vaccine

VACCINES AND JOKES
ATTN

Welcome to the Dozens ... starring Barack Obama?!?

He's got jokes! Fat jokes. Gambling jokes. Shaq jokes!! Plus, actual information about the COVID vaccine (no joke!)!!

Obama sat down virtually with Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal as part of ATTN:'s "Roll Up Your Sleeves" special on NBC ... where the goal was to educate the public about some of the misconceptions about the vaccine.

But, before he got down to business ... Obama had a little fun at Shaq and Barkley's expense!

Obama razzed Chuck for his famous gambling habit and joked with Shaq about how the Big Man endorses every business on the planet!

And then came the fat joke ...

Obama congratulated Barkley on his daughter's recent wedding -- and brought up how Charles mentioned how he wanted to slim down for the event.

"You also felt like you need to get in shape because The Hora (the traditional Jewish dance) ... when you're lifting the chair, nobody could do that at your current weight!"

Don't freak out, it was all in good fun -- and Barkley laughed it off.

"I survived the Hora! No one got hurt -- it was the best day of my life!"

As for the vaccine ... here's the gist of what Obama had to say.

-- "A lot of the underlying conditions, things like diabetes, folks who have preexisting conditions ... there is more of that in communities of color than there is generally, which means we're more vulnerable."

-- "A lot of young people think ... 'Even if I get COVID, it's like a bad cold.' But part of what we're seeing now is there is a different strain of the virus that's come over. That's not the dominant variant and it's actually hitting young people harder than the original version."

-- "We don't know the kinds of long terms effects that were having. There's some folks who get it and 6 months later and they're still not feeling quite right."

Obama also brought up how measles used to "kill people all the time" before vaccines.

He also mentioned the Tuskegee experiments and how it has become a reference point for Black people who don't trust the government when it comes to health care.

"The irony is when you know about the Tuskegee experiment, what's going on there is the government withheld treatment that was available for Black men for Syphilis. They didn't give them medicine they needed."

"So, here's a situation where if the medicine is available, we need to take it."

Stay safe everyone!

Country Music 'Housewives' It's Not 'Real' Yet ... But Network Show in the Works!!!

A group of popular women in the country music world have folks whispering about a "Real Housewives of Nashville" series, and while TMZ's learned the buzz is a little premature ... it's not far from the truth.

Several of these ladies -- including country star Jana Kramer and Jason Aldean's sister, Kasi Wicks (Chuck Wicks' wife) -- have been teasing on social media that they're filming something together ... something that seems like it could fit in the 'Housewives' canon.

Sources with direct knowledge of the project confirm with us that yes ... these women -- Sabina Gadecki (Tyler Rich's wife), and Jenna Perdue (wife of Dee Jay Silver) -- are shooting a pilot for an ensemble show that's in development.

Our sources said Jason Aldean's wife, Brittany, may have also been involved in the project, but she seemingly shut that down on social media Monday night.

We're told NBC is handling the production, which is currently filming with the women in Nashville ... but it's NOT guaranteed to be part of the 'Housewives' franchise. In fact, our sources say it would likely end up on one of NBC's other networks -- like E! or Peacock -- instead of Bravo.

What's interesting is ... all the buzz being generated by Kramer and the Aldean's sister on social media is coming despite nothing official from the network. We're told no contracts have been signed, and there's been no green light for a series.

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When and if it does get approval from honchos, though, it sure seems like the would-be castmembers already know how to play the promo game ... as they've already got fans jonesin'.

Drew Brees Inks Huge Deal with NBC Sports to Cover NFL, College Football, Olympics

Drew Brees will definitely be BUSY in retirement -- the QB just announced he signed a massive deal with NBC Sports to cover everything from football to the Olympics.

"I'm gonna be working for NBC," Brees announced Monday on "Today" ... "I'm part of the team now!"

The 42-year-old -- who retired from the NFL over the weekend -- will serve most prominently as a studio analyst for "Football Night In America" on NBC's Sunday Night Football coverage.

Brees' duties will also include game analyst for NBC's coverage of Notre Dame football.

No, Brees didn't attend ND -- he's a Purdue guy --  but NBC has a massive contract with Notre Dame, so that's the school he'll cover for now.

NBC notes Brees will also work Super Bowl LVI and be included during its Olympics coverage. No word on which sports Brees will focus on -- but he's got a talent for breaking down film, so put him anywhere!

"I'm excited about that journey. I'm excited to stay very closely connected with the game of football, it's been such an important part of my life," Brees said on "Today."

"I continue to be able to talk about it, show a passion for it, and be able to bring my kids along for the ride there as well, and let them be part of those special moments."

Brees also says a huge part of his "retirement' life will include philanthropy -- especially in the city of New Orleans where he spent 15 seasons of his NFL career.

"I'll be honest, I'm excited because [philanthropy is] where we can make the biggest impact and there's still so much need in this country and this city."

Drew and his wife, Brittany, donated $10 million to help various areas in need in Louisiana in 2020 -- money that earmarked to build healthcare facilities and to help feed the hung

He's also been involved in the special needs community -- opening a fully inclusive playground in New Orleans for kids of all abilities in 2017.

'Jew in the City' Protest Educate, Don't Cancel Meyers Leonard ... And Rep Orthodoxy Better on TV Too!!!

Meyers Leonard is getting an olive branch from at least some in the Jewish community -- a group called "Jew in the City" wants to work with the Heat player, instead of canceling him.

We got "Jew in the City" founder Allison Josephs in NYC Wednesday during a protest in front of NBC, which we'll get to in a moment -- but right off the bat, we asked her about Leonard's anti-Semitic slur incident.

Ya Got a lot to Learn ...
TMZ.com

Allison's actually pretty merciful, saying the guy should get a second chance, as long as he's willing to learn what the epithet he used really means to Jews ... and to learn more about Jewish people, in general.

THE FOUL MOMENT
Twitch.tv

She suggests Meyers actually meet with some Jewish folks. As we reported, Patriots star Julian Edelman's already reached out to him, and Allison believes that's the right approach in these situations.

Speaking of educating the masses ... the group was demonstrating at 30 Rock as part of its campaign to correct inaccurate depictions of Orthodox Jews on NBC shows like "Nurses" and 'Law & Order: SVU.'

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You might've heard about the "Nurses" fiasco recently -- which forced NBC to yank the episode in question entirely after it was accused of rehashing anti-Semitic tropes. Welp, Allison says that's nothing new, and points to a Season 9 SVU episode that's just as cringeworthy.

Allison's demanding an end to what her org sees as clear-cut media bias against Jewish people.

'Saved By The Bell' Reboot Scrubs Selena Gomez Kidney Jokes

Selena Gomez is no longer the butt of a couple jokes from the new "Saved By The Bell" cast -- after tons of backlash, the show's removing the kidney jokes.

The new Peacock series scrubbed all references to Selena's kidney transplant after the outrage started pouring in Saturday ... but an edited version is already streaming. So, a pretty quick about-face.

As we reported ... eagle-eyed Selena fans noticed 2 references in the reboot to the pop star's 2017 surgery, and they started raising hell on social media over the weekend and even got "RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ" to trend online.

The first reference was cavalier ... 2 high school classmates loudly discussing Selena's kidney transplant in the middle of a hallway.

The second Selena dig was more subtle, but just as offensive to some folks. A wall in the background of a scene had graffiti or paint that read in big bold lettering, "DOES SELENA GOMEZ EVEN HAVE KIDNEYS?"

Lots of folks called the jokes disgusting and said Selena's life-or-death transplant was nothing to joke about.

Selena's remained silent, but Peacock apologized for the jokes pretty quickly, saying it was not their intention to make light of her health, and promising to make a donation to her charity.

'Saved by the Bell' Reboot Selena Gomez Kidney Jokes Fly ... Fans Are Infuriated

2:32 PM PT -- Peacock has apologized for their Selena jokes, saying ... "We apologize. It was never our intention to make light of Selena's health." They added, "We have been in touch with her team and will be making a donation to her charity, The Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC."

Selena has yet to speak on the controversy.

Selena Gomez was the butt of a couple of jokes on the 'Saved By The Bell' reboot that many consider in bad taste -- and which even more are raging over.

Mega fans of the pop star found two references to Selena's 2017 kidney transplant in the new Peacock series that just dropped in full this past Wednesday ... and then made "RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ" trend online Saturday as a result of their fury.

The first scene features one of the new characters roaming the hallways of the high school and passing 2 classmates discussing Selena's kidney transplant in an incredibly cavalier manner ... with one girl insisting Justin Bieber's mom was the real donor, while the other girl refutes that by saying it was actually Demi Lovato.

A Selena fan account responded by saying, "Saved by the Bell, that's disgusting. Selena almost lost her life, jokes about her kidney transplant is NOT FUNNY. Respect Selena Gomez." The second Selena dig is more subtle.

There's another scene where a football player is talking to a girl, and right behind him ... there's graffiti or paint on the wall that reads in big bold lettering, "DOES SELENA GOMEZ EVEN HAVE KIDNEYS?" The eagle-eyed fan who spotted this one noted the joke wasn't funny -- and went so far as to call it disgusting.

Here's what we'll say ... the Selena cracks are weird, and definitely cringe-worthy. Also, they're super dated. Selena had her procedure done three full years ago ... so bringing it up as a running gag in 2020 is tired, especially when everyone knows her friend, Francia Raisa, was the true donor ... which was well-documented.

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More importantly, her fans are right here ... Selena's kidney transplant was, in fact, a matter of life or death -- and something that probably shouldn't be joked about, especially on a new streaming service from a major network.

Peacock hasn't addressed the backlash just yet, and neither has Selena. Stay tuned ...

Originally Published -- 2:14 PM PT

MSNBC's Brian Williams On Trump's 'Rona Response Most Sarcastic Monologue Ever

Dripping with sarcasm
MSNBC

Anyone looking to get schooled in sarcasm, irony or satire ... check out Brian Williams going full Jonathan Swift on President Trump's COVID response, and Geraldo's praise for the Prez.

The MSNBC anchor ended his broadcast Friday night by mocking Geraldo Rivera over-praising Trump's handling of the virus on 'FOX & Friends' ... which Brian then proceeded to piggy-back on and take it to a whole new level of ass-kissing.

If you take BW at his word here, it sounds like he's completely on Trump's side -- but, as his remarks go on ... it becomes clear he's doing nothing but making fun of the Prez, because everything he's saying isn't true. Watch for yourself, it's a riot.

Brian says it's possible we aren't giving Trump enough credit for his FDR-like commitment to eradicating the virus and the relief efforts he's fast-tracked to help people struggling. He also asks where would we be without Trump's constant lecturing to the American people that masks are crucial and must be worn.

Then comes the full farce ... Brian goes on to compare what Trump Steaks did for the hungry, what Trump Water did the for thirsty, and what Trump University did for the uneducated -- comparing all that to what Trump did here with 'rona.

It's a master class in tongue-in-cheek humor -- but honestly, Brian's tongue might be tearing out of his cheek with this one. 😝

Hoda Kotb I'm Running for Al, He's 'Looking Good' After Cancer Diagnosis

PRAYERS FOR AL
TMZ.com

Hoda Kotb says things are looking up for Al Roker in his battle with prostate cancer ... and she's got a message for fans who want to help out.

We got the "Today" host jogging through NYC Tuesday -- she says she's running for Al, BTW -- and asked for an update on his health. She'd just recently spoken to him, and was happy to report Al's in a great mood ahead of surgery this week to remove his prostate.

As you know ... Al revealed his cancer diagnosis on the air Friday, saying he learned about the diagnosis Sept. 30 and explaining why he's going to be taking time away from "Today" for surgery and recovery.

Hoda says Al feels things are "looking good" for him, but she had a message for all of his fans looking for a way to help.

It's great news Al's doing well, but we can't say as much for our photog. Watch the clip and one thing is obvious ... Hoda can teach our guy a thing or 2 about cardio.

Al Roker Reveals Prostate Cancer Diagnosis ... Surgery Set for Next Week

Al Roker's sharing some scary personal medical news ... he's been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but he's taking aggressive steps to beat it.

The longtime "Today" host and meteorologist announced it Friday morning on the air, and said he's going to undergo surgery next week to have his prostate removed. Al said he learned about the diagnosis on September 30 but shared the news now to explain to viewers why he'll be taking off some time for the surgery and recovery.

Al called it a good-news-bad-news situation, saying, "Good news is we caught it early. Not great news is that it's a little aggressive, so I"m going to be taking some time off to take care of this."

Dr. Vincent Laudone will perform the procedure at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, and said they decided removing the prostate was the better option over radiation.

66-year-old Roker says he hopes sharing the news will encourage Black men to get screened for a cancer that's very treatable if detected early. Al's been advocating for that since 2013, when he and co-anchor Craig Melvin got prostate exams live on "Today."

Donald Trump I Can't Denounce QAnon ... I Know Nothing About It!!!

QANON?
NBC

Donald Trump says he's always denounced white supremacy despite his stumbling block on the debate stage, but he won't denounce the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Trump refused to condemn the bizarre QAnon theory during Thursday's town hall on NBC with Savannah Guthrie ... and his reasoning -- he doesn't know anything about it.

Quick refresher ... QAnon claims, among other things, the world is being run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are moving against Trump at the same time they operate a global child sex-trafficking ring.

Trump says he can't denounce it, or tell the American people it's all bogus, because he's not up to speed on the theory ... other than knowing QAnon is against pedophilia just like he is.

POTUS brushed off several points Guthrie made ... like the fact GOP Sen. Ben Sasse has already ripped the theory as "nuts" and said real leaders call out conspiracy theories.

STAND BY
FOX News

Guthrie also pressed Trump on his hesitation to denounce white supremacy at the debate, and he claimed he's always denounced white supremacists ... despite the fact he told the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by."

Trump got super defensive, then attacked Guthrie and the media.

There are a few things Trump says he's well versed on and happy to denounce ... "Antifa and the radical left."

Old news is old news!
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