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‘Harry Potter’ Quiz Show Producers Reveal Helen Mirren ‘Was In’ As Host After Just One Call

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‘Harry Potter’ Quiz Show Producers Reveal Helen Mirren ‘Was In’ As Host After Just One Call

‘Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses’ celebrates all things ‘Harry Potter.’ HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the producers about getting Helen Mirren to host and why this show isn’t just for superfans.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses is a four-part competition series that will premiere November 28 on TBS and as part of Cartoon Network’s ACME Night. Dame Helen Mirren is the host of this magical quiz show that’s celebrating the 20th anniversary of the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the show’s producers Robin Ashbrook and Yasmin Shackleton about nabbing Helen as the host.

Helen Mirren is the host of the show. (TBS)

“Obviously, at first, we wondered whether it should be somebody from the movies,” Robin said. “We’re celebrating 20 years of The Sorcerer’s Stone, so the motivation for the show was the movie rather than the books. We discussed whether there was talent from that movie, but we quickly kind of came to the assumption that to celebrate something so big and its place in global popular culture, it would be better to find somebody who hadn’t been in the movies, that as soon as you saw them just made sense. Now, the Harry Potter movies are littered with British acting royalty, and probably the only one name, the greatest kind of British actor that isn’t in those movies, is Dame Helen Mirren. She made sense for us to celebrate its kind of global Britishness and the size and scale of the event. We were fortunate enough to find out that Helen Mirren was a fan of the Harry Potter franchise. Before we reached out to anybody at all, she was kind of number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on the list. It doesn’t happen often, Avery, as I’m sure you can imagine. You usually end up going way down the list. But after one conversation with Dame Helen, she was in. Once she understood how broad the format was, that it wasn’t just for superfans, that it was for everybody, and it’s very much a family celebration, she pretty quickly said yes.”

There’s no denying that there are millions of Harry Potter superfans out there. This tournament isn’t just for the Harry Potter whizzes out there. This special event series can be for Harry Potter fans of all ranges.

“The whole tone of the show is that we want everyone to enjoy it,” Yasmin told HollywoodLife. “So whether you are a superfan and you’ve read all the books and watched all the movies 10 times over, you can enjoy this as much as somebody who’s kind of new to the world. We wanted to encourage that play-along at home. Even if you’re not really 100 percent on the answer, you can play along. A lot of the questions are multiple-choice questions for that precise reason. In terms of the question difficulty, I think we started off thinking that we had kind of a scale of pretty difficult questions. As soon as we started to talk to and meet Harry Potter fans for the show when we were in casting and we started giving them quizzes to test their level of knowledge, we were pretty blown away by the love these fans have for the films and for the books and how entrenched they are in the story. We quickly kind of realized that we had to make the question more difficult for them. We did a lot of run-throughs with Harry Potter fans to get that level just right. We rewrote and rewrote questions over and over again to make it challenging for them. That was the toughest part of all of this, just getting the level of question rights and make it challenging, but not to kind of disenfranchise people who weren’t superfans.”

The show is also for fans of all ages. “Kids love it as much as grandmas and grandpas love it. We really wanted to represent all fans. So if you’re watching the show, you can see yourself on the show, per se. For example, our youngest contestant on the show is 15. Our oldest contestant is 76,” Yasmin revealed. “They both have that ardent love for Harry Potter. I think we also wanted to showcase people from different backgrounds — people from across America, we have people who grew up in different countries. We really wanted to show the broad fanbase that it has and that it touches whether no matter what your job is, no matter whether you’re from a big city or from a very, very small town.”

Harry PotterHogwarts Tournament of Houses will feature some familiar faces from the Wizarding World. Robin admitted that they had so many cast members and celebrity fans who wanted to be involved.

Harry Potter
Harry, Ron, and Hermione in ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.’ (Everett Collection)

“In the same vein as Dame Helen, what you realize is that there is so much love for this franchise,” Robin noted. “As soon as you pick up the phone and ask people to remember what it was like filming it like in the case of Shirley [Henderson] and Tom Felton and so on. They’re a part of one of the biggest movie franchises, the biggest kind of stories ever, certainly in the last 20 years. They are more than happy to celebrate it. In the same way, we have appearances from celebrity superfans like Pete Davidson and Jay Leno. It’s not just those that were in it. It seems that it touches so many people in so many different ways that it isn’t hard to get people to come on board and share their love for the Wizarding World. In fact, it’s very rare when you’re trying to put these shows together that you end up with more people than you need. Honestly, we could do this for the next 10 years because there are so many people that want to be a part of it. I don’t think we’re ever going to run out.”

The Wizarding World competition event will consist of four parts, beginning on November 28 through December 19. In the end, one House will be crowned the new House Cup Champion.

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Regina King Releases A Statement After Her Son Ian Alexander Jr. Dies By Suicide —‘Our Family Is Devastated’

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Regina King Releases A Statement After Her Son Ian Alexander Jr. Dies By Suicide —‘Our Family Is Devastated’

Regina King is speaking out amid some terribly sad news.

The actress, 51, confirmed to PEOPLE that her son Ian Alexander Jr. has died. The tragic loss was first reported by LoveBScott who noted that Ian turned 26 on Wednesday and his death was by suicide.  

“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” King said in a statement sent to PEOPLE about Ian, her only child. “He is such a bright light who cared so deeply about the happiness of others. Our family asks for respectful consideration during this private time. Thank you.”

The actress shared her son with her ex-husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr.

 

Back in 2019, Ian spoke with E! News about his famed mother and dubbed her a “super mom.”

“She’s just a super mom,” said Ian while alongside the actress at the Golden Globes. “She doesn’t really let bad work days or anything come back and ruin the time that we have. It’s really awesome to have a mother who I can enjoy spending time with.”

Then in 2021, he likened her to a superhero again this time on her 50th birthday while calling her the “greatest gift he could ask for.”

“To be all that you are while always having the time to be there, love, and support me unconditionally is truly remarkable,” wrote Ian. “The whole marvel universe ain’t got s*** on you, your the real superhero! Love you mom! This day and everyday YO DAY!”

Ian and his mother’s relationship was one that carried a special meaning of “unconditional love” so much so, that they had matching tattoos that read “unconditional love” in Aramaic — his on his shoulder and hers on her arm.

“You don’t know what unconditional love is,” said King to PEOPLE about her son in 2007. “You may say you do, but if you don’t have a child, you don’t know what that is,” she explained at the time. “When you experience it, it’s the most fulfilling [thing] ever.”

BOSSIP is sending sincere condolences to Regina King.

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Bob Newhart’s Children: Everything To Know About The 92 Year Old Star’s 4 Kids

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Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart is an Emmy winner and film & TV icon, but he’s also the proud father of 4 amazing children! Find out more about them here.

Bob Newhart, 92, is an American actor and comedian who’s accomplished more in his epic career than most people in the business can say. In addition to his incredibly popular program The Bob Newhart Show which became a hit in the ’70s, the Oak Park, Illinois native has appeared in countless shows and films as a beloved figure, finally winning an Emmy in 2013 for his character Professor Proton on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

In addition to his successful, longstanding career, Bob also has a decades-long romance with his wife, Virginia Quinn, or “Ginny” with whom he was set up on a blind date by Buddy Hackett. “[Buddy said], ‘I’ve got a girl for you. She’s going with another guy, but I don’t think he’s right for her, so I’m going to fix you up on a blind date,’” the Elf star told People in 2019. “‘You’ll meet her, and you’ll date and you’ll get married. Then you’ll have kids, and you’ll call one of the kids, Buddy.’”

Well the two did end up getting married (in 1963) and having kids — four kids, to be exact. The pair share RobertTimothyJennifer, and Courtney together, as well as 10 grandchildren! “I’ve always said: “I don’t care how successful you’ve been in this business, if you haven’t had a good family life, what have you really achieved? Not an awful lot,” Bob told Guideposts.

Find out more about the happy couple’s four adult children below.

Bob Newhart and family at the 3rd Annual TV Land Awards, 2005 (Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock).

Robert Newhart 

Robert was born on November 4, 1963. The oldest of his four siblings, Robert has pretty much liked to stay out of the spotlight for the most part, although he did follow in his father’s footsteps for one film, Heart and Souls, in 1993.

Timothy Newhart 

Bob and Ginny welcomed their second son, Timothy, in 1969. Although Timothy didn’t continue on with a career in entertainment, he did work in the early ’90s as a production assistant on his father’s show Newhart as well as on the popular flick Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In addition, he worked as an associate on the TV series Get a Life from 1991-1992.

Jennifer Newhart 

Jennifer was born in 1970 and, unlike her older brothers, she stayed out of the entertainment business and didn’t try and follow her father for a career path in show business. Not much can really be found about Jennifer as she likes to stay out of the spotlight. She has, however, joined her father (along with her siblings and mother Ginny) for a few red carpet events here and there.

Courtney Newhart 

Courtney, the youngest child of the Newhart clan, was born in 1977. Courtney once appeared on her father’s program Newhart in 1986 and also earned a credit as a production assistant on George & Leo in 1997, although her acting/entertainment industry credits don’t really expand from there. Much like her siblings, Courtney has left the showbiz stuff up to dad and has stayed more focused on raising family!

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How Britney Spears’ Fiancé Sam Asghari Is Helping Her Cope With Family Drama

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Britney Spears, Sam Ashgari

Britney Spears may have a ‘Toxic’ relationship with her family right now but that certainly isn’t the case with her fiancé Sam Asghari who ‘has her back.’

Britney Spears has been swamped with family drama but fortunately, she has the support of her loving fiancé Sam Ashgari. She just broke free from the conservatorship her father Jamie Spears put her under and she has been feuding with her sister Jamie Lynn Spears but a source close to Britney told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that Sam has been helping her cope. “Britney has appreciated Sam more than ever and he has really been there for her in every way,” the source shared.

Britney Spears and Sam Ashgari. (Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)

“It’s been such a difficult time for Britney, but she knows Sam has her back,” our insider added. “Sam is one of the people that Britney feels really gets her and listens to her. He understands what she needs out of the relationship and he’s there for it. Britney has so much to celebrate and so much to be thankful for. She’s in a really good place and just wants to put all of this drama behind her.”

Even the “Toxic” star’s inside circle are “so grateful” for Sam because of how “happy he makes her.” A second source confirmed that these times have been tough for the pop star. “Britney has been dealing with a lot lately. She looks at everyday as a blessing now that she is free, but this past week has been extremely hard on her. Sam has been there for her through all of this,” they shared.

“Right now, Sam is doing things to try and take her mind off the drama that is going on with her family,” they continued. He is doing the best that he can, but it is hard. It is hard to see her relive all this stuff with Jamie Lynn. He reminds her that, at the end of the day, she wouldn’t even have a platform to speak from if it were not for her.” He has been trying to help her connect with her favorite pastimes like taking her dogs for walks or going horseback riding.

Ultimately, she feels “safe with him” and “can’t wait to be Sam’s wife.” Luckily for Brit, that time will come soon enough. The couple is in the middle of planning their big wedding ever since she announced their engagement on September 12, 2021. For now, the “Baby One More Time” singer will have to focus on squashing her feud with her sis so that she can be there on her big day.

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