America’s Dad is ready to heal the nation. Tom Hanks is set to host a 90-minute inauguration special that will air across multiple networks, honoring President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s incoming administration. Titled Celebrating America, the special will air Wednesday night, Jan. 20, and will “celebrate the beginning of a new national journey toward an America united,” according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, TVLine reports.
The special, which will air across ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and MSNBC, will feature remarks from Biden and Harris. It will also highlight “American heroes who are helping their fellow Americans through this crisis, including frontline workers, health care workers, teachers, citizens giving back, and those who are breaking barriers,” the PIC states.
Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Ant Clemons, and Demi Lovato are slated to perform, with more guests soon to be announced. Perhaps Lovato will debut the song she recently teased on social media. “I’m the studio working on something special after today’s assault on democracy,” she tweeted Wednesday after the Capitol siege.
Either way, celebrities are returning to inaugural events. Nature…it’s healing. Just four years ago, insurrectionist-in-chief Donald Trump was getting spurned left and right by A-listers, frustrated at his inability to nab any of the star power of past inaugural events; there would be no Barbra Streisand, no Beyoncé, no Aretha Franklin. Celine Dion, Elton John, and Andrea Bocelli all rejected him, leaving Trump with so few options that his inauguration team pivoted to calling the then-president-elect himself “the greatest celebrity in the world” to save face. Other celebrities? Who needs them! Some of the guests who did up attending his 2017 inauguration included Scott Baio, Caitlyn Jenner, and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson.
Hanks, meanwhile, is just the guy—nay, the everyman—to bring the country together again after a fractious, violent four years. Not only is the actor a beloved American icon, but he’s been a champion for frontline workers during the pandemic. Hanks and wife Rita Wilson caught the coronavirus last March while Hanks was filming in Australia; they were both hospitalized and treated, eventually making swift recoveries. Both also went on to donate their plasma for COVID-19 research and have been vocal about staying vigilant about coronavirus best practices.
“There’s really only three things we can do in order to get to tomorrow: Wear a mask, social distance, wash our hands,” Hanks said, per People. “Those things are so simple, so easy, if anybody cannot find it in themselves to practice those three very basic things—I just think shame on you.”
Now, he’ll be able to pay it forward with the special by highlighting those who have been similarly heroic at this trying time. We feel soothed already.
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