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LeVar Burton to guest-host ‘Jeopardy!’ with George Stephanopoulos

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LeVar Burton to guest-host 'Jeopardy!' with George Stephanopoulos

“Jeopardy!” is finishing its 37th season with a bang.

The longtime game show announced its final guest hosts to finish out the latest season on Wednesday. LeVar Burton, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, David Faber (who is a former “Celebrity Jeopardy!” champ) and Joe Buck are among the stars tapped to host the wildly popular trivia game.

Burton has previously expressed his profound enthusiasm to host the show and take over the reins from the late great Alex Trebek.

The 64-year-old “Reading Rainbow” host gushed over his new gig on Twitter, writing, “THANK YOU… to all y’all for your passionate support! I am overjoyed, excited, and eager to be guest-hosting Jeopardy!, and will do my utmost best to live up to your faith you in me. YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! Go ahead and take my word for it, this time.”

Earlier this month, Burton tweeted a fan-started campaign to make him a permanent “Jeopardy!” host.

“Leaving this here in the event that the powers that be are listening,” the “Roots” actor tweeted alongside a petition. The document has since gained over 250,000 signatures as of today.

Burton recently appeared on USA TODAY’s “The Mothership” podcast and further spoke about his desire to host the quiz show. “This is something that I really think is a good idea,” he said. “I think it’s a good fit of what the show is, what the show requires and what I feel like I bring to the table. I feel as strongly about my rightness for this as I did about Kunta and Geordi. And I’m that invested in getting the job.”

Burton added that he feels he wants to do “justice to the legacy of Alex.” Trebek passed away in November 2019 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. The show paid tribute to the iconic host’s legendary career in January.

Following Trebek’s death, ABC News journalist George Stephanopoulos was reportedly lobbying for the gig, amongst several other candidates, and “actively” putting his name in the ring.

“Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards released a statement Wednesday about the slew of new celeb hosts. “Our goal has been to present a wide variety of guest hosts with different skill sets and backgrounds on our path to finding a permanent host,” Richards said. “Our passionate fans are telling us what they like, and we are listening. All of the guest hosts have brought individualism, energy and an authentic love of our show to each of their episodes. We look forward to sharing the rest of the season with our viewers.”

In addition to each guest host’s appearance, a donation will be made to a charity of their choice. The amount that is donated will be matched with the cumulative winnings of the contestants that compete during the week.

Previous Season 37 guest hosts include Anderson Cooper, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Savannah Guthrie, Katie Couric and Aaron Rodgers.

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Cult flick ‘Faces of Death’ to get modern reimagining

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Cult flick ‘Faces of Death’ to get modern reimagining

This VHS-age favorite is being remade for the streaming era. 

Production company Legendary Entertainment has acquired the rights to “Faces of Death” and has plans to reboot the beloved 1978 faux-documentary as a modern horror franchise, according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

Legendary — which has previously produced blockbusters including “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “John Wick” and “The Dark Knight” — will be working with Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber of 2018’s psychological memoir-based thriller “Cam” for the flick.

When “Faces of Death” was released over 40 years ago, it was promoted as a documentary — similar to 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project” — successfully inciting outrage at its gruesome content. While the footage was staged, audiences initially believed it to be real.

The premise of the flick — which subsequently was both banned (although not by 52 countries, as promotional materials stated) and became a box office hit — was a pathologist’s look into the most horrific ways in the world to die, the Hollywood Reporter recounted. The true cult status of “Faces of Death” arrived in the 1980s, when it became a VHS-market phenomenon, with copies of it reproduced and shared widely. 

The original film is still in circulation thanks to one Illinois-based company. 

Angry Films’ Susan Montford and Don Murphy are set to produce and Rick Benattar of BT Productions will executive produce, THR wrote. 

The producer of the original film, John Burrud, will also be part of the team reimagining the movie. 

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Nickelback fans are now getting catfished

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Nickelback fans are now getting catfished

Nickelback fans have had it rough. 

First, they’ve had to defend their favorite band from jokesters on the internet who’ve mercilessly mocked the group for years. 

Now, they’re getting catfished. 

Devotees of the Canadian rock group are being contacted by profiles pretending to be band members Chad Kroeger, Ryan Peake, Mike Kroeger and Daniel Adair. Some are looking for love; others money in the form of Bitcoin or iTunes gift cards. None of them are real, but committed supporters respond anyway, on the off chance their celebrity crush is on the other side of the screen.

It’s gotten so bad that in July, the band tweeted out a message to remind followers to keep their guard up. “Friendly reminder that the only official Nickelback Twitter account is right here, along with Mr. @TheDanielAdair,” they wrote. “Look for the blue checkmark to know it’s the real deal on all social networks. Report any accounts that are claiming otherwise.” 

Queens resident Nicole Godja has been contacted by several profiles pretending to be frontman Chad Kroeger since last year, on Instagram, Facebook and Google Hangouts. She follows the band on their verified Instagram account, and was part of a Facebook fan group, where several other members have been contacted by fake accounts. 

“Thank you for following my page and for the love and support you’ve all showered on me and the whole of nickelback team I hope you never stop supporting us and listening to our songs,” a profile with the handle @chad__robert_kroeger_ messaged her in October. (While that account no longer exists, at least a dozen phonies have popped up in its place.)

The translator, 48, was immediately suspicious. “There were red flags,” she told The Post. The account wasn’t verified, it had no profile picture and only 70 followers. Still, she kept up the conversation, curious about the person who had contacted her, whoever it may be. “I had doubts that it would be him, so I asked him basic things about him,” she said. “It didn’t add up.” 

One of the many Nickelback memes circulating on the internet.

The account was “flirting with me from the beginning,” and even said that he loved her, said Godja, who is single. “This guy can have any woman in the world,” she said of Avril Lavigne’s ex-husband. “Why would he go online and look for weirdos?” 

Kroeger and Nickelback did not respond to requests for comment by press time. 

Though Godja said that she never believed she was talking to the real Kroeger, she was in contact with the account almost daily until New Year’s, when she decided to break off communication. The fake Chad wouldn’t send pictures of himself, get on the phone or do a video call with Godja, claiming it was against his manager’s rules to talk to fans.  

He’d also tried to solicit money from her: Both the Facebook and Instagram accounts claimed that he needed her to pay nearly $13,000 in Bitcoin so he could ship a trunk he needed to her house, and the Chad on Hangouts wanted iTunes gift cards from her, saying his managers forbade him from “making money on the side,” said Godja. Knowing she was being scammed, she declined. 

“I feel like a good rule of thumb is that if somebody is employing a manager, they don’t need your money,” Gabrielle Bluestone, author of “Hype: How Scammers, Grifters, and Con Artists Are Taking Over the Internet—and Why We’re Following,” told The Post. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Though it’s unclear why Nickelback fans in particular are being targeted, Bluestone said age may play a role. After launching in 1995, the band’s popularity peaked in the late aughts. “People who haven’t grown up on the internet are a bit more susceptible to scams. Older people in general make better targets for scammers,” she said. 

Their devotion to the group is also a key factor: Online fan clubs give scammers “a pool of potential victims that respect the band and want to help them out,” she said.

And despite clear warning signs, die-hard fans often unconsciously want to ignore them. “Everyone wants to be the exception to the rule; people can talk themselves into anything, especially when it’s something they care deeply about,” said Bluestone. 

While verified celebrities like Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry are contacting fans on dating app Raya, the scam expert says you should always be on your toes: “There is the technology to make a fake Ben Affleck video,” she said. “Unless you’re seeing it face-to-face with your own eyes, there should always be a dose of suspicion there.” 

The accounts have since reached back out to Godja, and she continues to speak to them every day, hoping they’ll reveal their true identity to her. She’s reported the Facebook and Hangouts account, and some have been taken down, though the catfish keeps creating more.

“I feel bad that they give a bad name to the band,” said Godja, of the scammers.

“I’m really sad. I will never know [Nickelback] personally, but I don’t think these people deserve that.” 

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Michelin guide announces 2021 stars for NYC restaurants

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Michelin guide announces 2021 stars for NYC restaurants

Star light, star bright. Date nights in New York City are about to get a whole lot tastier! Famed French restaurant guide Michelin announced their top area eateries for 2021. Michelin awarded 76 restaurants their stars in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Westchester.

However, this year there are only 68.

Since the pandemic hit the city, restaurants that have shuttered number at least 1,000. Alas, 15 previously Michelin-ranked restaurants didn’t make the cut this year — while seven new places were added to the list.

Upscale Manhattan staples such as Le Bernardin, Per Se, Masa, Eleven Madison Park and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare all kept their status as three-star places. These five have not moved from the list since 2018. Another 14 hot spots have two-star ratings. Michelin has also stated that places that were temporarily closed during the pandemic would be able to keep their stars.  

As of now, 49 restaurants carry one star. The new additions to that list are Rezdôra, Don Angie, Tsukimi, Jua, Kochi, Vestry and Francie.

The chief inspector of Michelin’s North America team, who spoke to Bloomberg under the condition of anonymity, said ranking visits took place both before the pandemic and as the restaurants re-opened, following pandemic protocols. They stressed that inspectors were sensitive to the social-distancing restrictions and communicated with chefs and owners on openings and closures. 

Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin guides, said that the way restaurants handled themselves during tough times was commendable. “Despite the context, restaurants took this year as an opportunity to make progress,” he told the New York Times. “The world can look to how the US is handling the recovery.”

A new award was introduced for restaurants that focus on sustainable cooking. The green star was given to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The spot currently has two stars.

Several top eateries that exited the list due to their untimely permanent closures include Aldea, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Del Posto. Babbo, a Washington Square Park fave, also fell off the the guide, even though it is still open.

Eleven Madison Park’s three-star rating comes hot on of the heels of news that it is adopting an all-vegan kitchen. The relaunched menu is described as “an eight- to 10-course menu in the main dining room consisting of entirely plant-based dishes,” according to their website. The place is set to reopen for service on June 10 after shutting down during the pandemic.

Chef-owner Daniel Humm recently told NPR that he began thinking more clearly about health and sustainability while the restaurant was closed in 2020. “The way we have sourced our food, the way we’re consuming our food, the way we eat meat — it is not sustainable,” he said.

“Guests have never come to us to just eat a piece of steak or lobster,” he said. “They’ve always come to us to be on a journey.”

New York City’s Michelin-starred restaurants of 2021:

One star

  • Ai Fiori (Midtown West)
  • Bâtard (TriBeCa)
  • Benno (Gramercy)
  • Blue Hill (Greenwich Village)
  • Carbone (Greenwich Village)
  • Casa Enrique (Queens)
  • Casa Mono (Gramercy)
  • Caviar Russe (Midtown East)
  • Claro (Sunset Park)
  • The Clocktower (Gramercy)
  • Contra (Lower East Side)
  • Cote (Gramercy)
  • Crown Shy (Financial District)
  • Don Angie (Greenwich Village)
  • Estela (SoHo & Nolita)
  • The Four Horsemen (Williamsburg)
  • Francie (Williamsburg)
  • Gramercy Tavern (Greenwich Village)
  • Hirohisa (SoHo)
  • Jeju Noodle Bar (Greenwich Village)
  • Rezdora (Gramercy)
  • The River Café (Downtown Brooklyn)
  • Sushi Amane (Midtown East)
  • Sushi Ginza Onodera (Midtown West)
  • Sushi Nakazawa (Greenwich Village)
  • Sushi Noz (Upper East Side)
  • Sushi Yasuda (Midtown East)
  • Tempura Matsui (Midtown East)
  • Tsukimi (East Village)
  • Tuome (East Village)
  • Vestry (SoHo)
  • Wallse (Greenwich Village)
  • ZZ’s Clam Bar (Greenwich Village)

Two stars

  • Aquavit (Midtown East)
  • Atera (Tribeca)
  • Atomix (Gramercy)
  • Aska (Williamsburg)
  • Blanca (Fort Greene)
  • Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Westchester)
  • Daniel (Upper East Side)
  • Gabriel Kreuther (Midtown West)
  • Ichimura at Uchū (Lower East Side)
  • Jean-Georges (Upper West Side)
  • Jungsik (Tribeca)
  • Ko (East Village)
  • L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (Chelsea)
  • The Modern (Midtown West)

Three stars

  • Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (Midtown West)
  • Eleven Madison Park (Gramercy)
  • Le Bernardin (Midtown West)
  • Masa (Midtown West)
  • Per Se (Midtown West)

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