George Takei And Clay Aiken On 'Celebrity Apprentice' And HBO News In Hollywoodland

This week in Hollywoodland, we take a look at three of Donald Trumps’ “Celebrity Apprentices.” “Star Trek” star George Takei is playing for a charity that is close to his heart, and one that will help Americans understand the plight of humanity during World War II. But not in Germany or in Europe; but, right here in America when Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps in the U.S. while our soldiers were fighting to liberate others throughout Europe. “American Idol” great Clay Aiken is playing to help children in his favorite charity, which he works tirelessly for, and Clay is definitely the favorite to win. While Debbie Gibson also plays for a favored charity. HBO announced this week upcoming air-dates for “Veep,” “Game of Thrones,” “Game Change,” and the launch of “Girls.” So much going on in Tinseltown, so here’s your chance to catch up with it all!

George Takei will be raising money for the Japanese-American National Museum during this season of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” The charity holds a very personal meaning for the former “Star Trek” actor. The son of Japanese-American immigrants, Takei and his family were incarcerated in two different Japanese internment camps for two years during World War II. George recently reflected on the person and painful experience. “I still remember the way my father summed it all up. He said, ‘America’s strength and weakness is in the fact that it’s a peoples’ democracy. It can be as great as the people can be, but it’s as fallible as people are.’”

Not only will Takei be raising money to support the museum, but he’s also telling the story of that dark chapter of American history in a musical called “Allegiance,” a play that tells the story of a Japanese-American family imprisoned in an internment camp during the war. He told CNN that the musical, which is coming to Broadway in September of 2012, was “the culmination of his life’s work.” George is always fighting for freedom, and he recently traveled to his homeland of Japan to witness the revival of the nation after the horrendous tsunamis caused the nuclear meltdown in the nation’s northern region.

“American Idol” runner-up, but still a winner in his fans’ eyes, Clay Aiken will be competing in the coming season of “Celebrity Apprentice” to raise money for his National Inclusion Project, a charity he started to help kids with disabilities be mainstreamed in programs for children.

North Carolina native Aiken has said his stint on the show, saying there was “a very eclectic group of people at the board room table.” Clay’s fans are going to be rooting for him for sure, and Highlight Hollywood predicted weeks ago, that he’ll be the winner. Either way it plays out, Clay is a winner all the way around!

Singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson, another “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant, said that she was playing for the charity Children International. “Children International is fortunate to have such a dedicated supporter as Debbie Gibson,” said president and CEO Jim Cook. “She has proven she is an ardent advocate for children living in the most extreme poverty.” Children International helps to provide 5,000 poor children in India with medical and dental care and educational support. Established in 1936, it is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. Gibson was a huge hit in the 1980s, and when viewers see her competing, I have a feeling it’ll revive interest in her career all over again.

Aiken’s foundation recently benefited from a Champions Gala that raised more than $500,000 from the 500 people who attended the event in downtown Raleigh.

HBO has confirmed the debut dates for HBO Films’ GAME CHANGE, the returning series GAME OF THRONES and the new series GIRLS and VEEP to Highlight Hollywood.

GAME CHANGE debuts SATURDAY, MARCH 10 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT). Starring Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris, this HBO Films presentation follows John McCain’s (Harris) 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (Moore) as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election. Harrelson portrays Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior campaign strategist. Based on the bestselling book of the same name by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the film is directed by Jay Roach and written by Danny Strong , whose previous collaboration was HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Recount.” A Playtone Production in association with Everyman Pictures; executive producers, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Jay Roach.

GAME OF THRONES kicks off its ten-episode second season SUNDAY, APRIL 1 (9:00-10:00 p.m.). Based on the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” by George R.R. Martin, this hit Emmy®-winning fantasy series chronicles an epic struggle for power in a vast and violent fantasy kingdom. Among the returning members of the ensemble cast are Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emmy® winner Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey and Kit Harington. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss executive produce.

The new comedy series GIRLS launches its ten-episode season SUNDAY, APRIL 15 (10:30-11:00 p.m.). Created by and starring Lena Dunham (“Tiny Furniture”), the show looks at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s. Dunham executive produces along with Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner. The cast also includes Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Adam Driver.

The new comedy series VEEP begins its eight-episode season SUNDAY, APRIL 22 (10:00-10:30 p.m.). Created by Armando Iannucci (Oscar® nominee for co-writing “In the Loop”), the show stars Emmy® winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as former Senator Selina Meyer, who becomes vice president, only to discover the job is nothing like she expected, but everything she was warned about. Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Matt Walsh, Reid Scott, Timothy C. Simons and Sufe Bradshaw also star. Iannucci executive produces along with Frank Rich and Christopher Godsick.

Thanks for reading Highlight Hollywood, and please have a great week! See you next week!


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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Clay Aiken by Mitch Haaseth – © NBCUniversal, Inc., George Takei also by Mitch Haaseth – © NBCUniversal, Inc., and Game of Thrones by HBO Productions

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