Tom Hanks arrives at the People's Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. File/AP
Gulf Today Report
Joe Biden has cast himself as a unifier for the nation, but there is someone else the incoming administration hopes can help start healing a divided United States next week: universally beloved actor Tom Hanks.The "Forrest Gump" star, will host a special programme broadcast simultaneously on all major US networks on the night of Biden's inauguration, American media reported.
The 90-minute show entitled "Celebrating America" will feature musical performances from Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake and Demi Lovato, according to AFP.
"I'm SO honoured to announce that I will be joining @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris for their special event," Lovato wrote on Twitter.
The broadcast — organised by the Presidential Inaugural Committee — will replace the usual festivities at the swearing-in ceremony, cancelled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Aretha Franklin sang at Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009, while Beyonce performed at his second four years later.
Trump had to settle for less well-known artists in 2017 due to his unpopularity in the entertainment world. Country singer Toby Keith headlined the event.
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Witherspoon, who won the best actress Oscar for 2005's "Walk the Line," has moved increasingly into producing in recent years, although she also stars in Apple TV+ hit "The Morning Show," alongside Jennifer Aniston.
The 'Friends' stars are modelling a new limited edition range of merchandise for each of their individual causes.