President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration comes at a difficult time for the country, after two months of President Donald Trump refusing to accept the election results, more than 10 months of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 400,000 Americans, and an economy struggling with millions out of work. Biden's attempt to heal the country starts during the inauguration and afterward, in a primetime special dubbed Celebrating America. The show will feature celebrity performances and is hosted by Tom Hanks. It begins at 8:30 p.m. ET and continues until 10:30 p.m. ET.
The special format is similar to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was mostly virtual due to the pandemic. Live speeches were mixed with pre-taped segments and included several notable celebrities. Three DNC producers - Stephanie Cutter, Rick Kirshner, and Rod O'Connor - are also working on the Celebrating America special, reports Politico. In addition to outlining Biden's goals for the next four years, the special will include a tribute to front-line workers who have helped their fellow Americans during the pandemic. Here's a look at what you need to know about the special.
The special will air on almost every major channel
The special will be carried on almost every major channel, including the broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. It will also air on the cable news channels MSNBC and CNN. Fox will not carry it. A Fox News spokesman told Politico Fox News Channel will air the live speeches from Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris though. The special will also be streaming on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNow from Fox and AT&T DirectTV, and U-Verse.prevnext
Tom Hanks is hosting
The host for the special is none other than Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks. The actor can now be seen in News of the World, which was just released to limited theaters and hits Netflix on Feb. 10. He will guide viewers through the special, which promises to show the "American people’s resilience, heroism, and a unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild." Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington also signed on to introduce segments throughout the night.prevnext
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The long list of performers includes Foo Fighters, John Legend, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, and Jon Bon Jovi. Timberlake plans to perform a new song called "Better Days," which he previewed on his Instagram page. "I'm very honored to announce we will be performing this song on January 20th for the Presidential Inauguration. We have a long way to go to fix, undo, and rebuild this country... but I hope now, despite the past four years, we are on our way," Timberlake wrote.prevnext
Biden's Amtrak ride canceled
Biden famously took the Amtrak train from Washington, D.C. to Wilmington, Delaware, during his Senate time. He originally planned to replicate that ride on the morning of his inauguration. However, in light of the pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the plan was canceled due to security concerns, a source told the Associated Press. Biden also received a briefing from the FBI, the Secret Service, and his national security team on the possible violence before and during his inauguration.
“In the week since the attack on Congress by a mob that included domestic terrorists and violent extremists, the nation has continued to learn more about the threat to our democracy and about the potential for additional violence in the coming days, both in the National Capital Region and in cities across the country,” Biden's transition team said in a statement. “This is a challenge that the President-elect and his team take incredibly seriously.”prevnext
Biden received a record number of votes on Nov. 3
Biden beat President Donald Trump in a record-setting election on Nov. 3, 2020. He received over 81.2 million votes, beating President Barack Obama's 69.5 million record in 2008. Trump received 74.2 million votes, the most ever for a losing candidate. In the Electoral College, Biden received 306 votes to Trump's 232. Although Trump's own officials said it was one of the most secure elections in American history, he refused to concede and spread baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud. This led to pro-Trump supporters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, delaying Congress from officially certifying Biden's victory until the early morning hours of Jan. 7.prevnext
Who is Joe Biden?
Biden, 78, will become the oldest person to be inaugurated as president. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and served as a Senator from Delaware from 1973 until January 2009, when he was inaugurated as President Barack Obama's vice president. He served in Obama's administration for both terms. He will be the country's 46th president. He is also only the second former vice president elected for his first term, following Richard Nixon in 1968.prevnext
Who is Kamala Harris?
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, 56, will make history as the first woman to serve as vice president. She is also the first person of color to serve as vice president since Charles Curtis, a Native American, served as President Herbert Hoover's from 1929 to 1933. Harris rose to national prominence first as the District Attorney of San Francisco, then the Attorney General of California. In 2016, she was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming California's junior senator.prev