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‘HSMTMTS’: Joshua Bassett, Sofia Wylie and Matt Cornett Tease Season 3 Love Triangle (Exclusive)



The Wildcats are kicking off summer with camp adventures, new memories and, yup, Frozen! The new season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is mere hours away from dropping on Disney+ and the cast was just as excited for fans to finally get a taste of their characters outside the halls of East High and to be able to see different sides now that they’re deep in the meta musical comedy’s run, which was already picked up for a fourth season.

“It’s really cool being able to push the envelope. Not a lot of shows get to go to season 3, so we’re very fortunate in that regard. To be able to push the boundaries and explore deeper on a lot of these characters,” series star Joshua Bassett, aka Ricky, tells ET of the new episodes. “And bring up a lot of storylines that maybe we wouldn’t have talked about in season 1 because we didn’t have time, but now we can explore some more intricate nuances to life and theater kids and summer camp.”

“There’s so many fun twists and turns,” the 21-year-old singer-actor teases, adding that moving to sunny Los Angeles to film season 3 “was a nice refresher for all of us.” “I speak for the cast when I say that it felt like real summer camp. It was truly a blast. And I think there’s a lot of magic in the season that people are really going to enjoy.”

Co-star Matt Cornett, who plays E.J., agreed, saying that this season was meaningful for many different reasons — “[it was the] entirety of us having fun and us living our best lives and enjoying every moment of it. I think you will perfectly see the fun and the enjoyment and the love that we put into this season. It was, overall, an incredible, incredible season.” For Sofia Wylie, who portrays Gina, putting some of the Wildcats in a different environment other than high school intrigued her, hinting that the “switch… really shows in our behavior and demeanor this season.”

But as summer camp heats up, so do the challenges that face the HSMTMTS crew — and we’re not talking about cramming for exams or racing to make theater practice on time.

“There’s definitely a lot for E.J., specifically this season. This is the summer camp that E.J. grew up going to; this is the summer camp that Nini and E.J. met at. As he says in episode 1, it’s his second home. There’s things that immediately he’s challenged with,” Cornett previews, referring to E.J.’s abrupt appointment as director of the Frozen musical production at camp. “It brings this summer to a completely different path than he originally thought it was going to be. He starts to tackle that and trying to figure out how to balance, ‘Well, this is how I wanted this summer to go and this is actually how it’s going.’ It’s a really tough challenge for him.”

Meanwhile, when the season begins, Ricky’s in a bit of a crisis as he navigates the post-breakup blues after splitting with Nini and embarks on a new relationship with Lily. But things soon come out at the start of the summer that change everything for him. 

“Ricky is tired of being sad. I think he’s had a really angsty two seasons and season 3, he’s like, ‘You know what, I’m going to summer camp and I’m not looking back. It’s summer, it’s never going to end, so may as well enjoy myself,’ which is obviously not true. But I think he has that mentality of, ‘Screw it. I’m leaving my life behind. I’m going to summer camp and I’m just going to have fun,'” Bassett says of his character’s mindset.  “And I think that can only take you so far. He makes the best of summer camp, but you can’t pretend like you’re OK when you’re not. And you can’t put a Band-Aid over an empty tank of gas. I think he’s sort of putting on a brave face, but it’s interesting to watch him navigate how you can’t always just pretend like everything’s fine and you can only hold out that facade for so long.”

Adds Wylie, “For Gina, this is the happiest you’ve ever seen her. She’s experiencing so many firsts and that’s really exciting for her, where in the past it’s kind of been a little more intimidating where then she puts up this persona of fearlessness and confidence when she’s really just scared inside. But right now I think she trusts people around her. She has a really good friend group with Courtney and Ashlyn and so she feels safe and it’s nice to see a safe Gina.”

In the romance department, E.J. and Gina begin the summer on a love high, taking small steps in their fresh new relationship. Of course, it being HSMTMTS and all, the honeymoon period is quicker than they both anticipate — especially with E.J.’s growing list of responsibilities as he attempts to put on a successful production of Frozen

“E.J. and Gina have just started this relationship, so they are in their honeymoon phase where everything is perfect and rose-colored. And I think that honestly is the best part of relationships sometimes is that beginning era. But of course other factors come into play and people get stressed out, things change, other people come into the picture,” Wylie teases. “So we’ll definitely be able to see how their relationship morphs and shifts and stays the same or doesn’t throughout the season due to all of those external changes and internal ones too.”

“[Directing Frozen] definitely complicates a lot because going into the summer, he’s excited to have all of his friends there [at camp], but also excited to experience this summer with Gina and get to have this summer with Gina and really grow together through it. Whenever he gets thrown into this boat of having to direct this show, it shifts his focus a little bit to that, whereas he really wanted his focus to be on Gina and being able to take in every second with her and be present in every moment with her,” Cornett says. “He now has to split that focus and throw some of it onto directing. You see that focus starts on Gina, splits to directing and then, I don’t want to spoil anything, but a little bit starts to shift more towards directing and he gets very, very overwhelmed with that.”

Speaking of other people coming into the picture, Ricky may end up being that third point in the love triangle. Bassett addressed the possibility, but played coy about whether his character plays a part in E.J. and Gina’s romance roller-coaster.

“It’s an interesting thing in high school, how relationships flourish and then fall away,” Bassett says. “It ebbs and flows, and I think that sometimes romances do die and there’s always that lingering thing around. So whether it’s spoken or unspoken, I think obviously there’s still unresolved things amongst the whole cast. But it is interesting to see a bunch of those kids all in one spot at summer camp. Who knows what will happen?”

Showrunner Tim Federle added that there’s a reason why he believes E.J. and Gina work romantically, saying, “They’re [both] misunderstood. I think Portwell stans have a reason to stan. But it must be said that Ricky and Gina have something undeniable that they share, which is outsiders. And in a long-running series, my hope is always that all fans will be happy. That never seems to be the case, but I think there’s definitely something there between all three of these characters that they’re going to have to explore, whether it’s this summer or in the future.”

Wylie left it up to the fans to decide whether they’re Team E.J. or Team Ricky or Team Gina when it comes to the romance question.

“Dara [Renee] and I were talking about this earlier. We were like, ‘It is best to not get involved personally in what we want for [our characters].’ Because I think the fans of the show have that passion for it and so just letting them have their own opinions and their own wants, I think is best, because when we personally, as actors, get attached to certain things then that changes certain biases and motives and how we will act with our characters and as our characters,” she says. “So I try to stay out of it personally, but I’m just excited for what comes and I think the fans would be really happy with the outcome.”

As for what awaits fans, Cornett promised there will be plenty of satisfying moments throughout the season — including more original songs, special guest stars (hi, Corbin Bleu! Jesse Tyler Ferguson! JoJo Siwa!) and surprising new renditions from Frozen, High School Musical and Camp Rock

“It’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. There’s going to be drama. There’s going to be all kinds of twists and turns,” Cornett shares. “There’s so many unexpected things that you might think you know where things are going to go, but I think you will quickly find out that you don’t quite know where they’re going.”

Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series drops Wednesday, July 27 on Disney+.

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‘The Masked Singer’ Season 8 Finale Reveals Identities of the Harp and Lambs: Here’s Who The Winners Are



SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched Season 8, episodes 11 and 12, of “The Masked Singer,” “Two-Hour Epic Finale,” which aired Nov. 30 on Fox.

“The Masked Singer” ended its eighth season on a “Glee”-ful note. Singer and actor Amber Riley, known for playing Mercedes Jones on Fox’s “Glee” and more recently for projects including “A Black Lady Sketch Show” and Lifetime’s “Single Black Female,” was revealed as this season’s winner on the Wednesday night finale.

Riley was unmasked as the Harp, beating out the Lambs — who were unmasked as 90s vocal group Wilson Phillips.

“It’s very validating as an artis,” Riley tells Variety about her win. “It can get very discouraging in this industry especially as a music artist. I’m pretty much a new artist, even though I’ve been in this industry a really long time… to hear all the amazing things that the judges had to say about me [has been validating]. Even seeing online the things that people had to say about me and how positive feedback has been. My voice has been my lifeline for my whole entire life. It’s saved me time and time again.

“This show is something that I didn’t know that I needed, to keep me growing,” she says. “It refueled me.”

For Harp, Nicole Scherzinger was correct with Amber Riley. Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg guessed Jordin Sparks. Robin Thicke thought it was Yvette Nicole Brown. Ken Jeong named Jennifer Hudson.

“I really did try to cover up my voice by singing heavier and lower, but I don’t know, they guessed me pretty early on,” Riley says. “Which was OK. It’s kind of flattering that your voice can be recognizable because it makes you feel like an original. And I knew that Nicole was going to guess me early on too. So, I wasn’t very surprised by that. But I was really flattered by the other guesses, like Jasmine Sullivan and Jennifer Hudson.”

For Lambs, Robin Thicke got it right with Wilson Phillips. Nicole Scherzinger agreed. Ken Jeong guessed the Kardashians, Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg thought it was The Chicks.

Amber Riley as the Harp and Wilson Phillips as Lambs join Nikki Glaser as Snowstorm, Ray Parker, Jr., as Sir Bugaboo, Linda Blair as Scarecrow, Chris Jericho as Bride, Adam Corolla as Avocado, George Foreman as Venus Flytrap, George Clinton as Gopher, Joey Lawrence as the Walrus, Le’Veon Bell as the Milkshake, Kat Graham as Robo Girl, Jerry Springer as Beetle, Gloria Gaynor as Mermaid, Mario Cantone as Maise, Daymond John as the Fortune Teller, Barry Williams/Christopher Knight/Mike Lookinland as the Mummies, Montell Jordan as Panther, Jeff Dunham as Pi-Rat, Chris Kirkpatrick as the Hummingbird, Eric Idle as the Hedgehog and William Shatner as the Knight as the celebrities revealed in “The Masked Singer” in Season 8.

This season, “The Masked Singer” adopted a new “King or Queen of Masked Singer” format. That meant three or four costumed celebrities performed each week, but only one moved on to compete against two or three more people the following week.

That led to the semi-finals, with the Harp surviving Round 1 and is the first to make it to the semi-finals, while Lambs won Round 2 and also joined the semis, with Snowstorm winning Round 3. Harp and Lambs moved on to tonight’s finale.

“The Masked Singer” Season 8 featured costumes including “Bride,” “Avocado,” “Venus Fly Trap,” “Sir Bugaboo,” “Scarecrow,” “Hedgehog,” “Mummies.” Themed episodes included “Vegas Night,” “Comedy Roast,” “Hall of Fame,” “Muppets Night,” “Andrew Lloyd Webber Night,” “TV Themes,” “’90s Night,” “Thanksgiving” and “Fright Night.” Guests this season included Donny Osmond, Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Muppets, Will Arnett, Leslie Jordan, Joel McHale, Tori Spelling, Jon Lovitz, Jodie Sweetin, Carrot Top, Blue Man Group, Lance Bass, Danielle Fishel, Sheila E. and Drew Carey.

The Season 8 contestants “boast a combined 32 Grammy nominations, 16 Emmy wins, 8 gold albums, 4 Golden Globe nominations, 42 books, 10 Teen Choice awards, and 5 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” according to Fox.  

Here were the contestants and their performances on the finale:

Harp, “The Masked Singer” (Michael Becker / Fox)
Pete Dadds

Harp (Amber Riley)

Songs: “The Edge of Glory,” by Lady Gaga; “Gravity,” by John Mayer

Previous songs: “Perfect,” by Pink; “I Have Nothing,” by Whitney Houston; “Thank You for Being a Friend” (“The Golden Girls” theme song); “About Damn Time,” by Lizzo

Package voiceover: “Becoming the Harp has been unlike anything else I have experienced as an artist. When I step into this costume, I am transformed. I feel regal. Elegant. And totally weightless. Which is ironic because this thing is no joke to cart around. But really, it’s freeing. Being under the mask has allowed be to separate from former jobs, my name, what people expect from me, and prove myself with just my voice. I’ll always be the Harp.”

Journey voiceover: “When I started this journey, I had no idea just how much this competition would mean to me. I’ve spent years in an industry that doesn’t necessarily celebrate who I am all the time. In Hollywood, you can be overlooked based on a more shallow viewpoint. But being able to be the Harp and step out and show my talent alone has been absolutely amazing. This opportunity has allowed me to reintroduce myself to the world on my own terms. And hearing the panel’s words of encouragement week after week has reminded me that I am more than enough. I want to win it not just for myself, but for all the girls who have felt less than perfect. Do not underestimate us.”

Panel guesses: Jennifer Hudson, Yvette Nicole Brown, Fantasia, Amber Riley

Previous panel guesses: Amber Riley, Ashanti, Yvette Nicole Brown, Queen Latifah, Jordin Sparks, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott, Fantasia, Ariana DeBose

Lambs, “The Masked Singer” (Michael Becker / Fox)
Pete Dadds

Lambs (Wilson Phillips)

Songs: “I’m Every Woman,” by Chaka Khan; “I Want to Know What Love Is,” by Foreigner

Previous songs: “Hot N Cold,” by Katy Perry; “Ironic,” by Alanis Morissette; “Need You Now,” by Lady A

Package voiceover: “Becoming the Lambs has been a transformative experience. And it’s kind of unbelievable how attached to them we’ve become. We fully embody these characters. We gave ourselves names. I am Rose, my sister is Lilac and my other sister is Blueberry. We’ve been on stages almost our entire lives. But this experience has pushed us as a group and as individuals. And I don’t think we would have made it this far without each other. It will be a part of our lives forever. It’s our rebranding. We’ll make an album with animals. Pet Sounds, Volume 2!”

Journey voiceover: “Coming into this competition, we didn’t know what to expect. But we invited this challenge, and we walked through fire. It’s reinvigorated a spark that we haven’t lit in a very long time. We spent 14 years apart and we went our own ways. We became mothers and carved out our own lives and careers. But there was always a missing piece. Our unique sound is something we discovered as little girls. And if those harmonies that have bonded us together and set us apart from the rest of the competition here. Music is in our blood, it’s the air we breathe, it’s our life force.”

Panel guesses:  Spice Girls, The Chicks, Wilson Phillips, The Corrs

Previous panel guesses: The Kardashians, Haim, The Chicks, The Corrs, Fifth Harmony, SWV, All Saints, Spice Girls, Wilson Phillips

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Daredevil Sister Maggie Actor On Joining Daredevil: Born Again



Actor Joanne Whalley discusses possibly reprising her Daredevil role as Sister Maggie Grace in the upcoming Disney+ series, Daredevil: Born Again.

Actor Joanne Whalley discusses reprising her Daredevil role on the upcoming Disney+ series Daredevil: Born Again. Whalley starred as Sister Maggie Grace, a character introduced in season 3 of the popular Marvel Netflix show. After Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil (Charlie Cox), sustained heavy injuries in The Defenders, Father Paul Lantom (Peter McRobbie) entrusts him to Sister Maggie at the Saint Agnes Orphanage. The titular superhero later learns that Sister Maggie is actually his mother who abandoned him and his father due to post-partum depression.


In a recent interview with, Whalley addresses the possibility of reprising her role for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new Daredevil show, Daredevil: Born Again. The actor recalls the “great time” she had working on the original series. Read what Whalley says about her desire to reprise her role below:

“I loved Daredevil! I had such a great time on that, oh my God. I haven’t heard anything [about returning], but I would love to get the wimple on again, though. Talking about characters to play again, I loved her.”

Everything We Know About Born Again

Daredevil in a hallway in She-Hulk

As Whalley has yet to receive the call to reprise her role for the new Daredevil show, she joins other cast members still waiting to return to the franchise. They include Deborah Ann Woll, who portrayed Murdock’s assistant Karen Page, Rosario Dawson (Nurse Claire Temple), and Iron Fist star Jessica Henwick (Colleen Wing). However, Vincent D’Onofrio is set to reprise his role in the upcoming show as the villainous businessman and crime lord Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin. He so far is the only person confirmed to return for Daredevil: Born Again in addition to Cox.

Set to hit Disney’s streaming service in 2024 as part of the MCU’s Phase Five, Daredevil: Born Again season 1 will consist of 18 episodes, making it the longest of Disney+’s original Marvel shows thus far. Although little has been revealed regarding the upcoming series’ story, D’Onofrio previously teased that the show will delve further into the characters than ever before and leave viewers on the edge of their seat after each episode. Cox has also suggested Daredevil: Born Again won’t be a direct continuation of the original Netflix show. Unfortunately, how Daredevil: Born Again fits into the greater MCU continuity remains unknown.

Last year’s Hawkeye saw the return of D’Onofrio as Kingpin, but also introduced Maya Lopez/Echo (Alaqua Cox), an antagonist dead set on killing Clint Barton who later comes to question her motives and relationship to Kingpin. The new character is set to receive her own television series in mid-2023 which will also feature Kingpin and Murdock as well. With both hero and villain appearing in various shows on Disney+ before Daredevil: Born Again, Marvel Studios appears to be laying down the foundation for these iconic characters before the show lands on Disney+ in 2024.


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‘Love Is Blind’ Creator Chris Coelen Explains How Bold New Reality Show ‘Love Without Borders’ Can Resonate With Every Audience



Chris Coelen knows what makes a TV show work. As the CEO of Kinetic Content, his current slate of shows includes Lifetime’s “Married at First Sight,” Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” and “The Ultimatum,” just to name a few.

Now, he’s moving he’s teaming up with Bravo for the second time, following 2020’s “Spy Games.” In Kinetic’s latest unscripted series, “Love Without Borders,” five singles are looking to change the way they’re looking for love — and where they’re looking. They drop everything and fly across the globe to meet their match with the help of relationship expert Arica Angelo.

“It’s an idea that I really liked and it resonated with me. I felt like it had some residence within the culture. There’s a statistic that I saw in 2016 that said something like 60 million Americans, if given the opportunity to leave the country and be set up somewhere else, they would take that,” Coelen tells Variety. “And that was 2016. A lot has transpired since 2016.”

Like most of his projects, Coelen also felt he could relate to the premise personally.

“At certain points in my life, I was stuck in a rut professionally. I felt like my geographic location was a hindrance to find love, find someone that I wanted to be with. I felt like ‘Oh, my God, I really need to leave Los Angeles and moved to Oregon for some air, and that’s when I’m gonna find the woman of my dreams,’” he recalls. “I would think to myself, ‘This is never gonna happen in Los Angeles.’”

Ultimately, he was wrong but he knows that he’s not alone in that feeling.

“I think that’s very relatable for people who not only want to find love — who doesn’t want to find love? — but also, many people feel like they want to change their lives,” says Coelen. “I think this is a show that’s really rooted in that idea of people who feel like they want to change their lives as much as they want to find love.”

“Love Without Borders” premieres Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 9 p.m. ET.

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