Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner's faith-and-football story hits the big screen; Home Town comes to more towns; The Great British Baking Show whips up new holiday faves; and a Catholic writer examines New York's Gilded Age.
'American Underdog's' Cinder-fella Story
QB Kurt Warner's trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame took a few detours along the way. Those, and his unusual love story with wife Brenda lie at the heart of American Underdog, the new film from the Erwin Brothers' Kingdom Story Company (I Still Believe, Jesus Music) at studio Lionsgate.
Zachary Levi (Shazam!, The Star) plays Warner; Anna Paquin (Modern Love, Flack) plays Brenda; Dennis Quaid plays St. Louis Rams coach Dick Vermeil. The film is heavy on football, hope and inspiration, with light touches of the Warners' Christian faith.
Preview screenings in selected cities on Dec. 17 and 18; in theaters everywhere on Christmas Day. Info here.
'Home Town' Finds More Home Towns
HGTV has announced that its hit series Home Town -- in which Christian stars Ben and Erin Napier rehab houses in their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi -- is expanding on its premise.
Earlier this year, HGTV aired Home Town Takeover, a spin-off show in which the Napiers -- with the help of other HGTV stars -- gave a facelift to Wetumpka, Alabama.
In late May, Erin Napier gave birth to the couple's second daughter, so doing another Home Town Takeover -- in addition to their own show and its Discovery+ spin-off, Home Town: Ben's Workshop -- just became too time-consuming.
So, in partnership with People, HGTV has announced Home Town: Kickstart, in which the Napiers will be dispatching other HGTV rehabbers to help six small communities chosen from those originally submitted for Takeover: Buffalo, Wyoming; Cornwall, New York; Winslow, Arizona; LaGrange, Kentucky; Thomaston, Georgia; and Minden Louisiana.
The new season of Home Town starts Sunday, Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT; Home Town: Ben's Workshop returns to Discovery+ on Sunday, Dec. 19; Home Town: Kickstart launches in 2022.
Holiday Goodies With The Great British Baking Show
Netflix has released a new trailer for season four of The Great British Baking Show: Holidays, which premieres on the streamer on Friday, Dec. 3.
As always, bakers from earlier seasons return, facing judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
From Britain's Downton Abbey to New York's Gilded Age
Originally developed for NBC in 2018, Gilded Age, the highly anticipated follow-up from Downton Abbey writer/producer Julian Fellowes, finally has a home and a premiere date.
In a 2020 sit-down I had with Fellowes, he discussed finding community with his fellow Catholics while growing up in Britain's upper class:
We did see ourselves, not as an alien group, but as a kind of group apart. We were a group within a group. A club, not a hostile one, I don’t think. But there was something about us that was relating to each other. And it was quite comforting, actually. I rather liked that, I liked the sense of belonging and being part of it.
While Downton Abbey looked at British aristocracy, Gilded Age looks at the ruling families of New York in the 1880s, as the post-Civil War world begins to bring big changes to society.
Since Gilded Age is now on HBO, there's no telling at this point whether it's suitable for family viewing. But its theme is definitely family, as a penniless young woman (Louisa Jacobson) moves in with her "old money" aunts (Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon) and finds herself enmeshed in a social war between the established wealthy and the "new money."
Gilded Age premieres Monday, Jan. 24, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, on HBO and its streamer HBO Max.
Image: Kingdom Story Company/Lionsgate
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager at Family Theater Productions.