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'Zoey’s Extraordinary' Co-Stars

Alex Newell as Mo in the NBC show,
Alex Newell as Mo in the NBC show, "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist."
Sergei Bachlakov/NBC

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On today's show:

Alex Newell Is Full of Glee

Like a lot of singers, Alex Newell got his start performing in church, but his way into the industry takes a pretty unique turn from there. His first big break came from a reality TV competition he entered when he was just 18 years old. While he didn't come in first place in "The Glee Project," a consolation prize of an appearance on two episodes of "Glee" turned into a role as a series regular. Newell played Unique, a transgender high school student and star vocalist, for four seasons. He's gone on to roles on Broadway (including playing a historically female role in the Tony-winning revival of "Once on This Island"), and now is in the new NBC show, "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," playing a religious, gender nonconforming  character named Mo. Newell spoke with The Frame about what the role means to him and how he hopes it inspires a new generation of kids who don't fit into ideas of traditional gender roles.

Mary Steenburgen, Songwriter?

On “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” Jane Levy plays a young woman who, after a freak accident, can suddenly hear the thoughts of other people — in the form of popular songs. Levy’s mother is played by Mary Steenburgen, who had a real life episode that resulted in music taking over her brain. And it led to the veteran actress launching a career as a songwriter. The Frame contributor Tim Greiving has her story.

Hollywood and the Coronavirus

John talks with Brandon Katz from about his story on how the coronavirus is already affecting Hollywood: "In an era of entertainment and media consolidation, declining theatrical ticket sales and a streaming stranglehold on TV, the tectonic shifts unbalancing the entertainment media industry make any sort of financial projection exceedingly difficult. Now, with the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, costing the entertainment industry millions of dollars every day, it’s near impossible to accurately survey the landscape, but there’s one all-but sure prediction: this year looks grimmer than last."