Tom Hanks to host star-studded TV special celebrating Joe Biden's inauguration

January 13, 2021

Tom Hanks is to host an array of American stars for a TV special to celebrate Joe Biden's inauguration.

The 90-minute Celebrating America show will air in the States right after the swearing-in ceremony on 20 January - at which Lady Gaga is set to sing the US national anthem and Jennifer Lopez will also deliver a musical performance.

Presented by veteran actor Hanks, it will feature performances from Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Jon Bon Jovi and Ant Clemons.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will also give interviews.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee, which oversees the planning of the ceremony, said the show will "celebrate the beginning of a new national journey toward an America united".

The committee added: "The inauguration… will showcase the American people's resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild."

It will air on all the major networks - ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and MSNBC - and will be streamed live on social media channels YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch as well as streaming service Amazon Prime.

Events to mark the inauguration have been significantly scaled back this year due to the pandemic and security concerns.

On the day, Mr Biden will still be sworn in as president on the steps of the Capitol, despite concerns following riots by supporters of Donald Trump.

Five people died, including a police officer, when a mob stormed the government buildings on 6 January. Two explosive devices were found, but they did not go off.

"I'm not afraid of taking the oath outside," Mr Biden said on Monday.

The guest list for the inauguration has been cut down and parade viewing stands have been dismantled near the White House to discourage crowds.

Mr Trump will skip the ceremony, making him the first president in more than 150 years to do so - and just the fourth in US history.

It's a decision Mr Biden said was a "good thing", though Vice President Mike Pence and his wife plan to attend.

Meanwhile, acting US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has warned potential domestic terrorists against any further attacks.

Authorities are already dealing with further threats of violence from insurrectionists unhappy with the election result and spurned on by the events at the US Capitol.

In a video released overnight on Tuesday, Mr Rosen urged the public to come forward with any tips about potential attacks before the ceremony.

He said: "I want to send a clear message to anyone contemplating violence, threats of violence or other criminal conduct: We will have no tolerance whatsoever for any attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power."

As many as 15,000 National Guard troops, including some armed members, have been ordered to Washington DC to secure the city before Mr Biden's inauguration.

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Criminal investigations have been opened into more than 170 people who stormed the Capitol building and some officials have called for them to be placed on no-fly lists.

Following the inauguration, Mr Biden and Ms Harris, and their spouses, will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

They will be joined there by former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and their wives.

They will also conduct a pass in review inspection of the troops at the Capitol.

The traditional parade along Pennsylvania Avenue - the road outside the White House - which usually follows has been cancelled.

Instead it has been replaced with a televised Parade Across America, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said.

The National Park Service announced Monday that the Washington Monument would be closed until 24 January.

But plans were still on for a major public art display spanning multiple blocks of the National Mall that will feature 191,500 US flags and 56 pillars of light.

The display is meant to symbolize every US state and territory, and "the American people who are unable to travel" to the capital to celebrate.

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