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Audra McDonald joins NBC Christmas special

Audra McDonaldFresno’s Audra McDonald has been added to the lineup for the NBC special “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” to be broadcast at 8 p.m. Dec. 4 on KSEE24. The special airs on KSEE (Channel 24.1) the day before McDonald can be seen in the NBC special “The Sound of Music Live!”

Along with McDonald, the special — hosted by “Today” anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales — will include performances by Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Goo Goo Dolls, Ariana Grande, Jewel, Leona Lewis and The Rockettes.

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Emma Thompson not big fan of Audra McDonald (wink, wink)

THOMPSON NICHOLSEmma Thompson says she has a deep dislike for Fresno’s own Audra McDonald. I find this out while talking to Thompson — England’s answer to Meryl Streep — about her upcoming movie “Beautiful Creatures” that opens Valentine’s Day. She plays a witch who has gone the dark side, not much of a stretch by the way she talks about McDonald.

The source of the discord started when the pair filmed the 2001 cable movie “Wit.” Thompson turns in a brilliant performance as a professor who’s forced to reassess her life after being diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. McDonald is equally as wonderful as the nurse who helps her deal with the terminal illness. Both picked up Emmy nominations that year.

“I’m quite bitter about working with Audra,” says Thompson in such a sarcastic tone it becomes clear that she doesn’t really have any dislike for her former co-star but is a big admirer. This is just an example of the Thompson sense of humor that all of her co-stars in the movie say made the filming process so much fun.

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