President Trump will ‘take a look’ at pardoning Tiger King Joe Exotic – CNET

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Will President Trump pardon Joe Exotic, aka the Tiger King?

Courtesy Netflix
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The Netflix documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, has been a huge hit for the streaming service. But its star, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, is still serving time in Texas after being convicted on two counts of murder-for-hire as well as other charges. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump was asked about whether he'd consider pardoning the former wild-animal-park owner, who is serving a 22-year sentence, and he didn't exactly say no.

"Your son yesterday jokingly said that he was going to advocate for (a pardon)," New York Post reporter Steven Nelson asked Trump, referring to statements Donald Trump Jr. made on Monday. The president didn't appear to know about either the show or his son's request, asking, "Which son? Must be Don. I had a feeling it was Don."

Trump admitted he knew "nothing about (Tiger King)," and joked with reporters, asking if they thought Joe Exotic should be pardoned, and finally said, "I'll take a look," before moving on to a coronavirus question.

Exotic's husband, Dillon Passage, recently told SiriusXM radio host Andy Cohen that Exotic was recently moved to a different facility where he was put in isolation because other inmates at his previous location had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

According to the New York Post, Exotic was moved from Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Oklahoma, to the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Although the center wouldn't comment to the newspaper on Exotic's own health, a Facebook post dated April 2 on his personal page says, "Joe DOES NOT have the COVID-19 virus, he's in a 14-day quarantine because he was transferred from another facility."

Whether Trump ends up examining Exotic's case, Tiger King mania hasn't subsided. There are rumors that Netflix is making a new episode of the series (the network would not confirm this), and a miniseries starring SNL star Kate McKinnon as Exotic's rival, Carole Baskin, is on the way.

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Lady Gaga and WHO announce all-star benefit for coronavirus charities – CNET

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Lady Gaga is helping organize the all-star event.

Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Singer Lady Gaga is helping the World Health Organization and the Global Citizen social action group organize a virtual entertainment event to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO announced Monday. 

The all-star show will include such big names as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Lizzo, Stevie Wonder, Alanis Morissette and Billie Eilish, and will take place on April 18. In a live video, Gaga said she and Global Citizen have already raised $35 million for WHO, and are working with large companies and philanthropists to raise more.

"We are all so very grateful to all of the healthcare professionals across the country and around the world," Lady Gaga said. "What you are doing is putting yourself in harm's way to help the world, and we all salute you."

The event, titled "One World: Together At Home," will air Saturday, April 18 at 5 p.m. PT on multiple networks, including ABC, NBC and CBS, and will also stream live on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other streaming platforms. (Disclosure: CBS and CNET are both part of ViacomCBS.)

The event itself will not be a fundraiser, Gaga said, as the money will have been raised in advance of the show. "Put your wallets away ... and sit back and enjoy the show."

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Tiger King bonus episode may be coming to Netflix this week – CNET

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More Tiger King could be on the way.

Courtesy Netflix

Hey, all you cool cats and kittens, as Carole Baskin likes to say. There may be a new episode of the Netflix surprise hit documentary Tiger King coming to the streaming service. That's according to Jeff Lowe, who was seen in the series as Joe Exotic's business partner and ended up owning the wild-animal park at the center of the show.

Lowe recorded a message on the celeb message site Cameo to baseball player Justin Turner and his wife, Kourtney.

"Thank you for watching our show," Lowe tells the couple, in a message Turner shared on Twitter Saturday. "You need a life, you just wasted seven hours on us."

But then Lowe drops the bombshell, revealing, "Netflix is adding one more episode that will be on next week. We're filming here tomorrow."

Representatives for Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but an update episode would seem natural. The first seven episodes of the series, directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, dropped March 20 and it's pretty much been the number one show on Netflix since then. There's also a podcast on the same topic, Robert Moor's Joe Exotic: Tiger King, which has inspired an upcoming miniseries starring Kate McKinnon.

In case you've been trapped in a tiger cage with cologne on your shoes for the last week, Tiger King has turned into the hottest entertainment distraction in a world needing any distraction from the coronavirus outbreak. The show focuses on Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- aka Joe Exotic -- and his Oklahoma exotic-animal park. And it involves everything from magnificent mullets to murder-for-hire.

While you wait for the possible bonus episode, here are four ways to get more Tiger King and nine things you may not have known about the insane show.

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Tiger King: 4 ways to get more of Netflix’s wildly popular documentary – CNET

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Carole Baskin will be played by Kate McKinnon in the Tiger King miniseries.

Courtesy Netflix

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness remained the No. 1 most-watched show on Netflix on Wednesday and there's good news for viewers who binged all seven episodes and want more. The filmmakers have said they have enough footage for a follow-up, plus there's also a podcast about Joe Exotic and his big cat universe, as well as a planned miniseries starring Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon.

The seven-episode Netflix series  (spoilers ahead) directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, focuses on Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- aka Joe Exotic -- and his Oklahoma exotic-animal park. It starts off genially loopy, with mulleted Joe marrying two men at the same time in a hot-pink wedding, before exploding into a stormy feud between Joe and Carole Baskin, the owner of a big cat sanctuary -- leading to a murder-for-hire plot. The constantly amped-up craziness of each episode has provided a much-needed distraction for many in the midst of the global coronavirus outbreak.

But if you've seen all seven episodes and have a cat-scratch fever for more, take heart: There may be more big catitude to come. Here are four ways you can get more Tiger King.

Hope for season 2 of the Netflix series

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Joe Exotic of Tiger King fame is now behind bars.

Courtesy Netflix

The seven Netflix episodes end with Joe Exotic himself behind bars in federal prison for plotting to kill his rival, Baskin. He's still there, though the colorful characters who surrounded Joe are scattered to the wind -- click here for updates on many of them. But the story's not over. 

"We have a crazy amount of footage and it's a story that's still unfolding," Director Rebecca Chaiklin told Entertainment Weekly. "We're not sure yet, but there could be a follow-up on this story because there's a lot that's still unfolding in it and it'll be just as dramatic and just as colorful as what has unfolded these past few years." 

Chaiklin didn't specify whether there's be enough material for a full second season -- or perhaps just an additional episode or two -- and a representative for Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Listen to the podcast

The Netflix filmmakers weren't the only ones working for years to tell this fascinating and bizarre story. You can listen to a podcast on the same topic. The second season of Wondery's Over My Dead Body podcast is titled Joe Exotic: Tiger King and is written, narrated and reported by Robert Moor, who worked for years on the show. (Don't miss Moor's New York magazine article on Joe from September 2019, too.)

Unlike the Netflix series, the podcast is still delivering fresh content. New episodes come out on Tuesday, and the podcast is also sharing bonus episodes, featuring interviews with members of the Joe universe, including Baskin and Joe's former romantic partner John Finlay.

Help cast the miniseries

Because a hit entertainment series can spread to other media as quickly as a tiger can jump on a pair of cologne-soaked shoes, the podcast has been optioned by NBC Universal to be made into a miniseries. So far, the only cast member announced is Saturday Night Live comedian Kate McKinnon, who'll play Baskin as well as serve as an executive producer. A representative for McKinnon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Moor told Andy Cohen that he'd love to see Margot Robbie play Joe Exotic in a gender-switch role. "Look at her eyes, she has eyes that look just like Joe's" he says. "I think she'd do a great job with it." Moor said he'd like to see John C. Reilly as Doc Antle, the founder of a South Carolina wildlife preserve who also plays a role in the podcast and Netflix show. Moor invited listeners to tweet cast suggestions to him.

Watch David Spade's videos

Actor David Spade has fallen down the Joe Exotic rabbit hole and has conducted a number of video interviews with people who appeared in the show. Until that possible second season or additional episode comes along, Spade's videos are almost like short bonus episodes and a Tiger King fan should definitely check them out.

So far, Spade has interviewed Joe's ex-partner John Finlay; former zoo manager John Reinke; Jeff Lowe, who took over the animal park; and former park employee Kelci "Saff" Saffery. Spade's not only a fan, he keeps getting suggested as a cast member for the Joe Exotic miniseries. Besides, his role as Joe Dirt in the 2001 comedy proved the man knows his way around a mullet.

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Tiger King: 9 things you didn’t know about Netflix’s insane hit show – CNET

New Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has managed to do the impossible: temporarily distract a world stressed out by dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. The seven-episode series, directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, focuses on Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- aka Joe Exotic -- and his Oklahoma exotic-animal park. As of Monday, it was the No. 1 show on the streaming network.

When the show begins, Joe has an impressive blond mullet, a flamboyant wardrobe, multiple husbands, and a raging feud with Carole Baskin, the owner of a big-cat sanctuary. All of that is as tame as a bowl of warm milk compared with what comes next. Every element in Tiger King gets weirder, and every personality who comes on camera has a secret, a compellingly weird event in their history, or dozens of each. Joe runs for president and governor, tries for a country music career, makes bizarre videos suggesting his rival fed her missing husband to her tigers and so, so much more. 

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Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic have a running feud that explodes in the Netflix series Tiger King.

Courtesy Netflix

There's a strange comfort to be had in taking refuge in this specific brand of American craziness. For viewers self-isolating in their homes, it's a reminder that the world was weird in so many varied ways before coronavirus. God willing and the creek don't rise, it will one day get a chance to be that weird again.

Since the series started streaming on March 20, dozens of news stories and interviews have dug into the real people and events behind the show. Some spoilers ahead, but if you've already watched the series, read on for nine juicy tidbits that the show itself didn't reveal.

1. That (mostly) isn't Joe singing

In multiple episodes, Joe brags about his singing career and songs such as "I Saw a Tiger" are heard. But anyone with ears can tell the polished, country-music-veteran voice crooning the tunes doesn't sound anything like Joe Exotic's drawling speaking voice. Real musicians Vince Johnson and Danny Clinton were the real musical power behind Joe's Milli Vanilli act. Johnson told Vanity Fair they worked for free, thinking they'd earn fame from a reality show about Joe's life. (Clinton died in October, TMZ reports.) The show's directors, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, told the L.A. Times that a fact-checker discovered that Joe did sing somewhat on certain songs, so they chose not to call him out on it in the show.

2. Don't blame the tiger for that missing hand

In the first episode, Kelci Saffery, one of Joe's employees, is seen immediately after being bitten by a tiger. Saffery chooses to have the injured hand amputated rather than undergo numerous operations, returns to work just five days later, and shows up throughout the show displaying a stump. Saffery has said from the beginning that no one should blame the tiger and, though it's not mentioned in the episode, the tiger was not put down.

In a 2013 statement, Saffery said, "I broke protocol and stuck my hand in a cat cage instead of using the stick provided." Actor David Spade interviewed Saffery in a video published March 27. "I just got complacent," Saffery said about the injury. And the tiger didn't pay the ultimate price for the bite. "(The tiger) wasn't put down, we just moved it off of the park, off of display," Saffery said.

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3. John Finlay got his teeth fixed

David Spade, who's admitted he's obsessed with the show, didn't just interview Saffery, but also a number of other Tiger King cast members, including John Finlay, one of Joe Exotic's romantic partners. Finlay was noteworthy on the show for only having a few visible teeth, but now he has full dentures and is almost unrecognizable. 

"It took a while," he told Spade of his dental procedures. "But after I got 'em fixed the right way, they were perfect." Finlay did tell Spade that he thought getting his teeth fixed was more painful than getting his 51 tattoos and that the pink-shirt three-groom wedding seen on the show was all Joe's idea.

4. Those alligators were famous

Tiger King is mostly about the big cats, although the reptile residents of the park have a sad storyline in one of the episodes when their enclosure catches fire. John Finlay told David Spade in his video interview that some of the alligators at the exotic-animal park came from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. He also said that working with the crocodiles and alligators was more dangerous than working with the big cats, in part because of the reptiles' giant and threatening tails. Finlay also said he's not in contact with Joe Exotic at all, plans to get all the tattoos of Joe's name covered up and is engaged to a woman now.

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Courtesy Netflix

5. The accident that took John Reinke's legs was even worse than described

John Reinke, former manager at Joe Exotic's animal park, is shown many times putting on and taking off his artificial legs, explaining that he needs them not because of a cat attack, but due to a previous accident. Like everything in Tiger King, that's only half of the dramatic story. 

Back in 2010, Reinke explained his accident to The Oklahoman newspaper. Though he describes it as a ziplining accident in the show, the article describes it as a bungee-jump accident -- it certainly involved a fall from a terrifying height. Not only did a pulley malfunction, sending Reinke tumbling 55 feet to the ground and crushing his legs, but he didn't just land on the earth. He fell onto a 6-inch metal stake, piercing his colon and stomach, the paper reports. He later had more than 20 operations on his feet and legs.

6. Shaq is not Joe Exotic's friend

Tiger King gets so weird viewers might forget NBA star Shaquille O'Neal briefly shows up in an episode. But on March 25, O'Neal said on The Big Podcast with Shaq that the two are not pals. He said he loves tigers and visited the park a few times but "had no idea all that stuff was going on." He said he still loves the animals and has made donations to support them, but is not close to Joe Exotic. "I was just a visitor," O'Neal said on the podcast. "I met this guy, not my friend, don't know him, never had any business dealings with him." And don't go to the athlete's house expecting to see big cats, though he could certainly afford them. "Do I own tigers personally at my house?" O'Neal said. "No."

7. Petting the cubs has a dark side

Joe Exotic earns money by charging visitors to come to his exotic-animal park and take photos cuddling with the big-cat cubs. But directors and writers Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin told the L.A. Times that they never gave in and cuddled the the baby cats, especially after what they saw. "Most of the tigers we were around were subjected to abject cruelty," Chaiklin said. "We saw babies being torn from their mothers and screaming. They'd get sick from being handled so much and get ringworm and mange. It was disturbing."

8. Carole's missing husband is still missing

A large part of the series focuses on Joe Exotic's nemesis, activist Carole Baskin, whose husband Don Lewis disappeared in 1997. Joe Exotic, who is now serving 22 years in prison for charges related to Baskin, claims over and over in the series that Baskin killed James and fed the remains to her big cats. On the website for Big Cat Rescue, her animal organization, Baskin refutes how she was portrayed in the documentary. "(The directors) did not care about truth," she says. "The unsavory lies are better for getting viewers." As for Don James himself, his disappearance remains a mystery. On Monday, Hillsborough, Florida Sheriff Chad Chronister even tweeted out a request for anyone with any leads in the case to call him.

9. Joe loves the publicity. Duh.

You couldn't watch more than a minute of Tiger King and not realize Joe Exotic adores fame and publicity. Even though he's now in prison, the directors told the L.A. Times that Joe knows the show has made him famous and he's overjoyed. "He is absolutely ecstatic about the series and the idea of being famous," Goode told the paper. "He's absolutely thrilled." And the directors aren't buying Joe's sudden change-of-heart. "He is in a cage and of course he's gonna say that he now recognizes what he did to these animals," Goode said.

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Reporter fleeing Yellowstone bison is the social-distancing meme we all need – CNET

If only the coronavirus outbreak could be dodged this easily. On Wednesday, Deion Broxton, a reporter for KTVM-TV in Butte, Montana, was reporting a story from Yellowstone National Park when he noticed a herd of bison heading his way. Broxton side-eyed the giant creatures for a moment, muttering, "Oh, my god, oh, my god," and then decided to exit the stage immediately. "Oh, no, I ain't messing with you," Broxton said, before quickly walking off camera, a smart and self-protective move that turned the brief video instantly viral. 

As of Thursday, the video he tweeted out showing the encounter has been viewed more than 7.9 million times. "There was a herd of bison walking right toward me at YellowstoneNPS today!" he wrote.

Broxton also tweeted out a video of the bison, writing, "Here's the video of the bison I shot once I got a safe distance away lol."

Yellowstone National Park's official Twitter account praised the reporter. "A perfect example of what to do when approached by wildlife!" a spokesperson for the park said in a tweet. "Thanks, Deion, for putting the #YellowstonePledge into action!" (The Yellowstone Pledge urges travelers to give the park's wildlife room and follow other simple rules for staying safe.)

Broxton's wariness and quick exit inspired the meme-makers of the world, who perhaps needed a distraction more than ever due to the coronavirus outbreak. People captioned Broxton's video with all kinds of different themes.

"When I see someone cough in the grocery store," wrote one Twitter user.

Another wrote, "When that one co-worker starts coming your way to interrupt your conversation."

Even former pro athlete Deion Sanders jumped in, tweeting, "I don't blame u namesake! Somebody has to tell the story."

In an interview for his alma mater, Maryland's Towson University, Broxton said "nothing could prepare a guy who grew up in Baltimore to deal with the wildlife in Montana. I'm used to rats, not bison."

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‘BBC Dad’ is back and he still can’t get work done, thanks to his kids – CNET

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Professor Robert Kelly spoke to the BBC about something he knows a lot about -- trying to work from home with lively kids underfoot.

BBC video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Working at home with young kids during the coronavirus outbreak isn't easy for anyone, but one well-known dad has been there before. Professor Robert Kelly earned the nickname "BBC Dad" back in 2017 when his two kids invaded the Skype interview he was conducting with the BBC. First 4-year-old daughter Marion strutted in, then 8-month-old James followed in his rolling walker.  Last, Kelly's wife, Jung-a Kim, desperately yanked the kids back out. That first video earned more than 36 million views.

Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Kelly family gave a new interview to the BBC, and the kids were invited to this one from the start. And they were just as rambunctious as ever, with Marion jumping on and off of Dad's lap, and James hopping off the chair and eventually ducking out of the room entirely.

Kelly apologized for his kids' liveliness, only to be told by the BBC anchor, "That's one thing you can never apologize for now, it's part of the scene, it's what we expect."

Asked about the transformation into a work-at-home world, Kelly responded, "As you can see, (working from home with kids) is very difficult. ... I get maybe two hours of work, maybe three, done a day ... we're fighting with them all the time. ... There are only so many games you can play and puzzles you can do before they ... run around."

When his kids let him talk, Kelly told the BBC he thought the measures being used by South Korea, ranging from extensive testing to an app showing infected areas, seemed to be working to reduce infection. He also went on to note that the South Korean government "has an infrastructure left over from previous experiences with these sorts of outbreaks, and all that sort of kicked back in." 

Kelly, an American-born professor at Pusan National University, is a regular BBC interview subject on Korean issues. In 2018, he commented on the North Korean and South Korean Olympic athletes marching together in the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games -- but no kids interrupted that time.

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Singer Kenny Rogers, famed for The Gambler, dies at 81 – CNET

Singer Kenny Rogers, the white-bearded country music legend famed for such hits as The Gambler, has died at age 81, his official Twitter account announced Friday on social media. "The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81," the tweet read. "Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family."

Rogers won three Grammy Awards and six CMA Awards over his six-decade musical career. He earned the nickname The Gambler after his 1978 hit of the same name, written by songwriter Don Schlitz, about a mysterious card player who delivers sage advice to a stranger on the train before dying in his sleep. The song became one of five consecutive No. 1 hits for Rogers, in what would be a career total of 24 No. 1-charting songs. Other top hits for the singer included She Believes in Me, You Decorated My Life, Coward of the County, Lucille, Lady, Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, and Through the Years. He sang numerous hit duets with female musicians, including Dottie West, Dolly Parton and Sheena Easton. 

Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, and received the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award that same year. He was honored with the CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015. Rogers was voted the "Favorite Singer of All Time" in a joint poll by readers of USA Today and People. 

Rogers also acted. He starred in the 1982 movie Six Pack, as well as in TV movies based on several of his songs, and made appearances on such shows as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

In 1991, he opened a chain of chicken restaurants, Kenny Rogers Roasters. The chain was the centerpiece of a 1996 Seinfeld episode in which the character Kramer (Michael Richards) couldn't sleep due to the red light of a Kenny Rogers Roasters location shining into his bedroom, then finds himself addicted to the chicken. The chain no longer has US locations, but still operates in some Asian countries.

Fans remembered Rogers on social media.

"Kenny Rogers was one of the best entertainers ever and he will be sorely missed," wrote one Twitter user. "There was only one Kenny Rogers -- nobody sounded like him. 

The Rogers family said in the full statement that they are planning a small private service because of the COVID-19 outbreak and will celebrate the singer's life publicly at a later date.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics will now take place in July 2021, due to coronavirus – CNET

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Simone Biles, an Olympics champion, is the most decorated American gymnast of all time.

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For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Almost all major sporting events have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Olympic Games, originally set for this summer in Tokyo, was also postponed. But has now been officially rescheduled, with new dates just announced.

The Olympic Games will now start on July 23, 2021 and run until August 8. The games were originally supposed to take place July 24 until August 9 in 2020.

As a result the Paralympic Games has also shifted dates. It will now run from August 24 until September 5, 2021.

"It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games," said Andrew Parsons, the President of the International Paralympic Committee. "The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world."

The Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games will now take place in the same year, within weeks of one another.  

"When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport," said Parsons.

Thomas Bach, the IOC President believes that the Olympics Games now represent a "light at the end of this tunnel".

"With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge," he said.

The office of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had initially tweeted on March 24 that, following conversations with the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo Olympics would take place in 2021.

"After his telephone talks with IOC President Bach, PM Abe spoke to the press and explained that the two have agreed that the Tokyo Olympic Games would not be cancelled, and the games will be held by the summer of 2021," said the tweet.

In a statement sent on March 24, the International Olympics Committee mentioned the Games would be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, to safeguard the health of athletes and everyone involved in the Olympics. The sporting event will continue to be called Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present," the committee said in a statement. "Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan." 

While the Olympics have been canceled in the past, because of World War I and World War II, they have never been postponed to a different year.

The official announcement on March 24 followed a report on Monday that IOC member Dick Pound had told USA Today that the games would be postponed. 

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound told USA Today. "The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know." Details had yet to be worked out, the newspaper reported.

When asked if Pound was speaking officially for the IOC, the organization replied only that "It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC EB which was announced yesterday."  That announcement has said that the committee would study different scenarios regarding the future of the 2020 Games. It went on to say that the group would finalize discussions within four weeks, and that cancellation was "not on the agenda."

Reuters had reported that Japan Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita said he was considering postponement, reflecting the most recent comments from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. US President Donald Trump tweeted that he will back whatever decision Abe makes: "We will be guided by the wishes of Prime Minister Abe of Japan."

Numerous teams had already said that they wouldn't compete if the 2020 Olympics took place as planned. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee called on the IOC to postpone the Tokyo Games, citing the results of a survey sent to 4,000 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.

"We regret that there is no outcome that can solve all the concerns we face," USOPC chair Susanne Lyons and USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a joint statement. Even if global health conditions were to change by late summer, the group said that "the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can't be overcome in a satisfactory manner. To that end, it's more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising."

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The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee announced that their teams wouldn't head to Tokyo and urged that competition be postponed for one year. The Australian Olympic Committee's executive board also unanimously agreed not to send a team and encouraged athletes to instead prepare for a summer 2021 event. 

USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming, sent a letter to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee urging the group to postpone the Summer Games to 2021.

The virus came close to the Olympics on March 19, when it was announced that Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori, 82, attended a March 10 meeting with Kozo Tashima, the deputy head of the Japanese Olympic Committee who later tested positive for coronavirus. Mori has no symptoms and hasn't been tested. The men were seated about 10 meters (about 32 feet) apart.

The Olympics are huge, both in the numbers of people involved and in the billions of dollars spent. More than 11,000 athletes from 206 nations had been hoping to compete in 339 events. Many thousands more were planning to work in some part of the games, from food and souvenir vendors to hotel clerks to trainers and coaches. NBC had been set to broadcast the games in the US, even offering a dedicated streaming Olympics package for those who want to watch as much as possible, with no ads. And as evidenced by the fact that tickets sold out last July, thousands more were planning to watch the events, whether traveling from across town or across the planet. 

The 1916 Summer Games were canceled due to World War I. The 1940 and 1944 Games, both winter and summer, were canceled due to World War II. (Japan was the country affected back then, too -- the 1940 Games were set for Tokyo and Sapporo.) Other games have been affected by boycotts. By contrast, in 2016, the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, played out as scheduled despite scientists' warnings about the Zika virus.

The next Olympics after Tokyo are the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, followed by the 2024 Paris Summer Games, and then the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina, Italy.

CNET's Sean Keane, Mark Serrels and Katie Collins contributed to this report.

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Watch Gal Gadot and famous friends sing Imagine during coronavirus struggles – CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Inspired by an Italian viral video, actress Gal Gadot organized a group of celebrities to each sing a line of John Lennon's Imagine, posting the star-studded result to Instagram on Wednesday. Gadot mentioned a recent video of a man in Italy playing the hope-filled 1971 Lennon single, apparently while quarantined in his home due to coronavirus precautions. 

"He was playing 'Imagine,' and there was something so powerful and pure about this video," Gadot said before singing the first line of the song. 

The video then cuts to more than 20 different celebrities, each singing a different line of the song. Lynda Carter, who played Gadot's movie character of Wonder Woman in the 1970s TV version, takes a line, as does Jimmy Fallon, Natalie Portman, Mark Ruffalo, Sarah Silverman, Zoe Kravitz, Pedro Pascal, Leslie Odom Jr., Amy Adams, Will Ferrell, Maya Rudolph, Norah Jones and others.

The video had more than 2.3 million views in just six hours. "I did not expect to cry buckets of tears," wrote one Instagram user. "Any small act of kindness and goodness helps. Thank you."

But on Twitter, the reaction was mixed. "Thanks for the song, wealthy celebrities who will receive care before us little people," wrote one Twitter user.

Some others weren't so negative. "I'm seeing a lot of people saying snarky things about the Gal Gadot video," wrote one Twitter user. "Maybe now is the time for you to log off. People need positivity."

Gadot stars in Wonder Woman 1984, which has a release date of June 5, but could end up being delayed due to the outbreak. Numerous other movies have seen their release dates changed due to the outbreak.

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