Morning Buzz: Jennifer Hudson Returns

Jennifer Hudson will be giving three high-profile performances, the first since the tragic shooting deaths of her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew last year. People reports that Hudson will sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, then sing at a MusiCares gala on Feb. 6 and then at the Grammys (where she is a nominated artist for her debut solo album) two days later. “So much has happened, but she’s ready,” a source says. “It’s a new year, she’s excited about performing again. She knew it was time.”

Heath Ledger received an Oscar nomination this morning – one year to the day he died. Ledger passed away from an accidental prescription drug overdose in NYC on Jan 22, 2008 at the age of 28. He is nominated for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. “It’s fantastic,” Ledger’s Dark Knight co-star Aaron Eckhart told Us. “It’s wonderful. I couldn’t be happier!”

Details of the plot to extort money from John Travolta over the death of his son Jett on New Year’s Day are coming to light. The Mail reports that Travolta was being asked to pay “millions of dollars” by two Bahamian men who were threatening to sell a photo of his dying son, 16, to the highest bidder. The two men, said to be a politician and a member of the ambulance service, are currently being investigated by local authorities.

George Clooney is rumored to be reprising his role as Dr. Doug Ross for the final season of ER on NBC. Nothing has been confirmed, reports E!, but sources are reporting that Clooney is shooting scenes this week. Producers have already brought back Anthony Edwards as the deceased Dr. Mark Greene for a flashback this season.

Tuesday’s presidential inauguration of Barack Obama was the second most watched inauguration in television history according to MSNBC. The telecasts drew 37.8 million viewers. It still did not top the record, which was for Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981, which drew 41.8.