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SHOWBIZ Harry Styles, Wanda Sykes, Anderson Cooper, 'Gotham' co-star
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-03-20

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During a live performance, Harry Styles debuted an unreleased song called "Medicine," and one set of lyrics in particular has his fans in a whirlwind, Billboard noted. In a verse, Styles appeared to sing "The boys and the girls are here/ I mess around with him/ And I'm OK with it." Twitter users immediately called the song a bisexual anthem, claiming that these lyrics confirm the singer's sexuality. However, Styles has said in previous interviews that he does not feel the need to label his sexuality.

GLAAD announced that actress/comedian/writer Wanda Sykes will host the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at Beverly Hilton on Thursday, April 12, a press release noted. GLAAD previously announced that Britney Spears and Jim Parsons would be receiving honors at the event. The organization also announced special appearances by Lena Waithe, Olympian Adam Rippon, Chloe Grace Moretz and Gigi Gorgeous.

Anderson Cooper and his longtime boyfriend, Benjamin Maisani, have called it quits, Page Six confirmed. "Benjamin and I separated as boyfriends some time ago," Cooper, 50, said in a statement. "We are still family to each other, and love each other very much. We remain the best of friends, and will continue to share much of our lives together." The Daily Mail reported that Cooper has been dating a 33-year-old Dallas doctor named Victor Lopez since splitting from Maisani.

Cory Michael Smith, who plays The Riddler ( a.k.a. Edward Nygma ) in Fox's hit series Gotham, opens up about his sexuality in a new interview with The Daily Beast, NewNowNext.com noted. Smith is promoting his role as Adrian, a closeted gay New Yorker with AIDS who returns to his Texas hometown during the early days of the epidemic, in out filmmaker Yen Tan's 1985. There's something special about telling a story that feels closer to home," says Smith, who "identifies as queer," adding that his family handled his coming out with "a lot of love," though it took "a lot of time."

After months of speculation, Fifth Harmony announced that the act is taking some time apart for members to pursue solo careers, EW.com noted. The pop group—composed of remaining members Ally Brooke, Lauren Jauregui, Normani Kordei and Dinah Jane—shared the news on Twitter. In part, the statement read, "After six years going hard, non stop, we also realized that in order to stay authentic to ourselves and to you, we do need to take some time for now to go on a hiatus from Fifth Harmony in order to pursue solo endeavors."

The nation's largest radio-station operator, iHeartMedia, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to shed billions of debt it has carried for more than a decade, USA Today noted. The San Antonio-based company, which has more than 850 radio stations, says it will continue to keep operating after reaching an agreement with creditors for more than $10 billion of its $20 billion in debt. That means its popular iHeartRadio streaming radio app, which has 270 million monthly listeners, will continue to operate.

At Paleyfest, it was revealed that the NBC comedy Will & Grace ( in the first season of its revival ) has been renewed for a third season, according to Deadline. This will also be a longer run than the previous season, said creator/executive producer Max Mutchnick. Originally on air 1998-2006, the show returned to critical acclaim last year.

Kristen Stewart is set to play iconic actress Jean Seberg in Against All Enemies, a movie with an all-star cast, Deadline noted. A political thriller directed by Benedict Andrews ( Una ), the story is inspired by true events about the woman who, in the late 1960s, was targeted by the illegal FBI surveillance program COINTELPRO. Also starring are Jack O'Connell, Anthony Mackie, Margaret Qualley and Colm Meaney.

A star of the gay teen dramedy Love, Simon has come out publicly as gay, Queerty noted. Joey Pollari, 23, who plays Lyle in the film, got candid about his coming out experience in an interview with The Advocate. "The only part that was difficult was me coming out to myself. And I think that is the most difficult coming out," he said.

After a twist in which contestant Shangela was voted out by a jury of her peers, Trixie Mattel was crowned the season-three winner of VH1's RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, earning the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar" and $100,000, and joining the "Drag Race Hall of Fame," a press release noted. "ConDRAGulations to the unstoppable Trixie Mattel," said executive producer/host RuPaul. "You have more than earned your place in the 'Drag Race Hall of Fame.' And to Kennedy, Shangela and Bebe: You have earned my deepest respect for giving your all and fighting your way to the top. You're all winners, baby." The 10th season of RuPaul's Drag Race will start March 22.

Out comedian James Adomian said that SNL has a problem with casting gay men, The Daily Beast reported. There hasn't been an out gay male full-fledged cast member on SNL since Terry Sweeney became the first and only one more than 30 years ago; it was another 26 years before the show brought on its next out cast member, current star Kate McKinnon. "It would be nice if they put a gay man on camera on that show," Adomian said. "I've been out of the closet the whole time since I auditioned 13 years ago. You would think that they would have tried to put someone else on that was a gay man. It's about time."

In the world of professional women's basketball, former Phoenix Mercury standout Penny Taylor and her wife, current Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, welcomed a son on March 1, ESPN.com reported. With the Australian national team, Taylor won two Olympic silver medals, plus a gold and two bronzes at the FIBA World Championship, now known as the World Cup. Taurasi, who'll be 36 in June, will begin her 14th WNBA season in May with the Mercury, who drafted her No. 1 in 2004 after she won three NCAA titles with the University of Connecticut.

Adam Rippon received a date offer live on air in the middle of an interview on E! News, The Washington Blade noted. Daily Pop host Justin Sylvester asked Rippon if he was single, to which the figure skater responds that he's been too busy for dating. Sylvester then asked to take Rippon on a date. "So I'm gonna throw this out there. When you come to L.A. I wanna take you out on a date, and grab drinks, your choice, or I can show you my L.A. and we can just kick it," Sylvester said. Rippon smiled and replied, "Wow, I love it. I love to just kick it."

Kendall Jenner has a theory as to why the internet believes she is lesbian, CNN reported, citing a Vogue interview. "I think it's because I'm not like all my other sisters, who are like, 'Here's me and my boyfriend!,' she told Vogue. "So it was a thing for a minute because no one ever saw me with a guy." Jenner said doesn't think she has a "bisexual or gay bone in my body" but she's open-minded about her sexuality.

Actor Isaiah Washington was let go from the ABC hit Grey's Anatomy in 2007, reportedly for making homophobic comments and getting into a physical altercation with co-star Patrick Dempsey—but Mo'Nique is saying the firing was based on a lie, according to an Ebony.com item. Mo'Nique and her husband, Sidney Hicks, recently shared an email that "fell into their hands," detailing an ABC attorney who allegedly admitted to lying about Washington's character, behavior and resume prior to his firing from the series, having written, "I knew we threw Isaiah Washington under the bus for Patrick Dempsey." Washington has yet to respond to the email read by his Blackbird co-star, but recently acknowledged many of the misconceptions about himself via Twitter.

Fox bosses have revealed they're considering a Buffy the Vampire Slayer revival, Attitude magazine noted. The production studio behind the teen supernatural drama starring Sarah Michelle Geller have revealed they're looking at reviving the television series. Speaking at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem on March 13, Fox Chairman/CEO Gary Newman stated that Buffy is the "most ripe" show they have for bringing back. The production company recently revived hit shows The X-Files, 24 and Prison Break, but Newman insisted that revivals aren't "a focus" for the studio.

Village People's original cop character, Victor Willis, has returned from obscurity to take back the role he walked away from nearly 40-years-ago, The New York Daily News noted. Ray Simpson replaced him in 1979; however, Willis won a lawsuit in 2012 allowing him to reclaim publishing rights on many of the band's hits including "YMCA," "Macho Man" and "In the Navy." Willis reached an agreement with French producer Henri Belolo, who created the Village People, giving him rights to the band's name and image, too. Willis immediately replaced the tribe's cowboy, Native American chief, construction worker, soldier and leather-clad biker—leaving Simpson and his bandmates fighting for their livelihoods. The former and current incarnations of the group have been criticizing each other online for months.

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/producer Charlie Puth has unveiled his new single, "Done For Me," featuring Kehlani, a press release noted. His sophomore album, Voicenotes, is set to arrive May 11. Also, On March 24, Puth will perform at March For Our Lives Los Angeles, in solidarity with the national March For Our Lives taking place in Washington, D.C. on the same date.

The pansexual New York rapper formerly known as Angel Haze has announced they have changed their rapping name, according to Gay Star News. They posted, "I WILL NO LONGER GO BY ANGEL HAZE, but instead would like to be called ROES. This means a lot to me, guys! And in no way does it erase the past 5 years of truth ive lived out in front of you all." The rapper's real name is Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson.

Darren Criss is half-Filipino, but doesn't identify as Asian-American, according to Page Six. When asked by Vulture if he identifies as Asian-American, the American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace actor said, "No. I think that'd be unfair. I think that'd sound like I'm reaching for the minority card on a college application. I think that would be unfair. Yeah, my mom's Asian-American. She's from the Philippines and came here and then married a white guy, and here I am."

The March 18 episode of Family Guy, with limited commercial interruptions, featured a one-on-one conversation between Stewie ( voiced by Seth MacFarlane ) and his therapist ( voiced by Sir Ian McKellen ), TheWrap noted. Seven minutes of that discussion had a monologue by the Griffin baby, where Stewie dissected details of his therapist's relationship and life after seeing a photo of the psychiatrist and his younger boyfriend, Michael.

Electus is partnering with songwriter, producer and artist Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds for a scripted music series that takes viewers behind the scenes of the booming New York City music scene in the '90s, Deadline noted. The untitled serialized hourlong dramedy is developed by and based on the lives of award-winning songwriter and record-producer Damon Sharpe, who has worked with such artists as Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, Pitbull, Nelly and more; and actress and former Warner Brothers/Ruffnation Records recording artist and producer Stacy Asencio-Sutphen.

The Metropolitan Opera fired Music Director Emeritus James Levine after finding credible evidence supporting a string of long-standing sexual-assault and -abuse allegations, Playbill reported. Levine—who served as music director with the opera company for nearly 40 years—was first suspended in December as the Met launched an investigation. The investigation followed the release of a 2016 police report that detailed allegations made by Ashok Pai that spanned over several years, beginning when Pai was 15.

Taylor Swift's newest video, for the song "Delicate," features Kevin Falk, a well-known star on the gay-porn site Randy Blue, Billboard noted. He plays a bodyguard who enters a hotel lobby with Swift and a team of bodyguards, and when the star becomes invisible upon being handed a magical note, she attempts for several seconds to get his attention. In 2012, men.com's Mike de Marko was briefly featured as a partygoer who gets showered with glitter in Swift's video for "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

Rihanna does not think much of Snapchat after an advertisement that appeared to mock her domestic-violence incident with former boyfriend Chris Brown appeared there, CNN noted. The ad, for a game called "Would You Rather?," featured photos of the two singers and asked users if they would "rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown." Brown pled guilty in 2009 to assaulting Rihanna during an argument when they were dating. Rihanna posted a statement about the incident on her Snapchat account, criticizing the company for making light of domestic violence.

Actress Charlize Theron said the idea of arming teachers after recent U.S. school shootings or "adding more guns" to the situation is "so outrageous, Page Six reported. The Oscar-winning actress said, "I have a very personal experience with gun violence. I lost my father to gun violence. I just don't understand when people try to make the conversation, the argument that the fix is more guns. It is so outrageous to me." Theron spoke March 17 at the Global Education and Skills Forum being held in Dubai.

Aretha Franklin is canceling two upcoming concerts on doctor's orders, according to Page Six. Her management team said in a statement that Franklin will not perform March 25 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey. That show would have taken place on her 76th birthday. Franklin also won't appear April 28 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; Rod Stewart will perform as the headliner instead. Last year, Franklin announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at "some select things."

John Bailey, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is under investigation for allegations of sexual harassment, Variety noted. The Academy received three harassment claims and immediately opened a probe. The tenure of Bailey ( who was elected in August ) has been marked by a historic shift in the Academy's approach to misconduct by its members. In October, the Academy voted to expel Harvey Weinstein less than 10 days after the New York Times first reported on his history of sexual harassment.

In the latest round of the ongoing legal battle, the California Supreme Court has rejected Bill Cosby's request to overturn an appeals court decision that favored former supermodel Janice Dickinson, according to Deadline.com . "That means our case against him, on behalf of our brave client Janice Dickinson, moves forward," Dickinson's attorney Lisa Bloom tweeted. She said the state's Supreme Court ruled against Cosby on three out of three issues. Dickinson has alleged that she was raped and drugged by Cosby in 1982, and that Cosby and members of his legal team accused her of lying when she later made the accusation.

Deckstar and Circle Talent Agency cut ties with DJ/producer Datsik following allegations on social media of sexual assault while on tour, Billboard reported. Various allegations have been spread across social-media platforms Facebook and Twitter. "Yo everyone. This is a very serious matter to me," Datsik wrote on Twitter before making his account private. "There have been recent allegations against me for things I have not done. I am a vibe reader. I hand out with a ton of people after every show, and always keep a positive vibe."

Broadway's Tony-winning Kinky Boots producer Ken Davenport has acquired the musical rights to the life of Miracle Mop inventor and home-shopping entrepreneur Joy Mangano, Deadline noted. Mangano was the inspiration behind Joy, the 2015 David O. Russell film starring Jennifer Lawrence. Mangano, who periodically appears on HSN, has created and sold nearly $3 billion of products like the self-wringing Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers, My Little Steamer, Forever Fragrant and the SpinBall Wheel luggage.

Former Dance Moms reality-TV star Abby Lee Miller is set to be released from prison early, USA Today noted. WTAE-TV reported that Miller was originally scheduled for release June 21, but online records now list her release date as May 25. Miller has been in a California prison since turning herself in this past July. She was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for hiding $775,500 worth of income and bringing $120,000 in Australian currency to the U.S. without reporting it.

Kanye West is being sued by Jordan Outdoor Enterprises, which claims that the rapper-turned-designer ripped off the camouflage print from its Realtree collection for some of his Yeezy Season 5 products, Vanity Fair noted. West's label heavily incorporated a camouflage print into its Season 5 line, with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, being photographed in the designs as recently as January. LeBron James's fashion company, UNKNWN, is also named in the suit.

One of the biggest casting questions for the Murphy Brown reboot—who will play Murphy's grown-up son, Avery—has been answered, Deadline noted. Former Limitless star Jake McDorman has been tapped for the role opposite Candice Bergen in CBS' current-day revival of the 1988 sitcom. In addition to Bergen, the duo join previously announced original cast members Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud, all of whom will reprise their roles.

In other reboot news, Happy Endings alum Zachary Knighton is set as a lead, Rick Wright, opposite star Jay Hernandez and Perdita Weeks, in CBS' Magnum P.I. pilot, according to Deadline. The reboot of the classic 1980s Tom Selleck series follows Thomas Magnum ( Hernandez ), a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator.

Starz has given an early renewal to its hit drama series Power. Ahead of production wrapping on season five, Starz has ordered an additional sixth season with Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson set to the direct the season-six premiere episode. Season five will return on Sunday, July 1.


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