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'Les Miz' news; 'Downton Abbey' spoiler
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Les Miserables, the star-studded film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical, was the highest-grossing film on Christmas Day, according to a Playbill item. The movie musical—which stars Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe, among others—took in an expected $17.5 million. The film is directed by Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), whose vision for the film included live singing throughout the entirety of the piece.

Adam Lambert took to his Twitter account to talk about the film Les Miserables, commenting that director Tom Hooper's cast "pretend[ed] to be singers," according to . The American Idol alum posted, "Les Mis: Visually impressive w great Emotional performances. But the score suffered massively with great actors PRETENDING to be singers …it's an opera. Hollywoods movie musicals treat the singing as the last priority. (Dreamgirls was good)." Lambert added that he thought a few actors, including Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, were "great."

SPOILER: Downton Abbey executive producer Rebecca Eaton said in April 2012 that in the third season, "somebody will die, somebody pretty key in the cast." That character has been revealed to be ... Matthew Crawley, the newly married aristocrat played by Dan Stevens, who is killed in an automobile accident, according to . The third season has aired in Britain; however, it won't run in the United States until Jan. 6.

Christopher Federline—Britney Spears' former brother-in-law—filed court papers against the singer Dec. 18 seeking a restraining order on the iconic pop singer, according to US Magazine. Federline—the brother of Kevin, who was married to Spears—claims that Spears had, among other things, stolen his credit card, made fun of his manhood and threatened to publicize that he is the real father of Spears' oldest son, Sean Preston. Although Christopher claimed to have slept with Spears, he said that he sought a restraining order from the singer because "the public does not need to know."

Rumors are intensifying that Britney Spears will be booted from her post as judge on the reality-competition show X Factor, according to US Magazine. Reportedly, producers feel that the "Circus" singer hasn't earned her $15-million contract, with an insider saying, "They paid all that for her to say 'amazing' and offer half-claps." If she is let go, she would join Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, Cheryl Cole and Steve Jones as people who have been dismissed; also, judge L.A. Reid recently announced his decision to leave.

Kyle Martino and Becky Baeling will be the hosts of Fox's Stars In Danger: The High Dive two-hour reality special that will air Jan. 9, according to . The two join Olympic diving medalist and commentator Troy Dumais, who will be providing expert commentary. The celebrity cast of the special includes Jersey Shore co-star JWoww, Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills' Kyle Richards, actor Antonio Sabato Jr. and former NFL star Terrell Owens.

Rumors continue to swirl around the possible online resurrections of daytime soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live, which both ran on ABC, according to . Talks are underway with cast members and executive producers, although no deals are done. Both All My Children and One Life To Live would feature 30-minute episodes with limited advertising versus the 60 minutes they had on ABC.

Singer Janet Jackson is reportedly engaged to Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana, according to US Magazine. A source said that the luxury-brand mogul, 37, will spare no expense for his nuptials to Jackson, 46—including flying all of her friends and family on private jets.

Hollywood private investigator Paul Huebl is claiming drug dealers murdered singer Whitney Houston—and adds that a new surveillance video proves it, according to a Daily Mail item. Huebl believes Houston was targeted by several "high-powered drug dealers who sent thugs to collect a huge debt she owed for drugs," as the singer allegedly owed $1.5 million. Huebl also said he has evidence Houston's hotel room was ransacked, hinting at a violent struggle.

Jersey Shore apparently went out with a whimper instead of a bang. According to the Hollywood Reporter, only 3.1 million people watched the last episode—the least-watched finale of the franchise. The series finale audience dropped nearly 2 million from the season premiere, which averaged 4.7 million viewers in October.

ABC is bringing back comedies Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B—— in Apartment 23 earlier than expected, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Original episodes will air Sunday, Jan. 6, replacing the outgoing supernatural drama 666 Park Avenue, which starred Vanessa Williams. Midseason drama Red Widow takes over the Sunday slot beginning March 3.

David Geffen, the openly gay individual who has produced records for musicians such as Bob Dylan and John Lennon, donated $100 million to the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical School's scholarship fund, according to . The money will cover the cost of medical school—including tuition, room and board, books and other expenses—for 30 incoming students. UCLA's medical school had been named after Geffen after he donated $200 million in 2002.

Lady Gaga is making a documentary, according to the Huffington Post. The singer announced that photographer Terry Richardson will be making a documentary about her life and the production of her fourth album, ARTPOP, which is set to be released in 2013. Gaga tweeted, "Terry Richardson @Terry_World is making a #LadyGagaMOVIE documenting my life, the creation of ARTPOP + you!"

Comic-book fans are buzzing about the death of Spider-Man's alter ego, Peter Parker, the Hollywood Reporter noted. In Amazing Spider-Man No. 700, Parker will succumb to archenemy Doctor Octopus, who spent the past year fighting to destroy the world as his own body slowly died. However, Octopus will place his mind into Parker's body, continuing Spider-Man's exploits.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Kalin dropped Jennifer Lopez's $20-million lawsuit against her former driver, according to Digital Spy. Lopez had claimed that her former driver and head of security Hakob Manoukian attempted to blackmail her for almost $3 million, threatening to reveal private info about her. Prior to Lopez's lawsuit, Manoukian filed his own claim (which is still open) after reportedly quitting due to issues with her management team.

Merlin will begin its fifth and final season on Syfy Jan. 4. The show will continue on the close friendship between Merlin and Arthur (portrayed by, respectively, Colin Morgan and Bradley James) as well as interactions with key players such as Gwen (played by Angel Coulby) as they all try to defeat Morgana (Katie McGrath), who is obsessed with finding a mysterious object known only as "The Diamair," or the key to all knowledge.

Glee and American Horror Story producer Ryan Murphy, who is openly gay, has become a father for the first time, Digital Spy reported. Murphy welcomed a son, Logan Phineas Miller Murphy, with husband David Miller on Christmas Eve. It is currently unknown if Logan was born via a surrogate or was adopted.

In other Les Miz news, the movie's soundtrack has claimed the top spot on Billboard's Soundtracks chart, moving 43,000 copies in its first week, according to . It went on sale Dec. 21, meaning it claimed that spot despite being out for only three days. The album features 20 songs from the film as performed by Hathaway, Crowe and Jackman as well as cast members Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried.

Yeardley Smith—best known for playing the voice of Lisa Simpson on Fox's series The Simpsons—has pledged up to $25,000 to The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which is challenging the constitutionality of Prop 8, California's marriage-equality ban, according to On Top Magazine. "My friend and AFER supporter Yeardley Smith stepped up to help us reach our $50,000 goal by the end of the year," wrote Dustin Lance Black, an AFER founding board member and the writer of the film Milk and the play 8. "She'll match every donation we receive until we hit our target. We're so close and we need your help to get there."

Mickey Rourke was treated to a gay-bar crawl around London as part of his preparations to play Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas in an upcoming biopic, according to . The Wrestler star has become close friends with Thomas through working together on the currently untitled film, which will document Thomas' career and his place in history as the first high-profile rugby player to come out of the closet.

Controversial comic Katt Williams is making headlines for comments about fellow comedian/actor Jamie Foxx, according to . During a stand-up comedy show in Los Angeles, Williams told the audience that Foxx is gay and sleeping with a singer signed to his label named Marcus Anthony. Williams' behavior has been erratic lately: He slapped a Target employee who allegedly called him the N-word, and then led police on a low-speed three-wheeled motorcycle chase.

Jay Leno recently helped out a gay couple. According to, the Tonight Show host assisted the couple—who said they have no taste or fashion sense—by decorating their home, giving them a (stolen) Christmas tree and covering their front law with fake snow. They then constructed snowmen—with the couple making a snowman with a defined six-pack and a chiseled butt. Lastly, they all visit a Chick-fil-A, and hurl snowballs at it.

In an interview with Fox Sports, professional football player Brendon Ayanbadejo said there are definitely gay men in the NFL, according to . However, the marriage-equality advocate added that the percentage is probably lower than in the general population: "Eventually, I think there will be someone [who comes out]. But the number [of gay players] is so minute. If they say the regular population is 7 to 9 percent [gay], in the NFL it might be 3 percent. I could be completely wrong, but I've played for so long and so many others have."

Singer Fontella Bass has died at 72 of complications from a heart attack, according to the New York Times. She was best known for her 1965 hit, "Rescue Me;" the song reached number four on Billboard's pop chart, and has been a staple on radio, movie soundtracks and television commercials (as Aretha Franklin sang a version of it for a Pizza Hut ad in the early '90s).

MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts was slated to officiate the second wedding of Sam Champion and Rubem Robierb, according to On Top Magazine. Champion, the weather anchor for ABC's Good Morning America, married photographer Robierb Dec. 21 in his home in New York City. The couple will hold a second celebration at a New Year's Eve party in Miami, Robierb's hometown.

Talking with Playboy, actor Matt Damon talked about whey he rejected an offer to appear in the film Brokeback Mountain, according to Gay Star News. Prior to the offer Damon had appeared in The Talented Mr Ripley in 1999 and All The Pretty Horses in 2000; he told the publication that he said to filmmakers, "I just did a gay movie and a cowboy movie. I can't do a gay cowboy movie now!" Damon—who will soon appear in an HBO movie about the life of Liberace with lead Michael Douglas—added that the late Heath Ledger taught him about kissing guys. Damon said that Ledger told him about kissing Jake Gyllenhaal, "I needed to just go for it. If you can't do that, you're not making the movie."

In the area of soccer, Elton John—a big fan of the game—reportedly called the Celtics, a Scottish team, after it beat Barcelona, widely regarded as the best in the world, according to Fox Sports. Johm, 65, was once chairman of the English team Watford in the 1970s and '80s. Another fan, Rod Stewart, was spotted crying after this historic victory.

Charlie Sheen hosted the opening of his bar at El Ganzo, a hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico—and all was fine until Sheen hurled an anti-gay slur at the audience, according to TMZ. While introducing musical acts during the event, Sheen suddenly yelled, "How we doing? ... Lying bunch of f**got a**holes, how we doing?" (Among the attendees was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.) Sheen later apologized to TMZ but added, "I meant to say maggot but I have a lisp."

Dead Accounts, Theresa Rebeck's comedic play starring Katie Holmes and Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz, is slated to close on Jan. 6—seven weeks ahead of schedule, according to . When it closes, Dead Accounts will have played 27 previews and 44 regular performances. In addition to Butz and Holmes, the cast includes Josh Hamilton, Judy Greer and Jayne Houdyshell.

Former American Idol champ Fantasia Barrino has said that LGBT bloggers misunderstood a message that appeared to be a condemnation of marriage equality, according to . Part of Barrino's Instagram message read, "Its a lot that going on that the Bible speaks about we should Not be doing. Weed legal in some places, Gay Marriage Legal BUT YET IM JUDGED!! Im not doing Nothing for you… My Life!!!!" She said that her comments were criticizing judgment in general, adding that she supports the gay community.

Robin Roberts probably will not rejoin the Good Morning America team until mid-2013, TMZ reported. Apparently, Roberts' immune system is still very weak, making an earlier return too risky. She had a bone-marrow transplant Sept. 20, 2012.

Singer Miley Cyrus showed her love for London's gay population, according to an item. She told Bang Showbiz, "I just feel like when I go to Europe, I feel very free with my fan base because I have never seen more gay people in my whole life." Cyrus is an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, even getting a pro-equality tattoo on her finger that got her hate mail from anti-gay Christians.

Paris Hilton is apparently happy that former best friend Kim Kardashian is expecting, according to TMZ. When a friend informed Hilton of the baby news, she reportedly smiled and said, "So happy for her, they [Kardashian and Kanye West] are perfect for each other." Hilton and Kardashian were on the outs for years until a few months ago, when they reunited.

Utah resident Jackson Carter is the first openly gay contestant on the NBC show The Biggest Loser, according to a Salt Lake Tribune item. Carter, 21, auditioned for the show in Salt Lake City because he wanted to inspire others to be themselves, whether overweight or gay. Show producers will showcase Carter's battle in season 14—not only with his weight but also with his sexuality.

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