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'Magic Mike' sequel; 'Downton' adding Black character
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Channing Tatum has confirmed that a sequel to Magic Mike is in the works, according to . "If he doesn't come back, I don't know how we're going to do it without our leader," said Tatum in reference to director Steven Soderbergh's recent announcement that he's retiring from filmmaking. "I'll try to sucker him to coming in and at least [being the director of photography], get him in the room, at least." The movie about male strippers, which may also hit Broadway, made $114 million last year.

The hit PBS series Downton Abbey is reportedly looking to cast its first Black character, the New York Daily News noted. He would be a musician named Jack Ross, and he would be part of a storyline about race relations in the 1920s. The door to an outside musician was opened late in the just-concluded season three when Rose, the free-spirited daughter of Lord Grantham's cousin Hugh MacClare, sneaked away to an after-hours jazz club. Season four will start filming March 23.

Music mogul Clive Davis has responded to singer Kelly Clarkson's criticism of his memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life, according to the New York Daily News. Clarkson, 30, wrote on her WhoSay blog to fans that what he said in a chapter felt like "violation." (Davis wrote that Clarkson burst into "hysterical sobbing" in his office when he demanded the song "Since You Been Gone" be on her album—which she denies.) Davis tweeted, "I am truly very sorry that she has decided to take issue with what I know to be an accurate depiction of our time together." In his memoir, Davis, 80, also discusses his bisexuality.

Robin Roberts returned to Good Morning America Feb. 20, the New York Post reported. Roberts said she'd been waiting 174 days "to say this: Good morning, America." Roberts was welcomed back in a taped message from President and Michelle Obama, former ESPN colleagues and Magic Johnson. The morning-show host is recovering from MDS, a blood and bone-marrow disease.

Shia LaBeouf has dropped out of a Broadway revival of Orphans less than a month before it will open, reported. In a statement, the show's producers cited "creative differences" as the reason for the Transformers star's departure (with some citing a conflict with star Alec Baldwin). LaBeouf recently stripped naked for a Sigur Ros music video, and has been appearing in edgier fare like last summer's crime drama Lawless and Lars von Trier's upcoming sex opus Nymphomaniac. Ben Foster has been announced as LaBeouf's replacement.

In the comic-book world, Batwoman #17 shows the openly lesbian titular heroine proposing to her girlfriend, police detective Maggie Sawyer, according to . This isn't the first same-sex proposal in mainstream superhero comics; most recently, the Marvel Comics superhero Northstar—one of the first openly gay males in superhero comics—proposed to his boyfriend in an X-Men comic published last May, and married him in the subsequent issue.

Despite the hype preceding its second season, the NBC show Smash dropped to a series low following its season premiere two weeks ago, according to . The Feb. 19 episode of Smash dropped 25 percent from its season premiere two weeks ago, ending up with 3.3 million viewers. By contrast, 20.9 million people watched the crime drama NCIS that same night.

Out actress Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester on TV's Glee) will make her Broadway debut as Miss Hannigan in Annie beginning May 16 and ending July 14, according to . No departure date has been announced for current star Katie Finneran, who is exiting the production to appear on Michael J. Fox's new TV series. Lynch has appeared off-Broadway in Love, Loss, and What I Wore as well as The Real Live Brady Bunch and the Real Live Game Show.

Anderson Cooper will be honored at 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City March 16, according to a press release. Cooper will receive the Vito Russo Award; previous honorees include Sir Elton John, k.d. lang, Tom Ford, Rosie O'Donnell and Cherry Jones. Good Morning America cast members Lara Spencer, Josh Elliott and Sam Champion are hosting the evening.

Academy Award-winning actor Robert DeNiro is set to direct a musical stage production of A Bronx Tale, a film he helmed back in 1993, reported. Tommy Mottola—in the news recently because of a new memoir that detailed his marriage to Mariah Carey—will produce the show. In addition, Mottola is currently working on a musical version of Curtis Mayfield's Superfly, spearheaded by out choreographer/director Bill T. Jones.

Actress/comedian Nora Dunn will debut her new one-woman show, Mythical Proportions, at Chicago's Theater Wit, according to a press release. Previews begin Aug. 16; the full performance schedule will be announced in March. Mythical Proportions, which runs about 70 minutes, includes monologues performed in character, Dunn's signature forte, and stories she tells in her own persona.

Gay-porn star Nicholas Gonzalez, aka Donny Wright, was arrested in Louisville, Ky., after allegedly breaking into a fire station and masturbating on firefighters' gear, according to . The firefighters reportedly discovered the 27-year-old in the act; however, said he never acknowledged their presence, continuing his act until he was pulled away. Asked why he ddid what he did, he reportedly told police, "Because I wanted to."

Spice Girl Melanie Brown (Scary Spice) will be replacing Sharon Osbourne on the NBC show America's Got Talent, joining judges Howard Stern and Howie Mandel, according to US Magazine. Brown starred with Ronan Keating, Guy Sebastian and Natalie Bassingthwaighte on the Australian version of The X Factor in 2011, and acted as co-host of the Australian version of Dancing With the Stars in February 2012.

Reality-TV star Kelly Osbourne sprained her ankle after a freak accident in a public toilet, according to . She took to Twitter to tell fans of the drama and shared a picture of her foot on the site, adding, "Got my shoe stuck in a bathroom drain. I was faced [with] spraining my ankle or eating the toilet! Guess what I picked?" She's now sporting a medical boot.

Former Major League Baseball player Mike Piazza's new memoir discusses noteworthy events in his life, including the decade-old rumor that he is gay, according to . The book discusses how Piazza felt offended—not that people thought he was gay, but that people thought he would go so far as to create a phony life in order to hide his sexual orientation. In the new memoir Piazza states that if "I was gay, I'd be gay all the way."

International recording artist Susan Boyle—along with former 'N Sync boy-bander Lance Bass, country superstar Wynonna Judd The Village People and more—are singing in the recently released "Open Your Mouth" Miracle Whip extended music video, according to . The "We Are The World" group-sing parody is part of a new ad campaign designed by Miracle Whip to stir enthusiasm for the classic sandwich spread.

Superman: Unbound, the next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, will be out on Blu-ray, On Demand, digital download and DVD May 7, according to a press release. The film's voicecast is led by out actor Matt Bomer (White Collar) as Superman, John Noble (Fringe, The Lord of the Rings films) as Brainiac, Stana Katic (Castle) as Lois Lane and Molly Quinn (Castle) as Supergirl.

Ronda Rousey won the first women's bout in UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) history Feb. 23, beating openly lesbian Liz Carmouche on an armbar with 11 seconds left in the first round of their bantamweight title fight at UFC 157, according to . Rousey (7-0) defended her belt with her signature move, forcing Carmouche to tap out after bending back her arm.

Speaking of the UFC, President Dana White talked about how he would react if a male fighter came out and if an opponent refused to fight a gay athlete. According to Yahoo! Sports, White said, "Most of the guys that are in this sport are really good people. I honestly don't see a situation where that would happen, but if it did, I'd fix it." He also said, "Some of our guys, and I, have said some things that make it look like we're homophobes. But we're not, and we've apologized."

IFC has acquired rights to The Canyons, the Paul Schrader-directed film that pairs Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen, according to . The movie is a drama about decadence and debauchery in Los Angeles. The film has gotten a lot of attention lately—including a very public rejection by the SXSW festival, which prompted an angry response from Schrader about the festival.

Fashion designer/film director Tom Ford threw a party Feb. 21 at his Beverly Hills store, where fashion and film folks mingled in the run-up to Oscar night, the New York Post noted. Guests included nominee Tommy Lee Jones Elton John and David Furnish, Mario Testino, Liberty Ross, Girls star Allison Williams, Patricia Clarkson and Anna Paquin. The event benefited Project Angel Food, which provides meals for those with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.

Is The View's Joy Behar headed to CNN? She was recently spotted with new CNN head Jeff Zucker, sparking speculation that Behar is part of his plans to rejuvenate the network. Behar had a program on HLN for two years while appearing as a co-host on The View.

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken—who has been on Broadway in Monty Python's Spamalot—will play Man in Chair in North Carolina Theatre's upcoming production of the award-winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone, according to . The production will run May 7-12 in the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Tony winner Beth Leavel will join Aiken.

Out actor/comedian Alec Mapa will be featured as a performance coach on AMC's newest unscripted series, Showville, premiering May 9, according to a press release. Mapa (Ugly Betty)—along with fellow Showville performance coach, choreographer Lisette Bustamante—will be responsible for selecting finalists from small-town talent shows across the United States. The two will then be given 48 hours to coach the finalists in preparation for a final competition.

Quvenzhane Wallis—nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for Beasts of the Southern Wild—will star in the title role of a new film production of the musical "Annie" for Overbrook Entertainment (Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith), Marcy Media, director Will Gluck and Sony Pictures Entertainment, according to . "Annie" will be released during the winter holiday season in 2014.

Chicago's Gene Siskel Center of the School of the Art Institute will honor actress Gwyneth Paltrow at its annual fundraiser, which will take place Saturday, June 15. "A Summer Soiree with Gwyneth Paltrow" will take place at the Ritz-Carlton, and she will receive the Renaissance Award, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Past honorees have included Reese Witherspoon, Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

ABC is planning a spinoff of its fairy tale-themed series Once Upon a Time that features the Mad Hatter character, reported. The network is looking to recast the character, which was played by actor Sebastian Stan (who was also the gay son on the TV show Political Animals) for half a dozen episodes last year. (Stan is currently preparing to star in Captain America: The Winter Soldier for a 2014 release.)

As opposed to the Oscars (which honor the best films and actors), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2—the last film in the vampire series—was the recipient of seven awards at the 33rd Razzies Feb. 23, USA Today reported. The awards are given out annually by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation to the worst movies of the year as a counterpoint to the Academy Awards. Twilight (worst film), Kristen Stewart (worst actress) and Taylor Lautner (worst supporting actor) all "won" awards. Last year, the Adam Sandler movie Jack and Jill swept all 10 awards.

Danica Patrick, who made history by becoming the first woman to win a Sprint Cup pole and to lead a lap in the Daytona 500, finished eighth in the race, USA Today reported. "Only 13 people including me have led Daytona and Indy. That's a cool stat for me," Patrick said. Jimmie Johnson won his second Daytona 500 as cars ran single-file the last two laps.

Singer Janet Jackson said that she married Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana last year, quashing media reports of upcoming nuptials, according to the Chicago Tribune. Jackson, 46, was engaged to billionaire Al Mana, 37, last year but kept the news under wraps. "The rumors regarding an extravagant wedding are simply not true. Last year we were married in a quiet, private, and beautiful ceremony," Jackson and Al Mana said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight.

Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Houston Astros will co-host the second annual MLB Diversity Business Summit June 19, according to a press release. The event will provide attendees with unprecedented access to human-resource and procurement executives from all 30 MLB teams, MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media, minor-league baseball clubs and MLB's central office. The MLB and the Chicago White Sox co-hosted the first summit in 2012.

Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o said he was the victim of an online hoax involving a girlfriend (who it turned out never existed)—but now NFL teams reportedly want to know if Te'o is gay, according to a item. NBC Sports and Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio told radio host Dan Patrick that the issue of Te'o's sexuality has become "the elephant in the room" for NFL teams interested in drafting him. In 2011, the NFL and the NFL Players Association added sexual orientation to the league's nondiscrimination statute.

The cast of Dancing with the Stars has been revealed. Among the contestants are singer Wynonna Judd, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, figure-skating legend Dorothy Hamill, boxer Victor Ortiz, reality-TV figure Lisa Vanderpump, football player Jacoby Jones, singer Kellie Pickler, comedians Andy Dick and D.L. Hughley, Disney star Zendaya Coleman and soap-opera star Ingo Rademacher. The two-hour season 16 premiere of the show will air Monday, March 18, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Anne Hathaway may have won an Oscar, but may have lost the favor of fashion designer Valentino. The best supporting actress winner was slated to wear Valentino but ditched the dress at the last minute for a Prada item, noted. (The Italian house even sent out a press release announcing that she, Sally Field and Jennifer Aniston would walk in its designs.) Reportedly, Hathaway wanted to avoid comparisons to Les Miserables co-star Amanda Seyfried, whose Alexander McQueen gown gave Hathaway a case of deja vu. Hathaway has since apologized, according to .

Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group have announced the coming U.S. premiere (to play more than 20 engagements so far) of a newly reinvented staging of Webber's Phantom of the Opera, according to . This reimaging—complete with a new scenic design and direction—was first seen in March 2012 in Plymouth, England, and has been popular on a U.K. tour. The Broadway production celebrated its 25th anniversary in January.

One day after being largely criticized by the media and viewers for his jokes during the Oscars on Feb. 24, comedian Seth MacFarlane has decided that Hollywood hosting is not for him, according to . When someone asked him on Twitter if he'd consider hosting again, MacFarlane responded, "No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though." Critics went after MacFarlane for jokes such as "Rex Reed will be out here to review Adele's performance of 'Skyfall'"—a nod to the caustic critic's slam of actress Melissa McCarthy in the movie Identity Thief.

The gay network Here TV will air the premiere of Out in Mumbai, from director Adele Tulli, according to a press release. This documentary, which tells the story of the decriminalization of homosexuality in India, debuts exclusively on Here TV and Here Online March 1. Out in Mumbai documents the diverse lives of three members of the city's LGBTQ community—Beena, Pallav and Abheena—who travel through the city heading to the celebrations for the first anniversary of the historic verdict.

The social-networking site Instagram has warned Madonna to abide by its posting guidelines and refrain from sharing photos "that show nudity or mature content," according to Fox News. Madonna recently posted a zoomed-in picture of her cleavage as well as a photo of herself from behind, while performing in a barely-there leotard. The singer also posted a photo of artist Frida Khalo that she likely did not take; this may violate the site's rule of posting photos that aren't the user's.

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