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Rihanna show on Bravo; 'Modern Family' spinoff possibility
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Rihanna will be on Bravo—or, at least, her fashion-focused reality show will be, according to . Originally ordered to series by Style Network, Styled to Rock will now air on Bravo; it will premiere Friday, Oct. 25. Styled to Rock features 12 designers fighting for a $100,000 cash prize, a feature in Glamour Magazine and the chance to become a member of Rihanna's design team. Music artist/producer Pharrell Williams, model Erin Wasson and Rihanna's personal stylist, Mel Ottenberg, will mentor the contestants.

Talks for a spinoff of the hit ABC series Modern Family are in the early stages, reported. The network and producer 20th Century Fox TV have met to discuss potentially spinning off the hit comedy. One concept that is being explored is for a show built around standout Modern Family guest player Rob Riggle and the character he played in two episodes last season ( Gil Thorpe, a rival of the Phil Dunphy character played by Ty Burrell ).

Singer Taylor Swift has a new movie role in the film adaptation of the young adult novel The Giver by Louis Lowry, US Magazine reported. Her costars include three-time Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes and Brenton Thwaites. Swift's previous acting credits include a guest spot on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as well as the films Valentine's Day and The Lorax.

PBS announced the world television premiere of Elton John in Concert Saturday, Oct. 5, 8-9 p.m. ET, according to a press release. The new special will feature John singing in the BBC's Radio Theatre in the heart of West London. The concert special ( attended by 300 fans chosen to win tickets ) showcases the multi-Grammy Award-winning superstar performing songs from his new album, The Diving Board, mixed with classic songs from his extensive repertoire of hits, including "Rocket Man," "Your Song," "Tiny Dancer" and "Bennie and the Jets."

Geeks OUT, the NYC-based nonprofit dedicated to rallying, empowering, and promoting the queer geek community is thrilled to announce the culmination of its year-long Skip Ender's Game campaign, six separate events in cities across the United States on the film's opening night, November 1, 2013, including New York, Orlando, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, according to a press release. Noted anti-gay activist and former board member of the National Organization for Marriage Orson Scott Card is a credited producer on Lions Gate Entertainment's upcoming adaptation of Card's most famous novel. Geeks OUT's pledge to Skip Ender's Game in theaters as well as all parts of the movie's merchandising has gained more than 10,000 signatures on .

Britney Spears might be back, but she's not doing too well at the box office, according to the New York Post. Spears, 31, recently announced a two-year residency at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino starting Dec. 27; however, ticket sales are reportedly a "disaster." Her manager, Larry Rudolph, said that reports of lax tickets sales are false—and that she will be singing live, noted. Moreover, TMZ noted that of the 73,600 tickets on sale, more than 70,000 were gone as of Sept. 26.

Three gay men—playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, pianist/writer Jeremy Denk and dancer-choreographer Kyle Abraham—are among those who received MacArthur "Genius" Grants, one of the most prestigious fellowships in the country, reported. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's grants are often termed the "genius grants," but it's also essential for progress in creative and scientific fields since it comes with a no-strings-attached stipend of $650,000.

Olivia Travel—which offers vacations especially for the lesbian community—announced hat Emmy award-winning actress Meredith Baxter will take part in the Equality and Leadership Summit cruise the company is hosting, according to a press release. Baxter will join other participants such as keynote speaker Dr. Maya Angelou, civil-rights pioneer Edie Windsor, Florida Congresswoman and Chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz, musical act Indigo Girls and National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell. The summit will take place Feb. 1-8, 2014, and is a chartered Caribbean cruise.

Out gay actor Sir Ian McKellen has said Russia's anti-gay laws are "appalling" and that he would do "almost anything" to help repeal repeal them, but boycotting next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is not the answer, Pink News reported. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, the Lord of the Rings actor said, "If we were to not hold the Games because of internal politics of the country in question—probably they would never take place [anywhere]." Boycotts could be staged for a whole host of other concerns, such as "America's foreign policy", the actor suggested.

Out gay actor Rupert Everett ( My Best Friend's Wedding; An Ideal Husband ) has backed actor Stephen Fry's campaign against the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia, condemning the country's stance on gay-rights issues, reported. Everett is reportedly outraged by Russia's treatment of LGBTs, and he has thrown his support behind Fry's call to boycott the 2014 Games in Sochi. At Scotland's the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Everett said, "If you are gay in Russia you don't know anything about anything. You have no idea AIDS exists because there's no information. You live very secretly."

U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner has spoken out against Russia's controversial anti-gay law, USA Today reported. When asked about the measure, the two-time national champion said, "For me, I have gay family members and I have a lot of friends in the LBGT community. ... I obviously don't support the legislation in Russia, but at the same time it's not my place to go into Russia and tell them how to run their country; I'm just an athlete." Olympic champion Evan Lysacek and a few other skaters said they stood behind the U.S. Olympic Committee's assurance that everyone's rights during the Games would be protected.

Three-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters will head the cast of A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, a collaboration between Tony-winning composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and jazz musician-composer Wynton Marsalis for New York City Center, according to . Directed by Tony winner John Doyle and choreographed by Parker Esse, this Encores! Special Event will run Nov. 13-17. The program will feature more than two dozen Sondheim compositions, each piece newly re-imagined by Marsalis.

Celebrities such as Ke$ha; WNBA player Brittney Griner; Jazz, the 12-year -old transgender advocate and star of I am Jazz: A family in transition; Extra host Maria Menounos; NBA player Jason Collins; and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "JWOWW" Farley from the reality show Snooki and JWOWW will join GLAAD, hundreds of corporations, national landmarks, schools, local communities and millions of people in wearing purple and "going purple" online for Spirit Day on Oct. 17, according to an MTV press release. The day involves people taking a stand against bullying and to show their support for LGBT youth. Participating national landmarks include Las Vegas' Fremont Street Experience, the LAX pylon lights, the New York Stock Exchange and Times Square.

LGBT actors face continued discrimination, even as workplace opportunities and conditions improve, according to a first-of-its kind report by UCLA's The Williams Institute and the performers' union SAG-AFTRA ( Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists ), a press release stated. The report entitled, "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Diversity in Entertainment: Experiences and Perspectives of SAG-AFTRA Members," found one-third of all survey respondents believed that casting directors, directors, and producers may be biased against LGBT performers, and more than half of LGB performers had heard anti-gay comments on set. The report is at

David Bromstad, the openly gay designer and host of HGTV's Color Splash series, is coming under fire for hosting an Oct. 18 event for the Salvation Army, the Huffington Post reported. Bromstad will host the Red Shield ReDesign Bash, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; unfortunately for him, the Salvation Army's established anti-gay history has the designer in some hot water in the eyes of many gay fans, who have expressed disappointment. Addressing the fans, Bromstad posted, in part, "If we simply separate ourselves from those that we assume appose us or our beliefs then we will never make strides in the right direction."

Cher has revealed that she never hated Madonna but always thought she was a "bitch," according to Digital Spy. Cher added that she respects her fellow singer's work, perhaps with the exception of her most recent album, MDNA. In addition, Cher said, "I think Madge might be one of the most amazing artists I've known. I don't like everything she does, for sure, but she is always riding the crest of the wave."

Legendary actor/director Robert Redford offered his support for the Utah's LGBT community at Equality Utah's annual dinner, according to the Deseret News. "I'm here for the same reason you are—equal rights for all," Redford told the group. "Like you, I believe there's no place in our world for discrimination. None." This was Redford's first time at the annual Allies Dinner, an event for gay and straight Utahns celebrating together the campaign for equal rights for the LGBT community.

Zac Efron has reached out to his fans online and thanked them for their support amid reports the actor was in rehab earlier this year, reported. The High School Musical actor posted a pic of himself in Peru's Machu Picchu, and stated, "Hey guys! Just returned from an incredible trip to Peru with my dad and wanted to thank you all for your support..."

Dina and Michael Lohan ( the parents of Lindsay Lohan ) have reportedly been banned from the actress' OWN ( Oprah Winfrey Network ) reality show, the New York Daily News reported. The Oprah-helmed project featuring the embattled actress, 27, is set to be strictly about Lohan's recovery and attempts to resuscitate her acting career. An "executive decision" was allegedly made to ban the parents from the show.

Glee star Heather Morris ( who played Brittany ) is now a mother, the New York Daily News reported. The actress and her longtime boyfriend, Taylor Hubbell, welcomed a baby boy reportedly named Elijah. It's the first child for the former Beyonce back-up dancer and her boyfriend, who she's been with since high school.

Speaking of Glee, actress Jane Lynch revealed on Conan O'Brien's show that she had a crush on Olivia Newton-John, the Huffington Post noted. "She was it for me," Lynch said. "I just loved her—I named my dog after her. My dog's name is Olivia. I had a big lesbo crush on her, and I named my dog after her." Newton-John performed a rendition of her smash hit "Physical" alongside Lynch on an episode of Glee during the series' first season.

Doron Ofir Casting—the outfit behind such shows as RuPaul's Drag Race, A-List and the Emmy-nominated Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys—has announced the official casting for a docu-soap reality series entitled TransAmerica ( working title ), according to a press release. The show "seeks to explore the lives and loves of a group of dynamic and fashionable transwomen," the release stated. Trans individuals 18 and over who are interested in being on the show should visit .

A new musical from British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will delve into the sex, spies and politics at the heart of Britain's biggest post-war scandal when it opens in December, Reuters reported. The production Stephen Ward analyzes the rise and fall of a high-society osteopath at the center of the 1963 "Profumo Affair," which embarrassed the British establishment by exposing the decadent lifestyle of the London elite as the sexual revolution began. The musical will open at London's Aldwych Theatre.

Cynthia Nixon ( Sex and the City ) unexpectedly faced off against a church pastor when she spoke at the annual Breast Cancer Summit on Long Island, according to the New York Post. The lesbian star also made a passing reference to her wife [Christine Marinoni]. But after a round of applause, an audience member —identified as Pastor Lisa Calabrese of the Regeneration Church—reportedly told Nixon during a Q&A with Dr. Roger L. Simpson that her speech didn't offer enough "hope," and then criticized the actress for mentioning her wife. Nixon replied, "I acknowledge your first statement and totally reject your second comment," and the audience applauded.

Lady Gaga is slated to perform at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards, Digital Spy reported. The video-sharing website will recognize the songs, artists and videos that were most viewed on its channels in the last year on Nov. 3 in New York City. Jason Schwartzman will present the awards show, as YouTube celebrates more than 1 billion worldwide users. YouTube is recording performances in Seoul, Brazil, Moscow and London for the event, and Eminem and Arcade Fire are also set to perform.

In light of her second battle with breast cancer, singer Anastacia has had a double mastectomy, Digital Spy noted. The "One Day in Your Life" singer said she was "in the final stages of recovery" after the operation and that she is "ready to start the next chapter." She previously made a full recovery in 2003 after having surgery and radiotherapy treatment.

Out gay statistician Nate Silver, who runs the FiveThirtyEight blog, will speak at a panel at SXsports, a new sports-themed component of Austin's annual South by Southwest Festival, according to the Hollywood Reporter. SXsports will be held March 7-9, 2014. South by Southwest—which began as a music festival attended by hundreds in the 1980s—has grown into one of the premier entertainment and media gatherings in the world, with registered attendance at last year's event numbering 70,000 people.

Months after secretly tying the knot with Qatari billionaire Wissam Al Mana, superstar singer Janet Jackson is taking steps to expand her family, according to US Magazine. The "Rhythm Nation" singer, 47, is reportedly researching the process of adopting a child from a Third World country. The pop star has reached out to Queen Rania of Jordan to help facilitate an adoption.

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