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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race,' NPH, Lena Waithe, Lady Gaga
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2018-06-19

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VH1 announced that Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race has been greenlit for a new season, a press release noted. The new season will follow a record-breaking season 10, currently the most watched in franchise history. Additionally, the network renewed the aftershow, RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked, which provides an intimate look into the conversations between the queens as they await to learn their fate behind the mainstage.

Neil Patrick Harris has responded to Rachel Bloom after she called out Harris for comments he made while she was backstage at the Tony Awards, People.com noted. Harris initially asked his followers, "Who is the woman in the top hat backstage at @TheTonyAwards? [Son] Gideon remarked that she says 'like' and 'oh my god' a lot. I'm confused…," to which Bloom responded, "I'm a big fan of yours. We've met numerous times and my husband, Dan Gregor, wrote for 'How I Met Your Mother' for 5 years. Notably, he wrote the episode where your character finally meets his father." Harris later asked, "Indeed! Well said. Thanks for the reminder. How was backstage?"

Actress/screenwriter/producer Lena Waithe was honored with the Trailblazer Award at this year's MTV Movie & TV Awards on June 18, and Waithe used the opportunity to share the honor with trailblazers of the past, Entertainment Tonight noted. One of the trailblazers was the acclaimed 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, which chronicled the Black, Latino, gay and transgender communities involved in the influential underground drag culture in 1980s New York City. Waithe was introduced by close friend Common, who lauded her for her inspirational Hollywood journey. ( In another LGBT-related development, Love Simon's Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale won for Best Kiss. )

Also related to the MTV Movie & TV Awards, Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance to announce Black Panther as Movie of the Year, People.com noted. In addition, while clips played of her documentary Five Foot Two, which won the prize for Best Music Documentary at the award show, event host Tiffany Haddish handed the singer her golden popcorn statue. Directed by Chris Moukarbel, the Netflix documentary follows the Grammy winner in the year leading up to the release of her 2016 album, Joanne.

In addition, Millie Bobby Brown had a message for bullies when she won the Best Performance award for her work in Stranger Things 2, EW.com noted. The Stranger Things actress' video speech was shown just days after she quit Twitter because of cyberbullying. Many Twitter users made her the subject of several homophobic memes, which attributed hateful comments to her and were often shared with the hashtag #TakeDownMillieBobbyBrown.

PinkNews noted that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was set to feature a lesbian character, new star Daniella Pineda has revealed. Pineda plays a paleo-veterinarian, Dr Zia Rodriguez, who makes the dangerous journey to Isla Nublar in the new dino sequel. Pineda told Yahoo! Entertainment that the scene would have happened quite early on in the film, adding the creative team of director J.A. Bayona and co-writer/producer Colin Trevorrow wanted her character to reveal her sexuality but had to make the decision to nix the scene as the original cut of the film was too long.

Troye Sivan released "Dance To This," featuring Ariana Grande—a track from his forthcoming album, Bloom, a press release announced. Bloom, which will be released by Capitol Records on Aug. 31, is now available for pre-order everywhere. Fans who pre-order the digital album will instantly receive "Dance To This," plus the singles "Bloom" and "My My My!"

Kelly Clarkson is scheduled to perform a medley of her hit songs at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards ( RDMA ) on June 23 at 7 p.m. CT, a press release noted. Clarkson will also receive the RDMA Icon Award, which recognizes a distinguished artist whose career transcends popular culture and whose music is beloved by Radio Disney fans. The event will air on Disney Channel as well as multiple Disney-branded platforms, including Radio Disney, the Radio Disney app, the DisneyNOW app and Disney.com/RDMA.

Also, music icon Janet Jackson will receive the first-ever "Impact" Award at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards, a press release noted. The release stated, in part, "The 'Impact' Award is in recognition of Ms. Jackson's influence on society and the world of entertainment—particularly women—across generations of fans. Artists like Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys have all cited Jackson as having an indelible impact on their own careers."

After the controversial cancelation of Roseanne, comedian/writer Wanda Sykes broke her silence on season two of Revry podcast "SHOOK with Ashlee Marie Preston," Broadway World noted. Among other things, Sykes offered new revelations about Roseanne, exiting the show, equal pay, turning down Netflix via Monique's deal and raising a family.

Feature documentaries from stars, including Tilda Swinton and Alan Cumming, as well as producers such as Searching For Sugar Man's John Battsek and Shooting Bigfoot's Morgan Matthews were some of the high-profile projects searching for funding at this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest ( which took place June 7-12 in Sheffield, England ), Deadline noted. Major broadcasters, including HBO and the BBC, as well as many European networks have come on board many early-stage docs that are searching for final funding at Sheffield Doc/Fest's MeetMarket. The marketplace, which is whittled down from around 550 projects, attracts more than 300 decision-makers including Netflix and YouTube as well as distributors including Neon, Submarine and Cinetic.

Apple has signed a multi-year content-partnership deal with Oprah Winfrey, TheWrap noted. Under the deal, Winfrey will produce "original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world." The projects will be released as part of Apple's original content lineup. The non-exclusive pact comes in addition to Winfrey's role as chairman and CEO of the Discovery-owned cable network OWN; last year, she extended her deal to remain at OWN through at least 2025.

Users' relationship options aren't limited by gender in the video game Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, VG247.com noted. Whether users play as a man or a woman, all the choices present in the game are the same—including romantic partners. Players are also free to recruit crewmen for their ships, including enemies they manage to subdue and capture. The game will be out Oct. 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Country singer Rory Feek—who lost his wife and musical partner, Joey Feek, two years ago to cancer—recently talked with Entertainment Tonight about his struggles with one of the daughters, Hopie, coming out as lesbian. Hopie was also interviewed by CBS Sunday Morning and recalled that she was afraid her father was going to judge her and noted that "yes" he did judge her in that moment. He seemingly agreed, sharing his candid reaction to the news. However, Rory noted that he has come around to the idea and to what it means to be a parent and to love unconditionally.

Natalie Portman appeared The Late Show, giving Stephen Colbert the opportunity to ask about a member of her 2003 graduating class: President Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, USA Today noted. Portman said the two "were friendly," but later said of Kushner, "There's not a lot funny to say about someone you were friends with becoming a supervillain."

Having parted with Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac is going its own way—to Vegas, EW.com noted. The legendary band is set to perform Friday, Sept. 21, at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival. It will be the band's first show since Mike Campbell ( the former lead guitarist for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers ) and Neil Finn ( the frontman of Crowded House ) replaced Buckingham in April. The two join remaining members Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie.

Ryan Murphy has teased that the next season of American Horror Story will be a crossover of the "Coven" and "Murder House" seasons that have aired, TheWrap noted. "The Coven/Murder House AHS crossover season won't be happening next year…because it's happening THIS YEAR. AHS #8 WITCHES RULE THIS SEPTEMBER," he tweeted.

Four months after announcing their engagement, it looks like actor Russell Tovey ( Looking; Quantico ) and fiance Steve Brockman have called it quits, NewNowNext.com noted. A recent Instagram interaction reveals there's trouble in paradise, or the two are officially done. In the comment section to one of Tovey's Instagram posts, a follower asked the star if he was still involved with Brockman—to which Tovey replied, "no darling."

In a new barrage of messages from the ex-star of Roseanne, Barr said she wants to "forgive everyone who hurt me," EW.com noted. She also tried to defend her initial tweet about former Clinton aide Valerie Jarrett by showing her affection for Planet of the Apes. Barr's revival of Roseanne was canceled by ABC after she posted a racial tweet in late May attacking President Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, who is African-American.

John Travolta's newest movie, Gotti, earned a zero-percent score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 17 reviews as of June 15, Vulture noted. Entertainment Weekly pointed out that Gotti is Travolta's third film to score a zero after 1983's Staying Alive and 1993's Look Who's Talking Now, although both earlier movies had their scores retroactively compiled by the site.

New Zealand recently determined that disgraced former Today co-host Matt Lauer passed the "good character" test real estate buyers are assessed upon, and will be allowed to keep his 27,000-acre farm, according to Architectural Digest. The property in question, which Lauer purchased for a reported $9.2 million back in February 2017, came with a "good character" clause that is standard for any properties that foreign investors buy. Last November, when Lauer was accused of sexual misconduct and was summarily fired from NBC, the Overseas Investment Office took it upon themselves to investigate further to determine whether or not Lauer could hold onto his property.

A day after allegations of emotional abuse and sexual assault were leveled against Chris Hardwick by an ex-girlfriend, AMC decided to officially pull the plug on their longtime host's talk show and appearances at San Diego Comic-Con next month, Deadline noted. "We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years," said the home of The Walking Dead in a statement. "While we assess the situation, Talking with Chris Hardwick will not air on AMC, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month."

It was announced that actor Emile Hirsch was joining the cast of Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film about Charles Manson, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which also includes Al Pacino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning and others. However, according to Vulture, The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil slammed the move, as Hirsch had been arrested for attacking a woman—one of her friends—at the Sundance Film Festival just three years ago. The actress' comments stem from Hirsch's 2015 assault of a Paramount Pictures executive at a nightclub during the Sundance Film Festival in which he came up behind her, putt her in a choke hold and threw her on the ground; Hirsch had been drinking and said he didn't remember the details of the attack.

Actress Heather Locklear was hospitalized for a psych evaluation after a family member claimed the star had threatened to kill herself, according to a Page Six item that cites TMZ. According to a 911 dispatch call TMZ obtained, the family member called in and said Locklear was trying to hurt herself and "looking for a gun to shoot herself." It was also noted that the actress did not have access to a weapon. Locklear entered rehab for the fifth time in January 2017, telling Page Six at the time, "I am feeling great and am taking steps to enrich and better my life."

Kesha's lawyers are hitting back at Dr. Luke's latest allegations in their ongoing lawsuit, People.com noted. The pop star's legal team released a statement to PEOPLE alleging that Kesha has yet to be paid royalties for last year's Rainbow album and that the producer is to blame for the leak of her text message conversation with Lady Gaga, in which Luke was accused of raping Katy Perry. Hours later, attorneys for Dr. Luke responded to Kesha's legal team: "Kesha and her legal team are fully aware that Ms. Perry has unequivocally confirmed that she was not raped by Dr. Luke. Kesha and her attorneys should be ashamed of themselves for not publicly acknowledging this and apologizing."

Will & Grace star Debra Messing recently said she was forced to use breast enhancers for a comedy series early in her career, The Huffington Post reported. "I had to wear fake boobs when I first started in Hollywood on my first sitcom," Messing told Sharon Stone for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series. Messing said she objected, but was told that the president of the network insisted. Messing and Stone also discussed their other encounters with sexism in show business.


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