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SHOWBIZ Grammys, Pam Grier, Lee Daniels, Ryan Reynolds
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-01-23

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The Recording Academy has expanded its lineup for the 60th Annual Grammy Awards ( to air Jan. 28 with host James Corden ) with seven-time Grammy winner and current nominee Kendrick Lamar; four-time Grammy winner Sam Smith; and a special performance by 22-time Grammy winners U2, according to a press release. Also, Miley Cyrus will take the stage with five-time Grammy winner Elton John to perform one of John's classic hits just two days ahead of "Elton John: I'm Still Standing—A Grammy Salute," a tribute concert where John and his longtime writing partner, Bernie Taupin, will receive the Recording Academy President's Merit Award.

The Grammys recently announced its Lifetime Achievement Award winners for 2018, and now they've announced the 25 recordings that are being inducted into the Hall of Fame, GoldDerby.com noted. Among the youngest recordings to make the cut are the 1992 classic ballad "I Will Always Love You" ( which Dolly Parton wrote and Whitney Houston later sang into history ), which won Houston the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1994. The groundbreaking 1991 grunge album Nevermind, by Nirvana, is also being inducted. A few of the other songs and albums include Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," Linda Ronstadt's Heart Like a Wheel, Gladys Knight & The Pips' "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and David Bowie's "Space Oddity."

After publishing a memoir that bared her rise as a '70s screen siren and a private life that included love affairs with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Richard Pryor and Freddie Prinze, Pam Grier is focused on Pam, the working title of a biopic that will bring her life story to the screen, Deadline noted. A script by Bennie Richburg is about to be shopped, one that Jay Pharoah read and attached himself to play Pryor, whom Grier saw at his best and worst.

Fox has picked up its first three pilots of the season—comedies from Lee Daniels and Lil Rel Howrey, and a musical drama from Quantico creator Josh Safran, TheWrap noted. Our People, a single-camera comedy executive produced Daniels, is an adaptation of the Israeli format Nevsu: A Young Multi-Cultural Couple written by 30 Rock/Modern Family alum Vali Chandrasekaran. The pilot centers on a man from an African family who doesn't have a word in their native language for "privacy" and his fiancee from a Midwestern family as they try to build a normal life together.

Ryan Reynolds is planting roots at Fox, the Century City-based studio that is being acquired by Disney, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The studio has signed a three-year first-look deal with the star and producer behind the studio's Deadpool movies, and have lined up a live-action feature version of Clue as his first project out of the gate. Regarding Clue, Reynolds is reuniting with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers of Deadpool and its upcoming sequel.

Nearly one year after suffering a heart attack, Bob Harper opened up about his near fatal health scare with Us Weekly and how he has been "redefining what my body is supposed to look like and feel like." The former Biggest Loser coach admitted to being "confused" about his incident considering he was in top physical shape. The fitness coach has launched Survivors Have Heart, a program for heart attack survivors, and is "putting carbs back on your plate" with his book The Super Carb Diet.

VH1 announced the guest judges set to join host RuPaul on the upcoming season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, according to a press release. Joining the main panel of RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews will be such stars as Vanessa Hudgens, Tituss Burgess, Kristin Chenoweth, Marc Jacobs, Shay Mitchell, Todrick Hall, Nancy Pelosi, Vanessa Williams, Adam Lambert and Garcelle Beauvais, among others. The 90-minute premiere will air Thursday, Jan. 25.

SAG-AFTRA is developing a code of conduct to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace—and at auditions, wrap parties, film festivals and anywhere else performers gather to find jobs or promote and celebrate their work, Deadline noted. An email sent to the union's board members said the code "will provide clear safety guidance to performers in the work environment and in social environments attached to work where harassment frequently occurs."

Disgraced actor Kevin Spacey is facing racism accusations after allegedly calling security guards the 'N' word on the House of Cards set, Hollywood Life reported. Earl Blue, 51, the head of VIP Protective Services, has broken his five year silence to claim that Spacey refused to talk to black security guards and even called them "n***ers" while his team worked on season one of the Netflix series back in 2012. Spacey, 58, became a virtual Hollywood outcast after more than a dozen men came forward with sexual misconduct and assault allegations against him in October and November 2017.

In other Spacey-related news, Netflix took a $39 million hit in its fiscal fourth quarter related to two projects involving the actor, according to Deadline. Production of the sixth and final season of House of Cards, the signature original drama that debuted in 2013, was suspended in late October after numerous accusations against Spacey. Gore, the other project written down in the company's results, was a film about Gore Vidal that Spacey had just wrapped.

Call Me By Your Name breakout actor Timothee Chalamet announced that he will donate his wages from working on Woody Allen's upcoming "A Rainy Day in New York" to Time's Up, the LGBT Center in New York and RAINN ( the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network ), Page Six noted. His move to donate comes after his Rainy Day ( a movie made with Woody Allen, who's been accused of sexual misconduct ) co-star Rebecca Hall decided to donate her earnings from the movie to Time's Up.

Mo'Nique took to Instagram to call for a Netflix boycott, accusing the streaming giant of gender and racial bias—and Wanda Sykes was among those thanking her, Vulture noted. Mo'Nique said that Netflix attempted to lowball her while negotiating a deal for her upcoming comedy special, offering her much less than Dave Chappelle or Amy Schumer received for their specials. Sykes tweeted, "@moworldwide, thank you for speaking out. @netflix offered me less than half of your $500k," adding, "I was offended but found another home. #EPIX."

Tracey Thorn revealed her new single "Queen," the first song to be taken from her first solo album of entirely original material in seven years, per a press release. Titled Record, the new album will be released on Friday, March 2. Interested persons can pre-order the album on CD and smoky red Peak Vinyl in the Merge store ( www.mergerecords.com/record ), where each format can be bundled with a full-color Tracey Thorn zine featuring 20 pages of handwritten lyrics and photos from the recording sessions. Record is also available for pre-order through independent record stores and digital-music services.

Comedy veterans Hector Elizondo ( Last Man Standing ) and Holland Taylor ( Two and a Half Men ) have been cast as the leads in Guess Who Died, NBC's single-camera comedy from Norman Lear and Peter Tolan, Deadline noted. The comedy is set in the Las Esperanzado Senior Community in Palm Springs and centers on Murray ( Elizondo ), a retired music executive who realizes he's fallen in love with his late wife's sister, Patricia, a former American Airlines flight attendant.

Ja Rule used an anti-gay slur to attack fellow rapper 50 Cent, PinkNews noted.The two early '00s rappers reignited their feud recently, when 50 ( real name Curtis Jackson ) said he would "knock out" Rule if he saw him. Rule retaliated, calling 50 a "pu—y" and saying "From NOW ON EVERYONE CAN REFER TO @50cent as #ticklebooty not fif not fiddy… #ticklebooty," later adding, "what's funny is @50cent let's women and MEN play with his butthole… that's kinda funny."

Some familiar faces are returning to Will & Grace, as Alec Baldwin, Blythe Danner and Sara Rue will reprise their roles on the current season, Deadline noted. Baldwin will return as Malcolm Widmark, Danner as Marilyn Truman ( Will's mom ) and Rue as Joyce ( Grace's sister ). Mary McCormack and Robert Klein will also guest star as well as Harry Connick Jr., Minnie Driver, Leslie Jordan and Molly Shannon, Bobby Cannavale and Jennifer Lopez.

The late actress Bea Arthur will ( sort of ) appear in Deadpool 2, NewNowNext noted. "Bea" and "Arthur" are the names of Deadpool's katanas; the Canadian actor revealed the swords were named after Arthur some time ago. Reynolds previously sported a Bea Arthur T-shirt in the first movie. The Deadpool sequel will be in theaters on May 18.

The Batman movie The Dark Knight is turning 10 years old in July—but a theater chain on the East Coast called Showcase Cinemas is getting in on the celebration next month by offering 10th-anniversary screenings, Movieweb noted. The theater chain has locations in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Christopher Nolan-directed film ( that netted Heath Ledger an Oscar for his role as The Joker ) earned more than $1 billion at the box office.

Jada Pinkett Smith was a juror at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Deadline noted. Pinkett Smith was joined on the juries by luminaries such as Octavia Spencer, Chaz Ebert, Shirley Manson and Michael Stuhlbarg. This year is the first time that both the U.S. Dramatic category and the U.S. Documentary category will see people of color as the majority. Sundance will run through Jan. 28 in Park City, Utah.

Katy Perry talked with Refinery29 about plastic surgery, People noted. "I haven't had any," she said. "I've done lasers and got [filler] injections under my eyes for the hollowing—which I'd recommend for everyone who wants a solution for their dark circles—but all of my assets are real." However, in addition to recommending injections for dark circles, Perry encourages women to get work done—as long as they're sure it will make them happy.

James Franco, who had collected scores of accolades for his performance in The Disaster Artist, was snubbed by the Motion Picture Academy. The actor did not receive an Oscar nomination for best actor on Jan. 23, despite collecting a Golden Globe. Franco was passed over for a nomination amid allegations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior by five women. Franco has denied the accusations, calling them "not accurate."

Matt Damon was on NBC's Today to apologize for remarks he made last month about Hollywood's sexual-harassment scandal, Deadline reported. "Boy, I really wish I'd listened a lot more before I weighed in on this," he told Kathie Lee Gifford. In a Dec. 14 interview with ABC's Peter Travers, the Oscar winner said: "You know, there's a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn't be conflated, right?"

After months of speculation, a medical examiner has ruled that Tom Petty died of an accidental overdose, Rolling Stone reported. The Hall of Fame musician had taken several pain medications, including fentanyl ( including acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl ), oxycodone and generic Xanax. Other medications included generic Restoril ( a sleep aid ) and generic Celexa ( which treats depression ). The coroner's office listed Petty's official cause of death as "multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity," noting the singer suffered from coronary artery atherosclerosis and emphysema.

Neil Diamond has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, USA Today reported. The legendary musician will be retiring, and has canceled the third leg of his 50th-anniversary tour. Diamond will turn 77 on Wednesday, and the Recording Academy will honor him with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys on Jan. 28.

Jane Fonda had a cancerous growth removed from her lip, Page Six noted. The 80-year-old actress, who was in New York promoting season four of Netflix's Grace and Frankie, attended a BUILD Series event with a bandage on her lower lip. This isn't the first time Fonda has experienced a cancer scare, as she removed a small tumor from her breast during a routine checkup back in 2010.

Kim Kardashian's new baby daughter with rapper husband Kanye West has been named Chicago, Reuters reported. The baby girl was born to a surrogate, a third child for the celebrity couple. West, 40, was born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago; Kardashian, 37, and West are already parents to North, 4, and Saint, 2.

HBO captured two of six overall awards and Bravo's 13-year-old Real Housewives franchise won for Best Docusoap at today's NATPE fourth annual Reality Breakthrough Awards, Deadline reported. In perhaps the speediest awards luncheon on record, the ceremony emceed by Dan Abrams ( host of the nominated Real PD on A&E ) clocked in at approximately 12 minutes. Acceptance speeches were all kept very short and most were delivered by intermediaries who began by disclosing that "I'm not …" the boss.

Former Dance Moms host Abby Lee Miller will be walking out of jail next month after having served less than half of her sentence for fraud, Deadline noted. The reality-TV host will leave a federal prison in California on Feb. 20 and segue to a halfway house. This news comes just over five months after Miller started serving her year and one day sentenced on July 12, 2017; she's being released early for good behavior.


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