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SHOWBIZ Lil Nas X, classic TV shows, Janelle Monae, NFL player
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-07-30

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The country-trap smash "Old Town Road" ( by out rapper/singer Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus ) has broken the record for the longest-running number-one song on Billboard's singles chart. And faced with the task of keeping the hit atop the Hot 100 for a 17th week, Nas X released a remix featuring the ultra-popular K-pop group BTS, the L.A. Times noted. "Road" has now surpassed the 2017 hit "Despacito," by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber; and the 1995 smash "One Sweet Day," by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.

I Love Lucy: A Colorized Celebration will be in 600 theaters Aug. 6, CloserWeekly.com noted. This event ( from Fathom Events ) will feature five colorized episodes of the series ( which originally aired on CBS from 1951 to 1957 ), as well as never-before-seen bonus material. Aug. 6 would've been star Lucille Ball's 108th birthday.

In a deal with Sony Pictures Television ( SPT ), Hulu has announced that it has acquired the rights to fan favorite comedy Designing Women set to stream on Hulu on Monday, Aug. 26—Women's Equality Day, a press release noted. The comedy, which ran on CBS during 1986-1993, follows outspoken owner Julia Sugarbaker ( Dixie Carter ) as she runs a design firm out of her Atlanta home along with her self-absorbed, ex-beauty queen sister, Suzanne ( Delta Burke ), divorced sassy mother Mary Jo ( Annie Potts ) and naive country girl Charlene ( Jean Smart ). In addition, ex-con handyman Anthony Bouvier ( Meshach Taylor ) offers his help not only at the firm, but also offers his opinions on all of the ladies' personal matters.

Actress/musician Janelle Monae will take over the lead role from Julia Roberts in the second season of the Amazon Prime Video series Homecoming, Engadget noted. In her first major role in a TV series, Monae will play a woman who wakes up in a canoe with no idea how she got there or who she is. Along with her successful music career, Monae has co-starred in the NASA drama Hidden Figures and Oscar winner Moonlight. Later this year, Monae will appear in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriett and a live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp, which will be a Disney+ exclusive.

During a sit-down with GQ, NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. ( now with the Cleveland Browns ) was asked about rumors surrounding his sexuality, BET.com reported. While he wasn't explicitly asked if he's gay, the interviewer brought up the rumors made mostly by social-media users. "I've never had an opportunity to talk about this," Beckham replied. "Honestly wasn't offended. I've never once had no problem with anybody who has their own personal life that they live. I have friends who are gay." When it was brought up that many of those pondering his sexuality are Black, Beckham conveyed his disappointment and said he's been criticized for dating women outside of his race.

Norman Lear and Lin-Manuel Miranda have partnered on a new doc exploring the life of West Side Story and One Day at a Time star Rita Moreno, Deadline noted. The pair are working on Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go For It ( working title ) for PBS and its Thirteen strand. The film, which will premiere in 2020, will explore the Puerto Rican actor's 70-year career and will feature interviews with Moreno, Lear, Miranda, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally and Chita Rivera.

Model Carissa Pinkston has reportedly admitted to pretending to be transgender in order to avoid a backlash over anti-trans comments, PinkNews noted. Pinkston, a model who was worked for Rihanna's Savage x Fenty and Marc Jacobs, reportedly said that she was trans July 22 in a now-deleted Instagram post. The announcement came just days after she was dropped by her modelling agency over a series of Facebook posts which argued that "being transgender does not make you a woman. It simply makes you transgender." After coming out as trans, Pinkston's move was questioned by fellow models—and she reportedly eventually admitted that she lied.

A hacker posted hateful, bigoted tweets from actress Jessica Alba's account, Page Six revealed. Messages posted to the Honest Co. founder's account included one that read, "Nazi Germany Did Nothing Wrong And That's On God N—a," while others included offers to pay $50,000 to kill disabled gay people. Falling prey to Twitter trolling is somewhat new to Alba, who previously lamented about being a target for a different kind of harassment: sexual advances from older men.

At the Television Critics Association event, it was announced that Amazon's Transparent musical finale will drop Sept. 27 on Prime, Deadline reported. For quite some time, Jill Soloway wanted to create a musical with her sister Faith, a writer and consulting producer on the show. Alexandra Billings, who plays Davina on the show, spoke about the series' on-set spirituality, and how they were able to weather the storm in the wake of actor Jeffrey Tambor ( who departed because of sexual-harassment allegations ): "Any kind of cracking that happened during this show, and were many to go through, we did it together, because every human was there to help open a portal and be a beautiful example and to create more opportunities for other-ized people."

Barry Manilow returns to Broadway for an exclusive limited engagement ( through Aug. 17 ) at the Nederlander's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City, a press release noted. Manilow has a long history on Broadway. He received a Special Tony Award for his first appearance in 1977. In 1989, he sold out an eight-week run at the Gershwin Theater and in 2013 sold out an eight-week run at the St. James Theatre. This September, he will be headlining BBC's The Proms in the Park, in London.

A jury unanimously found that pop singer Katy Perry had copied a 2009 Christian rap song for her 2013 hit "Dark Horse," a CBS News item noted. The verdict came five years after the Christian rapper Marcus Gray, also known as Flame, and two co-writers filed a lawsuit against the pop star. Gray alleged Perry stole the beat and instrumental line from his song "Joyful Noise" to create "Dark Horse."

RuPaul's Drag Race alumna Latrice Royale wants to a be a part of Disney's upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, directed by Rob Marshall and starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, NewNowNext.com noted. Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy is rumored to be in talks to play Ursula, the voice-snatching sea witch. In a new interview with The A.V. Club, Royale revealed that Ursula is her favorite fictional villain.

NBC confirmed that the popular sitcom Will & Grace will end next season, which is set to debut in 2020, People.com noted. The series—which stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally—made a triumphant return in 2017, more than 10 years after the Emmy-winning series concluded its first run of eight seasons. Some other shows that will end after next season include Empire, Modern Family, How to Get Away with Murder, Criminal Minds, The Good Place, Lucifer, Arrow, Silicon Valley, The Affair, Fuller House and Homeland.

Patrick Schwarzenegger stars as Daniel in the new trailer for Daniel Isn't Real—a horror film that centers around a troubled college freshman, Luke ( Miles Robbins ), who suffers a violent family trauma, People.com noted. Luke resurrects his childhood imaginary friend Daniel to help him cope, but his coping mechanism takes a violent turn when he finds himself being terrorized by what he thought was something he could trust. This is Schwarzenegger's most recent film, as he's previously starred in Midnight Sun ( opposite pansexual actress Bella Thorne ); also, he has had roles in the TV series The Long Road Home and Scream Queens.

After continued fallout from the explosive Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, MTV is considering cutting ties with Jackson's name for its annual Video Music Awards in August, according to Page Six. HBO's controversial documentary focused on sexual-abuse allegations by former Jackson proteges Wade Robson and James Safechuck; both claim Jackson groomed them as kids to have a sexual relationship. Jackson's estate denied the allegations and filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO for violating a clause from a 1992 contract that barred the network from making "disparaging remarks" about the late singer; HBO countered that the contract had expired.

Page Six reported that legendary Oscar-winning actress Faye Dunaway has been fired from the Broadway-bound play Tea at Five for creating a "hostile" and "dangerous" environment backstage that "left production members fearing for their safety," WorldOfWonder.net noted. The one-woman play—in which Dunaway would play Katherine Hepburn—was meant to be a theatrical comeback of sorts for Dunaway, who famously was fired by Andrew Lloyd Webber before she opened in the 1994 Los Angeles production of Sunset Boulevard. The final straw came when organizers had to cancel the July 10 performance because Dunaway allegedly physically and verbally abused several production members.

Valerie Harper's husband, Tony Cacciotti, gave fans an update on the longtime actress' health, People.com noted. On Facebook, Cacciotti, 78, revealed how doctors had advised that his wife of 32 years be moved to hospice care amid her battle with cancer. Despite their professional opinion, Cacciotti said he was not willing to listen to them because of how much he adored Harper, 79, and vowed to keep his wife as comfortable as possible in some of the final moments of her life.

Rutger Hauer—the Dutch leading man of the '70s who went on star in the 1982 Blade Runner, as Roy Batty—died July 19 at his home in the Netherlands after a short illness at age 75, Variety noted. Some of his other films included The Hitcher, Ladyhawke, Turkish Delight and Sin City. Hauer's funeral was held July 24.

Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated rock band Goo Goo Dolls have announced a nationwide headlining tour in support of their forthcoming album, Miracle Pill ( Warner Records ), a press release noted. The tour will kick off in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 25 and will visit more than 20 cities across North America before wrapping in Toronto on Nov. 25, including San Antonio, Texas; Peoria, Illinois; and Charleston, South Carolina.

Ten episodes into The Handmaid's Tale's third-season run, Hulu has renewed the Emmy, Golden Globe and Peabody Award-winning drama series for a fourth season, Deadline reported. An instant hit, the show ( based on the novel by Margaret Atwood ) is a popular culture staple that transcends entertainment. The Handmaid's Tale costumes have become a symbol of women's rights and have recently been incorporated into the protests against state legislation banning abortion.

The Viacom network has picked up a seventh season of the hit comedy series Younger halfway through its season-six run, Deadline noted. With the renewal, Younger becomes TV Land's longest running original series, surpassing Hot In Cleveland. Younger—the only remaining original scripted series on TV Land—stars Sutton Foster, with Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann, Molly Bernard and Charles Michael Davis.

Sherlock Holmes 3—starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law—has been selected by the California Film Commission to receive a conditional $20.8 million tax credit for shooting in California, Variety reported. Some other feature films in that category include Janis, a Warner Bros. remake of Little Shop of Horrors, Macbeth, Pandora and American Pie Presents: Girls Rule. The commission said the 10 projects will generate an estimated $310 million in qualified spending ( defined as below-the-line wages and payments to in-state vendors ).

Harvey Weinstein's rape trial in New York, which is slated for September, will headline courtroom coverage on the reborn Court TV, Deadline reported. Court TV—reactivating a brand that revolutionized trial coverage as much as ESPN did sports or CNN did news—relaunched in May as a multicast network. Executives conceded they cannot legally broadcast live from inside the courtroom at New York Supreme Court in Manhattan—but they insisted they will create a unique experience for viewers.

TNT, a division of WarnerMedia Entertainment, has renewed its drama Animal Kingdom for a fifth season, a press release noted. Animal Kingdom season four stars Emmy and Tony winner Ellen Barkin as the matriarch of the Cody crime family; others on the show include Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Finn Cole and Sohvi Rodriguez. Emily Deschanel also joined the cast this season in a recurring role.

Amber Marchese's husband Jim has come under fire for homophobic social-media comments in the past; now, the former Real Housewives of New Jersey husband is now being accused of refusing to pay for his son's college education because he's gay, according to Radar Online, citing Instinct Magazine. James Marchese, who goes by Michael, started a GoFundMe page Opens a New Window. to help pay for his freshman year college tuition at Fairfield University.

Bow Wow is facing backlash from some of his 3 million followers after body-shaming Wendy Williams on Twitter, The Daily Mail claimed. The talk-show hostess recently called out the actor/rapper on her show after he dissed ex-girlfriend Ciara. Bow Wow—given name Shad Moss—retaliated by posting a bikini photo of Williams to Twitter with a disparaging caption. Fans quickly hit back in defense of Williams, with one posting, "you literally have a daughter...body shaming aint the move."


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