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SHOWBIZ Lilly Wachowski, Greg Berlanti, Audra McDonald, Pink
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Transgender Matrix franchise/Sense8 co-creator Lilly Wachowski has come on board to produce, co-write and co-direct a series to be based on Abby McEnany and Tim Mason's pilot, Work in Progress, which premiered in the Indie Episodic Section at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 29, Deadline noted. In Work in Progress, Abby is forced to re-evaluate her life choices, her dating options, and whether or not to confront the woman responsible for "ruining her life": SNL's Julia Sweeney. McEnany is a mainstay of the Chicago improvisational comedy scene where she has performed with The Second City National Touring company and regularly performs at iO Chicago.

Greg Berlanti will receive the Television Showman of the Year honor at the 56th annual ICG Publicists Guild Awards, set for Feb. 22 at the Beverly Hilton, Deadline noted. Berlanti has 15 series on the air at the moment, and at least one project with a big commitment at each of the five broadcast networks this season. Also, Jamie Lee Curtis will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony.

Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon will star in a Broadway revival this May of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Deadline reported. The production will be directed by Obie Award winner Arin Arbus, in her Broadway debut. The 16-week revival, described as a strictly limited engagement, will begin previews in May at a Shubert Organization theater to be announced.

Pink sounded off against her critics with a lengthy Instagram post about standing up for her beliefs, US Weekly reported. "Throw up Thursday. I am the same girl I've always been," the three-time Grammy winner, 39, captioned a throwback shot Opens a New Window. of herself rocking short pink locks on Jan. 24. "I am mostly peace and love, with a little bit of go f—k yourself. So when you keyboard warriors ( anonymous toughguys ) threaten me? that middle finger is pointed at you. Again: the unfollow button is ( I think ) top right of your screen."

Out transgender actress Jen Richards is playing a cisgender character in NBC's drama series Blindspot, noted. The show follows the story of Jane Doe ( Jaimie Alexander ), a woman who was found in Times Square with no memory of how she got there—and with her only clues being mysterious tattoos on her body. Richards plays CIA agent Sabrina Larren, a recurring character.

Director Bryan Singer has responded to a report published by The Atlantic that includes multiple allegations that the filmmaker had sex with underage boys and one from a man who says he was fondled at age 13 by Singer on a film set, Deadline noted. In a message sent by a representative, the director said that Esquire magazine was set to run what he called a "homophobic smear piece" but that "after careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism. That didn't stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic." The magazine says it spent 12 months investigating allegations against the Bohemian Rhapsody and X-Men director, speaking to "more than 50 sources." ( He's still attached to direct Red Sonja, Variety noted. )

Speaking of Singer, GLAAD removed his film, Bohemian Rhapsody, from contention for a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Film—Wide Release category this year, an organizational press release revealed. A statement said, "Singer's response to The Atlantic story wrongfully used 'homophobia' to deflect from sexual assault allegations, and GLAAD urges the media and the industry at large to not gloss over the fact that survivors of sexual assault should be put first," adding, "Other films that involve Singer now or in the future should take note of the backlash to The Atlantic story and other previous allegations."

U.S. figure-skating champion John Coughlin committed suicide Jan. 25—one day after being suspended from the sport over unspecified allegations, CBS News reported. The U.S. Center for SafeSport—a non-profit that works to prevent abuse in sports—announced in December that Coughlin's participation in figure skating was restricted as the organization looked into a matter involving him. Coughlin, 33, won a U.S. pairs title in 2011 with Caitlin Yankowskas and another in 2012 with Caydee Denney.

Kristen Bell has said her Good Place character, Eleanor Shellstrop, is "kind of bi," PinkNews noted. The NBC sitcom—in its third season—has repeatedly alluded to Kristen Bell's character Eleanor Shellstrop having a crush on Tahani Al-Jamil, played by Jameela Jamil. Bell said on Conan, Tahani is gorgeous, so she keeps mentioning it. Eleanor is kind of bi, and it's fine with me!"

Nafessa Williams—who plays TV's first Black lesbian superhero, Thunder, on the CW show Black Lightning—and Luke Cage's Mike Colter have joined star Naomie Harris in the cop thriller Black and Blue, Deadline noted. Frank Grillo, Reid Scott, Beau Knapp and Tyrese Gibson are also set to co-star.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman had kind words for the late Penny Marshall —who was making a doc about him when she passed away, Page Six noted. "That was hard," he told us. "She was very close to me. I found out she died like three days later, and I was, like, 'What the f—k—she did what?' Damn, that was hard to take." Rodman was attending the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park, near Miami.

Openly gay actor Jonathan Bennett ( Mean Girls ) was the first person voted out this season on Celebrity Big Brother. Talking with Entertainment Weekly, he said of his actions, "The reason I aligned with the girls [Tamar Braxton, Lolo Jones and a few others] is that they were the only three people who had uttered a word about gameplay. No one in the house had ever seen Big Brother or understands it." He added that he felt Dina Lohan ( mother of Mean Girls co-star Lindsay ) should win the competition.

Mo'Nique recently had some choice words about Whoopi Goldberg, according to Page Six. When Mo'Nique appeared on The View last year, Goldberg said at one point, "I said if you had called me I could've schooled you on what was expected." But No'Nique recently told Vulture, "But, how many things has Whoopi Goldberg executive produced? Whoopi Goldberg has always been the help, and I say that humbly. So what is it that you're going to school me on? I've been doing it for almost 30 years." Also, Mo'Nique claimed her intentions were to help other upcoming talents in Hollywood but Goldberg disagreed.

Britney Spears impersonator/RuPaul's Drag Race alumnus Derrick Barry celebrated the 10th anniversary of Spears' Circus album with an event in NYC's Lincoln Center, a press release noted. Tweener drag personality Desmond is Amazing made an appearance, and while DJ Ty Sunderland played Spears' hits.

"Bye bye," said Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival, exiting as the public face for the Utah gathering he founded decades ago, Deadline reported. Redford's exit from Sundance, after 34 years at the helm, followed his announcement last year that Fox Searchlight's The Old Man & The Gun would be his final on-screen performance.

The CW recently greenlit four pilots, all based on well-known titles—two spinoffs of existing CW series, Riverdale and Jane the Virgin, a Nancy Drew drama and The Lost Boys reboot, Deadline noted. They join the recently greenlit Batwoman pilot starring Ruby Rose. The spinoffs are the Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene, which follows four Archie Comics characters; and telenovela anthology series Jane the Novela. The first Riverdale spinoff is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which started at the CW before moving to Netflix, where it has been a breakout hit.

Wade Robson and James Safechuck—featured in Leaving Neverland, the movie featuring child sexual-abuse allegations about Michael Jackson—received a standing ovation from the almost entirely full Egyptian Theatre at the Sundance Film Festival, Deadline noted. With police and Sundance security close by as well as outside and in the lobby, Robson, Safechuck and director Dan Reed took often applause-interrupted questions about the film. Robson and Safechuck have claimed they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were ages 7 and 10, respectively. The Jackson estate has called the film "character assassination."

Watch What Happens Live ( WWHL ) host Andy Cohen was surrounded by nearly 50 Real Housewives from seven franchises at an extravagant baby shower, noted. The bash took place at The Palm Beverly Hills, where Cohen's BFF ( and Radio Andy personality ) Bruce Bozzi Jr. is executive vice president. Original Housewives Kyle Richards ( Real Housewives of Beverly Hills ), Vicki Gunvalson ( Real Housewives of Orange County ), Ramona Singer ( Real Housewives of New York City ), NeNe Leakes ( Real Housewives of Atlanta ) and Teresa Giudice ( Real Housewives of New Jersey ) organized and hosted the event. Singer John Mayer and former Flipping Out star Jenni Pulos, who sings Cohen's WWHL theme song, also attended.

Kathy Griffin deleted a tweet after making a mistake while posting a picture of people that she claimed were kids from Covington Catholic High School—the Kentucky school involved in the controversial confrontation with a protester in D.C.—playing basketball, Page Six noted. "Covington's finest throwing up the new nazi sign," wrote Griffin—but she mistook the OK sign the players showed were flashing for something more right-wing. Griffin later said, "MSNBC's Chris Hayes was kind enough to reply and correct me, so I deleted the tweet."

More than 20 years after she is rumored to have come to blows with Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna, Courtney Love is back to needling the iconic Riot Grrrl act about its upcoming reunion tour, Page Six noted. Responding to a Bust magazine Instagram post that mentioned the tour selling out "in seconds," Love commented, "Biggest hoax in the history of rock and roll." In an oral history of the tour published by the Washington Post in 2015, Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson and bassist Melissa Auf der Maur recounted an altercation between the two women after Love threw candy at Hanna.

Some Pretty Little Liars fans mistook Patrick Schwarzenegger for actor Drew Van Acker, who played Jason on the popular series, US Weekly noted. The model, 25, was a good sport about the incident when he shared the story on Twitter. ( "LOL these 4 girls came up to me with their cameras ready & go 'we love pretty little liars,'" he wrote. ) However, two Twitter users claiming to be the girls who approached Schwarzenegger chimed in to clarify that they never actually said they loved the drama, which went off the air in 2017.

Bebe Rexha took to social media to blast fashion designers for refusing to dress her for the Grammys, noted. According to a video from the "In The Name of Love" singer, multiple designers refused to design a gown for her because she's a size eight. According to screenshots shared by E!, Demi Lovato praised Bebe for her video. "F—king preach!!!" Demi commented. "Love this and you for speaking your mind and using your voice!!!"

Fatima Ali—whose Pakistani-influenced cooking earned her the "Fan Favorite" title in season 15 of Bravo's Top Chef—has died of bone cancer at age 29, Deadline reported. Ali was diagnosed in 2017 with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. She underwent surgery and was cancer-free for a time but revealed last fall that it had returned, this time lodged in her left hip and femur.

Taylor Swift beat a lawsuit filed against her by a Manhattan real-estate broker who said the pop star stiffed her out of a $1.08-million commission for the purchase of her Tribeca townhouse, according to Page Six. A judge tossed the suit Jan. 24, saying real-estate agency Douglas Elliman never had "any formal agreement" with Swift.

GMA anchor Michael Strahan admitted he no longer talks to former Live! co-star Kelly Ripa after their fallout, Page Six revealed. The former Giants star's relationship with Ripa came to a halt after nearly four years on air together in May 2016. ABC asked Strahan to join GMA full time and Ripa told how she felt blindsided by the offer by network chiefs as well as her co-host. Strahan—who left the show months earlier than planned amid the row—told Time magazine: "I learned through all that went down with that, you can't convince people to like you." However, he credits Ripa for teaching him the tricks of TV presenting.

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