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SHOWBIZ 'Orange' ending, 'Tales of the City,' Rihanna, Jussie Smollett
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-10-23

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Lionsgate's Orange Is the New Black, which streams on Netflix, will end with season seven in 2019, TheWrap.com reported. Season six dropped in its entirety on June 27. Creator Jenji Kohan said in 2017 that she had plans to end the show after seven seasons. Kohan is now an executive producer on Netflix's GLOW—another hyper-specific female narrative that took viewers by storm with its debut, Mashable noted.

Trans talent, including Daniela Vega and Jen Richards, have joined the cast for Netflix's revival of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City—alongside RuPaul's Drag Race season-eight winner Bob the Drag Queen, according to PinkNews. A few months ago, it was revealed that Ellen Page will star in the show as Shawna Hawkins, and that Orange Is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli is the executive producer. In the original books, Mary Ann Singleton—played by Laura Linney in the Netflix series—a Cleveland-born woman who decides to move to San Francisco after vacationing there.

West 40s—an indie comedy series about five gay men stumbling through their 40s in Hell's Kitchen NYC—debuted July 12 and, in three months, has blown past 165,000 views on YouTube for its first episode, a press release noted. Co-created by Comedy Central writer/producer/actor Mark Sam Rosenthal and by indie filmmaker Brian Sloan, the pilot episode was produced independently after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised more than $23,000. Sloan and Rosenthal have scripted six episodes for the first season. See https://www.west40s.com/.

Actor Jussie Smollett ( TV's Empire ) surprised 6-year-old double amputee Kayden Kinckle with a wheelchair-accessible van, Vibe.com noted. Kinckle has been motivating people to "do great things" with his daily Instagram videos and children's books—and family friend Smollett stepped in after New Jersey's Englewood Public School district ( where he attends school ) failed to provide a proper bus to pick the kid up on the first day of school.

Country-music star and LGBTQ advocate Ty Herndon has released the first in a series of four songs aimed at heating up the dance floor: "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," a press release noted. Herndon has spent the past few months traveling the country playing at Pride Festivals and sharing moments with his fans, so he decided to give them something special. Herndon also recently released a rendition of "O Holy Night" featuring Crystal Lewis, available now on all platforms. The "I Wanna Dance" video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmJ8xVhlHPk&feature=youtu.be.

Paula Abdul tumbled off the stage during a performance in Biloxi, Mississippi, E! News noted. At the time of the incident, the entertainer was singing her 1991 hit "The Promise of a New Day." While clapping and dancing near the edge of the stage at the Hard Rock Live, she accidentally dove headfirst into the crowd. Abdul is currently on her first solo headlining tour in 25 years—the Straight Up Paula! 2018 Tour—which is meant to coincide with the 30th anniversary of her debut album, Forever Your Girl.

Former American Idol finalist Clay Aiken is involved in a couple new projects. First, Aiken is part of the cast of a new Amazon series that's already out, a Herald-Sun item noted. The series—New Dogs, Old Tricks—is a spinoff of the 2016 college comedy movie What Happened Last Night, starring Amber Rose, Shelley Regner and Jake Thomas. Second, Aiken and former "Idol" rival Ruben Studdard will reunite on Broadway for a limited engagement holiday show of Christmas songs and comedy sketches, Deadline noted. Ruben & Clay's Christmas Show begins performances Friday, Dec. 7, at Broadway's Imperial Theatre, with an official opening set for Dec. 11 and a closing night on Dec. 30.

Rosie O'Donnell has gotten engaged, LGBTQ Nation noted. O'Donnell announced that she is engaged to her girlfriend Elizabeth Rooney, a police officer. She said that the wedding won't happen for a while, though. Speculation about their engagement started earlier this month when O'Donnell updated her Instagram bio with an R followed by a diamond-ring emoji. O'Donnell has been married twice—first to Kelli Carpenter and then to Michelle Rounds from 2012 to 2015.

Singer/actress Rihanna has reportedly turned down a chance to headline the halftime show at Super Bowl LIII because she supports former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has a collusion lawsuit against the National Football League, Deadline noted. Kaepernick is out of the NFL after becoming a free agent two years ago and not finding a new team; he claims that he has not been picked up because of his political stances.

Musician Tracy Chapman is suing rapper Nicki Minaj for copyright infringement over a leaked song titled "Sorry," Page Six reported, citing The Blast. Featuring Nas, the song was supposed to be part of Minaj's new album, but she couldn't clear the Chapman sample from her song "Baby Can I Hold You." Minaj allegedly wrote that she did not even know "Sorry" sampled the Chapman song; she ultimately didn't include it on her album.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban and Idina Menzel have contributed to a new bilingual children's album, Singing You Home: Children's Songs for Family Reunification, that will benefit organizations helping to reunite and support families separated at the border, according to Page Six. The album is available to pre-order and will be released Oct. 26 via Ghostlight Records. Tony-winning actress Laura Benanti conceived the project, which will support the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services and Artists Striving to End Poverty.

Australian actress Cate Blanchett has defended straight actors playing gay roles in film and TV, BBC.com reported. Blanchett—who played a lesbian in the 2015 film Carol—said, "I will fight to the death for the right to suspend disbelief and play roles beyond my experience," adding, "I think it provides a lot of opportunity, but the downside of it is that we now, particularly in America, we expect and only expect people to make a profound connection to a character when it's close to their experience."

A hologram depicting the late singer Amy Winehouse is expected to embark on a tour, according to an NPR item that cited Reuters. Her father, Mitch Winehouse, told the news agency that the singer's hologram will be projected on stage along with her voice and a live band. BASE Hologram, the company producing the Winehouse concerts, has also produced hologram tours of Roy Orbison and opera singer Maria Callas.

Joe Zee, the former creative director of Elle magazine famous for his role on the MTV reality show The City, married longtime partner Rob Younkers on Oct. 5, Page Six noted. There were 130 guests, including actress Julianne Moore and other fashion and beauty insiders, according to People. And despite the upscale venue, the wedding itself was laid-back and planned entirely by Younkers ( a fashion designer and founder of Stitched Fashion Camp ).

Idris Elba is in final talks to join Tom Hooper's feature adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical Cats, Deadline.com noted. The Golden Globe and two-time SAG Award winner joins Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, James Corden, Laurie Davidson, and Mette Towley. The pic is currently in pre-production.

Britney Spears will have a new residency at Las Vegas' Park Theater at Park MGM, slated to begin next year at the theater inside the new Park MGM Resort, ETOnline.com reported. According to the Daily Mail, Spears' new contract has her earning $507,000 a show, making her the highest-paid entertainer in Vegas, even beating out Celine Dion. Spears ended her hugely successful Piece of Me residency at Planet Hollywood on New Year's Eve after a four-year run.

Jeff Lewis found himself in hot water with his Bravo boss, Andy Cohen, for reading what he claims are their text messages on RadioAndy's SiriusXM show, "Jeff Lewis Live," TooFab.com noted. Things started when Lewis captioned a photo, "I guess there's no going away party?" and tagged Bravo, which has aired Lewis' show Flipping Out for the last 11 years; Lewis said the network did not renew his contract before it expired Oct. 15, making the future of his show uncertain. According to Lewis, his boss was less than pleased with the social-media post and texted him about it.

Focus Features and Back Lot Music have released "Revelation," the new original song by Troye Sivan and Jonsi written for the feature film Boy Erased, according to a press release. Fans can stream the song on all digital streaming platforms or get the song instantly with soundtrack pre-order at smarturl.it/RevelationSingle. The soundtrack to the film—featuring an additional original song by Jonsi and score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans—will release digitally Oct. 26 and physically Nov. 2 with the film's theatrical release in select theaters nationwide. A vinyl component will be issued later this year.

Bette Midler, Brooke Shields, John Larroquette, Katie Couric and Peter Gallagher are all set to guest-star in upcoming season-one episodes of Murphy Brown, Deadline reported. The revival that stars Candace Bergen is continuing the tradition of the original series, which frequently featured celebrity guest stars, both playing themselves, as well as various roles.

The Real World is headed to Facebook, TheWrap.com reported. The reality series will be revived at the social-media company, with three new seasons in the United States, Mexico and Thailand. The "re-imagined" version of the show, now titled MTV's The Real World, is set to debut in spring 2019.

Setting the record straight with Extra, singer Michael Buble confronted rumors of his retirement. He said, "You know what you should say? ... 'Consider the source, consider the source.' It's a tabloid. Of course it's not true." Rumors ran rampant when an article claimed Buble was retiring from music after releasing his next album, a decision the piece attributed to the life-changing experience the singer went through when his 5-year-old son battled cancer. Buble's album Love will be available Nov. 16.

Actress Selma Blair said she was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and opened up about how the disease has "disabled" her, Page Six noted. The Legally Blonde actress posted on Instagram that she was diagnosed with the disease of the central nervous system Aug. 16, although she said she may have exhibited symptoms for years. "I am disabled," she wrote. "I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps." Blair has faced health challenges previously, battling alcoholism, depression and anxiety after moving to Los Angeles 20 years ago.

Black Tie Dinner has announced that award-winning actor/producer/director Matt Bomer will be one of the headliners at this year's 37th Annual Black Tie Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 3, a press release noted. Event organizers also announced that pop star Kim Petras will be performing at the dinner; Petras is currently on tour with Troye Sivan and will be traveling to Dallas between tour stops to perform. Black Tie Dinner has raised more than $22 million for organizations that support and provide vital services to the LGBTQ community since its inception in 1982.

Roseanne Barr took to Twitter to react to the premiere of ABC's The Conners, posting, "I AIN'T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!," according to TheWrap.com . The actress was fired from what was the network's Roseanne revival after an offensive tweet. Later, Barr released a lengthier statement in coordination with World Values Network Founder Rabbi Shmuley Boteach that praised her former co-stars but blasted ABC for refusing to forgive her for "an inexcusable — but not unforgivable — mistake."

Max Lomas—the friend who discovered Bobbi Kristina Brown submerged in a bathtub with a toxic mix of drugs in her system—died from a fentanyl overdose himself, TMZ reported. Law-enforcement sources said Lomas' official cause of death was "fentanyl toxicity," and his death ( which occurred earlier this year in Mississippi ) was ruled accidental.

Fox has given a full-season order to the freshman comedy The Cool Kids, TheWrap.com noted. The network has ordered nine additional episodes of the Charlie Day-produced show that stars David Alan Grier, Martin Mull, Vicki Lawrence and Leslie Jordan as a group of friends living in a retirement community.

Columnist Michael Musto—known for his longtime stint with The Village Voice newspaper—is now an actor as well, Page Six reported. Having played a mad doctor in Vamp Bikers Tres, he is now portraying a godfather in Japanese Borscht, another movie from low-budget auteur Eric Rivas. The cast includes club owner/producer Noel Ashman, porn star Ron Jeremy and actor Angel Salazar.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Leah Remini are apparently ready for their "Second Act," USA Today noted. The actresses, who previously had beef, finally made up during a forthcoming episode of "Red Table Talk," a talk show Pinkett Smith hosts with her mother and daughter, singer Willow Smith, that dives deep into personal topics like sex addiction and marital strife. Last year Remini identified Pinkett Smith as a Scientologist—a follower of a controversial religion with a celebrity following that is at the center of her A&E docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath; Remini was a Scientologist for 35 years before departing the church in 2013. Pinkett Smith denied being a member of the church, tweeting: "I have studied Dianetics, and appreciate the merits of Study Tech … but I am not a Scientologist."

Kobe Bryant was removed from the jury of this weekend's Animation Is Film Festival, TheWrap.com noted. The move followed an online petition that called on the festival to do so due to the retired NBA star's 2003 rape accusation. Bryant received the Academy Award for Best Animated Short earlier this year with famed animator Glen Keane for the film Dear Basketball, based on the essay Bryant published on The Players' Tribune announcing his retirement in 2015.

Halle Berry's divorce case just got a little messier, according to Page Six. In court documents obtained by The Blast, the actress and former husband Oliver Martinez are facing sanctions after missing a court appearance—even though they missed their appointment because of a clerical error. Berry and Martinez share a 5-year-old son.

Mark Wahlberg's Six Billion Dollar Man has been taken off Warner Bros.' release schedule, TheWrap reported. In May, the sci-fi action film was pushed by a year, moving from May 31, 2019 to June 5, 2020. That announcement came two weeks after director Damian Szifron exited the project.

One week after Iron Fist was canned and the same day that the long-awaited third season of Daredevil launched, Netflix has canceled Luke Cage, Deadline noted. This axing of Luke Cage was a surprise; a writer's room under showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker had been working for around six months producing scripts and taking notes from Netflix and Marvel.


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