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SHOWBIZ Robin Roberts, 'Wicked Fun,' Fox shows, rock band Thunderpussy
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-05-14

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Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts is receiving a special honor at the 2019 NBA Awards, Extra reported. Roberts will be honored with the Sager Strong Award—given to a trailblazer who exemplifies courage, faith, compassion and grace. The award is named after sideline reporter Craig Sager, who passed away in 2016 after losing his battle with cancer. The NBA Awards will air Monday, June 24, on TNT.

The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts will host "An Evening of Wicked Fun Honoring Stephen Schwartz"—a spring celebration fundraising event presented by the House of Harry Winston, a press release noted. The event will highlight the work of the award-winning composer/lyricist of classic musicals including Wicked, Pippin, Godspell, Enchanted and more. The May 16 event, at the Wallis, will feature performances from artists including Idina Menzel, Megan Hilty, Andrea Martin, Liz Callaway, Angel Blue and many others.

Just two weeks after the Charlie Collier-run Fox Entertainment renewed Lee Daniels and Danny Strong's hip-hop drama for a sixth season, it was announced that the self-described "groundbreaking cultural phenomenon" of Empire will be canceled once season six is done, Deadline noted. On a Fox Upfront call, Collier said that are currently "no plans" for embattled actor Jussie Smollett to return to the show.

Also re Fox, the network has addressed the challenge of diversity at the network following the cancellation of a number of shows with African-American leads, including Empire, Lethal Weapon, The Cool Kids, Star ( which ended with several cliffhangers ), Proven Innocent and Rel, Deadline noted. Fox head Charlie Collier said, "The diversity of Fox is an issue that is so important and an ongoing effort for us to make sure we're best in class." This also comes after Fox received an F grade or incomplete from the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition for its inclusion of Asian Americans on the 2017-18 season.

Seattle-based all-female rock band Thunderpussy announced a national summer headline tour in July and August with stops in Brooklyn, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and more, in addition to dates with Black Pistol Fire starting July 12 at Meow Wolf in Sante Fe, a press release announced. Thunderpussy's cover of "Somebody to Love" was released last month after the band's self-titled debut album dropped last year via Stardog Records/Republic Records, with assistance from Pearl Jam's Mike McCready on guitar and production.

Openly gay YouTube beauty blogger James Charles has lost more than 2 million subscribers because of a feud with his longtime mentor and fellow beauty guru Tati Westbrook, CNN.com noted. The drama started in April when Charles posted an ad for Sugar Bear Hair supplements ( a huge competitor for Westbrook's supplement brand, Halo Beauty ) to his Instagram story. Then, Westbrook broke her silence and posted a 43-minute video to YouTube explaining the feud and her decision to cut off her friendship with Charles. In it, among other things, she accused Charles of spreading lies about her and called him out for saying hurtful things about other people in the beauty community. Charles has since apologized.

Rosie O'Donnell attended the GLAAD Media Awards in NYC to support her longtime friend Madonna as the Queen of Pop accepted the Advocate for Change Award May 4, Extra noted. O'Donnell talked politics with Extra, saying, "Kamala Harris—she has my attention, she has my enthusiasm and she has my belief in her. I hope that she pushes right through and starts to lead the Democratic Party [toward] impeachment, which is by all means justified."

David Furnish—the husband of Sir Elton John—said that the new movie Rocketman captures the "madness" of the singer's early life, Variety noted. Rocketman is a look at the first half of the 72-year-old John's life, from his early days as a child prodigy in working class London through his fame and fortune of the 1970s and 1980s to his nearly fatal plunge into drug addiction.

In a brand-new episode of the children's television show Arthur titled "Mr. Ratburn & the Special Someone," the kids find out that their teacher Mr. Ratburn is getting married—to another guy, Out.com noted. In 2005, PBS was forced to pull an episode of the Arthur spinoff Postcards from Buster in which Buster visited a family with lesbian mothers. Before it was to air, now-former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings asked PBS to pull the episode for fear that children might be exposed to lesbians.

The woman-focused international spy thriller 355 has added Avengers: Endgame's Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramirez, and set a July 8 production start in Paris, London and Morocco, Deadline.com noted. Scripted by Simon Kinberg and scripted by Theresa Rebeck, the film is a global espionage thriller that stars Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong'o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing.

The cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 reunites in a new promo for BH90210, FOX's meta-reboot of the '90s drama, US Magazine noted. In the promo, the stars of BH90210 hear the original series' theme song in unexpected places: Jason Priestley hears it from his alarm clock, Tori Spelling hears it in her coffee maker, Jennie Garth hears it from her hair dryer and Brian Austin Green even hears it in his motorized tie rack. Heading the call, the 90210 alums—also including Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris and Shannen Doherty—congregate at a soundstage and strike a dramatic pose.

Madonna's performance at the Eurovision Song Contest might not happen after all, Gay Star News noted. Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand has said she has yet to sign a contract for the May 18 show in Tel Aviv. Rumors say the songs are likely to be a track from Madame X, and the other being "Like A Prayer."

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber have teamed again for a new song, People.com noted. Nearly four years after collaborating on the track "Love Yourself," the two announced that Sheeran's new single, "I Don't Care," was slated to be released May 10—and feature Bieber.

Fresh from playing the African warrior king Black Panther in Avengers: Endgame, Chadwick Boseman has officially aligned himself to play Yasuke—the first African samurai to swing a sword in Japan, Deadline.com noted. Yasuke served under Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in 16th-century Japan. He was a native of Portuguese Mozambique who was brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries.

Neo-noir social thriller What/If—starring Renee Zellweger, Jane Levy and Blake Jenner, among others—explores the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things, according to a Netflix press release. The first season of the Netflix original series focuses on a mysterious woman's lucrative, but dubious offer to a cash-strapped pair of San Francisco newlyweds. All 10 episodes of What/If will become available to Netflix members worldwide May 24.

One interview Howard Stern wasn't sure whether to include in his new book, Howard Stern Comes Again, was with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Page Six noted. The talk was from 2014, years before the Miramax kingpin's fall from grace. Stern, looking back on the Weinstein talk, writes, "Reliving the conversation only makes me angrier. ... It all seems so tragic and sad."

Steve Harvey's daytime talk show, Steve, will end in June, Page Six confirmed. New episodes will air through June and then repeats will air until September. Harvey's daytime talk show was axed by NBC's Owned Stations Group, to be replaced by The Kelly Clarkson Show. Also, Deadline noted that Melissa McCarthy is to replace Harvey as the host of Little Big Shots as the reality competition series returns to NBC for a fourth season.

John Mayer sat down with his close friend Andy Cohen on the host's SiriusXM channel, Radio Andy—and talked about what he called a "clickbait" story involving singer Shawn Mendes, Billboard noted. Mayer said, "This is a story thats designed for people to pick up, put in press and put in a headline. And the headline is, 'How Shawn Mendes' underwear ended up in John Mayer's hotel room.'" Mayer said his assistant bought Mendes some underwear when the younger singer said he had run out of them.

Musician Joey Suarez will embark on an eight-city LGBTQ Pride Tour beginning June 1 in Laguna Beach, California, a press release noted. Suarez—who blends EDM and pop music to create his own unique sound—will perform some of his most popular songs, including "High in the Sky," "Love Me Back" and "Dancing By Myself." Some of the other cities on the tour will include Pittsburgh, Detroit and Las Vegas.

Chrisley Knows Best star Todd Chrisley's son, Kyle, was arrested in Oklahoma for alleged drug possession, Page Six noted. TMZ reported that Kyle Chrisley was arrested and booked in Okmulgee County Jail on charges of possession of methamphetamine. Kyle, 27, reportedly also had an open warrant for his arrest stemming from alleged death threats against his estranged wife in Dekalb County, Georgia, in January of this year.


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