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SHOWBIZ Sam Smith, Showtime, pro-trans song, Colton Underwood, Shea Coulee
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-04-06

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Singer Sam Smith will postpone the release of their third album, To Die For, so it can be renamed due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, LGBTQ Nation noted. "I have done a lot of thinking the last few weeks and feel that the title of the album and imminent release doesn't feel right," they wrote in a statement, "so I have come to the decision to continue working on the album and make some important changes and additions."

Given the suspension of production operations due to the COVID-19 virus, Showtime has made scheduling adjustments regarding a few of its shows, a press release note. Black Monday will air through the sixth episode of its second season on Sunday, April 12, then will return with the final four episodes of the season later this year; and Billions will premiere its fifth season on Sunday, May 3, and show its first seven episodes. In addition, the season premiere of The Chi will move up to Sunday, June 21, with the entire third season running without interruption. Lastly, the entire season of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is currently scheduled to air beginning with its season premiere on Sunday, April 26.

Canvasback Records/Atlantic Records announced the release of "I Am Samantha," from singer-songwriter Benjamin Scheuer, a press release noted. The track—released on the International Trans Day of Visibility ( March 31 )—recounts the real-life journey of Samantha Williams, a transgender woman who Scheuer first met and befriended at a coffeeshop in New York City. The video ( at youtu.be/tQWwpzck8Tk ) features 27 trans actors ( believed to be the largest trans cast assembled to date ). The visual was also helmed by an all-female, LGBTQ, and/or person of color crew. Notable cast members include Monica Helms ( creator of the transgender pride flag ) and Skyler Jay ( season two of Queer Eye ).

Former Bachelor star Colton Underwood talks about his questioning his sexuality in his new book, The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV—and now he says he knows he's straight, CNN.com noted. "[The show taught me] that I'm straight and I'm very, very attracted to Cassie [Randolph] and women—but it would have been OK if it would have been the other way too," Underwood told Entertainment Tonight. "I think that's the biggest message I have for people." Underwood, 28, was the show's first virgin Bachelor, having initially shared that he was a Christian and waiting when he competed for Becca Kufrin's heart during the 2018 season of The Bachelorette.

RuPaul's Drag Race alumna Shea Coulee urged fans to take care of each other after her cousin passed away from coronavirus, PinkNews noted. Coulee, who first appeared in the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race wrote March 17 in a now-deleted tweet: "I just learned that a cousin of mine died today from coronavirus." She added, "This is serious. Please stay safe everyone."

The music and true-crime podcast Disgraceland continued its fifth season with a new episode on Little Richard, a press release noted. The episode was distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network beginning March 31 and can be heard now on the iHeartRadio app and wherever podcasts are available. So far in season five, host Jake Brennan has released an epic two part episode on Guns N' Roses and an episode focusing on Jay-Z. The Little Richard episode is at https://www.iheart.com/podcast/268-disgraceland-28939183.

Openly gay actor Wilson Cruz called straight actors playing LGBTQ roles "awards bait," Queerty noted. Speaking with Out In New Jersey, Cruz said, "I think what an LGBTQ actor brings to an LGBTQ role is different; there's just something innate and lived-in that comes across, but that's not to say that a straight actor cannot give a powerful performance. What is worrisome to me is when a production will hire a straight actor to play that role because of some notion that because they're a straight actor that it's that much more difficult to take on this role. So it's awards bait."

Mike Doyle—an actor who is the director of new queer film Almost Love—said he is sick of seeing straight actors who play gay characters "applauded for their bravery, PinkNews noted, citing a Variety interview. Almost Love stars openly gay actors Scott Evans—the younger brother of Chris Evans—and Augustus Prew. "We're actors so we can do many things. It was just very important to me that the two stars are out loud and proud," Doyle told Variety.

Oscar winner Halle Berry shared a rare home video of her 6-year-old son Maceo-Robert passing the time by playing in his mom's pumps—and ended up dealing with critics, Yahoo! noted. "harmless fun. Tryna survive right now. You feel me?," the John Wick 3 actress said in response to one user. In another response, the mom of two said, "It's tight on these kids right now. Let's have a laugh and some compassion yawl!"

Lady Gaga said she has raised $35 million to help fight the coronavirus—and is joining forces with the World Health Organization for a virtual concert that will serve as a "moment of global unity" amid the pandemic, Page Six noted. The "Bad Romance" singer announced she had called on the "greatest artists in the world"—including Elton John, Lizzo and Billie Eilish—for the two-hour "Together at Home" special, which is scheduled for April 18. The 8 p.m. ET special will be seen and heard on major broadcast and cable networks—such as ABC, NBC and CBS—as well as though digital music providers.

The television premiere of the smash hit film Hustlers will air on Showtime on Saturday, April 25, a press release noted. The flm netted star Jennifer Lopez her first Golden Globe nomination since 1998's Selena. Inspired by a viral New York Magazine article, the film follows a crew of savvy former strip-club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. The ensemble cast includes Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu ( Crazy Rich Asians ), Julia Stiles ( Dexter ), television personality Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart ( Riverdale ), and music superstars Lizzo and Cardi B.

The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, announced that select programming from the 19th annual Festival will be presented online, according to a press release. The juried awards for feature and shorts categories will be presented by the jury who will select the winners to be announced on TribecaFilm.com within the window of the original festival dates, April 15-26. The jury includes leaders of the creative community including Danny Boyle, Aparna Nancherla, Regina Hall, Yance Ford, Lucas Hedges, Pamela Adlon, Marti Noxon, Asia Kate Dillon and Sheila Nevins.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals are streaming online for free, Broadway World announced. A new YouTube channel has launched, called The Shows Must Go On! Each week, a new musical will be released and streamed live on the channel—but it will remain available only for 48 hours. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat streamed April 3, with future shows including Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies and more.

Capitol Records released Troye Sivan's new single, "Take Yourself Home," a press release noted. It was produced by Oscar Gorres, who also helmed Sivan's gold-certified hit "My My My!" from Bloom; and "I'm so tired…," his platinum collaboration with Lauv. Also, Sivan has also launched three T-shirts, designed by @jacktaylorlovatt and @Lanning and sourced via Instagram, with all proceeds to be donated to WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and Spotify's COVID-19 Music Relief project.

Christopher Meloni is set to reprise his Law & Order: SVU role of Detective Elliot Stabler as the lead of a new Dick Wolf series, EW.com noted. The 13-episode drama is said to revolve around Stabler leading an NYPD organized crime unit—which means there could be a Stabler-Benson reunion ( Benson, who heads the whole division, being played by Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order: SVU ). "SVU" was renewed this year for three more seasons.

Hollywood—limited series from Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan—will premiere on Netflix on May 1, a press release noted. The series follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in Tinseltown—no matter the cost. The cast includes Darren Criss, Jeremy Pope, Samara Weaving, Laura Harrier, Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor and Patti LuPone, among others. See Netflix.com/Hollywood.

The American Film Institute ( AFI ) announced the launch of AFI Movie Club, a daily virtual gathering, a press release stated. AFI Trustee Steven Spielberg introduced the inaugural film, The Wizard of Oz. The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive. Audiences can "gather" at AFI.com/MovieClub to view the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming services.

MTV announced that fans will have a front-row seat to performances by Shaggy, Alessia Cara, Jewel, Melissa Etheridge, Monsta X, Bazzi, CNCO and FINNEAS—while safely social distancing—during a special edition of its award-winning "MTV Unplugged" franchise, "MTV Unplugged at Home," a press release noted. It began April 2 with Cara and will continue regularly, and performances will be available to stream on MTV YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, with additional artists to be announced at a later date. These acts follow Grammy winner Wyclef Jean, UK recording artist Yungblud and multi-platinum pop/R&B recording artist JoJo.

The group Fall Out Boy announced it will be donating $100,000 to support COVID-19 response efforts in Chicago, where the group was founded more than a decade ago, TheHill.com noted. The group said in an Instagram post over the weekend that it will be making the donation through The Fall Out Boy Fund, which it first launched in 2017 and described at the time as a "way for us to give back to Chicago, the city that has given so much to us."

Out Walking Dead actor Daniel Newman said he received a $9,116 bill for a coronavirus test, but he never got the results—and that, in fact, the test was never even processed, LGBTQ Nation noted. Newman's insurance company refused to cover the cost and while recently passed legislation requires insurers to waive cost-sharing for coronavirus testing, Newman sought medical help before the law was passed. Some insurance companies—like Cigna, Humana, CareFirst and Aetna—are waiving copays for testing and treatment.

Singer Pink revealed on social media that she has tested positive for COVID-19—although a second test, taken days later, showed that she and her family "are now thankfully negative," The Hollywood Reporter noted. Pink called testing an "absolute travesty," adding that it is a "failure of our government to not make testing more widely accessible. This illness is serious and real." To help make testing more accessible, she announced that she is making a donation of $1 million to support healthcare workers on the frontlines.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, singer Michael Buble postponed several additional dates of his "An Evening With Michael Buble' Tour" which was scheduled to start up again in Anaheim, California on May 2, a press release noted. Rescheduled dates for the entire tour will be announced as soon as possible.

Miley Cyrus and her boyfriend, singer Cody Simpson, made a special taco delivery over the weekend to healthcare workers, Page Six noted. The couple dropped off 120 tacos at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California, according to E! News.

Demi Lovato launched her new Fabletics collection on Thursday, with $5 from every item sold—up to $125,000 total—going to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, Page Six Style noted. Lovato admitted that she "thought hard about holding off on the launch," but ultimately realized that "there's no better time to inspire others with my capsule, which has always been about channeling your inner strength."

DJ Khaled and Nicole Tuck's We The Best Foundation, with Direct Relief and simplehuman, will bring additional supplies to healthcare workers on the front line in New York and Miami hospitals, The Jasmine Brand noted. Inspired by friend and Miami based designer Gelareh Mizrahi's story, whose brother is on the front lines in a Brooklyn Hospital, Khaled and Tuck joined in on her efforts and have been working with Direct Relief to give those most vulnerable the equipment they need. Their combined efforts provided more than 10,000 masks, gloves, and dozens of PPE kits for healthcare workers.

Enemy Radio—the DJ+MC auxiliary unit of Public Enemy made up of Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi and the S1Ws—released their debut album Loud Is Not Enough, a press release noted. The album is led by the single "Food As a Machine Gun," which features a special guest: Public Enemy ( including both Chuck D and Flavor Flav ), revealing their War Of The Worlds-inspired hoax that began on March 1 when Chuck D announced Flav would no longer be a part of the iconic group following a public dispute. "I had watched Orson Welles' 'War Of The Worlds' from 1938 when he pulled the wool over the public's eyes as they put 100% belief in the technology of radio," explained Chuck.

After revealing the reason behind her decade-long absence from music in a February social media post, Grammy-winning singer Duffy ( known for her hit song "Mercy" ) further detailed the harrowing ordeal that derailed her life and career, EW.com reported. In an emotional, lengthy blog post, she elaborated on a previous social-media post in which she revealed she was "raped, drugged, and held captive over some days." In the years since the attack, she's focused on recovery and has stayed away from the limelight.

Soccer player Carli Lloyd defended herself against people who criticized her for posting a photo of her new car on social media, Yahoo! Sports noted. The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year shared a photo on Twitter of her in a new 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. ( U.S. Soccer and Volkswagen announced a three-year partnership in January 2019 ahead of the USWNT's World Cup victory. ) Some fans called the photo "in poor taste" and "tone deaf" given the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down the country. Lloyd later said, "I am choosing to put a smile on my face despite what is going on. [The vehicle] has given me a new appreciation for life."

Val Kilmer said that when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015, he was glad to have his good friend Cher by his side, Yahoo! noted. In his new memoir, I'm Your Huckleberry, Kilmer opens up for the first time about his health crisis and writes how Cher, whom he dated in the early 1980s, helped get him through some of his darkest days. The music icon invited Kilmer to stay in her guest house while his health was declining—and even recalled how Cher was checking out a handsome paramedic who had to attend to him.

Bill Withers—the influential Grammy-winning soul singer-songwriter who scored smash singles such as the iconic 'Lean on Me," "Lovely Day" and "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone"—died at age 81, Deadline noted. "Lean on Me" was performed at the inaugurations of presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and that song and "Ain't No Sunshine" both ranked in the 200s on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the Greatest Songs of All Time.

Paramount made some release date changes given the unpredictable coronavirus climate, Deadline noted. The long-awaited Tom Cruise Skydance sequel Top Gun Maverick is now going on Wed., Dec.r 23, 2020, instead of June 24—pushing the Chris Pratt sci-fi Skydance movie The Tomorrow War to an unset date. Also, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will debut on Friday, July 31, instead of Friday, May 22; the move puts an event film on that release date after Sony/Marvel's Morbius left for March 19, 2021.

The Kelly Clarkson Show is producing one full remote episode per week from Montana, where host Kelly Clarkson has been sheltering with her family during the coronavirus pandemic, Deadline noted. Clarkson will conduct virtual interviews with celebrities and people from the communities doing their part. There also will be more installments of "Bathroom Kellyoke."

As season two of The Conners winds down, the ABC comedy has taken a big step toward a third-season pickup, Deadline noted. Four principal cast members of the Roseanne spinoff—Sara Gilbert ( who also serves as an executive producer ), John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Lecy Goranson—closed new deals to return next season. Because of the show's origins, as a spinoff of the Roseanne revival, The Conners cast does not have standard six-year contracts, but are instead signed year to year.

Artsploitation Films announced the acquisition of the gay British comedy/romance Benjamin, a press release noted. The plot is as follows: Indie film director Benjamin ( played by Colin Morgan ) nervously prepares for the premiere of his sophomore feature when he meets and falls for hard for Noah ( Phenix Brossard ), a young French musician. The film will be released on DVD and VOD/Streaming on Aug. 25.

Paramount has announced that the Top Gun: Maverick release date is being pushed to Dec. 23, Movieweb noted. ( The highly anticipated sequel was set to originally fly into theaters June 24. ) Warner Bros. is holding strong with Wonder Woman 1984, which will be released in mid-August. Marvel Studios has not yet revealed when they will be putting out Black Widow.

Several actors are confirmed to return to/appear in the Disney+ show The Mandalorian for its second season, CinemaBlend.com noted. They include Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Bill Burr, Giancarlo Esposito and Michael Biehn.

Among Kino Lorber's May video releases is Susan Sontag's Duet For Cannibals, a press release noted. ( The street date is May 26. ) Sontag—an essayist, novelist, critic, cinephile and intellectual—made her directorial debut with this 1969 psychological serio-comedy, the result of a Swedish studio's invitation to her to make a film in Stockholm. The film is about the quadrangular relationship between an arrogant ex-revolutionist German intellectual exile, his elegant wife, their Swedish student secretary and the earnest secretary's bride-to-be.

The late Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant was granted quick acceptance into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Deadline reported. ( The Basketball Hall of Fame typically has a three-year waiting period from the end of a player's career for induction consideration. Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January along with one of his daughters and seven others. ) Bryant will be joined by Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan as this year's inductees.

Dwayne Johnson confirmed that Hobbs and Shaw 2 is currently in the works, Movieweb noted. During an Instagram chat with fans, the subject of a possible sequel to Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw arose. Johnson revealed a team is developing the next entry and that the creative team is being assembled.

DJ/producer/entrepreneur Steve Aoki released his star-studded installment Neon Future IV alongside lead feel-good single "I Love My Friends," featuring Swedish electro-pop DJ duo Icona Pop, a press release noted. Neon Future IV ( which has 27 tracks ) features music from many collaborators across global genres, including names like Tory Lanez, Mike Shinoda, Lights, Desiigner, AGNEZ MO and actress/singer Zooey Deschanel, among others.


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