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SHOWBIZ Show renewals, Lee Daniels, Lady Gaga, 'Avengers'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Just a week into the show's second season, NBC has renewed top-rated alternative series Ellen's Game of Games, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, for a third season, noted. Ellen's Game of Games returned to the NBC schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 8, as the night's top-rated entertainment program in the key adult 18-49 demo. The show includes supersized versions of the most popular games from her award-winning daytime talk series, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Grace and Frankie will return for a sixth season in 2020 on Netflix, Deadline noted. The internet network announced the renewal three days ahead of the season-five premiere. In Grace and Frankie, Jane Fonda ( Grace ) and Lily Tomlin ( Frankie ) star as two women whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands reveal they are gay and leave them for each other.

Oscar-winning director Lee Daniels wants to make a gay superhero movie, Instinct Magazine noted. Recently, a video went viral of a man ( who turned out to be Washington D.C. resident and dance teacher Dremon Cooper ) doing martial arts moves while wearing pink high-heeled boots. Last week, on Instagram, Daniels—posting a video of himself with his arm around Cooper—announced that he's now working on a superhero film with the intention of making Cooper the star.

During a recent show in Las Vegas, Lady Gaga criticized Vice President Mike Pence and his wife with a searing tirade—and blew out the power at the Park Theater, The Las Vegas Review-Journal noted. Gaga passionately took issue with Karen Pence's return to teaching art at Immanuel Christian School—a private K-8 school in Springfield, Virginia, that seeks to ban LGBTQ and LGBTQ-supportive teachers and students; the singer/actress also referred to the government shutdown, which she blames on President Trump. The show's power cut during a moment in the performance that requires a lot of electricity—when Gaga rides a giant, Transformer-fashioned creature during the song "ScheiBe."

Avengers: Infinity War leads all films in nominations for the Visual Effects Society's 17th Annual VES Awards that will be announced at the VES Awards show Feb. 5 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, noted. ( The Marvel movie received six nominations, one more than Ready Player One and Incredibles 2. ) Also on that show, which will be hosted by Patton Oswalt, the VES Visionary Award will be presented to Westworld creator Jonathan Nolan, and the VES Award for Creative Excellence will go to Game of Thrones producers-writers-directors David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is in talks with Disney about co-writing an animated musical featuring a young Latina heroine, Page Six revealed. Amid much debate about the lack of diverse lead roles in Hollywood, particularly in the animated genre, Miranda is talking to Disney about a follow-up to its 2016 smash hit Moana. Miranda was a music co-writer on Moana, which boasted the monster hits "How Far I'll Go" and "You're Welcome."

Rocker Melissa Etheridge is laying the groundwork for a stage adaptation of Mystic Pizza, the 1988 MGM rom-com that launched Julia Roberts and gave an early look at a very young, lobster-eating Matt Damon, Deadline noted. Production plans and additional creative team will be announced shortly. Mystic Pizza will be published and licensed by Concord Theatricals.

Talk-show host Wendy Williams is taking a temporary leave of absence from her series amid health complications and is expected to have a lengthy hospital stay, The Huffington Post noted. In a statement, Williams' family explained that problems with Graves' disease—a condition the host has dealt with openly—developed after she fractured her shoulder. "Wendy will be under the strict supervision of her physicians, and as part of her care, there will be significant time spent in the hospital," the family said. The show is airing reruns this week, filming original episodes with substitute hosts starting Jan. 28.

CBS has announced a pair of spring premiere dates for new series: The Code and the Ava Duvernay event series The Red Line, noted. The Red Line—from Duvernay and fellow uber-producer Greg Berlanti—will debut Sunday, April 28, and the network will air two episodes, back-to-back, over four consecutive Sundays. The Code, a military drama, will debut Tuesday, April 9, and will star Luke Mitchell and Dana Delany ( taking over roles played by Dave Annable and Mira Sorvino, respectively ).

Trial and Error has been canceled after two seasons on NBC, reported. The broadcaster's option on the true-crime spoof lapsed last August and Warner Bros. Television planned to shop the comedy to other outlets. The comedy, led by Nicholas D'Agosto and Kristin Chenoweth in season two, is a send-up of Making a Murderer-style true crime docuseries.

Rose Byrne, Justin Hartley, Wanda Sykes, Ron Funches and Charlyne Yi have joined star Adam Devine as well as previously announced cast Michael Peña and Alexandra Shipp in the comedy file Lexi, Deadline noted. The film, currently in production, explores what can happen when you love your phone more than anything else in your life. Byrne will voice Lexi, an omnipresent AI assistant who takes her job of "making his life better" much too seriously.

The Nanny star Renee Taylor stepped out to support Fran Drescher at a stand-up comedy show in Brooklyn, Page Six noted. Taylor, who played Fran Fine's ( Drescher's ) mom, Sylvia Fine, on the hit series, attended the "Women of a Certain Age" show at The Bell House to support her former co-star, who opened the show. Actress Brooke Shields also attended the event, as well as former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star Carson Kressley.

Lionel Richie's son made a scene at London's Heathrow Airport, allegedly claiming that he was in possession of a bomb—which he threatened to detonate—and then punching a security guard, Page Six noted, citing TMZ. The incident landed Miles Brockman Richie, 24, in police custody. Miles—who is Richie's only son and works as a model—was accused of yelling at airport staff after being denied entry to a flight.

After saying he was sorry for saying he would "go gay for a month" on a recent episode of his podcast, Impaulsive, Logan Paul has backtracked on his apology, noted. With Josh Seefried—a former captain in the Air Force, and a former co-chairman on the Board of Directors of OutServe-SLDN—as a guest on his podcast, Paul said he doesn't believe "going gay" is a choice, and argued that that wasn't what he was implying with his original statement, blaming the media for pushing that narrative. Paul then added, "Because sexuality is so fluid nowadays, I don't think twice about talking about being gay. I don't give a shit. Being gay is cool to me, I think that it's a very cool thing."

In the Netflix documentary, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, event producer Andy King claims that organizer Billy McFarland asked him to provide oral sex to the head of customs, Gay Star News noted. As the documentary continues, King reveals he almost did it—but that Cunningham, the customs head made another offer instead: He would let them have and serve water at the Fyre Festival as long as he was one of the first to receive an import fee. McFarland, charged with fraud, received a six-year sentence in federal prison in October 2018, which he is currently serving.

Michael C. Hall will star in what may be the strangest Super Bowl commercial that's not a Super Bowl commercial: The star will appear live in a one-performance-only half-hour Broadway musical for Skittles on the afternoon of the big game, Deadline reported. Skittles had previously announced its decision to stage a half-hour live musical event in lieu of a typical Super Bowl ad, with some proceeds going to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Sony Music has decided to dissolve its working relationship with Chicago-based R&B singer R. Kelly, Variety reported. Sony's move comes after years of public calls, and even a petition from members of the #MuteRKelly movement, for the company to part ways with Kelly. Kelly's back catalog will remain with RCA/Sony. Kelly's last release with the label was a Christmas-themed album in 2016, although he has released several songs independently since that time, presumably with Sony's consent, and tweeted earlier this year that he has a new album on the way.

Daniel Zovatto ( Revenge; Fear the Walking Dead ) has been tapped for a lead role in Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, a followup to Penny Dreadful, Deadline reported. A spiritual descendant of the story set in Victorian-era London, the next chapter employ a new vision, new characters and storylines. It opens in 1938 Los Angeles—a time and place deeply infused with Mexican-American folklore and social tension.

Mad Men alum January Jones has joined the cast of Netflix's figure-skating drama Spinning Out, noted. Jones will play Carol Baker, the mother of Kat ( Kaya Scodelario ) and Serena ( Willow Shields ). The cast also includes Evan Roderick, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, Sarah Wright Olsen, Will Kemp, Kaitlyn Leeb, Amanda Zhou and Mitchell Edwards.

Singer Billy Idol and songwriter/guitarist Steve Stevens will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo, a press release noted. The North American tour, titled "Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged," will start March 3 at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, and include stops at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, Los Angeles' Theater at The Ace Hotel, New York's Town Hall and more. Hits include "Dancing With Myself, "White Wedding," "Rebel Yell," "Mony Mony," "Eyes Without A Face" and "Flesh For Fantasy."

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