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SHOWBIZ 'The L Word,' 'The Babadook,' Ben Platt, Ellen Page
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-02-06

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Fifteen years after it first aired, Showtime plans to revive the lesbian drama The L Word, LGBTQ Nation noted. Original cast members Jennifer Beals, Kate Moennig, and Leisha Hailey will be returning as their iconic characters "alongside a new generation of self-possessed LGBTQIA characters experiencing love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks, and success in L.A.," according to the network. The show's creator, Ilene Chaiken, will be an executive producer alongside the returning cast; Marja-Lewis Ryan will be the showrunner.

The Babadook director Jennifer Kent said she's aware of those gay icon status memes starring her character, The Washington Blade noted. In 2017, the Babadook went viral as a gay icon a few months after the thriller film was accidentally placed in the LGBT category on Netflix—launching a series of memes. "That was mad. That was crazy," Kent told Bloody Disgusting."Of course, I love that story. I think it's crazy and just kept him alive. I thought ah, you bastard. He doesn't want to die so he's finding ways to become relevant."

Atlantic Records has announced the debut from Grammy, Tony and Emmy winner Ben Platt, a press release noted. Two new tracks—"Bad Habit" and "Ease My Mind"—are available now via all digital music retailers and streaming services. The video for "Bad Habit" is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSrP6cF1gf8&feature=youtu.be.

Out actress Ellen Page's appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has gone viral for her impassioned takedown of the Trump administration's assault on LGBTQ rights, according to LGBTQ Nation. In part, she said ( of Vice President Mike Pence ), "Connect the dots. If you are in a position of power and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering—what do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused, and they're going to kill themselves and people are going to be beaten on the street."

Fortune Feimster and Chaunte Wayans have been named as the comedy line-up for The Dinah 2019, a press release noted. Feimster has been in the NBC show Cellhampions as well as movies such as Office Christmas Party; Wayans—the niece of Marlon, Shawn, Keenan Ivory and Damon Wayans—has been in TLC's Trading Spaces, Bounce TV's Off The Chain and Nicktoon's animated series and The Boo Crew. Big Brother winner Kaycee Clark, tattoo artist TouShai and Bad Girls Club actress Kat Florek also set to make appearances at the event, taking place April 3-7 in Palm Springs, California.

Global LGBTQ streaming network Revry has announced that Cheryl Dunye and Aaron Walton have joined what CEO Damian Pelliccione calls his 'Rock Star Advisory Board," according to a press release. Dunye is known for directing films such as Watermelon Woman, and has also helmed episodes of shows such as Queen Sugar, The Chi and Dear White People. Walton is the Black gay award-winning founding partner of full-service ad agency Walton Isaacson.

R&B singer James Ingram—who collected two Grammy Awards and a pair of number-one Billboard Hot 100 hits over his decades-long career—has died at age 66, Billboard.com reported. Ingram's friend/creative partner Debbie Allen posted on social media, "I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir." Ingram charted nine hits on the Hot 100, including a pair of number-one hits: "Baby Come to Me," with Patti Austin, in 1983; and "I Don't Have the Heart," in 1990.

The upcoming 17th season of Project Runway will feature the fashion design competition's first transgender model, according to a NewNowNext.com item that cites TheWrap. While the show hasn't previously welcomed trans models, it has included at least one trans designer—three-time competitor Ari South, who transitioned between her first and second appearances. Fashion model Karlie Kloss and designer Christian Siriano have replaced host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn, who both left to launch s fashion-focused reality series for Amazon Prime Video.

Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood opened up about her post-traumatic stress disorder and the time she checked herself into a psychiatric hospital, Page Six noted. Wood, 31, wrote in an essay for Nylon that she was 22 when she tried to commit suicide and then "willingly" checked herself into a psychiatric hospital. The actress said she was not ashamed of her decision.

Beyonce said she is offering free lifetime tickets to any of her or Jay-Z's shows—to people who are willing to go vegan, CBS News noted. The singer shared the news of the contest in an Instagram post promoting The Greenprint Project, which encourages people to adopt a plant-based diet to reduce their environmental footprint. The project is linked to a recently published book by Beyonce's trainer, Marco Borges, for which the she and Jay-Z wrote the introduction.

Musician Brandi Carlile will continue her extensive tour through 2019, including a special debut headline performance at New York City's Madison Square Garden on Sept. 14, a press release noted. Additional stops include Chicago's Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, St. Paul's Minnesota State Fair, Philadelphia's The Mann and Berkeley's The Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley, among others.

Wynonna recorded an a capella version of the classic Nina Simone song "Feeling Good" in her living room, straight into her iPhone, a press release noted. ( It can be heard at www.youtube.com/watch. ) Also, Wynonna will be on tour throughout the United States this year with her band, The Big Noise.

Wendy Williams' return to The Wendy Williams Show is getting further and further away, Page Six noted. A variety of celebrities, including Sherri Shepherd and Jerry O'Connell, are slated to replace Williams through at least Feb. 15. Williams, 54, hasn't returned to her show since it went on a holiday-season hiatus in December. She's said to be in a long-term hospitalization to treat symptoms of Graves' disease, although the New Jersey-based host was spotted at a CVS in Florida recently.

On Thursday, March 28, NBC will premiere Abby's—a sitcom filmed in front of a live studio audience that will feature TV's first openly bisexual sitcom lead, LGBTQ Nation noted. The character will be played by queer-identified actress Natalie Morales, who has previously appeared in the comedies Parks and Recreation, Santa Clarita Diet and Bojack Horseman. Abby's will follow the titular character as she runs an outdoor neighborhood bar that's literally in her own backyard. This news comes on the heels of the CW TV network greenlighting a pilot episode for a Batwoman superhero drama series— the first-ever TV drama led by an openly lesbian comic book superhero.

NBC is not proceeding with Hair Live!, which had been scheduled to air May 19 as the network's next live musical, Deadline noted. There are no plans for the counter-culture classic to air at a later date, though the network remains committed to live musicals and plans to return to the type of broad-appeal productions that launched its live musical franchise.

Netflix has cancelled the sci-fi series Travelers—starring Eric McCormack ( Will & Grace )—after three seasons, Deadline noted. "A lot of you have been asking about the possibility of a season four, but many of you have been saying, 'Look, if this is it, what a moving and surprising and profound ending it is,'" McCormack tweeted. "Well, I'm afraid it is. Who knows what the future holds, but Travelers Program 1, as we call it, is complete … Much love from 3468 in the 21st."

Sex Education is coming back for another session after Netflix ordered a second season of the Gillian Anderson- and Asa Butterfield-fronted comedy drama, Deadline noted. Anderson, Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Aimee-Lou Wood, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Tanya Reynolds and Patricia Allison are all set to reprise their roles as production on season two is set to begin this spring in the United Kingdom.

Famed inventor Ronald A. Katz, the brother of out Broadway star Joel Grey, was the victim of burglars who allegedly used an SUV to bust through security gates and steal $300,000 from his Los Angeles mansion, The New York Daily News reported. The burglars apparently used the SUV like a battering ram on the massive gates protecting the estimated $15 million Holmby Hills estate and then made off with a 1,000-pound, second-floor safe containing the $300,000 in cash and jewelry. Katz made his fortune with technological innovations in the areas of computer telephone integration and speech recognition.

Kristoff St. John, best known for portraying the role of Neil Winters on The Young and the Restless, has died at age 52, Deadline.com reported. St. John won two Daytime Emmy awards out of nine nominations, along with ten NAACP Image Awards. St. John's fiancee, model Kseniya Mikhaleva, tweeted, "You were everything to me." Julian St. John—the actor's son from a first marriage to boxer Mia St. John—committed suicide at age 24 in 2014.

Following a North American tour last year, Florence + the Machine return this spring for a run of dates including Chicago, Oakland, Las Vegas, Boston, Colorado's legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater and much more, a press release noted. The band recently shared "Moderation" and "Haunted House," the first new music since the act's 2018 album, High as Hope. Tickets are on sale at LiveNation.com .

Actor Liam Neeson told a journalist that, following the rape of a friend, he went out with a mind to kill, in his words, a "black b*st*rd," The Irish Times reported. During the extraordinary interview with the Independent ( UK ), he placed air quotes around the offending words and expressed shame for his behavior—but, even for an actor known for not mincing words, the comments will raise eyebrows. Neeson said, in part, "I'm ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week—hoping some [air quotes with his fingers] 'black b*st*rd' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him." In a follow-up interview on GMA, Neeson denied being racist, but explained that he felt a "primal urge to lash out" after learning about the decades-old incident, Deadline noted.

YouTuber Frankie Grande—the queer brother to pop princess Ariana Grande—revealed in a new interview with Us Weekly that he is no longer in his headline-making throuple, NewNowNext.com reported. Grande went public with his throuple to married couple Daniel Sinasohn and Mike Pophis at Bette Midler's annual Hulaween event last October.

TLC is casting one bride from every state, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico for its January 2020 event, according to a press release. Each bride will receive an all-expenses paid trip to NYC; a private shopping event at the wedding salon Kleinfeld Bridal, where they will be gifted a wedding gown, selected with the help of a Kleinfeld consultant; a TLC-hosted pre-wedding reception; and a group wedding ( with all 52 couples ) at a NYC location where host and bridal expert Randy Fenoli will officiate. The couples are slated to say their "i dos" this summer. Interested brides can visit TLC.com/casting to upload their casting submission videos.

Goop—the lifestyle and wellness juggernaut founded a decade ago by Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow—is expanding its original content efforts with a new docuseries at Netflix, an exclusive podcast partnership with Delta Air Lines, and a slew of programming centered around beauty, food and books, Variety reported. Still untitled, Goop's streaming series will hit Netflix this fall and consist of 30-minute episodes hosted by the site's editors, chief content officer Elise Loehnen and Paltrow.

Things reportedly got heated at The Steve Harvey Show when Harvey told Oscar winner Mo'Nique that she needed to apologize to Whoopi Goldberg, whom she called "the help" in a recent interview, and the other celebrities she publicly slammed, according to a BET.com item that cited theJasmineBRAND.com . Upon hearing his unsolicited suggestion, Mo'Nique reportedly became irate and "threatened to hit Steve in the face." The episode is allegedly set to air in the coming weeks, although it's not known if that segment will run.

Louisa Moritz—an actress who appeared in the classic film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and who was among those accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault—has died from a longstanding heart ailment at age 72, Deadline noted. Moritz was one of the first of seven women to accuse and sue Cosby. ( Cosby has denied all charges of non-consensual sex. )

Serenity stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway were reportedly furious with distributor Aviron Pictures after they watched their latest film, Serenity, post the worst opening-weekend numbers of their careers ( $4.4 million ), Deadline noted. They allegedly believed that they were fed excuses and got a lot of unreturned calls when TV spots didn't show up and it became clear to them Aviron wasn't going to support the movie and was essentially dumping it.


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