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SHOWBIZ Thomas Dekker, Linda Perry, Chippendales, Mariah Carey
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-07-18

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A Heroes producer has revealed that the show had to axe a gay storyline, Attitude reported. The popular series, which ran during 2006-2010 before returning briefly last year, launched the career of actors such as Zachary Quinto and Hayden Panettiere. Bryan Fuller, who worked on the show from the start, admitted at Outfest that a gay storyline never went ahead because of major drama backstage with an unnamed actor. While there's no confirmation as to which character Fuller is talking about, at the time the show was on the air, many viewers believed that Zach, played by Thomas Dekker, was meant to be gay. ( Dekker later denied the rumors. )

However, Dekker, 29, has come out as gay—and he also revealed that he is married, Just Jared reported. He decided to be open about his sexuality after the Heroes situation erupted. "My sexual orientation once again came into question this week when a prominent gay man used an awards acceptance speech to 'out' me. While he did not mention me by name, the explicit details of his reference made it easy for the public and media to connect the dots," Thomas wrote in a letter to fans on Twitter. "I have never lied to the press about the fluidity of my sexuality but this man claiming that I came out is not true. Because I have not 'officially' until this moment."

Grammy-nominated producer/singer/songwriter Linda Perry and multi-platinum music producer and artist manager Kerry Brown have launched We Are Hear, a press release noted. We Are Hear is described as "an artist empowerment company based in Los Angeles, [that is focused] on developing and nurturing the creative." Perry is married to The Talk co-creator/panelist Sara Gilbert.

Bold Films has committed to finance Chippendales, about the famous male dance troupe, Deadline noted. Lion star Dev Patel is in talks to play Steve Banerjee, the Bombay-born immigrant who turned an LA dive bar into a multimillion-dollar cultural zeitgeist sensation. Ben Stiller will play Nick DeNoia, an Emmy-winning producer of children's shows who recruited the muscular G-string clad dancers, choreographed their routines and ran a touring company of strippers.

Starz is developing an untitled fictional scripted drama series based on music superstar Mariah Carey's real-life experiences, with Carey executive-producing alongside longtime friend Brett Ratner, Deadline reported. Written by Nina Colman ( Mahogany ), the drama is set in 1986 New York City and chronicles the rise of an ambitious bi-racial 16-year-old girl, an aspiring singer/songwriter who survived a difficult childhood to become the biggest selling female music artist of all time. Carey had a meteoric rise, launching her career with five consecutive Hot 100 number-one hits in 1990-91.

Queen Sugar actor Brian Michael Smith—who plays Toine Wilkins, a transgender police officer and high school friend of the show's principal character, Ralph Angel—has come out as transgender, according to NBC News. Smith has been acting professionally for the last five years and hadn't disclosed his gender identity until last week. Smith has appeared on Girls, Blue Bloods and Law & Order as well as in a Toyota commercial as cisgender ( non-transgender ) male characters.

The family of Brittney Johnson hopes her message of solidarity with the LGBT community continues after the 29-year-old-lesbian rapper was gunned down in New Orleans, NewNowNext.com reported. Johnson, who performed under the monikers Bunny and Big Bei, was found dead in the home she shared with another unnamed woman, who was also shot but survived. The two lived in Algiers, one of New Orleans oldest neighborhoods.

England Is Mine—the newly retitled biopic about musician Morrissey, from writer-director Mark Gill—is getting a theatrical release through Cleopatra Entertainment, Deadline noted. ( The film previously was titled Steven. ) England Is Mine will bow Aug. 25 at the IFC Center in New York, then expand nationwide throughout the fall. The drama is about the early days of Morrissey, the iconic pop star and original frontman for the band The Smiths.

When James Woods insulted family friends of Neil Patrick Harris, the How I Met Your Mother star didn't take it lying down, Page Six noted. Woods tweeted a photo of a father, mother and son at an Orange County pride event holding signs that read, "I [heart] my gender creative son" and "My son wears dresses & makeup … Get over it!" Woods captioned the picture, "This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you've done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage." "Utterly ignorant and classless, Mr. Woods," Harris tweeted. "I'm friends with this family. You know not of what you speak, and should be ashamed of yourself." In May, Woods captioned a GIF of Anderson Cooper rolling his eyes with, "As his butt plug dislodges during a newscast… #andersoncoopereyeroll." Woods has stood by the son-related tweet.

Just days after Kid Rock announced he's considering running for the U.S. Senate in Michigan, Caitlyn Jenner revealed that she's considering making a run for Capitol Hill as well, TheWrap reported. "I have considered it. I like the political side of it," Jenner told radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York. "Over the next six months or so, I gotta find out where I can do a better job. Can I do a better job from the outside? Kind of working the perimeter of the political scene, being open to talking to anybody? Or are you better from the inside?"

Madonna considered Whitney Houston and Sharon Stone to be "horribly mediocre," according to a letter that is due to go under the hammer, according to Page Six. "It's so unequivocally frustrating to read that Whitney Houston has the music career I wish I had and Sharon Stone has the film career I'll never have," the note says. The "Like a Virgin" singer's former art curator Darlene Lutz, whom she sued in 2005 for breach of contract, provided online auction site GottaHaveRockAndRoll.com with the letter, which is expected to go up this week. Stone responded on Facebook, "Know that I am your friend. I have wished to be a rock star in some private moments … have felt as mediocre as you described."

Trevor Donovan has been heating up social media again—this time for his new role in the upcoming miniseries Runaway Romance, NewNowNext.com reported. The three-part miniseries follows a "reality TV star leaves Hollywood and finds herself in Amish country where she must decide between staying in her newfound reality or returning to her old one," according to the project's IMDB page.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and former Gatorade Circle of Champions New York Player of the Year Abby Wambach was one of several professional athletes on hand for the 15th annual Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards, FanRag Sports reported. "I think the things that I would say to my former self or say to these young kids, is you're control of your own destiny," Wambach said. "So often, you have coaches and parents that think they know more—you're the one that has to do the running; you're the one that has to decide what you're putting in your body; you're the one that has to go to class; you're the one that has to volunteer in your community; you have to do all that work.

Charlize Theron's co-star Chris Hemsworth, 33, has put her name forward to take on the role of James Bond, The Daily Mail noted. Hemsworth told W Magazine the Theron could "beat the s**t out of me' and any villain, making her a perfect fit for the first female 007." They have co-starred in the movie Snow White and The Huntsman as well as and The Huntsman: Winter's War.

On an episode of Botched, a doctor revealed his concern for "Human Ken Doll" Rodrigo Alves, Instinct noted. Alves has had close to 60 cosmetic procedures. Earlier this year, he admitted that he has difficulty breathing. Dr. Paul Nassif said of Alves, "His nostrils are so small, and after what he's gone through with the MRSA, this is probably one of the worst results and complications that I've seen in my entire career."

Gwyneth Paltrow's long-gestating Go-Go's musical—Head Over Heels—got a beat closer to Broadway with a party for the show at her Hamptons home, Page Six noted. "It was a friends and family thing," explained Donovan Leitch, who's Paltrow's pal and ex-boyfriend, and who's producing the show with Paltrow, among others. Musical arranger Tom Kitt and Caffey led a round of classic Go-Go's tunes at the reception for the show, which may run during the 2018-19 Broadway season.

Fox has set a pair of crossover episodes for its musical dramas' season premieres on Wed., Sept. 27, Deadline reported. Star's Queen Latifah will appear on the season-four debut of Empire, and the latter's Jussie Smollett is set for the sophomore bow of Star. The night will kick off with Empire, as Lucious ( Terrence Howard ) makes his first public appearance after the explosion in Las Vegas; then, on Star, the ladies )—with Carlotta as their manager—continue to face roadblocks, despite their victory at Atlanta NextFest. Lee Daniels co-created both shows.

Strand Releasing has acquired North American rights for Tristan Ferland Milewski's documentary Dream Boat, Variety noted. The film centers on a cruise ship full of gay men, and follows five men from five countries on a quest for connection and freedom. The five men on the ship are natives of Austria, France, India, Palestine and Poland. Strand plans for a late summer/early fall release this year.

Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Judge have had a complicated friendship over the eight years they've shared on The Real Housewives of Orange County—and have found themselves in a bitter battle at the end of last season after Gunvalson spread rumors claiming Judge's husband, Eddie, is gay, US Weekly noted. But according to Gunvalson, her accusations about Eddie—which both Tamra and Eddie deny are true—is just the beginning.

Blackbird Presents and Kenny Rogers have announced "All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers' Farewell Concert Celebration," an all-star concert event taping at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wed., Oct. 25, a press release noted. This once-in-a-lifetime concert event will honor Kenny Rogers' historic 60-year career and will feature the final performance together by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Tickets go on sale July 21 at 10 a.m. CT online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster locations and the Bridgestone Arena box office.

Disney announced at the D23 Expo in Anaheim that Will Smith has officially been cast to play Genie in Guy Ritchie's upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin, TheWrap reported. The studio also announced that necomers Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott will play Aladdin and his Arabian-princess love interest Jasmine, respectively.

Singer Aaron Carter was busted on DUI and marijuana charges in Georgia, Page Six noted. Carter's girlfriend, Madison Parker, who was in the car with him, was charged with possession of marijuana and obstruction of law-enforcement officers. He had been en route to a performance in Kansas City.

The head of sports marketing for PepsiCo denied a rumor that Britney Spears, who performed at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2001, might be returning to football's biggest stage in 2018, Page Six noted. "I can tell you it's not Britney [Spears]," executive Justin Toman told MAC Presents founder Marcie Allen. The last time Spears performed on the Super Bowl, she was joined by then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake and rock band Aerosmith.

Pamela Anderson's dream of having her own vegan restaurant is shattered, according to Page Six. Anderson, 50, announced the opening of her "sexy" vegan restaurant, La Table du Marchr by Pamela, on July 4, but just eight days later, she shared that she's backing out of the business. The St-Tropez restaurant was initially meant to be a collaboration with one of her favorite chefs, Christophe Leroy.

A new video game that allows players to cruise for simulated gay sex in public restrooms is aiming to make a politically charged message about the policing of sexuality among queer people and censorship in video-game culture, The Huffington Post noted. "The Tearoom" is a new project from Brooklyn-based video game designer Robert Yang that allows users to pick up guys at urinals in hopes of having sex. Yang told HuffPost that he decided to make the game after learning about the Mansfield Police Department's surveillance of a public bathroom in 1962—a sting operation in Ohio that targeted men who have sex with men in public spaces.

Sources have said that famed director Quentin Tarantino's next film will be a drama revolving around the Manson Family murders, Deadline reported. Tarantino reportedly has met with Margot Robbie to potentially play Sharon Tate, the actress wife of director Roman Polanski who was slain in 1969 in a brutal murder whose savagery shocked the country. Robbie is busy these days: RShe will reprise in Suicide Squad 2, and she starred in and produced I, Tonya, playing disgraced Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding.

Former Today Show/MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall is teaming with Weinstein Television on a daytime talk show, with Hall to serve as host and executive producer, Deadline reported. In addition to the daytime show, The Weinstein Company and Hall will collaborate on the development of additional non-scripted programming that will tap into Hall's experience in hard journalism, human-interest stories and entertainment content.

Halfway through its freshman run, TNT's comedic drama Claws has been renewed for a second season to air in 2018, Deadline noted. Five episodes in, Claws has become the highest-rated TNT series launched since the cable network's programming shift last year under the new regime. The series stars Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes, Karrueche Tran, Jenn Lyon, Jack Kesy, Kevin Rankin, Jason Antoon, Harold Perrineau and Dean Norris.

Kendall Jenner has reportedly been granted a restraining order against an obsessed fan, Californian Thomas Hummel, who was reportedly upset that she is dating A$AP Rocky, according to an Elle item that cites TMZ. Hummel, the outlet reported, has been sending Jenner love letters since February. Jenner's security told him in March to stay away, but Hummel started writing again after a few weeks.

While Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson did not return as part of the cast for the fourth season of Bachelor in Paradise, both are set to appear during a special for the hit spinoff following their sexual encounter on the first night of filming, E! News reported. No details have been released about the special, but it would likely mark the first time the two will see each other following their sexual interaction that caused two producers to file complaints that shut down production in June, with Warner Bros. eventually clearing the show of any wrongdoing after an investigation.


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