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SHOWBIZ Troye Sivan, 'Perfectionists,' Janelle Monae, Oprah
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-02-13

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SHOWBIZ Troye Sivan, 'Perfectionists,' Janelle Monae, Oprah

COMPILED BY ANDREW DAVIS

Troye Sivan candidly discussed the correlation between his sexuality and his commercial success in a recent interview, NewNowNext.com reported. On Pop Idol winner Will Young's Homo Sapiens podcast with friend Chris Sweeney, Sivan said, in part, "Part of me wonders sometimes if I would be more commercially successful if I wasn't gay or not as 'in-your-face gay.' I think we're in a really interesting time in music right now where we are seeing more and more queer artists pop up, but we don't have a queer Taylor Swift, we don't have a queer Rihanna or a queer Beyonce." Sivan is currently dating model Jacob Bixenman.

Freeform announced the premiere date of the spinoff series Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, according to a press release. Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists will premiere Wed., March 20, at 8 p.m. EST/PST. I. Marlene King—who was behind the original show, Pretty Little Liars—is one of the executive producers of the new series.

Janelle Monae said that her Grammy nominations for her album Dirty Computer are for her "trans brothers and sisters," Variety reported. The recording artist scored two Grammy nominations—one for album of the year with Dirty Computer, and another for best music video for her track "Pynk." Monae's album was praised for its exploration of sexuality, and the singer has been outspoken about living her truth as a queer Black woman. Monae also revealed that before she publicly came out in 2018, many people warned her against it.

Oprah Winfrey celebrated her 65th birthday on Jan. 29—but has no plans to retire, Ebony.com noted. Winfrey acknowledged the birthday as a "milestone," but she doesn't feel limited by age. "I am feeling some kind of way because it's the number of which the United States government has said you're officially old," she told Entertainment Tonight. Winfrey joked that all her friends are asking whether she received her Medicare card.

Speaking of Winfrey, she debuted the first trailer for the new Oprah Winfrey Network ( OWN ) Black gay teen drama David Makes Man, which debuts this summer, Aazios.com noted. The trailer first debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, where star Phylicia Rashad and executive producer Michael B. Jordan took part in a Q&A, and later surfaced on OWN YouTube. David Makes Man is the first TV series for show creator Tarell Alvin McCraney, who won an Academy Award for co-writing 2017 Best Picture winner Moonlight, based on his play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.

Historians have staged their own fight against the iconic production Hamilton, the Chicago Sun-Times noted. Ishmael Reed—who has been nominated twice for a National Book Award—has chosen to fight fire with fire: collecting his critique of Lin-Manuel Miranda's acclaimed show into a play. Reed's The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda is an uncompromising takedown of the musical Hamilton, reminding viewers of the founding father's complicity in slavery and his war on Native Americans.

Chris Pratt is defending his church after out actress Ellen Page called it "infamously anti-LGBTQ," USA Today noted. "It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which 'hates a certain group of people' and is 'infamously anti —LGBTQ.' Nothing could be further from the truth," Pratt posted on Instagram Story. "I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone." Pratt is reportedly a regular at Los Angeles' Zoe Church, which is affiliated with Hillsong—another celeb-friendly evangelical church that says it does not affirm "the gay lifestyle," according to a 2015 essay by Hillsong senior pastor Brian Houston.

Comedian Billy Eichner will star in a romantic comedy from Universal that Judd Apatow is attached to produce, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The untitled project follows two men with commitment problems attempting a relationship. Eichner co-wrote the movie with Nick Stoller, who will direct. Eichner currently stars on the Stoller-created Netflix series Friends From College, which recently debuted its second season; he has also been in projects such as Difficult People and American Horror Story.

Millennium Films—the studio producing Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer's new movie, Red Sonja—has dropped the project after an investigation in The Atlantic detailed Singer's history of alleged sexual assault involving minors, The Huffington Post noted. Singer has denied all allegations of abuse, and called The Atlantic's reporting "a homophobic smear piece," claiming it was meant to damage "Bohemian Rhapsody," a major box-office hit and Oscar contender. During Bohemian Rhapsody's production in December 2017, Singer was fired from the movie after allegations of creating a toxic work environment and reportedly clashing with star Rami Malek.

Rachel Skarsten has been cast as a villainous lead opposite Ruby Rose in Batwoman—the CW's groundbreaking drama pilot from Greg Berlanti's Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros Television, Deadline noted. Written by Caroline Dries and directed by David Nutter, Batwoman marks the first gay lead character of a live-action superhero series, with Ruby Rose portraying Kate Kane/Batwoman.

Fans of the Disney Channel have now seen the first character to refer to himself as gay, Instinct Magazine noted. Andi Mack character Cyrus Goodman ( played by Joshua Rush ) came out to friend Jonah ( played by Asher Angel ); Jonah responds to Cyrus' revelation with a simple "Yeah? Ok, cool." While Cyrus had come out twice before—to Andi and best friend Buffy—this was the first time that the character said the words "I'm gay."

Showtime has acquired U.S. rights to The Go-Go's, a feature documentary about the successful female rock band, with plans to premiere the film later this year, a press release noted. Alison Ellwood ( History of the Eagles; American Jihad ) will direct the project. The band granted full access for this biography featuring candid interviews and archival footage to tell the real story of their meteoric rise to fame and the journeys, triumphs, laughter and struggles along the way.

The upcoming third season of National Geographic's scripted anthology series Genius will be devoted to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who died in August at age 76, Deadline reported. Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog, will be the executive producer and showrunner of the project. Genius was renewed for a third season in April, with author Mary Shelley initially revealed as its subject, following Albert Einstein and Picasso.

Actor/musician Nick Jonas is set to reprise his role as Alex in the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle follow-up from Sony Pictures, according to Deadline. Jonas is returning alongside Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan as well as director Jake Kasdan.

Danai Gurira—who plays the tougher-than-zombies Michonne on AMC's The Walking Dead—will exit the series for good after season 10, Deadline reported. Gurira, also a playwright and one of the stars of Disney/Marvel's Best Picture Oscar nominee Black Panther, has signed a deal in which she will appear in only a handful of episodes for the show's next season.

Adrienne Warren will reprise her critically acclaimed West End portrayal of Tina Turner on Broadway this fall when Tina: The Tina Turner Musical makes its New York debut, Deadline.com noted. The theater, dates and additional casting will be announced in coming months. To mark the Broadway casting, producers have released the first single, "River Deep Mountain High," from the upcoming cast album, along with a music video featuring Warren.

As she nears the release of her new album, Betty, on Feb. 15, pop singer/songwriter Betty Who has announced her 2019 headline tour—Betty Who: the tour, presented by lululemon, a press release noted. Kicking off May 7 in Santa Cruz, Betty will hit 20+ cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York before concluding with a two-night run at The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles on June 15-16. See BettyWhoMusic.com .

Chance the Rapper explained on Instagram that in between getting ready for his wedding and trying to help Amara Enyia with her mayoral bid in his hometown, he's been busy in the studio—and a new album will be out in July, Billboard.com noted. Chance's manager, Pat Corcoran, confirmed the news in a tweet. While Chance hasn't released a full-length solo work since Book, he dropped a series of tracks last year, including "Work Out," "My Own Thing" and "The Man Who Has Everything."

Art Alexakis, the frontman of the multi-platinum rock band Everclear, has announced an intimate, collaborative acoustic tour in North America for May and June, a press release noted. Alexakis has invited three of his friends to join him on stage each night: fellow platinum artists Chris Collingwood ( Fountains of Wayne ), Max Collins ( Eve 6 ) and John Wozniak ( Marcy Playground ). Stops include Portland, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Cleveland, among other cities.

Mavis Staples has announced three celebratory shows commemorating her 80th birthday this year, a press release noted. Presented by Newport Folk, the shows will take place this May at New York City's Apollo Theater, Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and Los Angeles's Theatre at Ace Hotel. Called "Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples," the trio of shows will feature Mavis and special guests each night.

The Michael Jackson-centered documentary Leaving Neverland will air on HBO on March 3-4, a press release noted. The two-parter explores the separate but parallel experiences of James "Jimmy" Safechuck and Wade Robson, who both allege Jackson sexually abused them.

CBS' The Young and the Restless will pay tribute to its late star Kristoff St. John with a storyline set to air later this spring, TheWrap.com noted. St. John's final appearance on the show aired Feb. 6, with a special tribute that ran during the Feb. 8 episode. The planned April rollout allows the writers time to craft the new storyline, as the soap typically tapes episodes four weeks in advance.

After his very public firing as CEO of CBS Corp, Les Moonves quietly has returned to the business, according to Deadline. According to a Nov. 1 filing with the California Secretary of State's office ( which can be read at pmcdeadline2.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/moon-rise-unlimited-llc-wm.pdf ), the disgraced exec is running a new company called Moon Rise Unlimited, which according to a New York Times report tonight, has set up shop in a Sunset Strip high-rise. Moonves registered the limited-liability company that will focus on "entertainment services" and a separate filing as its manager as one "Leslie R. Moonves."

Extra co-host A.J. Calloway has been suspended by Warner Bros. Television following multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, according to a TVLine.com item that cites The Hollywood Reporter. Calloway was first accused of sexual assault by author and domestic violence activist Sil Lai Abrams back in 2006; he was arrested at the time, but the case was ultimately dismissed on "procedural grounds." Then on Jan. 4, 2019, The Daily Beast published an article in which two more women came forward and accused Calloway of aggravated sexual assault.

Modern Family has been renewed for an 11th and final season in 2019-20, Page Six noted. The 20th Century Fox Television series has been an anchor of ABC's primetime schedule since its premiere in 2009. Created by Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, the domestic comedy revolves around an extended family that won five consecutive Emmy Awards for best comedy series from 2010 to 2014.

The CW has handed early renewals to 10 series for the 2019-20 season, Deadline reported. They include second seasons of Charmed and Legacies, as well as new seasons of Arrow ( season 8 ), Black Lightning ( season 3 ), DC's Legends of Tomorrow ( season 5 ), Dynasty ( season 3 ), The Flash ( season 6 ), Riverdale ( season 4 ), Supergirl ( season 5 ) and Supernatural ( season 15 ). Conspicuously missing from the list is new fall drama All American, which had received a three-episode back order; a renewal decision on it will be made in May.

Fox has renewed The Simpsons for an unprecedented 31st and 32nd seasons, Deadline noted. The renewal takes the hit animated series to yet another record 713 episodes. Of the other two veteran Fox animated shows, Family Guy is locked for the next two seasons, while Bob's Burgers is set for the next year.

New York County Judge Joel H. Cohen has ordered Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland to pay back nearly $3 million to a sponsor of the event, Billboard.com noted. A default judgement was handed out in favor of defrauded investor EHL Funding after McFarland "failed to appear, answer or otherwise move in this action." McFarland already owed more than $24 million after his SEC settlement; also, last July, Fyre Festival attendees Seth Crossno and Mark Thompson won a $5-million settlement against McFarland after he failed to respond to court proceedings for over a year.


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