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SHOWBIZ 'Will & Grace,' LGBTQ singers, legendary divas, Ellen's surprise
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-11-26

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Will & Grace will pay tribute to I Love Lucy by building an entire episode around the iconic sitcom this spring, EW reported. In the episode that will air as part of the sitcom's final season, three dream sequences will feature Grace ( Debra Messing ), Jack ( Sean Hayes ), and Karen ( Megan Mullally ) playing Lucy in "re-imagined versions of iconic scenes from the original series," according to the sitcom. Will ( Eric McCormack ), in the meantime, will play Ricky Ricardo in all of the classic excerpts while the others will rotate playing Fred and Ethel.

In a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph, singer Jason Mraz revealed he was hesitant to come out as bisexual after growing up in the traditionalistic town of Mechanicsville, Virginia, Gayety.co noted. "I saw how [gay and lesbian people] get harassed, and I heard the language around it, and that scared me," he explained. "I thought, 'If I'm gay, what does that mean for me, my community, my family and career?"' In 2005, he defined himself as "bisexually open-minded" in an interview with Genre; last year, he came out publicly as bisexual.

Queer pop duo Twinkids has released their EP Lizard House and the single "Psycho," a press release noted. The duo consist of Tokyo-born Gene Fukui and Floridian Matt Young—two songwriters and producers whose unabashed lyrics tackle the anxieties of being young and queer. They first met while studying at Oberlin College and the Conservatory of Music, whose alumni include Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mars Volta and Liz Phair. Visit soundcloud.com/twinkids/psycho-1/s-sMUWi to hear "Psycho."

Queer country musicians Karen & the Sorrows announced the release of their new album, Guaranteed Broken Heart, a press release noted. Karen & the Sorrows have previously been featured in Billboard, WNYC's The Takeaway and Rolling Stone, who described them as "Dolly Parton fronting Tom Petty's Heartbreakers." For the last eight years, they have also been at the heart of a growing queer country community, running the Gay Ole Opry Festival and the Queer Country Quarterly.

Ellen DeGeneres surprised a lesbian couple who went viral for asking the talk show host to attend their wedding because one of the couple's parents does not approve of the marriage, Newsweek noted. DeGeneres said she can't make the wedding but gifted them a cardboard cutout of herself. DeGeneres also surprised the couple with a second surprise proposal—with Sarah Sulsenti proposing to fiancee Kate Austin this time, after Austin previously proposed in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Legendary singer Patti LaBelle was unmasked as the Flower following her elimination from the singing competition The Masked Singer, BET.com noted. After the elimination, she talked with The Hollywood Reporter about her experience on the show and the state of today's music. Among other things, she said, "Sixty years performing, and I see changes all the time. I never know if we're going to ever go back to when real music was real music. ... I hope that it goes back to substance."

Diana Ross will return to Las Vegas next year for a new series of residency dates at the Wynn Las Vegas' Encore Theater, ABC News reported. The shows are scheduled for April 8, 10, 11, 15, 17 and 18. The Motown legend has been celebrating her 75th birthday throughout 2019 with her yearlong "Diamond Diana" celebration, but the upcoming Las Vegas concerts will have Ross introducing an all-new show for 2020.

Greg Berlanti—the prolific producer behind Riverdale, The Flash, Supergirl and many other shows—has inked a deal to adapt the New York Times best-selling young-adult novel The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue for HBO Max, Deadline noted. Berlanti Productions' adaptation of Mackenzi Lee's period romantic adventure could be one of the four movies the company has signed up to make for HBO Max, which launches in May. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue follows Henry Monty Montague—a bisexual British Lord who embarks on a grand tour of 18th century Europe with his best friend and secret crush, Percy. Another of Berlanti's projects for HBO Max includes Equal, a four-part docuseries chronicling landmark events and the forgotten heroes of the LGBTQ+ movement.

Jane Fonda was joined once again by a number of famous faces as she led a climate change protest in Washington, D.C. at the Supreme Court building, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The actress was joined for the seventh political demonstration in a row, called "Fire Drill Friday," by actresses Diane Lane and Piper Perabo, actor Manny Jacinto ( The Good Place ) and model Amber Valletta. Perabo, Lane and Valletta were arrested. Fonda avoided arrest the past two weeks of protest because she faces a lengthy jail stay for each additional infraction with which she is charged; she previously spent a night in jail after she was arrested a fourth time.

RuPaul made herstory by becoming the first drag queen to grace the cover of Vanity Fair, The New York Daily News noted. The Emmy-winning host and producer was shot by the legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz for the magazine's holiday 2019/2020 cover. RuPaul posed in a jewel-covered skin-tight one-piece suit, wearing a Texas-high white wig as well as matching diamond bracelet and earrings.

Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands confirmed it will not air its fashion show this year after falling ratings and backlash to the event in recent years, CNN.com noted. The first Victoria's Secret fashion show aired in 1995, but last year the show fell to its lowest ratings since its inception. In a 2018 interview, Ed Razek—then chief marketing officer for L Brands—said he didn't think the brand should include "transsexuals" in its show "because [the event] is a fantasy." Also, publications from Cosmopolitan to The Guardian have called the show sexist and anti-feminist.

Kevin Hart will star in a new Netflix docuseries that documents the fallout after the comedian was announced as the host of the 2019 Academy Awards, when his past homophobic tweets and comedy routines resurfaced and he eventually stepped down, LGBTQ Nation reported. Hart has continued to rage about "cancel culture" and repeatedly claimed he had already apologized for the statements, but he can't point to a time when he did. Attempts by the media to find the apology have also been fruitless. The new series, dubbed Don't F**k This Up, chronicles the aftermath of Hart's decision to step down and his subsequent apology tour that many panned as half-hearted.

Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King has secured from the Michael Jackson estate the rights to make a film of the complicated pop icon's life with access to all of his music, Deadline reported. King's GK Films has retained three-time Oscar-nominated writer John Logan to pen the script. Reportedly, the film isn't intended to be a sanitized rendering of Jackson's life.

Add a particular dance show to those acts entertaining on cruise ships, as guest will be going on vacation to the Bahamas next year with "Dancing with the Stars: Journey to Paradise," a press release noted. The cast includes judge Bruno Tonioli, Joey Fatone of *NYSYNC, ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee, NFL star and season 24 mirrorball champion Rashad Jennings, with current season 28 pro dancers and alumni such as Cheryl Burke, Artem Chigvintsev, Tony Dovolani and Kym Herjavec. See DWTSAtlantis.com .

NBCUniversal gave an early season-two renewal to daytime talker The Kelly Clarkson Show, Deadline noted. The hourlong syndicated program, produced and distributed by NBCUniversal Television Distribution, airs in 100 percent of the country, on more than 200 stations. The Kelly Clarkson Show leads a freshman class of syndicated entries that also includes Disney's Tamron Hall; court show Judge Jerry, starring Jerry Springer; Sony Pictures TV's talker Mel Robbins; and Fox's game show 25 Words or Less, hosted by Meredith Vieira.

Alongside the trailer and key art, Hulu announced that its fan-favorite series Marvel's Runaways will return for its third and final season, a press release noted. Marvel's Runaways will return Friday, Dec. 13, with all 10 episodes. The trailer is at https://youtu.be/X11RrTLA-E8.

NBC renewed soap opera Days of Our Lives for a 56th season, Deadline noted. The pickup came 10 days after word got out that the entire cast of NBC's daytime soap had been released from their contracts. After a big wave of cancellations of daytime soaps ( including ABC's All My Children and One Life to Live ), the genre had been stable for the past few years with the four remaining series: NBC's Days of Our Lives, ABC's General Hospital and CBS' The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful.

Lizzo is the most-nominated artist for the upcoming Grammy Awards, racking up nods in a total of eight categories, HuffPost noted. Among the nods were Best Urban Contemporary Album and Album of the Year for Cuz I Love You. She was also nominated for Best New Artist alongside fellow multi-nominee Billie Eilish. The two will be up against one another in the big four categories: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist. Alicia Keys, who has 15 Grammy Awards herself, will host the 62nd annual ceremony Jan. 26 in Los Angeles.

The 10th anniversary of the Martin Scorsese film Shutter Island will be celebrated with a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version release on Feb. 11, 2020, from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Based on the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island follows U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels ( Leonardo DiCaprio ) as he navigates what appears to be a routine investigation that quickly turns sinister. The 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo in a Limited Collector's Edition Steelbook includes the previously released featurettes "Behind the Shutters" and "Into the Lighthouse" on the Blu-ray.

On the heels of BET Networks' recent announcement of Lena Waithe's original scripted series Twenties, which follows the adventures of a queer Black girl; digital series Wig Out; and documentary Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church, the company announced the launch of Queer As F**K!, a press release noted. The BET social franchise highlights the beauty, power and diversity of the Black queer community across the network's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube channels. See BET.com .

Real Housewives of New York star Sonja Morgan was thrown out of a Philly piano bar in the city's gay area known as the "Gayborhood," Page Six noted. Morgan was reportedly booted after singing "Hello, Dolly!" and was crying and moaning, "They sÃïï-Ãïï-Ãïït on me!" Morgan confirmed that she'd been kicked out, explaining, "I was with friends who were singing at the piano, like we do at [Upper East Side bar] the Townhouse, and the piano player said, 'Remove her!'Ãïï"

The Doobie Brothers will unite with former frontman Michael McDonald for a 2020 North American tour celebrating the band's 50th anniversary, Rolling Stone noted. The Doobie Brothers announced the 30-date jaunt while closing out their Nov. 18 concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, which featured full-LP performances of 1972's Toulouse Street and 1973's The Captain and Me. McDonald came out during the encore for a surprise version of their single "Takin' It to the Streets," the title track of their 1976 album—and the first with McDonald in the line-up.

Daniel Craig—who has played James Bond in the popular franchise since 2005—has confirmed his time as 007 is coming to an end, People.com noted. During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the actor confirmed that he was "done" playing the famed spy. Craig's last outing as Bond will be in the forthcoming movie No Time to Die, which is slated to be released next April.

Judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough are vacating their chairs on NBC's unscripted series America's Got Talent, Page Six noted, citing Variety. Union and Hough had replaced longtime judges Melanie Brown ( Spice Girls ) and model-host Heidi Klum for the show's 14th season.

In May, Wayne Newton marked is 60th anniversary of performing in Las Vegas—and he's set for number 61, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Newton has extended his residency at Cleopatra's Barge at Caesars Palace into 2020, from Jan. 18 through Dec. 30, taking August off. In other Vegas news, at the end of Fleetwood Mac's performance at T-Mobile Arena, band co-founder Mick Fleetwood called out that the band was done performing "for now." The Mac wanted to close their "final" tour in Las Vegas.

Also, Donny and Marie Osmond ended their Vegas residency by capping their 11-year-run with tears, a sold-out show and their signature hit, "May Tomorrow Be a Perfect Day," Page Six noted. The Osmonds' residency started in September 2008, on a six-week contract, with shows continually being added and extending the run.

This Is Us star Justin Hartley and Chrishell Stause Hartley have split after two years of marriage, People.com noted. Hartley, 42, cited irreconcilable differences are the reason for their divorce. Hartley was previously married to soap star Lindsay Korman from 2004 to 2012.

Harry Morton, the founder of the Pink Taco restaurant chain, has died at age 38, People.com noted. Reportedly, Harry's younger brother Matthew was the one to find the restauranteur unresponsive. There was no evidence of foul play and an autopsy report is pending.

Country singer Sam Hunt was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence, CNN.com revealed. Hunt—known for such country hits as "Body Like a Back Road" and "Drinkin' Too Much"—was stopped by police in East Nashville, Tennessee, after he was observed driving the wrong way down a road. The singer submitted to a sobriety test; according to the warrant, Hunt had a blood alcohol content of .173.

Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson said that when he was younger, he used to masturbate to Leonardo DiCaprio's "acting," according to Out.com . In an interview with Paper, Davidson was asked about being a sex symbol and somehow pivoted that into saying, "Well, I used to jerk off to Leonardo DiCaprio … Uhh, like his acting," adding, "I used to have a HUGE crush on Leonardo DiCaprio."


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