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Showbiz news: 'Will & Grace,' drag show, Mario Lopez, Rosie's ex dies
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-09-20

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In addition to Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally returning to reprise their roles on Will & Grace, the cast of the classic sitcom has been teasing the return of guest actors from the original run like Minnie Driver and Harry Connick Jr., according to NewNowNext.com . Recently, Messing posted an on-set Instagram with Bobby Cannavale, announcing the return of Will's ( Eric McCormack ) ex-boyfriend, and now The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Jane Lynch and Andrew Rannells will guest star on the revival.

FUSION TV will show the docuseries Shade: Queens of NYC starting Thursday, Oct. 5, according to a press release. Shot in a verite documentary format, the 12-part, half-hour series will provide an intimate look inside New York's drag community. Brita Filter, Chelsea Piers, Holly Box-Springs, Jada Valenciaga, Jasmine Rice LaBeija, Marti Gould Cummings, "Showbiz Spitfire" Paige Turner, and Tina Burner are among the talent featured.

Actor/Extra host Mario Lopez was reportedly assaulted at a spa inside the Planet Hollywood hotel in Las Vegas, Just Jared reported. The incident happened Sept. 15, when he was leaving the bathroom in the spa following a workout. Lopez reportedly bumped into another guest and said, "excuse me." The man replied by saying, "You got a problem?" Eventually, Lopez went to retrieve his phone from the locker-room benches, but the man grabbed the phone and smashed it to piece by throwing it against a wall, according to TMZ. Lopez did not want to press charges, and his phone was replaced by the hotel free of charge. The other man was reportedly banned from the facility.

Rosie O'Donnell's ex-wife Michelle Rounds has passed away at age 46, according to Extra, which cited a TMZ report. Rounds was found dead at her Florida home in an apparent suicide. O'Donnell told Extra, "I am saddened to hear about this terrible tragedy. Mental illness is a very serious issue affecting many families. My thoughts and prayers go out to Michelle's family, her wife and their child." According to her obituary, Rounds "died unexpectedly at her home on Monday." Her family will hold a private memorial.

Showtime announced the newest film to join its growing slate of music specials and documentaries: George Michael: Freedom, which will premiere Saturday, Oct. 21, on air, on demand and over the internet, a press release noted. George Michael: Freedom covers the span of his entire career, but concentrates on the formative period in the late Grammy winner's life and career, leading up to and following the making of his acclaimed, best-selling album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 and his subsequent legal battle with his record label. The special is also poignantly personal, dealing with the death of Michael's late partner and first love, Anselmo Feleppa.

Singer Demi Lovato told PrideSource "I love who I love," but would not speak about her sexuality, according to People.com . "I love who I love," Lovato, 25, told Pride Source—bBut when asked if she'd like to speak directly about her sexuality, Lovato replied, "Thank you for the opportunity, but I think I'm gonna pass." When asked whether there was a specific reason why she chose not to speak openly about her sexuality the singer replied, "I just feel like everyone's always looking for a headline and they always want their magazine or TV show or whatever to be the one to break what my sexuality is."

Tyra Banks recently praised Kmart's decision to relabel its "plus-size" clothing, swimwear and undergarment lines as "fabulously sized," US Magazine noted. She said, "Five years ago on America's Next Top Model, I stopped saying 'plus-size' and I said 'fiercely real' in terms of bodies that are curvy or thicker and sexy bodies. So it looks like Kmart is following with the F-word with their own version!"

Lady Gaga cancelled a performance at the annual Rock in Rio music festival in Brazil due to health concerns, People.com noted. "Lady Gaga is suffering from severe physical pain that has impacted her ability to perform," read a statement posted on her social media. ( She subsequently postponed the European leg of the tour. ) The singer confirmed on Twitter that she suffers from fibromyalgia.

Audience members said that Grammy, Tony and Emmy winner Bette Midler took a spill after a set malfunctioned during a staging of the hit Hello, Dolly! revival on Broadway, NBC New York reported. "She was kind of dancing and she was walking back and it looked like the prop didn't stop moving," one audience member said. "And then she fell. So something malfunctioned." The Beaches actress tweeted after the show that she fell after two set pieces collided, and that she was fine.

E! will not be returning to Mariah's World, Billboard noted. The Mariah Carey-led docuseries will not be returning for a second season, a spokesperson for the NBCUniversal cable network confirmed. The series followed the pop songstress as she launched her Sweet Sweet Fantasy tour in Europe while simultaneously planning her wedding to billionaire James Packer. However, she and Packer called off their engagement two months before the series launched.

Dozens of stars turned out to sing, tell stories and plead for support for hurricane victims Sept. 12, in a one-hour televised benefit that had raised $14.5 million, according to Page Six. Justin Bieber, George Clooney, Barbra Streisand, Al Pacino, Lupita Nyong'o, Jay Leno and dozens of others sat at phone banks to accept donations. Beyonce, Will Smith and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson sent in taped pleas for support during the event, shown on more than a dozen television networks and online simultaneously.

Country-music singer Kenny Chesney said he has lost his home on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands to the devastation from Hurricane Irma, ABC News reported. Upon learning of the devastation in the Virgin Islands, Chesney, 49, created a foundation to help those who lost everything during the hurricane. The singer launched his Love for Love City Foundation and has urged fans to donate money to it through his website.

On the TV show The Doctors, singer Aaron Carter tested negative for cocaine and meth but did test positive for prescription pills, InTouch Weekly noted. Doctor Travis Stork explained that the combination of drugs he tested positive for wasn't necessarily safe. Before getting the results, Carter had feared he was HIV-positive because he is 35 pounds underweight ( 115 pounds at six feet tall ). Also, he tested negative for HIV as well as a range of sexually transmitted diseases, according to a YouTube video.

Former Orange Is the New Black actress Samira Wiley recently talked with SELF magazine about several topics, including her marriage. On playing two gay characters back to back, she said, "I love Poussey, and I love Moira [in The Handmaid's Tale], and I'm so honored to be able to play these women who shed light on what it's like to be a woman today." Regarding her marriage to Lauren Morelli, Wiley stated, "I love having someone on my team. Also, the other day, she bought me a really dope tracksuit."

Jamie Lee Curtis will reprise her iconic role as Laurie Strode in Blumhouse's upcoming Halloween reboot, TheWrap reported. John Carpenter, master of the original 1978 movie Halloween, is the executive producer. David Gordon Green and Danny McBride are scripting the film, due Oct. 19, 2018, and Green is directing.

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Mary Lambert has announced the "Everybody Is a Babe" tour, according to a press release. The tour will kick off Oct. 21 in San Diego at the Casbah and end in New York City on Nov. 17 at Highland Ballroom; artist Mal Blum will support the tour. Additionally, the tour will feature spoken-word artists such as Buddy Wakefield, Anis Mojgani, Dominique Christina and Safia Elhillo.

Selma director Ava DuVernay and rapper LL Cool J are among the recipients of Harvard University's 2017 W.E.B. Du Bois medals honoring those who have made significant contributions to African and African-American history and culture, Page Six noted. Other medalists this year include Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, artist Kara Walker, Microsoft Chairman John Thompson and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker. Last year's honorees included actress Pam Grier.

LA Superior Court Judge Holly Kendig unsurprisingly ruled in two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland's favor in her lawsuit against producer Ryan Murphy regarding his miniseries Feud, according to Deadline. An approximately five-to -seven day trial has been set to start Nov. 27. "I can't imagine not granting the motion, based on the plaintiff being 101," said the judge. de Havilland insisted in her initial June 30 lawsuit that her portrayal by Catherine Zeta-Jones in Feud damaged her "professional reputation for integrity, honesty, generosity, self-sacrifice and dignity."

A new tell-all written by deceased con artist and mobster Johnny Fratto suggests that actor Tom Cruise is ... straight, according to Queerty. In the book, Fratto—who coached Cruise while the actor prepared for his role as a pool hustler in 1986's The Color of Money—describes a night out with Cruise in a Chicago club, where he threw his arms around "two smoking hot party girls from Des Moines." Fratto's biography—Now That I'm Dead, Here's the Real Dirt—was penned by Mafia historian Matthew Randazzo V, who, in the book, also describes encounters with people such as Oprah Winfrey and Paris Hilton.

Judge Judy star Judith Sheindlin has made a gift to USC ( University of Southern California ) Annenberg that establishes a high-tech center for debates and fellowships for graduate students at the journalism and communications school, according to Page Six. The Sheindlin Forum will be home to the USC Annenberg Debate Series, a program that will involve noted speakers, USC students and local high school students. The Sheindlin Debate Fellows program will support USC students tasked with running the debate series.

Kathie Lee Gifford is mourning the loss of her mother, Joan Epstein, two years after the death of Gifford's husband, Frank Gifford, Page Six noted. "My precious mother, JOANNIE went home to JESUS & my DADDY this morning," Gifford, 64, tweeted. "We praise God for His promise of eternal life & we thank God for her."

Currently set to support Bruno Mars on a run of dates, Dua Lipa has announced her upcoming headlining U.S. tour, a press release noted. The tour will start on Nov. 20 in Boston making stops in major cities such as New York, Hollywood, Chicago ( at House of Blues on Nov. 26 ) and Nashville before wrapping up in Seattle on Feb. 20, 2018. Her current single "New Rules" hit number one on the UK charts, making Lipa the first female solo artist to reach #1 since Adele's "Hello" in 2015. See dualipa.com .

Mark Ronson is facing another lawsuit over his smash hit "Uptown Funk" ( that features vocals from Bruno Mars )—this time from the Lastrada Entertainment Company, Ltd., the music publishing house that holds the copyright to Zapp's 1980 funk classic "More Bounce to the Ounce," Billboard noted. "Mark Ronson failed in his goal to write something new," reads a copy of the suit that Billboard procured. "Substantial parts of 'Uptown Funk' were copied from 'More Bounce to the Ounce.'" Among the examples given for those various comments are Billboard and Slate reviews of the song citing the similarity to "More Bounce," as well as a tweet from Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid.

More than a dozen health organizations have demanded that movie producers, distributors and exhibitors meet a June 1, 2018, deadline to begin applying an "R" rating to any film that includes depictions of smoking or tobacco, AAFP.org noted in a press release. Depiction of tobacco use in youth-rated movies must end, said the groups, because research showed these images are directly correlated with children becoming smokers.

Harrison Ford ( Han Solo in the Star Wars series ) was asked about his alleged real-life affair with Carrie Fisher ( Princess Leia ), Page Six reported. Fisher made the claim in her final memoir, The Princess Diarist, going into detail about her alleged affair with Harrison Ford while filming Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. In the October issue of GQ Magazine, Ford remained coy about the issue, telling the magazine, "Oh, I don't know. I don't know [what I thought]. You know, with Carrie's untimely passing, I don't really feel that it's a subject that I want to discuss." Ford remained silent when the book was published, only giving a statement about Fisher's legacy upon her untimely death.

The band Evanescence will release its fourth album, Synthesis, on Nov. 10, a press release noted. The album is a reimagining of some of Evanescence's best-loved songs recorded with a full orchestra and electronic aspect combined with the band and Amy Lee's piano and voice. Tickets for the band's "Synthesis Live" fall tour are on sale now.

MTV and Dimension TV announced new roles and casting for Scream, the TV series that recently began production in Atlanta, a press release noted. Keke Palmer will portray Kym, who works to flip the script and survive at any cost. Other cast members include RJ Cyler, Jessica Sula, Giorgia Whigham and Giullian Yao Gioiello ( who plays the openly gay character Manny ); they join previously announced co-stars Tyga and CJ Wallace ( the son of the late Notorious B.I.G. and Faith Evans ). Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere and Yaneley Arty will serve as executive producers for Flavor Unit Entertainment.

The original cast recording of SpongeBob SquarePants: The New Musical will be released Sept. 22 by Masterworks Broadway, a press release noted. A special two-LP vinyl version of the recording will be released Nov. 3, in anticipation of the show's Broadway performances that begin Nov. 6 at the Palace Theater in New York City. Some of the artists on the CD include Cyndi Lauper, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, David Bowie, Sara Bareilles and They Might Be Giants.

Real Housewives of Miami star Lisa Hochstein had to deal with a storm of criticism after posting a picture of her family grinning in front of a private jet before they escaped from Hurricane Irma, Page Six noted. For example, a Twitter user wrote, "I get evacuating. I don't however understand their need to be vapid a—holes." Hochstein was unrepentant and posted a response to "all of these ignorant people leaving nasty comments."


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