Entertainment Headlines

Natalie Seery/HBO (NEW YORK) -- On the critically-acclaimed HBO drama series, I May Destroy You, Paapa Essiedu gets to work alongside his longtime friend and collaborator Michaela Coel, who also happens to be his boss. 

Essiedu tells ABC Audio that thankfully there's no egos involved when it comes to Coel, who he says is always open to support new ideas.

"I think that Michaela is good. She's humble with it. And...not precious," he says. "So like, she's up for taking the ideas. She's like a sponge. She absorbs it. And she's very eager to say yes to someone offering something up."

However, even with their close friendship, that dates back to drama school, Essiedu admits Coel is definitely not a pushover when it comes to getting down to business.

"But... I don't think... because I was friends with her, I actually got any more allowances than anybody else," he says.

In fact, because of their friendship, Essiedu notes that he's even a bit reluctant to offer his input when it comes to his character Kwame.

"And also, I didn't want to kind of push it that way... because I think it hurts more if your friend tells you, 'No, you can't do that.' You know? Rather than like it's just like some person that you're working with. So like, we keep it kind of professional to an extent."

Still, Essiedu says it's hard not to let their real-life camaraderie reflect on set.

"We're playing friends in the show. So obviously [it's] going to mirror what we're like in real life," he says.

"[But, Coel] is just like the most incredible collaborator, the most talented... person I ever worked with," he adds.

I May Destroy You airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) -- Exciting things are in the works for Hannah Brown.  The 25-year-old opened up about her emotional journey that started in 2019 when she agreed to compete on The Bachelor.

"Today feels really symbolic for me. As I get ready to move into a new home, I realize that I am starting a new chapter and closing another," Brown penned on Saturday, who remarked that it was nice transition for her because "I’m usually rushing to the next chapter before I finish the one before!"

Although she didn't disclose what she has cooking up, the Dancing with the Stars champ hinted it was enough to make her look back at how much her life has changed since she was swept up in a whirlwind of new experiences last year.

"I took a trip down memory lane this morning, looking at footage and personal journals from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and couldn’t help but feel a little proud of how much I’ve evolved since then," She expressed, sharing a video recording she made after she watched the first few episodes of The Bachelor where she fretted over how people perceived her and her faith.

"Oh sweet baby Han didn’t know then it was just the start of all the crazy mess she’d get into," Brown cracked. "I’ve had lots of highs and a lot of lows, and although I would prefer some things to have gone differently, I wouldn’t change a single thing."

Once Colton Underwood's season of The Bachelor ended, Brown found herself in the starring role of The Bachelorette but her season ended with her calling off her engagement to Jeff Wyatt. 

She then competed on DWTS, where she and partner Alan Bersten took home the Mirrorball Trophy.

"Cheers, to new beginnings y’all," she concluded her post. 

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Lifetime(LOS ANGELES) -- Lifetime has announced it will be debuting its first ever Christmas movie featuring an LGBTQ romance.

The movie -- called The Christmas Set Up -- will follow Hugo, a New York corporate lawyer who goes home to Milwaukee for the holidays and runs into his secret high school crush, Patrick.

The network’s annual slate of holiday films will also include A Sugar & Spice Holiday, which centers on a Chinese-American family; Christmas Ever After, starring Tony winner Ali Stroker; Christmas Unwrapped, produced by Tiffany Haddish; and Dear Christmas, starring Melissa Joan Hart and Jason Priestly.

The full "It's a Wonderful Lifetime" movie slate will be released in September.

Last month, Lifetime’s Christmas movie competitor, Hallmark Channel, announced part of its original holiday movie lineup and was criticized for its lack of LGBTQ representation. Following the criticism, Hallmark announced its commitment to diversity and promised upcoming films would contain LGBTQ storylines.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Universal Pictures(LONDON) -- It's been a year since the movie hit theaters, but the claws are still out for the live-action version of CATS

Now, Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Tony-winning creator of the hit Broadway musical on which the movie is based is speaking up -- and no, he didn't like it either. 

"The problem with the film was that [director] Tom Hooper decided that he didn't want anybody involved in it who was involved in the original show," Webber told The Sunday Times of London in a new interview. "The whole thing was ridiculous."

The live-action film that starred Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, and Rebel Wilson was panned upon its trailer's release, and became a pricey flop for Universal before it swept the Razzie Awards and became a punchline at the Oscars

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Adult Swim(LOS ANGELES) -- We all have that TV show that we just don't "get" in terms of popularity, and that led the website Reviews.org to poll Americans by state to see which popular shows they think are the most overrated. 

Long story short: eight states named Parks and Recreation as the most-overrated show, the most by state.

However, by population -- because tiny Rhode Island doesn't like Parks and Rec -- the beloved animated show Rick and Morty, which was named most overrated by 7 states, including Maine, Wyoming, and Arizona, technically earned the "most overrated" title. 

Fifty-eight percent of those polled called the absurdist show overrated, the most overall.

For the record, they're wrong. 

Other neat factoids the survey revealed: 

  • 64% of women said Game of Thrones is overrated.
  • 60% of men said Friends is overrated.
  • On average, people over the age of 54 said every show on Reviews.org's list is overrated 64% of the time.

Here's the full listing by state: 

Alabama - The Walking Dead
Alaska - The Walking Dead
Arizona - Rick and Morty
Arkansas - Rick and Morty
California - The Walking Dead
Colorado - Parks and Recreation
Connecticut - The Walking Dead
Delaware - The Big Bang Theory
District of Columbia - Game of Thrones
Florida - Game of Thrones
Georgia - Friends
Hawaii - The Walking Dead
Idaho - The Simpsons
Illinois - The Walking Dead
Indiana - Friends
Iowa - The Big Bang Theory
Kansas - Parks and Recreation
Kentucky - Game of Thrones
Louisiana - The Office
Maine - Rick and Morty
Maryland - The Big Bang Theory
Massachusetts - Rick and Morty
Michigan - The Office
Minnesota - Parks and Recreation
Mississippi - The Simpsons
Missouri - Parks and Recreation
Montana - Rick and Morty
Nebraska - The Simpsons
Nevada - Rick and Morty
New Hampshire - The Big Bang Theory
New Jersey - The Big Bang Theory
New Mexico - Parks and Recreation
New York - Game of Thrones
North Carolina - Game of Thrones
North Dakota - The Simpsons
Ohio - Parks and Recreation
Oklahoma - The Simpsons
Oregon - Parks and Recreation
Pennsylvania - The Office
Rhode Island - Parks and Recreation
South Carolina - Breaking Bad
South Dakota - Friends
Tennessee - Game of Thrones
Texas - The Walking Dead
Utah - The Simpsons
Vermont - The Big Bang Theory
Virginia - The Office
Washington - Friends
West Virginia - The Simpsons
Wisconsin - The Big Bang Theory
Wyoming - Rick and Morty

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Add "league owner" to the growing list of job titles earned by former wrestler-turned movie star, TV producer, and spirits entrepreneur Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

The superstar, along with his ex-wife and production company partner Dany Garcia and the investment company Redbird Capital Partners have purchased the XFL football league. 

Originally created in 2001, the league, which was owned by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, restarted play earlier this year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused games to be cancelled, and the league filed for bankruptcy.

In a statement, Johnson said, "The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and [Redbird's] Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that's rooted deeply in two things - my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans. With pride and gratitude for all that I've built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football."

Johnson himself played football in college, but lack of playing time and injuries prevented him from getting to the NFL, leading him to follow in his father's footsteps in the family business of professional wrestling.

His Seven Bucks production company -- named after the amount of money he had in his pocket when the Canadian Football League cut him in 1995 -- has become a major Hollywood player, with hit TV and movie projects that have earned $10 billion worldwide at the box office.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- Production is ramping up on Marvel Studios' mysterious Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, an Australian news crew has found. 

Aerial footage from 7 News Sydney shows several traditional Chinese buildings under construction, surrounded by a massive green screen backdrop. Crew members were seen scurrying about on and around the structures.

"It's not Asia and it's not Hollywood; it is Western Sydney, home to the newest addition of the Marvel movie franchise," the news outlet tweeted, explaining that cast and crew have completed a two-week quarantine, and are days away from the start of shooting.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars newcomer Simu Liu as the titular character, a martial arts expert and assassin-turned-hero. Liu stars alongside Crazy Rich Asians' Awkwafina and Chinese actor Tony Leung in a cast of predominantly Asian performers. 

Back in March, the movie's Hawaiian-born director, Destin Daniel Cretton, who is of Japanese ancestry, self-isolated on the recommendation of a doctor in Australia. Because Cretton had just become a new father, he quarantined himself just to be safe. While the film's stunt crew kept at work, the movie's production was shuttered soon after.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently slated for a May 7, 2021 release, however, considering how the pandemic bumped the May release of Marvel Studios' Black Widow to November -- so far -- it's likely that several releases down the line will change.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The Fugitive is back, this time in short form. The crime drama from the 1960s, which became a movie starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in the 90s, is now a series on Quibi starring Kiefer Sutherland as a police captain trying to track down a subway bomber.

From 24 to Designated Survivor, it’s a world in which Sutherland loves to play, and he talked to ABC Audio about why he gravitates towards these kinds of roles.

"There's just something so dynamic about it," he says. "It allows you as an actor to hit very high highs and very low lows that most people, you know, in an office or whatever would not experience. And so it's a thrilling kind of part to play."

In addition to the role being in Sutherland's wheelhouse, the Emmy-Award winner explains that the series asks some some interesting questions that correlate with real life. 

"I think at the root of the story is that as on a societal level, we tend to rush to judgment before all the facts are out there. And I think if there was a time that that seems to be more prevalent now than ever before," he reveals. "There's a part of our legal system that is innocence until proven guilty and it's a kind of great fable on that in hoping that our society does not rush to judgment." 

The Fugitive premieres on Quibi August 3. 

By Danielle Long and Jason Nathanson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Christos Kalohoridis/NetflixThe second season of The Umbrella Academy is now available for streaming on Netflix.

The show, which is adaptation of the comic book series created by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, follows the Hargreeves children, each of whom has a unique superpower and a unique personality, to boot. Season two has the very disparate siblings scattered through the 1960s, where they need to come together to save the world...again. 

Speaking to Rock Sound, actor Tom Hopper, who plays the super-strong Luther Hargreeves, says it was critical for him to follow the vision that Way saw for his character.

"I remember after reading the comics, it was very important for me that whatever it was that Gerard saw in these characters going into the TV show, it respected his initial vision," Hopper explains.

"It was important for me to talk to him about the ways that I was going or the way that I saw it was the same way that he saw it," the actor continues. "Fortunately it was and I think he's been really pleased with everyone's version of the characters that he came up with in the first place."

Hopper adds that he was able to learn more about Way as a person while working together on set.

"I've chatted to Gerard since a couple of times more about other things," Hopper says. "That's the weird thing. When you're immersed in the show you want to talk about other things other than the show. Which is actually really nice to get to know Gerard as who he is as person more than a guy who has created the comic books."

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) It seems Ellen DeGeneres has had enough.

The 62-year-old reportedly "wants out" of the syndicated talk show she's hosted since 2003 amid employee claims of mistreatment.

Sources told Us Weekly, "She is p****d that people have come forward to share these negative stories about her and feels betrayed."

The insider added, "She knows she can be tough at times but believes she works hard and is extremely creative and that it’s a privilege to work for her and be around her."

Both Ellen and her talk show came under fire in mid-July after former employees alleged to BuzzFeed News that their work environment was a toxic one, in which they faced racism, fear, and intimidation.

Ellen issued addressed the claims and issued an apology to her staff on July 30 in an email obtained by ABC News. 

"As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done," she wrote. "Clearly some didn't. That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."

By Danielle Long and Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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'S.W.A.T.' - Jordin Althaus/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved(LOS ANGELES) -- The TV industry is starting to find its footing following the months-long COVID-19 shutdown.

S.W.A.T., CBS’ remake of the 1970s police drama, could be the first broadcast TV’s first scripted primetime series to resume production, according to Deadline.

The show starring Shemar Moore, is tentatively slated to begin filming Tuesday in Los Angeles, with the standard COVID-19 safety protocols in place.  S.W.A.T., originally tapped as a mid-season replacement, will join Seal Team as a replacement for the COVID-stalled Survivor in the network’s fall lineup. CBS' The Good Doctor is also set to resume production by mid-August in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, the trade also reports that the syndicated gameshow Family Feud is set to resume production in Atlanta on Tuesday, August 4. The show, hosted by Steve Harvey, is scheduled to kick off its 22nd season on September 14. Family Feud should have the same look and feel as previous seasons, but as with other production resumptions, it’ll be shot with minimal crew wearing personal protective equipment and no audience. Regular temperature checks, along with other health and safety protocols will be in place, as per state, local and union requirements.

The same is going for ABC’s reboot of the classic game show, Supermarket Sweep, starring Saturday Night Live alum Leslie Jones. Deadline says taping started on Friday in California, and additionally, all of the edible produce and grocery items shown in the mock-up supermarket will be donated to various charities including the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.  A premiere date for the show has yet to be announced.

By George Constantino and Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) -- Congratulations to the Bella twins! The 36-year-olds gave birth to their babies within a day of one another over the weekend. 

First to welcome their newborn into the world was Nikki Bella and her fiancé, former Dancing With The Stars pro Artem Chigvintsev. In an adorable Instagram pic shared on Sunday, the first-time parents are holding hands with their little one, while the caption revealed his birthdate as July 31.

The former WWE pro-wrestler added, "Our baby boy is here and we couldn’t be HAPPIER and more in LOVE! Everyone is safe and healthy."

Also on Sunday, Brie Bella announced the new addition to her family which already includes her husband Daniel Bryan and their three-year-old daughter, Birdie. 

"It’s a BOY!!! 8-1-2020," Brie revealed. "We are overwhelmed with joy and everyone is healthy!!!"

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images(UTAH) -- Wilford Brimley, the actor known for such films as Cocoon and The Natural, has died at 85.

His manager, Lynda Bensky, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he passed away on Saturday morning in a Utah hospital. He had been on dialysis and had other medical issues, Bensky said.

"Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust," Bensky said in a statement to THR. "He said what he meant and he meant what he said. He had a tough exterior and a tender heart. I'm sad that I will no longer get to hear my friend's wonderful stories. He was one of a kind."

The mustached Salt Lake City native had a colorful life before catching his big break, serving as a blacksmith, rodeo rider, Hollywood extra and bodyguard for Howard Hughes. He scored a role in 1979’s The China Syndrome opposite Jack Lemmon, and later landed a part in Sydney Pollack's 1981 film Absence of Malice. Roles in films like Tender Mercies, Cocoon, and The Natural followed.

Brimley also became famous for his commercial work touting Quaker Oats and diabetes testing. He embraced being known as the "diabeetus guy" after his pronunciation of the word sparked countless memes across the Internet.

More recently, Brimely appeared in the 2009 film Did You Hear About the Morgans?, starring Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Brimley is survived by his second wife Beverly and three sons.

Ron Howard, who directed Brimley in Cocoon, remembered him on Twitter Sunday.

"We didn’t always see eye 2 eye but I owe this Cocoon scene to Wilford who asked me to throw out the script & let him improvise while fishing w/the boy," he wrote. "I agreed & shot a few 3-camera set-ups & he was brilliant & honest."

"He was a very inventive and thoughtful actor," Howard added. "His influence on the movie was wonderful."

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Nat Geo(LOS ANGELES) -- The Camp Fire is remembered as one of the most destructive wildfires in California history. The fire left the close-knit community of Paradise, California charred within minutes.

The fire that ripped through towns in November 2018 is now the center of a new National Geographic documentary called Rebuilding Paradise. Directed by Ron Howard, the documentary respectfully goes through the town of Paradise and follows survivors through the year, as they struggle to rebuild.

Michelle John, a school superintendent in Paradise who lived in the community for 30 years, is one of the survivors who shares her experience with the documentary and recalls that fateful day.

“It was just the perfect storm and the first thing you have to think of is life,” she tells ABC Audio. “You forget about property, you forget about everything. You’re just saving people’s lives.”

Woody Culleton, a former mayor of Paradise, moved back into his rebuilt home in late 2019 with his wife. He praises Ron Howard’s ability to tell the story of Paradise and capture the strength of the small town, and says the documentary held importance for him personally.

“I hope people enjoy it and learn from it. For us personally, myself, my wife, my daughter, it has been a healing experience,” he explains.  

In an interview with Good Morning America this week, Ron Howard shared the reason he decided to film this documentary.

“My mother-in-law lived the last five years of her life in Paradise, that’s a town that I knew,” Howard explained. “Our team and us, we just started talking about ... can that town even come back from that? What would rebuilding Paradise really be? And the answer was to go see.”

Rebuilding Paradise opens in select theaters and virtually July 31.  


Rebuilding Paradise Trailer (2020)

By Dana Schaeffer
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Dominik Bindl/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Stephanie Hsu, who joined the cast of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as Mei Lin for its third season, says the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired her to stop “deleting” herself as Asian actress.

Hsu, who got her big break in 2017's Spongebob Squarepants, the Broadway Musical, tells Entertainment Tonight, “It's funny because this time in quarantine with everything that is happening -- not only with COVID, but with Black Lives Matter and the way that the entertainment industry is responding -- I've been really reckoning on an even deeper level with my relationship to race.”

“For so long, I never really intended to be on Broadway.  A lot of that had to do with the fact that no one looked like me, so I kind of deleted it from my realm of possibility,” she continues.  “And I've never really let race get in my way because if I thought about it for too long, I think I would just be sad and feel like it would be impossible.”

Adds Hsu, “My way of coping was always like, "If this is something you want to [do]... Don't even ask that silly question. Just do it, just go.  Just find people that you love working with and make things that you're passionate about."

Stephanie says landing the role as Mei has helped her even further in acknowledging her relationship with her Asian heritage.

“It's kind of crazy that before I read the script that I said to myself, ‘What kind of Chinese character could exist in the 1950s?’…I just assumed that it couldn't be possible.  And that type of deletion of self runs so deep in a way that I forget sometimes.  And I'm really aware. Like, damn, wow.  I didn't think that that could be possible.”

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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