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Thursday
Jul202017

O.J. Simpson could be granted parole today 

Getty News Images(NEVADA) -- He's spent nine years behind bars, but O.J. Simpson could be granted his freedom today. 

Simpson is scheduled for a parole hearing today at the Lovelock correctional facility in Lovelock, Nevada, where the former football star and actor has been doing time since 2008 for the botched 2007 robbery of Bruce Fromong. The crime reportedly occurred when Simpson tried to recover memorabilia from Fromong that O.J. claimed was his. 

Experts believe that Simpson will earn his parole because of his age -- he's 70 -- and the fact that he has an unblemished prison record.   

In addition, Fromong supports Simpson being paroled, and says he'll testify before the parole board on O.J.'s behalf. The prosecutor who helped secure Simpson's sentence of 33 years for armed robbery, nine of them without parole, also expects he'll be released.

If OJ Simpson's 1994 trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman was called the trial of the century, you could call this the parole hearing of the century. It'll be streamed live and carried by multiple networks.  There also will be well over 150 reporters outside of the prison while it happens.

Simpson has loomed large in our pop culture consciousness, even while behind bars. In February 2016, his murder trial was resurrected in the FX true crime anthology, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The series, which starred Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, won nine Emmy awards, as well as two Golden Globes.

Also in 2016, ESPN Films released of the five-part docuseries O.J.: Made in America. Released in July of 2016, it followed O.J.'s life from his early football career through his murder trial, acquittal and subsequent conviction for armed robbery 13 years later.  It received widespread critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards.

Comedian Dave Chappelle took a shot at O.J.'s tumultuous life in his recent Netflix stand up special, Age of Spin. In the special, Chappelle describes four humorous encounters with O.J. during the height of his celebrity and after his acquittal for murder. At the end of the special, Chappelle tells the crowd that he and fellow comedian Chris Tucker declined to take a photo with Simpson.  As Chappelle explained, "Sorry Juice -- my career's too flimsy to survive a picture with you."

Then earlier this month, JAY-Z referenced a famous Simpson quote, in the song "The Story of O.J." from his new album 4:44. On the track, JAY raps: "O.J. like, 'I'm not black, I'm O.J.' …okay." The song is a meditation on race and wealth in America.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul202017

"Game of Thrones" creators launching new HBO series, "Confederate"

HBO - 2017(LOS ANGELES) -- There may not be any dragons showing up, but a new, forthcoming series from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss sound like it will be no less dark and fantasy-filled. 

On Wednesday HBO announced that it would be working with Benioff and Weiss on an historical fantasy show called Confederate, chronicling events leading to the “Third American Civil War.”

According to a statement from HBO, the show is described as taking place in an alternate timeline in which the south has, "seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution." 

There's a Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone separating north from south, and the show follows a spate of characters including "freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.”

Benioff and Weiss said, “We have discussed Confederate for years, originally as a concept for a feature film. But our experience on Thrones has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO.”

Production on Confederate will begin following the final season of Game of Thrones.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul202017

Ryan Seacrest officially signs on as host of ABC's "American Idol" reboot

Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and TV Distribution(NEW YORK) -- Seacrest...in!  Kelly Ripa made the news official Thursday morning on Live with Kelly and Ryan: Ryan Seacrest is the new host of ABC's reboot of American Idol.

"I'm happy to confirm, I can confirm with absolute confirmation, that Ryan Seacrest is returning for the host of American Idol!" said Kelly.  Then, realizing her error, she said, "Let me try that one more time.  Ryan Seacrest is returning as the host of American Idol!

"Absolutely, without a doubt," Ryan agreed. "I'm so excited. It's gonna be the best time!"

Ryan hosted American Idol on Fox for all 15 seasons.  When he signed off last year, he said, "Seacrest out...for now."

In a prepared statement, Seacrest said, "It’s genuinely hard to put into words what American Idol means to me. I’m so grateful for the show and all the career and life opportunities it’s allowed me to experience. It’s been an incredible journey from day one. To be asked to return this year, at my new home at Disney|ABC, is an honor, if not a bit surreal."

He added, "I believe ABC is the perfect home for Idol, and I’ve every confidence the show’s legions of fans will love it -- especially Idol’s best traditions of showcasing heartwarming stories, remarkable talent discovery, and, best of all, making dreams come true.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Thursday
Jul202017

Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker joining "Empire" for multi-episode role

Getty Images-Corbis/Rune Hellestad(NEW YORK) -- Empire is adding some more star power.  When the show returns for fourth season in September is will have Oscar winner Forest Whitaker on board.

Whitaker, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 movie The Last King of Scotland, will guest star in a multi-episode story arc as Uncle Eddie, a music industry hitmaker who gave Terrance Howard's Lucious Lyon is first big break.

According to a release from Fox, Eddie "steps up for Lucious at a critical moment during his rehabilitation, and a grateful Cookie...invites him to produce a song in celebration of Empires Entertainment's 20th anniversary."

Empire returns to Fox on Wednesday, September 27 at 8 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jul202017

Jennifer Lawrence becomes ill during Broadway show 

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Jennifer Lawrence had an embarrassing moment while catching a performance of Olivia Wilde’s edgy Broadway play 1984, on Monday, when she became violently ill.

Midway through the show, the Hunger Games star “bolted from her seat,” a source tells the New York Post. “Several people saw her getting sick in the lobby. The ushers were very helpful and courteous in helping her out.”

Lawrence is not the first theatergoer to get sick or faint during the intense drama, based on George Orwell’s dystopian novel about a future time when critical thought is squashed by a totalitarian government. The play contains shocking torture scenes and “a particularly harrowing scene involving a rat," according to the paper.

However, that wasn’t the case with Lawrence, who “caught the stomach flu from her nephews,” a friend of the actress told the Post.

Wilde couldn’t resist poking fun at Jennifer’s mishap, tweeting on Wednesday, “As long as I have a play, Jennifer Lawrence has a place to puke.”

This marks just the latest in a series of awkward moments for Lawrence, which include famously tripping over her dress while taking the stage to accept her Best Actress award at the 2013 Oscars.

Lawrence next  will be seen opposite Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in the horror film Mother, opening nationwide in October.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul192017

Watch now: Ian McKellen, Thandie Newton, Gillian Anderson "audition" for British Airways safety film

(L-R): Sir Ian McKellen, Warwick Davis - Photo: British Airways(LONDON) -- While most air travelers ignore the in-flight safety film when they fly, British Airways is hoping to change that by enlisting A-List talent to star in their new in-flight video. 

In conjunction with the charities Comic Relief and the charity Flying Start, no less than Oscar nominees Sir Ian McKellen and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Oscar winner Jim Broadbent, Westworld star Thandie Newton, X-Files and American Gods star Gillian Anderson, and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay have been tapped to talk about properly stowing luggage, folding meal tables, finding emergency exits, and how to deploy oxygen masks.

Alongside X-Men and Lord of the Rings star McKellen is little person actor Warwick Davis, who appeared in some of the Star Wars movies, as well as Willow and the comedy series Life's Too Short.

The stars actually "audition" for their speaking roles for comedian Asim Chaudhry, known to Brits from the comedy People Just Do Nothing.

Chaudhry, in character, trips on his words as he takes a shine to the stunning Newton and Anderson; the former, explaining the exit rows, and the latter -- who is American, but lived for years in London and adopted the accent -- noting proper "brace" position.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul192017

"Dunkirk" star Branagh welcomes early Oscar buzz, since a war movie is "a tough sell"

(L-R) JAMES D'ARCY as Colonel Winnant and KENNETH BRANAGH as Commander Bolton -- Warner Bros. Pictures 2017(NEW YORK) -- Dunkirk, the Christopher Nolan film about World War II's Operation Dynamo, opens Friday, and it's already generating serious Oscar buzz.  At the New York City premiere on Tuesday, star Kenneth Branagh said Nolan probably isn't thinking that far ahead, but he's just happy that people are talking about the possibility of Oscar gold.

Branagh, a five-time Oscar nominee, said, "I think [Nolan would] probably be the first one to say, 'Wow, that's early days for that kind of talk,' but I mean, it's a thrill to be in that conversation."

For his part, Nolan has been nominated for three Academy Awards, for Best Original screenplay in 2001 for Memento, and in 2010 for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture for Inception. Like Branagh, he's yet to win.

Speaking at the event, Branagh went on to praise the movie's young cast, including actor Fionn Whitehead and One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles, making his film debut.

"I'm just so happy for [Nolan] and for the young 'uns at the center of this who've done a fantastic job," said Branagh. "Fionn, and I'm so pleased that Harry...it was a ballsy thing to do, y'know, and he's really brought it off terrifically well."

Operation Dynamo took place in 1940, and refers to the near-miraculous evacuation of 400,000 Allied soldiers from Dunkirk, France, where they were pinned down behind enemy lines by German forces.

"It's a tough sell, this," Branagh said of the film. "Dunkirk, not many people know about it necessarily, it's a war movie...so to feel the kind of passion that people are looking forward to it with is great."

Dunkirk, which also stars Dark Knight series star Cillian Murphy and Mad Max: Fury Road's Tom Hardy, opens Friday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul192017

Watch: Tyler Perry returns in "Boo 2! A Madea Halloween" teaser-trailer

Tyler Perry ("Madea") in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's "Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween"

(NEW YORK) -- Madea is back, and even scarier!

Lionsgate has released the first teaser-trailer for Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, the 10th film to feature the trash-talking, gun-totin' Madea character that launched his career.

In the film, which borrows from popular horror flicks like Scream and Poltergeist, Madea's crew of Bam and Hattie head to a haunted campground where they encounter monsters, goblins and bogeyman.

The comedy also references Jordan Peele's recent hit thriller, Get Out, feturing Uncle Joe demonstrating his own interpretation of the Get Out challenge.

"I saw this movie and I'll show you want they do," he says as he gets out the car and runs in the direction of a masked man with a chainsaw.

Moments later, when Joe is face to face with the masked man, he stops and says, "I've changed my mind," pivoting and running away.

In addition to Perry as Madea, the cast includes Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely, Yousef Erakat, Lexy Panterra, Andre Hall, Diamond White, Brock O. Hurn, and Tito Ortiz.

Boo! A Madea Halloween did more than decent business when it opened last October, debuting at #1 with $28.5 million and taking in just over $73 million domestically on a reported production budget of $20 million.

Boo 2! A Madea Halloween opens nationwide on October 20.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul192017

Alec Baldwin weighs in on "Trump fatigue," both political and physical

NBC/Will Heath(NEW YORK) -- Alec Baldwin's impersonation of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, both as an unlikely presidential candidate and now as president, earned the actor recent Emmy nominations, and a huge career boost. 

However, it came at a cost, the actor admitted Tuesday during an interview for his upcoming movie, Blind.

"That really took such a toll on me," Baldwin said of his frequent SNL appearances. "I crashed every weekend with my kids -- I mean, like my kids are up at five in the morning. I was getting in at five in the morning. I was pretty tired!"

The fatigue is more than physical, Baldwin admitted -- he's wondering when people will get sick of seeing him sending up the POTUS.

"You just wonder where the Trump fatigue will be come October," Baldwin says, referring to when SNL returns for its 43rd season. "What you're seeing with Trump, interestingly enough is, people were shocked, and people were even horrified that he won. But you're beginning to hear now, six months in, people sit there and go, 'We have to accept this and move on.' Which is interesting. No comment about that, but it's interesting."

The drama Blind, which also stars Demi Moore, is now available on demand.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jul192017

"Bachelorette" Rachel Lindsay reveals "code name" for her fiance, says, "I'm so ready for it to be over with"

ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) -- Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay has found love on the ABC reality show, but of course, she can't say with whom...yet.  That's why she's anxious for the show to end, so she and her fiance can go public.

"I'm so ready for it to be over with," she tells ABC News. "And you'd think it would get easier, maybe as time goes by, like you're used to it, but no, the more time we spend together, the closer I get to him, and I'm like, 'Uggh!' I'm just ready to tell everyone who he is, [so] everyone can see our love and we can just be out in public in the best way."

Now, Rachel says that she and her man have to meet in secret; she's even saved him on her phone under an assumed name.

"It is 'Jerome,'" she reveals. "The secret name is Jerome, and I call him that all the time. I'm so used to it.  Like when it's just the two of us, I'm like, 'Um, Jerome honey...'"

Unfortunately, Rachel can't reveal his code name for her, because, she says, "I feel like if I tell you that, then you'll know [who it is]."  Hmm...is that a clue?

Despite all the secrecy, Rachel says, "It's been exciting, like, I truly feel like I'm living my best life right now.  I'm in love, I have a fiance and I'm watching our love story unfold."

"It's really been a beautiful thing," she adds. "And I'm really having so much fun getting the chance to know my fiance even better."  

The Bachelorette airs Monday nights on ABC.







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