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Entertainment

Disney+ 'Rogue One' prequel series reportedly casts '6 Underground' star

Ajona in "6 Underground" - Christian Black/Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- Actress Adria Arjona, recently seen in Netflix's hit Ryan Reynolds action film 6 Underground, will soon be going to that galaxy far, far away, according to a report from Deadline

The publication says Arjona has been cast opposite returning player Gabriel Luna in the Disney prequel series Star Wars: Rogue One.  The series centers on Luna's Rebel spy character Cassian Andor, introduced in the 2016 film.

Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote Rogue One, is returning to write the pilot for the show, and direct some episodes as well.  Alan Tudyk, who motion-performed Cassian's towering droid sidekick K-2SO will also return, as will Genevieve O’Reilly, who played Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma in the film.

Marvel movie vet Stellan Skarsgard and Poldark's Kyle Soller also are on board, but Disney is officially mum on their characters -- or, for that matter, the report of Arjona's casting.

Even before The Mandalorian earned 15 Emmy nominations, Disney was forging ahead with other small-screen projects in the Star Wars universe, including a much-anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring returning Jedi Ewan McGregor.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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


'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' being rebooted as a drama with Will Smith as exec producer

Chris Cuffaio/NBCU Photo Bank(LOS ANGELES) -- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is getting flipped-turned-upside down. 

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the highly-celebrated family sitcom that made Will Smith a star is being adapted into a drama series, based on a viral YouTube trailer created by writer Morgan Cooper.

As a Fresh Prince super-fan and co-executive producer, Cooper reimagined the hit series as a serious drama that tells the story of a Philadelphia teenager adjusting to his new life with his rich family in Los Angeles. 

Cooper created and directed the four-minute trailer in March 2019.  It's since racked up over five million views, and ultimately caught Will's attention. 

The new series, titled Bel-Air, has reportedly been in the works for over a year with the show's original executive producers, who include Smith, Quincy Jones, and Benny Medina, as well as the show's creators, Andy and Susan Borowitz.

Multiple streaming outlets, including Peacock, Netflix, and HBO Max, are currently bidding on the potential series, which is a co-production between Smith's Westbrook Studios and the show's original producers Universal TV.

Produced by Jones and Warner Bros, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ran from 1990-1996 on NBC. Smith became a  box office superstar after spending six seasons on the comedy series as the funny Philly street kid.

Smith virtually joined Alfonso Riberio, Tatyana Ali, Daphne Maxwell Reid, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and the rest of The Fresh Prince cast to pay respect to their late cast member James Avery, a.k.a. Uncle Phil, during a reunion special earlier this year. 

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


Need an escape from the present? Have a sleepover at the last Blockbuster, thanks to Airbnb

Airbnb(OREGON) -- Let's face it, nothing would be better than leaving 2020 and going back to -- well, any time.  But thanks to Airbnb, you can re-visit your presumably more carefree 1990s, with a sleepover at the last Blockbuster video store.

Your chance to relive that '90s-era mainstay of renting movies for an end-of-summer sleepover comes thanks to the listing in Bend, Oregon -- home of the last still-in-business Blockbuster store in the nation.

The Airbnb listing lets up to four people stay in a specially redesigned section of the store, which features a comfy living room complete with a pull-out couch, beanbags and, of course, a ready-to-run VCR with a whole store full of movies. 

Registration starts on Monday for the three one-night stays that are up for grabs, which will take place on 9/18, 9/19 and 9/20.

Oh, and just to make sure 2020 doesn't ruin the party, the listing makes it known that strict cleaning protocols are in place between visits, "in accordance to Airbnb's Enhanced Cleaning Protocol which is informed by recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." 

The listing adds, "Plus we'll provide you with a pack of face coverings, disinfectant wipes, and endless hand sanitizer!"

Way to harsh our '90s buzz.

Full details can be found on the listing's website.  And remember: Be kind -- rewind.

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


New York Comic Con canceled; going virtual with "Metaverse"

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for ReedPOP(NEW YORK) -- Like San Diego Comic-Con before it, New York Comic Con -- which last year attracted 250,000 fans to the Big Apple's massive Jacob Javits Center -- has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the day, a rep for the convention told ABC Audio that a Newsday article stating that the event was going to take place was "poorly researched" -- and now we know why. 

In a brand-new statement from ReedPop, which runs the annual expo, as well as other pop culture conventions, fans were informed that doors won't be opening this October. 

"While we'd much rather be giving you an update today on joining us at the Javits Center in October, it likely comes as no surprise that NYCC 2020's physical event at the Javits will not be able to run as intended," the statement read.

"We very sincerely appreciate your patience as we worked with the Javits and local officials to figure out what, if anything, could go on as planned this October."

The convention will now be held virtually, via the new online portal New York Comic Con’s Metaverse, over the weekend of October 8-11.

"We are partnering with YouTube to bring to life four days of incredible content from the biggest studios, publishers and creators in the business," ReedPop's statement continued.

"This is your chance to interact with your favorite creators and celebrity guests, and most importantly, the opportunity to engage with other members of this vibrant community of ours."

Incidentally, the Javits Center was pressed into service as a makeshift hospital while New York City was in its darkest days during the pandemic. However, after a pricey retrofit by the Army Corps of Engineers, it was shuttered after tending to just 1,000 patients.

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


Sharon Stone gets literal with new memoir, 'The Beauty of Living Twice'

Mike Coppola/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Oscar-nominated actress and activist Sharon Stone has put pen to paper, with a new memoir called The Beauty of Living Twice, due out in March.

According to the publisher, 62-year-old Stone not only, "talks about the many roles she played, her life-changing friendships, and her accomplishments and disappointments," but her memoir also examines her violent and traumatic childhood, and her battling back from a massive, near-fatal stroke she suffered in 2001.

The publisher promises, "She writes in chilling detail about the day she nearly died...and about the effects that stroke had on her health and family and on her fame and fortune."

The book will also detail Stone's activism for AIDS research and other causes. 

Knopf publishing senior editor Tim O'Connell calls The Beauty of Living Twice, "one the bravest memoirs I've ever read," adding, "it's a celebration of strength and resilience, a reckoning, and a call to activism."

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


Portia de Rossi says wife Ellen Degeneres is "doing great" following toxic work controversy; says show will go on

ABC/Todd Wawrychuk(LOS ANGELES) -- Despite a hat, face covering and sunglasses, a sharp-eyed paparazzo spotted Ellen Degeneres' wife Portia de Rossi on a dog walk in Santa Barbara, and asked her how Ellen was holding up in the wake of the toxic work environment controversy surrounding her show. 

"She's doing great," de Rossi insisted, according to PageSix, with the Arrested Development co-star adding that reports DeGeneres was considering walking away from the show have been exaggerated.

When pressed if Ellen planned to go on with the program, de Rossi said plainly, "Yes, she is." 

Buzzfeed article back in July saw former and current show staffers blast a "toxic" work environment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, touching off an investigation from Warner Bros. Television and prompting an apology from Ellen herself, who vowed the bullying and racial tensions some say they suffered on set would not be tolerated.

"I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again," DeGeneres said in part in an email to staffers.

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


Never-before-seen episode of 'black-ish' now available on Hulu

ABC/Lara Solanki(LOS ANGELES) -- A never-before-seen episode of the ABC series black-ish made nearly three years ago is now available to watch on Hulu.

"In November 2017, we made an episode of black-ish entitled 'Please, Baby, Please.' We were one year post-election and coming to the end of a year that left us, like many Americans, grappling with the state of our country and anxious about its future," series creator Kenya Barris wrote in a statement posted Monday on Instagram and Twitter accounts.

He continued, "Those feelings poured onto the page, becoming 22 minutes of television that I was, and still am, incredibly proud of. 'Please, Baby, Please' didn't make it to air that season and, while much has been speculated about its contents, the episode has never been seen publicly… until now."

The episode's description on the streaming site simply reads, "Dre reads a crying Devante a bedtime story."

Barris said he asked Walt Disney Television to make the episode available in the wake of renewed interest in the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd's death on Memorial Day.

"Recognizing the importance of this moment, they listened and agreed," he added.

"I cannot wait for everyone to finally see the episode for themselves and, as was the case nearly three years ago, we hope it inspires some much-needed conversation -- not only about what we were grappling with then or how it led to where we are now, but conversations about where we want our country to go moving forward and, most importantly, how we get there together," Barris explained.

Barris concluded by thanking ABC Entertainment "for allowing this moment to happen," and thanking the entire black-ish family "for never shying away from tough conversations, making telling stories like this possible."

By Carson Blackwelder
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Leslie Odom Jr. reveals that he almost walked out of the 'Hamilton' movie over pay equity

Disney (LOS ANGELES) -- Leslie Odom Jr. shocked Hamilton fans last week when he revealed he almost didn't appear in the filmed adaptation of the musical.

Odom, who originated the role of Aaron Burr that won him a Tony Award, recently told Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert why he nearly bowed out of the opportunity.

The 39-year-old explained when executives approached him about filming, he remained adamant that he would not "sell it away for magic beans" nor "give it away" because "This is my area of expertise. This is all I have. This is my life's work on the stage."

Odom understood that he was a major part of the production and wanted to ensure he would be compensated fairly. So, he did his homework and asked around to find out what Aaron Tveit, a white actor, made when performing Grease Live! on TV.

"So when I found out what he made, I didn't ask for a penny more. I didn't ask for one penny more, but I said, 'You must pay me exactly what that white boy got to do Grease Live!' That's the bottom line," Odom recounted.

Apparently, those behind the filmed adaptation didn't budge, which resulted in the Grammy Award-winner to make one final stand.

"The day before we shot that movie I called out. I was not kidding...I was not coming to work the next day to do the movie," Odom attested. "It was a principle for me."

While it is unknown what executives paid the Broadway star in the end, Odom did go on to appear in the movie, which was originally slated to hit theaters in October 2021.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was released early on Disney last July, much to the delight of fans everywhere.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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


Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli drop $9 million on new house

Donato Sardella/Getty Images for LACMA(LOS ANGELES) -- Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli may be headed to the big house but not before they settle into their new one. 

The former Full House star and her fashion designer husband recently purchased a $9.5 million dollar home located in Hidden Hills, California, according to People

The six-bedroom, nine-bathroom contemporary farmhouse home is nuzzled within a gated community and boasts almost 12,000 square feet of living space. Aside from the "sweeping views" and "picturesque hills" outside, their new residence has a backyard complete with a pool, spa, fire pit and BBQ station. And the inside is just as luxurious with a walk-in wine cellar, gym, & movie theatre. 

The couple's purchase comes after they sold their Bel Air home for just under $18.75 million to Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen. 

Loughlin and Giannulli are currently awaiting sentencing for their involvement in the college admissions scandal. In May, they both agreed to plead guilty and serve time for paying bribes to get their daughters, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli, into the University of Southern California as rowing recruits. Neither of them row. 

If their plea agreement is approved by a judge, Loughlin will serve two months in prison, complete 100 hours of community service and pay a fine of $150,000. Giannulli will serve five months, perform 250 hours of community service and pay a $250,000 fine.

The couple’s next court date is set for August 21.

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


Robin Williams' daughter, Zelda Williams, reflects on the anniversary of his death

ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES(LOS ANGELES) -- For Robin Williams' daughter, Zelda Williams, remembering the comedian on the anniversary of his death is a private affair.

Williams shared in a statement Monday that on "regular, good days," it's difficult for her to "graciously accept the world's need to share their memories of [her father] and express their condolences for his loss."

On the anniversary of the actor's death, which occurred on Aug. 11, 2014, it's "simply too much," she added.

"While I am constantly touched by all of your boundless continued love for him, some days it can feel a bit like being seen as a roadside memorial — a place, not a person — where people drive past and leave their sentiments to then go about their days comforted their love for him was witnessed," she wrote. "But sometimes, that leaves me emotionally buried under a pile of other's memories instead of my own. After all, even roses by the truckload still weigh a ton."

Robin Williams was 63 when he died by suicide. In subsequent tweets Monday, Zelda Williams, 31, listed contact information for organizations including the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the Veterans Crisis Line, and the Trevor Project to help those in need.

"Whoever out there needs to hear it, please use this as your signpost in the desert," she added. "Reach out. Seek help. Keep fighting."

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] for free confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even if it feels like it, you are not alone.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kelly Clarkson announces she's filling in for Simon Cowell on 'America's Got Talent'

Disney Channel/Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) -- As Simon Cowell nurses a broken back, he can rest easy knowing that the empty chair he leaves behind on America's Got Talent is in great hands.  

Kelly Clarkson announced Monday that she will step in for Cowell while he recuperates by serving as a guest judge this Tuesday and Wednesday.  

"URGENT MEMO.... from yours truly," Clarkson alerted her 12.2 million followers on Twitter and posted the official announcement that she entitled "Some Changes..."

"My friend, Simon Cowell, is doing better now but was in an accident and won't be able to make Tuesday and Wednesday's live shows for AGT," her statement reads. "But no worries America, someone far wiser, cooler, and hotter is taking his seat!  The unbelievably amazing Kelly Clarkson."

"You're welcome in advance," Clarkson snarkily concluded.

This isn't Clarkson's first rodeo in the judge's chair as she's been discovering musical talent since 2018 on NBC's sister reality competition series The Voice

In addition, she has several years of hosting duty experience under her belt thanks to her Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show The Kelly Clarkson Show -- in addition to hosting the Billboard Music Awards for the past three consecutive years.

You can catch Clarkson, alongside fellow judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara -- plus host Terry Crews -- on America's Got Talent airing live this Tuesday and Wednesday starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

As previously reported, Cowell broke his back in several places after crashing his e-bike on Sunday.  The media mogul remained in good humor over his injury, as he tweeted shortly after coming out of surgery, "Some good advice... If you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time."

It has not been announced when Cowell will return to the show.

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

URGENT MEMO.... from yours truly! 😜 @AGT @SimonCowell #AGT pic.twitter.com/msAjXqxBB1

— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) August 10, 2020

Lin-Manuel Miranda and other original 'Hamilton' cast members uniting for livestream event

Disney (NEW YORK) -- The original cast of the Broadway hit Hamilton are virtually reuniting for an important cause. 

Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Anthony Ramos, Okieriete Onaodowan, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Renee Elise Goldsberry are among the original cast members who are coming together for the final HAM4CHANGE virtual livestream in benefit of a series of organizations combating systemic racism. 

The two-hour livestream will be hosted by Andrew Chappelle and feature a variety of interactive games, behind-the-scenes facts about the Broadway smash and share previously unrevealed content. 

Fans can also purchase the ultimate fan VIP experience where Lin-Manuel will create a personalized freestyle on the spot during a one-on-one call. Virtual meet-and-greets with individual cast members are also available for purchase. 

Proceeds raised through the livestream will be donated to African American Policy Forum, which works to dismantle systemic racism by connecting activists and policy-makers; Know Your Rights Camp, fighting for liberation of the Black community through education and shape leaders for the future; and the Black AIDS Institute that works to end the HIV epidemic among the Black community and provide critical resources. 

The special livestream will take place on August 15 through video app Looped at 7 p.m. ET.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Zoë Kravitz calls out Hulu for its lack of diverse shows following 'High Fidelity' cancellation

Phillip Caruso/Hulu(LOS ANGELES) -- Zoë Kravitz has a major bone to pick with Hulu after it cancelled her critically-acclaimed series High Fidelity after one season.

In her most recent Instagram post, which showed a behind-the-scenes image of her with the cast, Zoë thanked her High Fidelity co-stars and fans for their love and support during the series, adding that "#breakupssuck."

But soon after her post, Kravitz apparently had more thoughts on the cancellation, telling fellow actress Tessa Thompson, in the now-deleted comments section, that Hulu is definitely lacking in diverse shows.

“It’s cool," Kravitz responded to Thompson, who initially commented "I will miss you alllllllllllll so much."

"At least Hulu has a ton of other shows starring women of color we can watch," Zoe continued, before writing, "Oh wait.”

The series, which is a modern reimagining of the 2000 film starring John Cusack, starred Kravitz as Rob, a "pop culture-obsessed" owner of a record store. It also starred Jake Lacy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and David H. Holmes.

In an interview with Variety's Big Ticket podcast, Kravitz had shared her excitement about the role and the opportunity to shine light on an underrepresented group of people.

"The amount of comments, DMs, things on Twitter, articles written about Brown women who love music, were afraid of commitment, who’ve never seen a person like them on television — they feel seen for the first time,” she said.

“Just breaking away from the stereotypes, I feel like people need that. So I feel very lucky to have been able to deliver that, because one of the most important things for me was authenticity and bringing a real world to life."

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


Zac Efron stepping up for 'Three Men and a Baby' remake

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Former High School Musical star Zac Efron is returning to Disney, in a remake of the 1987 hit Three Men and a Baby

The Hollywood Reporter reveals the search is on for a director for the project, which was originally a French movie. In the 1987 version, Leonard Nimoy directed Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg and Tom Selleck as three bachelors whose lives are turned upside down when a baby appears on their doorstep. 

The film was a hit, and The Hollywood Reporter points out it was the first live-action Disney movie to cross the $100 million mark at the box office. It led to a sequel that reunited the stars, without Nimoy, for 1990's Three Men and a Little Baby

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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


FX says 'Fargo''s fourth season will premiere September 27

FX(LOS ANGELES) -- FX has announced its Emmy-winning drama series Fargo will return for a fourth season with a two-episode premiere on Sunday, September 27 at 10 p.m. Eastern time. 

This season is set in 1950 Kansas City, MO. Cast against type, comedian Chris Rock takes a dramatic turn as a criminal kingpin whose uneasy truce with his Italian mafia counterpart is tested with deadly results. 

Based very loosely on the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers film of the same name, Noah Hawley's series has always been a magnet for big-name acting talent. Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, Patrick Wilson, and Ewan McGregor have starred in previous seasons.

The cast joining Rock for this 11-episode season includes Timothy Olyphant, Jason Schwartzman, Salvatore Esposito, and Ben Whishaw.

The series can also be found at FX on Hulu, a day after its FX air-date.

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


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