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'Friends' co-creator talks titles, pants, and "PIVOT"

A "Friends" fan PIVOTS at Friends25 popup in NYC/ABC Radio(NEW YORK) -- With the upcoming 25th anniversary of Friends, Entertainment Weekly's new issue is looking back at the sitcom with co-creator David Crane.

"We always felt that the strength of the show was that it wasn't just jokes," Crane says. "It was really about caring about these six people in an emotional way, even when it was funny. If it were just really good jokes, I don't think we would have been there as long as we were."

Fans of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey know every show for 10 seasons had a pretty self-explanatory title, like "The One Where No One's Ready," which now comes in pretty handy when trying to find that special episode for streaming. 

Of course, streaming back then was for liquid, not TV shows. Crane had a simpler explanation: "Let's cut to the chase."

As with many shows, Friends' writers found their lives being adapted for the gang's goings on. For example, writer Adam Chase made the mistake of buying a pair of leather pants.

"The rest of us took it from there after giving him a really hard time about his leather pants," Crane recalls; that grief was transferred to David Schwimmer's Ross. 

One moment the show's fans loved was Ross' yelling "PIVOT!" as he, Chandler, and Rachel struggled to lift a couch up a narrow staircase. While the apartments on Friends were impossibly spacious for 20-somethings in Manhattan, the staircase WAS Big Apple accurate.

"They all lived in those apartments, but try to get a couch up a flight of stairs!" Crane says. "That's where we captured the New York we actually lived in."

The scene was so memorable that the designers of the Friends25 pop-up experience recreated the staircase and couch, so fans can Instagram their own "PIVOT!" moments.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Felicity Huffman gets 14 days, $30K fine in Varsity Blues college scandal

Paul Marotta/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman has been sentenced to 14 days in prison for federal crimes stemming from the massive "Varsity Blues" college entrance scam.

In addition, Huffman will have to pay a $30,000 fine and complete 200 hours of community service.

Huffman learned her fate Friday during an appearance in U.S. District Court in Boston before Judge Indira Talwani, to whom she had pleaded for leniency.

Earlier this month, Huffman's lawyers asked Talwani to not send the Oscar-nominated actress to prison, writing that "nothing about her history and characteristics require a prison sentence."

Instead, they requested a one-year probation term, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine.

"She is remorseful -- indeed, deeply ashamed -- about what she did," Huffman's lawyers stated in court documents.

However, in court documents filed last week, federal prosecutors demanded that Huffman serve prison time, arguing that "neither probation nor home confinement (in a large home in the Hollywood Hills with an infinity pool) would constitute meaningful punishment or deter others from committing similar crimes."

Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Huffman to one month of incarceration, followed by 12 months of supervised release and a fine of $20,000.

On March 13, a federal indictment was unsealed, charging Huffman and more than 30 other wealthy parents, in the largest college cheating scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The indictment alleges the parents paid bribes to William "Rick" Singer, a college-entrance tutor guru whom prosecutors identified as the ringleader of the nationwide scam, to get their children into elite colleges.

Huffman pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest service mail fraud and admitted that she paid Singer $15,000 to falsify her daughter Sophia's SAT score.

In a statement, Huffman said, "I accept the court’s decision today without reservation. I have always been prepared to accept whatever punishment Judge Talwani imposed. I broke the law. I have admitted that and I pleaded guilty to this crime. There are no excuses or justifications for my actions. Period."

She added, "I have learned a lot over the last six months about my flaws as a person. My goal now is to serve the sentence that the court has given me....I can promise you that in the months and years to come that I will try and live a more honest life, serve as a better role model for my daughters and family and continue to contribute my time and energies wherever I am needed."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Demi Moore talks suicide, sobriety, and scandal in her new memoir 'Inside Out'

Mariano Vivanco/Harper's Bazaar(LOS ANGELES) -- Ahead of her new memoir, Inside Out, Demi Moore bares it all for Harper's Bazaar -- both physically and emotionally.

Gracing the cover in the nude, Moore shares deeply personal stories about the highs and lows of her personal life, her Hollywood career, and how it has all molded her into the person she is today.

In her new book, the actress who defined Hollywood in the 1990s with roles from Ghost to G.I. Jane, takes a candid look at past relationships, childhood struggles, overcoming addiction and her rise to fame.

One vivid memory that Moore said her memoir includes is the time she had to help her father stop one of her mother's suicide attempts at age 12 -- an experience that signaled to her that her "childhood was over."

The actress also opened up about her struggle with sobriety. She got sober for the first time in her 20s, relapsed in her 40s after a miscarriage, and regained that sobriety in her 50s.

"Part of being sober is, I don't want to miss a moment of life...even if that means being in some pain," she wrote.

Her memoir also looks back at her marriages and becoming a mother.

Moore first married musician Freddie Moore as a teen, but the pair split after just a few years. She then married fellow A-list actor Bruce Willis in 1987 and took on the biggest role of her life, being a mother.

Moore and Willis had three children together: Rumer, Scout and Talluhlah Willis.
 
Moore alleges that her third husband, Ashton Kutcher, was unfaithful, and their marriage resulted in a miscarriage at 42 that left her devastated, and sent her back into addiction.

Moore's new memoir hits bookshelves Sept. 24.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


'Unbelievable' filmmakers hope Netflix series brings "a conversation to the table"

Netflix(NEW YORK) -- After the Pulitzer Prize-winning article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” captivated readers in 2015, a new limited Netflix series is bringing the incredible true story to the screen.

Unbelievable stars Kaitlyn Dever as Marie, an 18-year-old sexual assault survivor whose story is doubted by police and those closest to her. Emmy winners Toni Collette and Merritt Wever play two detectives hundreds of miles from Marie and her case, who team up to track down a serial rapist. Eventually, their stories converge.

All three actresses bring their A-games to the weighty material, according to the filmmakers: showrunner Susannah Grant, director Lisa Cholodenko and producer Sarah Timberman. Grant explains what it was like to watch Collette and Wever work.

"I have like a guilty director secret which is that we'd shoot a scene and I would just be so loving watching them and I would know that we had it, we did not need to do it again," she tells ABC Radio. "But I would just say, '‘Let's go again!' Just because it was so much fun to watch them work."

As for Dever, Timberman says she imbued Marie was a sense of hope. "[S]he's completely authentic in how arduous it is and how torturous it is," she says. "And yet...you're watching her stay afloat as opposed to watching her drown."

The result is a captivating series, with a message that runs deep in a post-#MeToo world.

Cholodenko, who directed the series' first three episodes, says, "It's compelling but really the point of it is that it's bringing a point home in a way that's deeply emotional and brings a conversation to the table."

All eight episodes of Unbelievable are streaming now on Netflix.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



In chat with Whoopi Goldberg, James Spader talks 'Ultron' & 'Blacklist'

Virginia Sherwood/NBC(NEW YORK) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) The end result may have divided some fans, but actor James Spader said playing Ultron, the baddie in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, shook him up, he tells Whoopi Goldberg.

The pair chatted about his career during an interview with The View host at the Tribeca TV Festival, Deadline reports.

"I had not been intimidated for years on a set," said the actor.  But apparently, acting with the motion capture technology which transformed him into the eight foot tall robot made him feel uncomfortable.

"The process of acting on that film was something I had never encountered," Spader admitted, according to Deadline. "But it was exciting because I was doing something incredibly challenging at a time in my life when I had just thought I knew what the f*** I was doing."

Goldberg was sympathetic, responding, "That gets all of us."

Meanwhile, Spader's hit show The Blacklist is headed into its seventh season -- which makes it surprising that the actor told Goldberg, "To sustain me over a period of time, I can't be doing this one thing. I will just lose interest quickly."

So what keeps him on the series? The show always keeps him guessing.

"After reading the pilot of The Blacklist, I knew less than I did when I started reading," he said. "It was so enigmatic, I realized, 'Wow, the landscape is just anywhere. It could be anything.'"

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


New 'SNL' cast member Shane Gillen apologizes for racial slur in 2018 podcast

NBC (NOTE LANGUAGE) On the same day stand-up comic Shane Gillis was announced as one of three new Saturday Night Live cast members, he found himself having to apologize for a racial slur he made a year ago.

"Chinatown’s f****** nuts," Gillis says during a segment of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, posted to YouTube on September 26, 2018, adding, "Let the f****** c***** live there," with the latter being a slur for Chinese people.

While discussing Chinese restaurants, Gillis notes, "The translation between you and the waiter is just such a f****** hassle."

The video has since been deleted, but freelance writer and editor Seth Simons shared the clip Thursday on his Twitter account.

"I'm a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss," wrote Gillis in a statement posted to his Twitter page on Thursday night. "If you go through my comedy, most of it bad, you're going to find a lot of bad misses."

"I'm happy to apologize to anyone who's actually offended by anything I've said," he continues. "My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks."

Gillis was announced Thursday as SNL's newest cast member, along with Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, the latter of whom is the first Asian-American cast member on the long-running NBC sketch comedy show.

SNL returns September 28 for its 45th season with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Constance Wu talks empowering 'Hustlers' experience: "It just felt like a sisterhood"

Eric Charbonneau(NEW YORK) -- After having a breakout year last year with Crazy Rich Asians, Constance Wu was ready to tackle something completely different. In the based-on-a-true-story film Hustlers, she plays Destiny, a stripper who joins up with a girl gang headed by Jennifer Lopez’s Ramona to fleece Wall Street big shots out of their cold hard cash.

Yes, there’s pole dancing and partying, but the movie -- which co-stars Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart and Cardi B -- is also about the power of friendship.

“Deep down, [Destiny is] somebody who's really lonely who just wants a friend and she finds this group of friends who are all different,” Wu tells ABC Radio.

In researching the film, Wu also became friends with a group of women who worked at strip clubs.

“[We] went out to dinner, hung out, and less in like interview format but more just as friends, just to get to know them as people instead of like, ‘Ooh, what's it like to do this thing?’” Wu explains. “Because just like anything, it's a job. You know, it's like when people ask, ‘What's it like being an actor?’ I'm like, ‘Love it, it's great.’ But it's not the idea of what you think it is.”

With an all-female core cast and mostly women behind the scenes as well, including writer/director Lorene Scafaria, Wu says being on the Hustlers set was an empowering experience. Instead of fighting for a seat at the table, Wu says they were “sorta making our own table.”

“And so it wasn't competitive,” she adds. “It just felt like a sisterhood and felt like a project where we could all be ourselves.”  

Hustlers hits theaters today.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

'Hustlers' and 'The Goldfinch' among this weekend’s new movie releases

L-R: Lili Reinhart, Jennifer Lopez, Keke Palmer and Constance Wu in "Hustlers"; Barbara Nitke/STX Financing, LLC(NEW YORK) -- Opening nationwide Friday:

* Hustlers -- This crime drama, based on Jessica Pressler's 2015 New York magazine article titled The Hustlers at Scores, stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart and rapper Cardi B as a group of strippers who fleece Wall Street high rollers. Also starring Julia Stiles and R&B artist Lizzo. Rated R.

* The Goldfinch -- This drama, adapted from by Donna Tartt's 2013 novel of the same name, stars Ansel Elgort as a young man whose troubled childhood leads him to the world of art forgery. Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright and Nicole Kidman co-star. Rated R.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

* Out of Liberty -- Set in 1839 Missouri, this Western drama centers on a local jailer, played by Jasen Wade, who's tasked with watching the state’s most wanted men while they await trial. He’s caught between the prisoners’ efforts to survive and the local Missourians’ desire to have them removed. Rated PG.

* The Sound of Silence -- Peter Sarsgaard, plays a New York City "house tuner" who believes sounds in people’s homes affect their moods, but who then meets a client whose problem he can’t solve. Rashida Jones also stars. Unrated.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Terrence Howard says he's done with acting after 'Empire' ends

Chuck Hodes/Fox(LOS ANGELES) -- Terrence Howard says he's ready for something different after his hit FOX series Empire ends.

In an interview with Extra, Howard appeared to announce that he's retiring from acting.

“I’m done with acting. I’m done pretending,” Howard said, referring to his plans following the upcoming sixth and final season of the series.

As far as what Howard plans to do instead of acting, the star says it's still being figured out.

"I’m just focusing on bringing truth to the world,” he said, without explaining his "truth."

Meanwhile, Howard -- who's also starred in notable films like The Best ManThe Butler and Hustle & Flow -- says his Empire costars will always have a special place in his heart.

“I love the cast members,” he said. “I will miss them a great deal, and the crew.”

The sixth season of Empire premieres Tuesday, September 24 at 9 p.m ET on FOX.

21st Century Fox, which produces Empire, is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


'Saturday Night Live' adds three new castmembers

NBC(NEW YORK) -- Saturday Night Live has added three new cast members for the upcoming 45th season ABC Radio has learned.

Bowen Yang, who came aboard last season as a writer has been named the longrunning sketch show's first 100% Asian American cast member. A co-host of the Las Culturistas podcast, he was seen on camera last year, playing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, when Sandra Oh hosted.

Past cast member Fred Armisen is part Korean; another past cast member, Rob Schneider, is part Filipino.

Shane Gillis is a stand-up who was highlighted as a "New Face" at the the 2019 Just for Laughs Festival, and Chloe Fineman is a veteran of L.A.'s Groundlings troupe, who impressions of Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, and Democrat presidential candidate Marianne Williamson can be seen on Instagram -- and would be a natural fit for SNL.

Saturday Night Live returns on September 28 with returning host Woody Harrelson and first time musical guest Billie Eilish.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


'Joker' poised to slay at the box office

© 2018/9 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved/Nikos Tavernise (LOS ANGELES) -- Despite being an R-rated take on the Batman villain -- one that doesn't feature the Caped Crusader, to boot -- industry forecasters are envisioning a heroic opening weekend for Joker.

Prognosticators say the Joaquin Phoenix film could make anywhere from $76 to $88 million when it opens October 4, according to Variety. While that's not Avengers money, it would be one of the biggest R-rated openings in history.

The movie, which was directed by The Hangover series' Todd Phillips, won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, and is riding high on nearly unanimous acclaim, including Oscar buzz for Phoenix, who plays a failed stand-up comic who becomes the Clown Prince of Crime. 

What's more, the film cost only $55 million to make, and the studio's marketing strategy isn't like big-budget comic book adaptations, meaning Joker could very well make its money back in the opening weekend, the trade reports.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


James Cameron on 'Avatar' losing the box office crown to 'Avengers: Endgame': "It gives me a lot of hope"

Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- Considering his reputation for being competitive, you'd be forgiven for thinking James Cameron might be upset that his movie Avatar lost its long-held box office crown to Avengers: Endgame. Turns out the opposite is true.

"It gives me a lot of hope," Cameron told Deadline of Endgame's $2.79 billion take.

"Avengers: Endgame is demonstrable proof that people will still go to movie theaters," the Titanic Oscar winner explains to Deadline.

"The thing that scared me most about making Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 was that the market might have shifted so much that it simply was no longer possible to get people that excited about going and sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers to watch something."

Avatar 2 is slated to hit theaters December 17 of 2021, with Avatar 3 arriving on December 22, 2023.

If those do well, there are two more on the docket, scheduled for 2024 and 2027.  But Cameron knows it's potentially a heavy lift.

"Will Avatar 2 and 3 be able to create that kind of success in the zeitgeist? Who knows. We're trying. Maybe we do, maybe we don't, but the point is, it's still possible."

Cameron feared that "streaming services and all the different platforms" would have made going to the theater obsolete. Endgame's success, he feels, proves that's not true -- for now.

21st Century Fox, which produced Avatar, is now a part of Disney, ABC's parent company; Marvel Studios is also owned by Disney.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Watch now: Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne take on Salma Hayek in 'Like a Boss'

Paramount Pictures(LOS ANGELES) -- The first trailer is out for the girl-power comedy Like A Boss, and it looks FUNNY...and profane.

In the film, Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne play BFFs who create a trendy-but-struggling cosmetics company, which then is bought by a ruthless mogul, played by Salma Hayek.

She soon swipes their ideas, setting up the underdogs to take down the makeup giant.

Featuring plenty of NSFW language, the movie also promises some hysterical supporting parts, notably from Pose's Billy Porter, who plays one of the plucky pair's employees, and Legally Blonde co-star Jennifer Coolidge.

Formerly called Limited Partners, Like A Boss opens January 10.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


"The Situation" is a free man

Courtesy MTV(NEW YORK) -- After an eight-month stint for tax evasion, Jersey Shore star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino is now a free man.

A statement from Sitch and his wife Lauren reads, "We are elated to finally close this chapter of our life. Thank you to our family, friends and fans for the continuous love and support during this time, it brought us so much peace and comfort." 

The pair continued, "We look forward to continuing our life as husband and wife and working on baby situations!"

Echoing a line he used before he surrendered to the authorities at the facility in upstate, New York, the statement concluded, "We truly believe that the comeback is ALWAYS greater than the setback and we can't wait to show the world ours."

The first thing he did on social media was tweet, "Turn up we free !!! #freesitch."

In charging him with tax fraud, federal prosecutors said Sorrentino took "certain actions" to conceal some of his income to avoid paying the full amount of taxes he owed.

His brother, Marc Sorrentino, 39, also pleaded guilty to preparing a false tax return and was sentenced to two years in prison. 
 
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ant-Man himself, Paul Rudd, plays real-life superhero; helps women with luggage, poses for selfies at NYC airport

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) -- Aunt Man and Avengers: Endgame star Paul Rudd was a real-life superhero to a couple of ladies he met on a flight from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to New York City on Wednesday, a source tells the New York Post.

Rudd, 50, was overheard by the fellow passenger chatting with a pair of women from the Philippines, who were sitting next to him, about wanting to visit the Asian country. Upon landing, the actor helped the ladies with their luggage and posed for some selfies with them.

"No one recognized him in the airport," said the source about Rudd, who was reportedly dressed in a black baseball cap, a gray hoodie sweatshirt and jeans.

Rudd will voice an animated version of his Scott Lang/Ant Man character for the upcoming Disney animated series, What If...? bowing in 2021. The series, based on the classic Marvel anthology comics, explores alternate events and scenarios that didn’t happen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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