Best Song, best practices: COVID-19 safe Oscars ceremony will feature pre-recorded, outdoor Best Original Song performances


In keeping with the COVID-19 safe ceremony, this year's Oscars telecast will reportedly feature pre-recorded outdoor performances for the Best Original Song category. 

Variety reports this year's nominated songs will be performed on the rooftop of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the opening of which was bumped from April 30 to September 30.

This year's nominees include: "Fight for You" from Judas and the Black Messiah; "Hear My Voice" from The Trial of the Chicago 7; "Húsavík" from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga; "Io Si" - "Seen" from The Life Ahead; and One Night in Miami's "Speak Now."

The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station Los Angeles, the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood and international locations via satellite, and will be broadcast live on ABC starting at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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BBC diversity officer says Idris Elba's 'Luther' character "lacks authenticity" because "he doesn't have any Black friends"

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BBC diversity chief Miranda Wayland is under fire after she claimed Idris Elba's Luther character "doesn’t feel authentic" because of his lack of Black culture.

According to The Times, Wayland shared her thoughts on the series during an entertainment industry conference, where she discussed BBC’s diversity and inclusion strategy.

"When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there -- a really strong, Black character lead," Wayland began. "We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right?," she said. "But after you got into about the second series, you got kind of like, OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic." 

According to Wayland, the crime drama was superficially diverse, lacking real culture on screen.

"It’s great having those big landmark shows with those key characters, but it’s about making sure everything around them, their environment, their culture, the set is absolutely reflective," Wayland explained. "It will be very much about how can we make sure that this program is authentic in terms of the storytelling."

 In response to Wayland's comments, the BBC released a statement, obtained by Metro.

"Luther is a multi-award-winning crime drama series and the iconic role of DCI John Luther has become one of TV’s most powerful detective characters of which we are tremendously proud," the statement read. "The BBC is committed to its continued investment in diversity and recent BBC One dramas I May Destroy You and Small Axe are testament to that."

 However, fans still had plenty to say. "So Luther wasn’t diverse because he wasn’t a stereotype?," asked one fan. "The police turn on Luther every chance they get," tweeted another. "How is that NOT an authentic black character?"

Elba has yet to publicly respond to Wayland's comments.

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Former The Bachelor star Colton Underwood reportedly working on new Netflix reality show

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On the same day he came out as gay on Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, comes news that Colton Underwood has been working on a Netflix reality series about his new life.

According to Variety, the show is currently in production and will follow Underwood's new life as an out gay man. Olympian Gus Kenworthy, who came out in 2015, will act as a sort of "guide" for Underwood as he navigates his life, both public and private, after speaking his truth. 

To Robin Roberts in the pre-recorded interview with GMA Wednesday morning, Underwood admitted he'd struggled with "suicidal thoughts" before he decided to take control of his life and come out. 

The 29-year-old former NFL tight end, who also appeared on season four of Bachelor in Paradise, credits the "love and support" of his friends and family with giving him the courage to make his public admission.  He also advised anyone struggling with their sexuality to "Keep fighting for you. Keep choosing you every morning."

Underwood added, "And when the time's ready or when the time's right and you're ready, do it on your own time."

There's no word on when the Netflix project will launch.

Meanwhile, a Bachelor clip has resurfaced since Colton's announcement, in which guest Billy Eichner gave him dating advice -- and made a prescient comment.

"I'm gay, I know that's a shock, Colton," Eichner quips adding, "and that, I think, you should look into."

Eichner adds, "Maybe you're the first gay Bachelor and we don't even know!" prompting a nervous laugh from Underwood.

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Common joins Mindy Kaling's 'Never Have I Ever'; Tiffany Haddish and Billy Crystal's 'Here Today' due in May

Courtesy of Netflix

Common is staying booked and busy thanks to Netflix: The Oscar winner has been added to the second season of Mindy Kaling's Netflix series Never Have I Ever.

Inspired by Kaling's own life, the coming-of-age comedy centers on Devi, a first-generation Indian American teenage girl, who sometimes has trouble keeping her cool.

Common, who joins as a recurring guest star, will play Dr. Chris Jackson, a "suave and debonair" dermatologist who works in Devi's mother's building and attends to celebrity clientele.

Season 2 of Never Have I Ever hits Netflix in July. Meanwhile, Common's significant other, Tiffany Haddish, is also making some major moves.

Deadline has learned that her dramedy with Billy Crystal, Here Today, has been picked up by Sony Pictures for a May 7 theater release.

Directed by Crystal, the film follows him as veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz, a man who forms an unlikely friendship with New York singer Emma Payge, played by Haddish.

Here Today also stars Penn Badgley, Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti, Louisa Krause, Anna Deavere Smith, and Nyambi Nyambi.

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To sleep, perchance to stream: Take a look at Netflix's new Zs inducing series


Some people like to doze off to their favorite films, while others nod off only if the movie's boring. However, a new offering from Netflix is deliberately designed to put you to sleep.

Headspace Guide to Sleep is the latest collaboration from Vox Media Studios and guided meditation company Headspace. Netflix has just dropped the trailer for the upcoming series.

The series seeks to both debunk bunk-time myths and improve your ability to fall asleep, all while being guided by a friendly British narrator named Eve.

Each of the program's seven episodes will feature facts about sleep science, and thankfully, each installment ends with a "guided wind-down" to help you meet the Sandman.

If you're really having a hard time catching some Zs, though, you'll have to wait a bit for a good night's sleep: The series won't debut until next Wednesday, April 28.

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#TeamJosh: 'Younger' star Nico Tortorella reflects on character's journey ahead of final season

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For seven seasons, Nico Tortorella has starred on the series Younger as Brooklyn tattoo artist Josh, one third of the show's core love triangle, along with Sutton Foster’s Liza and Peter Hermann’s Charles.

While the #TeamJosh contingent is still going strong heading into the show’s final season -- which debuts this Thursday -- Tortorella’s favorite part of Josh's journey has nothing to do with romance. In fact, it has to do with a whole different kind of love.

"I mean, probably becoming a parent, becoming a dad," Tortorella says. "Josh spent so much time focusing on his relationships with women on the show, right? His romantic relationship. And finally, when he became a dad, he stepped into himself and he started taking care of himself because he had to."

"You have to show up for yourself and take care of your child," they add. "And that is when Josh really became Josh in my eyes."

Playing the character has also fueled Tortorella’s own passion for tattoos: They say they're in the process of getting their tattoo license and may even have a guest residency at New York City's Soho Ink coming soon.

"He definitely helped drive that love for the art, for sure,” Tortorella says of Josh. "...It was like, 'I can continue to get more tattoos now that I play a tattoo artist on television,' you know, 'without my agents and managers being like, "OK, that's enough."’ But, yeah, tattoos are a huge part of my life and they always have been."

The first four episodes of Younger season seven debut Thursday on Paramount+.

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Family, fighter jets and flying cars: see the new trailer for 'Fast and Furious 9'

Universal Studios

The second trailer for the pandemic-delayed F9 -- yes, the ninth film in the Fast & Furious saga -- is here. 

The second F&F film from action-master director Justin Lin has its share of trademark, absurdly over-the-top action, but Universal Studios reminds fans that the series has always been about family. To that end, we see Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto living the peaceful life off the grid with Michelle Rodriguez' Letty and their son, Brian, named after the late Paul Walker's character, who makes an appearance in the trailer, too.

However, if the series has taught us anything, it's that while you can outrun everything from cops to a submarine, you can't outrun your past. In this case, John Cena as Dom's forsaken "little" brother, a master assassin and high-performance driver (naturally), is there to shatter the calm. 

"I spent my whole life in your shadow," he tells Dom. "And now you get to spend the rest of yours living in mine."

Pressed into action once again, the family -- including Tyrese GibsonChris “Ludacris” BridgesNathalie EmmanuelJordana Brewster and Sung Kang, the latter returning to the franchise as Han -- have to make things right. 

The trailer shows Lin's signature flair for action setpieces, including magnets sucking cars all over the road, to the toppling of a massive armored truck, to a jet-powered flying car, which naturally has Tyrese's Roman in the driver's seat, screaming through an old-timey deep-sea-diving helmet.

Returning players Helen Mirren and Kurt Russell are back as well, as is Charlize Theron's villainess Cipher.

F9 opens June 25.

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'Confronting a Serial Killer' shows how journalist Jillian Lauren gave voice to marginalized victims

Courtesy of Starz

New York Times best-selling author Jillian Lauren teamed up with Emmy-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger and producer Po Kutchins for the shocking new Starz true-crime series Confronting a Serial Killer.

Centered on the most prolific serial killer in American history, Samuel Little, the five-episode series follows Lauren's unrelenting pursuit to not only get Little to reveal his many crimes, but also his victims. Lauren tells ABC Audio Little was able to avoid justice for so many decades because his victims, who were marginalized women, were seen as "less than human" by the justice system.

"They weren't humans to start with," she explains. "It's not just in death -- their education system, the healthcare system, the way that we serve marginalized communities."

It's this specific examination of the flawed justice system that attracted producer Kutchins to the series. She says she felt an "enormous responsibility" to tell the victims' stories.

"To give them this platform... to make sure that it's told in a way that both shines light on what happened [and] allows that victim to be a whole person again," Kutchins says. "Because [Little] erased that person... And they want the rest of the world to remember them not as a victim -- but as that full whole human being."

Berlinger agrees, applauding Lauren's ability to get Little -- who recently died in prison at the age of 80 -- to divulge his crimes, which ultimately led to solving cold-case murders.

"I just was compelled by how Jillian was able to get this guy -- who denied his crimes for decades -- to feel comfortable to start revealing secrets," Berlinger says. "The story itself is just such a window into problems that need fixing."

Confronting a Serial Killer premieres Sunday, April 18 on at 9 p.m. ET. on Starz.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Russell Wilson and Ciara to host Roll Up Your Sleeves TV special

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Singer Ciara and her husband, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, will make their pitch to persuade more Americans to get vaccinated and put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic as co-hosts of NBC's Roll Up Your Sleeves TV special.

The couple, along with former President Barack Obama, will welcome a star-studded cast, including Eva Longoria, Billy Crystal, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jennifer Lopez, Faith Hill, Ken Jeong, Matthew McConaughey and Demi Lovato in an effort to "educate viewers, raise awareness and dispel concerns surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines," according to the network.

The special will also feature appearances from President Joe Biden, former NBA stars Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The CDC reports more than 75,322,283 million Americans -- 22.7% of the U.S. population -- have been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.

Roll Up Your Sleeves airs Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mister Rogers’ old home in Pittsburgh is up for sale

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Fans of the late Mister Rogers have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in the home once inhabited by the beloved television personality.

The Pittsburgh home, once owned by Fred and Joanne Rogers, has been placed on the market for an asking price of $850,000, reports Next Pittsburgh.

The couple reportedly resided in the little brick house on Northumberland Street between the late 1950s and early 1960s.

It was around that time Rogers was working as a composer, puppeteer and organist for WQED's "The Children's Corner" as well as the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

The brick house was constructed in 1921 and offers five bedrooms and four bathrooms -- as well as two fireplaces, a decadent library and over 3,600 feet to call home.

Allison Shin, who is selling the home, said neighbors would tell her stories about how the late Mister Rogers would put on puppet shows for the neighborhood children.

"That was always his passion," said Real Estate Agent Linda Corcoran. "He was no different off set as he was on set."

While there is not much documentation proving the home once belonged to Fred and Joanne Rogers, Coldwell Banker, the listing agency, has obtained a newspaper clipping from 1961 listing them as the owners of the residence.  

Mister Rogers passed away in 2003 and his wife died in January.

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Jamie Foxx talks 'Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!' and how Martin Lawrence inspired him to play multiple characters


Jamie Foxx returns to his sitcom roots in the new Netflix series Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!

The series, executive produced by Foxx's daughter Corinne Foxx, follows Jamie as Brian Dixon, a bachelor and business owner who suddenly becomes a full-time dad to his teenage daughter Sasha, played by Kyla-Drew. Foxx tells ABC Audio that seeing himself through his daughter's eyes made him realize that he's not so cool.

"To all dads out there -- no matter how cool you think you are with your friends and what you're doing, your daughter is looking at you like, 'Man this dude right here is so corny,'" Foxx laughs.

"And so we wanted to bring that," he continues. "We wanted to bring [a] dad [who] is not sure of himself."

Unlike his previous sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show, where Foxx says "you saw a guy who... knew he was on his way," Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! shows a man who has to "understand" that he can't always put himself first. 

The Oscar winner also loved getting to play multiple characters again.

"I was always jealous of Martin Lawrence," Foxx shares. "[He] had the sweet spot of all those characters. So when... Bentley Kyle Evans, who created Martin and The Jamie Foxx Show, was like, 'Let's do these characters...' I said, 'Let's get to it.'"

And that's exactly what Jamie did, playing Rev. Sweet Tee, Rusty, and Cadillac Calvin on the series. Foxx says he hopes to tap his In Living Color co-star David Alan Grier -- who plays his father on the show -- to take on multiple roles as well.  

"I said, 'Dave, fingers crossed, we get a second [season] -- we can now start hitting them with all the characters,'" he teases. 

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! is now available on Netflix.


Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Former 'The Bachelor' star Colton Underwood comes out as gay

'Good Morning America'

Colton Underwood is ready to live his truth.  The former star of The Bachelor star came out as gay in an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America Wednesday.

"I've ran from myself for a long time. I've hated myself for a long time," Underwood told Roberts in a pre-recorded chat. "And I'm gay. And I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing it. And the next step in all of this was sort of letting people know."

Underwood said he finally got to a place where he could be honest with himself after 2020, the year that turned everyone's lives upside down and made people "look at themselves in the mirror...".

Underwood said his "wake up call" was having "suicidal thoughts," which led him to "take back control" of his life.

When Roberts asked about the women from his Bachelor season and how they may feel misled, Underwood understood. '...Do I regret being the Bachelor and do I regret handling it the way that I did?' I do. I do think I could've handled it better, I'll say that."

Underwood starred in season 23 of The Bachelor in 2019, with his virginity being a frequent topic of conversation. He gave his final rose to contestant Cassie Randolph but chose to not propose to her. The two dated after the show wrapped and announced their breakup in early 2020. 

In his interview with Roberts, Underwood apologized specifically to Randolph for "any pain and emotional stress" he caused her. "I wish that I would've been courageous enough to fix myself before I broke anybody else," he said.

When Roberts, who is also openly gay, said she could "see the relief" in Underwood, he said he's now "the happiest and healthiest" he's ever been.


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Serena Williams inks TV deal with Amazon Studios, docuseries in works

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Serena Williams is making the transition from the world of sports to television entertainment. 

During an interview with Michael B. Jordan for Vanity Fairthe all-star athlete revealed that she signed a first look deal with Amazon Studios. 

"We’re working to create some scripted and nonscripted stuff," Williams told Jordan, "just bring really interesting stories that really touch the heart to the screen."

One of those projects, which is currently in the works, is a docuseries about herself, in which the 39-year-old will tell her story "through my eyes and through my lens." With this series, and all of her projects, her goal is to bring "really special stories to film and to people’s homes."

For anyone wondering if this mean Williams is going to try her hand at being an actress, that's not exactly the case. When asked if she would be doing that, she replied, "I don't know if I have time to be honest."

"It takes so much time and dedication," she added, noting that she would want be "really good" and "put the practice in."

However, if she did have the time, Williams knows exactly what role she would want to portray. 

"... I mean I would play an action hero because, clearly, I should be an action hero," she said. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jennifer Aniston's rep shoots down report that actress adopted a baby


No, Jennifer Aniston is not a new mom -- that's the official word from her representative who responded to reports that The Morning Show star had recently adopted a baby.

The rumors about Aniston being a mom started circulating shortly after the Friends reunion special wrapped production, with gossip outlets claiming the 52-year-old Emmy nominee dropped the baby bombshell to her co-stars while filming.

Speaking to TMZ, Aniston's representative shot down the reports, saying her alleged confession is "false and never happened."

"The story is a fabrication," the agent continued.

Aniston previously spoke out about being the subject of countless pregnancy rumors, writing in a 2016 Huffington Post op-ed, "For the record, I am not pregnant.  What I am is fed up."

The Friends alum also encouraged the media to stop objectifying women by obsessing over their supposed baby bumps and body shaming them for not having flat stomachs.

"The reality is the stalking and objectification I've experienced first-hand, going on decades now, reflects the warped way we calculate a woman's worth," she lamented.

Aniston has not reacted to the latest rumor concerning adoption.


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'Simpsons' star Hank Azaria says he wants to apologize to "every single Indian person in this country" for voicing Apu

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SAG-AFTRA Foundation

In a wide-ranging chat with Dax Shepard on his sobriety and his career, Hank Azaria opened up about the controversy surrounding his former Simpsons character Apu. 

Azaria, who is white, voiced hard-working Indian Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon for decades until stepping down from voicing him in 2020.

The controversy began after Indian comic Hari Kondabolu's 2017 documentary The Problem with Apu, which blamed the character for years of racist bullying. 

"I really didn't know any better," Azaria told Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert. "I didn't think about it. I was unaware of how much relative advantage I had received in this country as a white kid from Queens."

The actor said he was initially "hurt and upset" that he was being blamed for the situation. Azaria said he  leaned on his growth from sobriety with processing the blowback constructively. "I wanted to educate myself...I didn't want a kneejerk reaction."

"I read, I talked to a lot of Indian people, I went to seminars," Azaria said. "I'm continuing to make amends."

"Structural racism is about blind spots," he explained, telling Shepard that the character was based on Peter Sellers' brownface portrayal of Hrundi V. Bakshi in the 1966 film The Party.

"At the time, Indian people were very upset with that portrayal back in 1966," Azaria said. "I couldn't be possibly passing along structural racism more perfectly, at least in a show business context, by taking something that was already upsetting and going, 'Oh, this is wonderful!'"

With clearer eyes, Azaria said he's passionate about speaking about how he's been "doing the work," and said, "part of me feels I need to go 'round to every single Indian person in this country and apologize."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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