ABC announces new "The Bachelor" star, Rachel Lindsay criticizes choice
A new "The Bachelor" star has been announced and some people are not happy with the choice. On Sept. 18, ABC announced that Peter Weber, the second runner-up on Season 15 of "The Bachelorette," would be the new leading man for Season 24. The commercial pilot was a fan favorite on the series but critics, including "The Bachelorette" alum Rachel Lindsay, argue that Peter's a safe choice. Many fans wanted Season 15 contestant Mike Johnson, who would have been the first black Bachelor. "I think Peter seems like a very nice guy. He seems lovely. This is absolutely nothing against him, but how many Peters have we seen before? What season are we on? 24. So, we've seen 24 Peters. I'm bored. And it's nothing personal against him," Rachel told "Entertainment Tonight." "For the first time, I was very confident that we were going to see our first black Bachelor. And so if no one else is going to speak on it, then I guess it's my duty to say it. I want to be hopeful, but when you have a contestant like Mike Johnson, who seems to check all the boxes, how is he not the Bachelor? I don't understand." She continued, "I'm sure they have some reason for not picking him, and I'm going to trust in that, but at the same time, the system isn't working in giving us a Bachelor who is a person of color. So we need to change the system. Something has to be done. Break the rules, step outside the box, give the people what they want!"
Meredith Vieira opens up about discovering sexual misconduct allegations against Matt Lauer
Meredith Vieira opened up about her "complicated" feelings regarding her former co-anchor's sexual misconduct scandal. The former "Today" show host said that learning about Matt Lauer's firing after he behaved badly felt like "a gut punch," according to a People magazine interview published on Sept. 11. "I was [in Los Angeles] and my phone started going off at 4 a.m. I didn't know what to make of all of it. It was a shock," she said, adding that she and Matt were "very close… like brother and sister," and that she never felt unsafe around him. "He was very kind to me. We both have similar senses of humor. We're both sarcastic… If somebody were a fly on the wall in any newsroom, they'd be shocked by the language and by the gallows humor. You made a joke because otherwise you'd implode when you're covering something. … [Looking back], you could … go, 'Look, now can't you see what you were dealing with?' But I didn't feel that at all." Meredith added, "The whole thing is just sad. And it's been rough in a lot of places with a lot of people."
Leslie Jones talks "Saturday Night Live" departure
On Sept. 3, Leslie Jones addressed her recently announced exit from "Saturday Night Live" in a series of tweets. "Yes it's true I am leaving 'Saturday Night Live.' I cannot thank NBC, the producers, writers, and amazing crew enough for making SNL my second home these last five years," she wrote on Twitter. "Lorne Michaels, you've changed my life in so many ways! Thank you for being my mentor and confidant and for always having my back. You not only have my loyalty but you have my heart too! You have shown me skills I never imagined I had. I leave a better performer because of you. To the incredible cast members: I will miss working, creating and laughing with you. I will miss holding it down with Kenan [Thompson] everyday, I will miss Cecily [Strong]'s impression of me making me laugh at myself often, I will miss Kate [McKinnon]'s loving hugs and talks when I needed. And of course Colin [Jost], you porcelain-skinned Ken doll. I will miss all my cast mates!! Especially being at the table reads with them!! Everyone needs to know Leslie Jones couldn't have done any of the things I did without these people. One last thing — to the fans — you are the BEST!! Thank you for all the love and support through my SNL years. And I know you will be as excited as I am when you see some of the amazing projects and adventures that I have coming up very soon!" She finished her statement with a hashtag that read, "I am not dead just graduating."
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Mark Paul Gosselaar claims he was "never approached" about "Saved by Bell" reboot
"Saved by the Bell" is returning to our TV screens, but one former cast member won't be there. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris on the original NBC series, told Variety on Sept. 16 that he was "never approached" about reprising his role on the newly announced revival. "I read it in the trades just like everybody else this morning," he said at the premiere of his new series, "Mixed-ish." "Honestly, I was never approached. I woke up to the news this morning with a kind of 'huh' response." Mark added that he has "always been interested, of course," but understands why NBC never contacted him. "I'm on ABC, so it doesn't really fit into that considering Disney+, so I understand the business side of things. But I had no idea it was that far along."
Oprah Winfrey to go on wellness arena tour in early 2020
Oprah Winfrey is headed to a city near you! The TV mogul announced on Sept. 4 that she's launching a 2020 arena tour focused on "a stronger, healthier, more abundant life" and "what makes us feel energized, connected and empowered." "Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus" tour, which will offer "a full-day of wellness conversations" and a one-on-one interview with a celebrity guest, will begin in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Jan. 4. The tour will also stop in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte, North Carolina, New York City, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Denver.
Big winners at the 2019 Emmy Awards
Though ratings for the 2019 Emmy Awards on Sept. 22 fell to an all-time low of 6.98 million viewers, that didn't stop the stars from celebrating some notable wins. "Fleabag" star, writer and producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge was one of the night's darlings –the Brit took home three awards in comedy categories (best actress, best writing and best comedy!), putting an end to "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus's winning streak. "Game of Thrones" won 12 of the 32 Emmys it was up for, including best drama series. There were also a slew of notable first-time Emmy winners including Michelle Williams, Jodie Comer, Jason Bateman, "Pose" star Billy Porter — who made history when he became the first openly gay black man to win the prize for best lead actor in a drama — and more.
Netflix to end "Grace and Frankie" after seventh season
All good things must come to an end. On Sept. 4, Netflix announced that its hit streaming show "Grace and Frankie" will end after its seventh season. Season 6 will debut in January 2020 and a 16-episode seventh season will follow, making "Grace and Frankie" the longest running original series on Netflix.
Sean Spicer suggests low "DWTS" ranking due to his support for Christ
Sean Spicer raised a few eyebrows on Sept. 17 when he tweeted that the "Dancing With the Stars" judges are against him because he "stands for Christ." "Clearly those judges are not going to be with me," he wrote. "Let's send a message to #Hollywood that the of us who stand for #Christ won't be discounted." The former Trump White House press secretary posted the tweet in response to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's call for fans to vote for Sean to "create an emotional meltdown in Hollyweird."
Fox settles "Bones" lawsuit for undisclosed amount
Fox settled a lawsuit with the cast and creators of Bones on Sept. 11 after a lengthy legal battle over profit sharing for the series. Both parties filed dismissal papers in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter, although the terms have yet to be released. In February, an arbitrator found that 21st Century Fox executives "lied, cheated and committed fraud" by selling broadcasting and streaming rights to partners such as FOX and Hulu below the show's market value, to the detriment of the cast and creators. The "Bones" crew was awarded $179 million in damages, including $128 million in punitive damages, but in May, a Los Angeles judge determined that they were not entitled to punitive damages, slashing the total to $51 million.
Actor John Wesley (pictured), who starred as Dr. Hoover on an episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and appeared on "Martin" and the "Dirty Dancing" TV series, died at Los Angeles's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Sept. 8 after suffering complications from multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in plasma cells. He was 72. Character actor Robert Axelrod, who voiced Lord Zedd and Finster on "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" in the '90s, died in Los Angeles on Sept. 7. He was 70. Actor Brian Turk, who starred on HBO's "Carnivàle" and "Beverly Hills: 90210," died on Sept. 13 from complications of brain cancer. He was 49.
Shane Gillis fired from "Saturday Night Live"
Shane Gillis's short tenure as a "Saturday Night Live" cast member is officially over. Just days after announcing his hire, the sketch-comedy show announced on Sept. 13 that it was cutting ties with the comedian after racist jokes he'd performed on his podcasts and other media emerged, sparking a storm of controversy. "After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining 'SNL,'" an "SNL" spokesperson said on behalf of Lorne Michaels. "We want 'SNL' to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for 'SNL.' We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard." Shane responded with a statement of his own: "It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements but here we are. I'm a comedian who was funny enough to get 'SNL.' That can't be taken away," he wrote on Twitter. "Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at 'SNL,' but I understand it would be too much of a distraction. I respect the decision they made. I'm honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a 'Mad TV' guy anyway."
Tamron Hall opens up about daytime talk show, talks "Today" exit
Tamron Hall is not holding anything back. The journalist dished on her new eponymous daytime talk show and her controversial exit from "Today" while chatting with USA Today on Sept. 9. Tamron said that her purple-and-orange set is "feminine and strong" to reflect "that part of me that's girly but still a grown woman" and that she wants to be "to be as close as humanly possible" to her studio audience because physical interaction is "a part of my authentic journey as a journalist [and] also who I am as a person." She also shared that she wants to "foster this environment where it's OK to ask a question and you don't have to feel under siege" and that celebrity guests are "not just coming to plug their projects, but really share their stories." Of her 2017 firing, Tamron shared that she was "heartbroken… [Imagine] you've been putting in the work, and suddenly your employer says they're phasing you out. I had some suspicions, because I'm a reporter and I'm pretty intuitive, but no one wants to lose their job," she explained. "It wasn't about who I was losing it to — it was like a relationship where you're putting in 100 percent and the person who's putting in less has the nerve to break up with you." As for why she decided to leave "Today" after Megyn Kelly was hired to take over her hour, "I wasn't going to wait for someone else not to work out when I could be figuring out a way for me to work out — I didn't want Megyn Kelly to see me lurking in the hallway," she said. "I didn't want to watch as my profile was being shrunk down to nothing when I know that I have a unique perspective and voice in this business that is appreciated by people who watch TV. I'm grateful for that."
Billy Bush says "Access Hollywood" Trump tape was "weaponized"
Billy Bush is finally telling his side of the story. The former "Today" host, who's now leading the show "Extra," addressed the 2016 leak of the infamous 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape, in which Donald Trump can be heard boasting about grabbing women by the genitals, during a sit-down interview with "CBS This Morning" on Sept. 9. "I was comfortable that it wasn't going to be weaponized," he explained. "I got taken out, but I wasn't the target." Billy said that NBC execs told him "'You're good. Don't worry about it. It's not you. You didn't say anything,'" when the tape leaked on a Friday. By Sunday, NBC had fired him, according to Billy. He also shared that he felt "anxious" during his 2005 interview with Trump and didn't feel comfortable calling out the future president over his misogynistic comments.
Hailee Steinfeld in talks for lead role on "Hawkeye" Disney+ series
Hailee Steinfeld might soon be joining the Marvel television family. The "Pitch Perfect" actress has been offered the lead role of Kate Bishop, a member of the Young Avengers, on the upcoming Disney+ series "Hawkeye." The series will follow Jeremy Renner's Marvel Cinematic Universe character and Kate, who takes on the Hawkeye persona.
"Friends" app launches for 25th anniversary, star Lisa Kudrow reveals her struggles playing Phoebe
The "Friends" fandom went digital on Sept. 5 when Warner Bros. TV launched a new "Friends" app to celebrate the beloved series' 25th anniversary. The online platform features "Friends"-themed photo filters, trivia games, an augmented reality scavenger hunt and recipes to recreate some of the show's most memorable dishes. Fans can also use it to track the location of the orange Central Perk coffee shop sofa. One week after the app was announced, one of the sitcom's stars, Lisa Kudrow, shared that she had a tough time playing Phoebe Buffay during the show's third season. "I had played dumb girls [before], but it wasn't really me," she said on Sept. 12 on Kevin Nealon's "Hiking With Kevin" YouTube series. "I feel like … I tricked them at the audition. I was the only one who could cope with the audition process, and that's how I got it, I think. So I had to work hard at being Phoebe. And then, like, third season in, I was struggling so much… 'I don't think I have it. I don't know what I'm doing.'" Lisa's co-star, Matt LeBlanc, ultimately gave her a much need confidence boost during that time: "He went, 'You're her. Relax. You got it. You've been doing this … character for three years. You're working too hard. That's your problem: You don't need to work as hard. Relax.' And he was right!"
"The View" co-host Abby Huntsman talks feud rumors
Abby Huntsman is setting the record straight about feud rumors between her and her "The View" co-hosts. The former "Fox & Friends" personality told E! News that she was "laughing" over the gossip during her maternity leave earlier this year. "I would read about stuff, and I'm like, 'I know what actually happened and what I'm reading and how false that is.' But what are you gonna do?" she said on Sept. 4. "People always want something to write about, and they'll make a much bigger story often out of nothing. If you wanna spend time backstage with us, we're all humans; we're all women; we all have the same dreams in life; we go home to our kids… So the reality is, we're friends. But I'm sure this season there will be headline after headline about feuds. If you're watching this now, just know that we are friends. You have moments of disagreement, but we're like a family. I come from one of seven kids — you're gonna fight sometimes. But underneath it all, you all are friends."
Sailor Brinkley-Cook replaces mom Christie Brinkley on "DWTS" after injury
Like mother, like daughter. Christie Brinkley's 21-year-old daughter, Sailor Brinkley-Cook, took her place on "Dancing With the Stars" after the supermodel had to pull out and undergo surgery. "While rehearsing for the premiere of 'Dancing With the Stars,' Christie Brinkley suffered injuries which required surgery to her wrist and arm. She is unable to continue her planned participation on the show," ABC told Us Weekly on Sept. 16. "Keeping it all in the family, her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook, a 'Sports Illustrated' [swimsuit issue] model, has chosen to quickly step in with hours to learn the entire routine and will compete in her mother's place for the remainder of the season." Christie opened up about it while speaking to "Good Morning America": "Showbiz is all about getting a break, and Sailor and I both got one on 'Dancing With the Stars' this season. Sailor joined the cast when I got mine," the iconic model joked. "Ouch, somebody stop me, it hurts to laugh!"
"The Voice" singer files sexual abuse lawsuit against Hollywood Records, former manager
Jordan Pruitt, a singer who competed on the third season of "The Voice" in 2012, filed a lawsuit against her former manager, Keith Thomas, whom she claims sexually abused her as a teen, according to Variety. Her former label, Hollywood Records, and its parent company, the Walt Disney Company, are also named in the suit for allegedly making Jordan work with Keith and failing to prevent the abuse. Jordan claims that the label should have been aware of Keith's alleged behavior and should not have allowed the singer to be around the Nashville producer unsupervised. According to legal docs filed on Aug. 14 and made public on Sept. 3, Keith allegedly groomed Jordan and her mother to gain their trust before taking the singer's virginity and abusing her when she was just 14. The alleged abuse, which allegedly included controlling her professional life, cutting off contact between Jordan and boys her own age, verbally abusing her by insulting her looks and talent, and drugging her before sexually abusing her, continued until a week before Jordan's 16th birthday. Variety reports that Jordan also alleges that Keith showered her with compliments, "saying he loved her and that no one understood how 'special' their relationship was," and told her that "their love was a secret."
Former "American Idol" star Antonella Barba arrested after warrant issued
Antonella Barba is back in the slammer. The Season 6 "American Idol" contestant was taken into custody on Sept. 13 after she allegedly violated a court order mandating that she must live with her father, Vincenzo Barba, in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, while out on bond. A judge issued a warrant for her arrest on Sept. 9. In August, Antonella pleaded guilty to fentanyl distribution charges and was released on bond to await sentencing in November. She will serve time until she's officially sentenced in November. She faces 10 years in prison.