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Bill Cosby Publicist: ‘Town Hall Meetings Are Not About Sexual Assault’

6 hours ago

Bill Cosby’s spokesperson has denied that his upcoming town hall meetings will be about sexual assault. Instead, Ebonee Benson says the speaking tour is actually about restoring the formerly beloved “Cosby Show” actor’s legacy.

Benson stopped by CNN on Sunday to address the controversial town hall meetings put in place after Cosby’s infamous mistrial. A jury of seven men and five women were unable to come to a decision regarding Cosby’s alleged sexual assault against Andrea Constand a week ago. Judge Steven O’Neill declared the case a mistrial last Saturday after 52 hours of deadlocked deliberations.

While appearing on “CNN New Day Weekend” Sunday morning, Benson elaborated on the tour to co-host Christi Paul. “The town hall meetings are not about sexual assault,” she claimed. “I will repeat: These town hall meetings are not about sexual assault.”

“When we initially talked about the town hall meetings, it »

- JD Knapp

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3 Reasons Why ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Folded at the Domestic Box Office

9 hours ago

By almost any measure, $69 million is a heck of a lot of money.

Not so for “Transformers: The Last Knight,” which is tracking to make that much in North America during its five-day opening frame. The problem isn’t just that it’s up against a $217 million production budget, although that’s part of it. With China powering an estimated $196.2 million international opening, Paramount and Hasbro are leaning on the film’s global appeal to justify its place in the series.

But the bigger red flag for “Transformers” No. 5 lies in the franchise’s history of opening at around $100 million domestically for the past three installments. This raises a lot of questions, all centering around who or what is to blame for “The Last Knight’s” lower numbers. Here are three reasons why the movie may have underperformed.

1. Franchise Fatigue Strikes Again

It’s a different verse of the same song. This »

- Seth Kelley

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‘Girlboss’ Canceled After One Season at Netflix

24 June 2017 9:39 PM, PDT

Netflix has canceled the freshman comedy series “Girlboss,” Variety has confirmed.

Sophia Amoruso, whose life was the inspiration for the series, shared the news in a series of Instagram stories on Saturday.

“So that Netflix series about my life got canceled,” she wrote. “While I’m proud of the work we did, I’m looking forward to controlling my narrative from here on out. It was a good show, and I was privileged to work with incredible talent, but living my life as a caricature was hard even if only for two months. Yes, I can be difficult. No, I’m not a dick. No, someone named Shane never cheated on me. It will be nice to someday tell the story of what’s happened in the last few years. Ppl read the headline, not the correction, I’ve learned.”

The series was based on Amoruso’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name. It »

- Joe Otterson

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Dan Harmon Reassures ‘Rick and Morty’ Fans That Season 3 Is Happening

24 June 2017 2:20 PM, PDT

Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon went on a positive Twitter rant over the weekend reassuring fans that behind-the-scenes issues are not to blame for the prolonged absence of Season 3. Harmon also confirmed that he and fellow co-creator Justin Roiland are not feuding over the Adult Swim animated comedy, contrary to reports.

Early Saturday morning, Harmon responded to a “RaM” fan’s apprehension that the massive popularity of the series has outweighed his and Roiland’s desire to make the show.

This is the nicest phrasing of this concern in TV history and I promise it will not happen. RaM dies of satisfaction in..I'm guessing 2040 https://t.co/hoe0f1NGzR

Dan Harmon (@danharmon) June 24, 2017

The initial Twitter exchange resulted in a massive 26-tweet-long message dispelling any and all rumors that production has halted. The reason it seems for Season 3 to be taking longer than expected? Simple: Quality over quantity.

“A »

- JD Knapp

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YouTuber Hannah Hart Dishes on New Food Network Series ‘I Hart Food’

24 June 2017 12:18 PM, PDT

Hannah Hart is about to hit the road for her new Food Network series, “I Hart Food.” The six-episode order was first confirmed in summer of 2016, but Hart and the network both revealed new details about the show heading into the weekend.

The YouTube star will serve as host and executive producer on the project. She commented on her cross-country, culinary road trip in a Food Network blog post Thursday night.

“Food Network has been an incredible partner and I’m really proud of the show we made together. I am so excited to share the experiences of extraordinary meals and the chefs who shared their passions and expertise with me on ‘I Hart Food,'” wrote Hart. “I’m a major food enthusiast, and this show is perfect for those who have an insatiable appetite for all things food,” she continued.

Chief programming, content, and brand officer for Scripps Network Interactive Kathleen Finch sounded equally pleased »

- JD Knapp

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‘Playing House’s’ Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham on Why Season 3 is the ‘Most Important’ Work They’ve Ever Done

24 June 2017 12:00 PM, PDT

Spoiler alert: Do not read until you’ve watched the entire third season of “Playing House,” available now on the USA App and VOD.

Midway through “Playing House’s” third season, Jessica St. Clair‘s Emma gets diagnosed with breast cancer. It is a story ripped from the headlines of St. Clair’s own life, who received her diagnosis only one week after finishing the second season in 2015. She then underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. Lennon Parham, her co-star and co-creator of “Playing House,” was by her side every step of the way, taking notes on doctor appointments, medications, and even what elements of this unexpected journey would make for powerful storytelling on their show.

Variety spoke to St. Clair and Parham about how they decided what parts of the cancer journey to explore on-screen, drawing inspiration from “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” and why they feel this more serious season is the most important work »

- Danielle Turchiano

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Jamie Foxx Let Ed Sheeran Crash on His Couch Before the Brit Made it Big (Watch)

24 June 2017 10:59 AM, PDT

Jamie Foxx revealed over the weekend that he once let Ed Sheeran stay at his home for six weeks when the singer was first starting out in Los Angeles.

Foxx stopped by “The Graham Norton Show” on Friday night to promote his new Fox game show “Beat Shazam,” but ended up sharing a story about one of Britain’s most famous musical acts. According to Foxx, he first met Sheeran when the “Castle on the Hill” singer performed on his radio show back in 2010.

“He’s incredible and I’m like, ‘Listen, I know you don’t have anywhere to go, just chill here,” reminisced Foxx. “I was giving him food, and my daughter was like, ‘Who do you have over here now?’ Because I would always champion an artist.”

Foxx went on to invite Sheeran to perform for an all-black crowd of 800, where he was well-received despite his unconventional instrument choice.

“He »

- JD Knapp

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Stephen Colbert Appears on Russian TV, Jokes About Presidential Run

23 June 2017 5:52 PM, PDT

Stephen Colbert made an appearance on Russian TV, where he appeared to jokingly mull a presidential run.

In a video released Friday, Colbert appeared on “Evening Urgant,” a late-night style talk show that airs on Russia’s Channel 1. The back and forth between Colbert and host Ivan Urgant took place partly in Russian, partly in English.

In the interview, Colbert and Urgant played a Russian roulette-style drinking game with multiple vodka shots.

Lifting a glass to the studio audience upon taking his first shot, Colbert said, “To the beautiful and friendly Russian people, I have no idea why no members of the Trump administration can remember meeting you.” Colbert then took a shot and ate a pickle.

After Urgant took a shot, Colbert asked, “By the way, can I announce something?” He then continued, “I’m here in Russia … I am here to announce that I am considering a run for president in 2020, and I thought »

- Variety Staff

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Broadcasters Look to Extend Lives of Veteran Shows With Cast Changes

23 June 2017 5:09 PM, PDT

When “Taken” returns to NBC this fall, it will look different from the series that premiered last season. Clive Standen will still play Bryan Mills, the ex-Green Beret with the very particular set of skills. But the faces around him will have changed.

Variety learned this week that six cast members will leave “Taken” ahead of season two. The move is part of an effort to creatively retool the drama under new showrunner Greg Plageman. It is also one of several made since May upfront presentations on returning shows. The flurry of changes reflects the effort that broadcasters are willing to exert to sustain returning series at a time when networks are taking a conservative approach to new programming.

On ABC, “Once Upon a Time” and “Quantico” are both undergoing radical casting and creative changes heading into the upcoming season. Both were bubble shows speculated to have been on the chopping block as schedules for next season »

- Daniel Holloway

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TV News Roundup: Heather Graham Joins Cast of ‘Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders’

23 June 2017 4:28 PM, PDT

In today’s roundup, Heather Graham gets a part in “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders,” and HBO Films releases a first look at Peter Dinklage in “My Dinner with Hervé.”


Heather Graham, Elizabeth Reaser, and Larry Cedar have been cast in “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.” Graham will play Judalon Smyth, a sexy, emotionally fragile woman who is having an affair with Dr. Oziel. Reaser will play Deputy District Attorney Pam Bozanich, who is assigned to the murders of Jose and Kitty Menendez. Cedar will play Milton Andersen, Kitty’s older brother. The series, which depicts the infamous murder trial of the infamous siblings, will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC starting Sept. 26. Edie Falco, Julianne Nicholson, Anthony Edwards, and Sam Jaeger have been previously cast in the show.

Emily Rudd is set to play the title role in “Olive Forever,” a pilot from Universal Cable Productions. Rudd »

- Rebecca Rubin

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CAA Signs Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers

23 June 2017 3:41 PM, PDT

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has signed with CAA’s sports division for commercial representation. CAA will explore opportunities for Rodgers in film, television, endorsements, speaking, business development, digital media, publishing, philanthropy, and other areas.

“Beyond being a remarkable athlete and leader on the field, Aaron has a clear vision for growing his brand and business off the field,” said CAA Sports co-head Michael Levine. “We are thrilled to work with Aaron during the prime of his career and look forward to partnering with key leaders across the agency to build a business portfolio that will enhance his existing and already impressive legacy and last well beyond his record-setting on field career.”

“I have always been interested in exploring ways to parlay the things I am most passionate about into new business endeavors,” said Rodgers. “I am excited to partner with CAA, as I am confident that together we can create entrepreneurial opportunities that enable me »

- Daniel Holloway

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Bet and One Church La Team Up Sunday for ‘Celebration of Gospel Live’

23 June 2017 3:19 PM, PDT

On Sunday during Bet Awards Weekend, One Church La and Bet join forces to launch Celebration of Gospel Live on the main stage of Betx in and near the Los Angeles Convention Center. A city-wide gospel experience, the four-hour event brings praise and worship to the Bet Experience. Doors open at 10:45am, and the event begins at 11:15am.

Hosted by One Church La husband-and-wife pastors Touré Roberts and Sarah Jakes Roberts, the four-hour-long event features performances from Major, Tasha Cobbs, Jonathan McReynolds, Mali Music, and Israel Houghton. In addition, One Church La dance ministry “One Movement” will present a special presentation choreographed by A-list choreographer, TV personality, director, singer, actress, dancer, and congregation member Laurieann Gibson, who has worked with Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and others.

About Celebration of Gospel Live, Touré comments, “We’re very thankful to Bet for granting One Church La an unbelievable platform to share our message during Bet »

- Variety Staff

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Charlie Sheen Sued (Again) for Exposing Ex-Girlfriend to HIV

23 June 2017 3:09 PM, PDT

An ex-girlfriend of Charlie Sheen has filed a lawsuit accusing him of exposing her to HIV, and then dissuading her from taking antiretroviral drugs.

Neither Sheen nor the ex-girlfriend are identified by name in the suit, which was filed Thursday in L.A. County Superior Court. However, the defendant — referred to as “confidential male defendant” — is said to have learned he was HIV positive in 2011, and given national TV interviews about his HIV status on Nov. 17, 2015, and June 21, 2016. Sheen learned he was HIV positive in 2011, and he publicly revealed it on “The Today Show” on Nov. 17, 2015. He gave an update on the program on June 21, 2016.

The plaintiff is identified only as Jane Doe, and is described as a “Russian émigré.”

This is the second time that Sheen has been sued for allegedly exposing an ex-girlfriend to the virus. Scottine Ross, his ex-fiance, filed a similar suit in December 2015, alleging physical and emotional abuse in addition to HIV »

- Gene Maddaus

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‘Downward Dog’ Canceled by ABC

23 June 2017 3:06 PM, PDT

ABC has canceled half-hour comedy “Downward Dog.” Co-creator Samm Hodges tweeted news of the cancellation Friday.

“Got the very surprising news today that ABC is not moving forward with Downward Dog,” Hodges wrote. “They loved it creatively and really wanted to make more but couldn’t find a financial path to do so.”

Hodges added that producers are “committed to finding a new home” for the series and that the last two episodes of the show’s eight-episode run will air Tuesday, beginning at 10 p.m.

Hey. Statement from @m_killen and I. Love and hope and not giving up #DownwardDog pic.twitter.com/VUn8NrgdLu

Samm Hodges (@sammhodges) June 23, 2017

A representative for ABC confirmed the cancellation.

Downward Dog” starred Allison Tolman as Nan, a woman navigating relationship and professional changes. The show prominently featured Nan’s dog Martin talking to the camera and narrating the story from his perspective.

Tolman »

- Daniel Holloway

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This Week’s Hollywood Red Carpets and Parties (Photos)

23 June 2017 1:40 PM, PDT

This week’s Hollywood red carpets and parties include Netflix’s “Glow” premiere and HBO’s “The Defiant Ones” party. »

- Jacob Bryant

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Matt Lauer Recreates Famous Tom Cruise ‘Glib’ Interview With Andy Cohen

23 June 2017 1:35 PM, PDT

It’s been 12 years since Tom Cruise lectured Matt Lauer about antidepressants and psychiatry during a now-infamous interview. To commemorate that notorious interaction, Andy Cohen, host of “What Happens Live With Andy Cohen,” recreated the cringe-worthy scene with Lauer as the lead of Cruise.

Before recreating the scene for Clubhouse Playhouse, Lauer emphasized, “I like Tom Cruise. We have a good relationship. We have a good friendship. It was just one little moment, okay?”

Lauer wore a Tom Cruise wig and Cohen acted as the “Today” host as they took turns reading lines from the interview in front of a green screen: “Matt, Matt, Matt…you’re blig. That’s the opposite of glib,” Lauer faintly whispered.

“And scene!” Cohen shouted as he ran off the green screen. Savannah Guthrie, also guest starring on the show, applauded Cohen and Lauer for their performance.

Lauer mentioned again that Cruise was a close pal. “We »

- Dixie Limbachia

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James Corden and Seth Rogen Deliver Pizza to Unsuspecting L.A. Residents

23 June 2017 12:53 PM, PDT

In a bit that could hardly take place anywhere but Los Angeles, James Corden and Seth Rogen delivered pizzas to unsuspecting residents around the city.

Thursday’s “Late Late Show” sketch “Mystery Pizza Box” did, however, come with a catch. The comedic duo offered customers a choice between sticking with the pizza they’ve ordered, from L.A.’s own Prime Pizza, or taking whatever was in the mystery pizza box.

All three deliveries chose the latter option — with “prizes” ranging from a box with a heaping portion of marinara sauce, front-row seats to an impromptu wrestling match, and an epic Instagram-worthy birthday party.

Corden and Rogen welcomed new L.A. transplants to the city with a dairy-free, wheat-free pie. In other words, tomato sauce. Before leaving with their box of pizza, Corden did make sure to moisten a slice with their saucy prize.

At the second stop, Rogen emceed a wrestling match between Corden (Yellow Thunder »

- Rebecca Rubin

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‘Killjoys’: Exclusive Clip Shows the Gang Returns Ready For a Fight

23 June 2017 11:05 AM, PDT

Once again, “Killjoys” arrives in the nick of time.

This delightful summer series, which begins its third season June 30, completes one of my favorite 2017 programming blocks. For the next month or two, Friday nights on Syfy will consist of “Killjoys,” followed by “Dark Matter” and “Wynonna Earp.” All three are enjoyable in their own ways (check out my recent enthusiastic recommendation for all things “Earp”), and together they supply a whole lot of quip-intensive, well-crafted genre fun.

Killjoys” tells the story of bounty hunters in a distant galaxy, and if you are my kind of person, in order to check it out, »

- Maureen Ryan

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Syfy Orders George R.R. Martin’s ‘Nightflyers’ to Pilot

23 June 2017 10:30 AM, PDT

Syfy has ordered a pilot based on “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin’s novella “Nightflyers,” Variety has learned.

The network revealed they were developing the novella as a series back in May. It was previously adapted into the 1987 film of the same name. Jeff Buhler wrote the adaptation for television. The story follows eight maverick scientists and a powerful telepath who embark on an expedition to the edge of our solar system in the hopes of contacting alien life. They travel aboard The Nightflyer – a ship with a small tightknit crew and a reclusive captain. But when terrifying »

- Joe Otterson

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Btf Media Launches in Spain, Sets Singer Isabel Pantoja TV Series as First Project

23 June 2017 9:52 AM, PDT

Miami-based Btf Media, producer of Disney’s Juan Gabriel biopic “Hasta que te conocí,” probably the most successful TV drama on the Spanish-language TV landscape last year, is kicking-off operations in Spain as a bridgehead for its European expansion.

The launch of Btf Spain, fruit of a partnership between Btf Media and brothers Oriol and Albert Uría’s Garage Films, a Barcelona-based advertising company, coincides with the announcement of the shingle’s first TV fiction project, a biopic of popular Spanish folk singer Isabel Pantoja.

Founded in 2010 by Mexico’s Francisco Cordero and Ricardo Coeto, Btf has specialized in producing »

- Emiliano De Pablos

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