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“Seinfeld: The Finale” turns 20

Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — On this day in 1998, the Emmy-winning “show about nothing,” Seinfeld, took its final bow on NBC. 

The series ended with a two-parter in which Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer were sentenced to a year in jail for violating a good Samaritan law in a small, fictitious town known as Latham, Massachusetts. They were stranded there by a private plane that a newly interested NBC chartered for Jerry as a “make good” for turning down Jerry and George’s “Jerry” pilot.

Seinfeld — initially titled The Seinfeld Chronicles — first aired July 5, 1989. NBC later ordered more episodes, and yada yada yada, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer became iconic TV characters who made countless contributions to the pop culture lexicon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

However, the Seinfeld pilot didn’t quite resemble the show that millions came to know and love.

It began with Jerry Seinfeld’s Jerry and Jason Alexander’s George dining in their native New York City at Pete’s Luncheonette, rather than the familiar Monk’s Café. They weren’t even sitting in a booth.

In the scene, Jerry riffs on the buttons on George’s shirt. The show’s finale had a callback to that very same conversation, when Jerry and the gang were jailed.

Initially, Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character, Elaine, was not yet part of the cast. The lead female role belonged to Lee Garlington, who played a sassy waitress at Pete’s. Michael Richards is featured in the episode, but his character is referred to as Kessler, not Kramer. The switch was made because it was thought that Kenny Kramer, show co-creator Larry David’s former mooching roommate, would want a cut of the Seinfeld action. He went on to run the Kramer Reality Tour, which was spoofed on the show.

The last scene of the show featured Jerry performing his stand-up act in prison.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“Avengers: Infinity War” continues box office domination with $61.8 million weekend; becomes fifth largest global release

Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) — Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War topped the box office for the third straight week, earning an estimated $61.8 million, making it the eighth largest release of all-time in the States and the fifth best worldwide, right behind 2015’s Jurassic World.

Infinity War is now the highest-grossing superhero movie worldwide, earning an estimated $1.6 billion thus far. It earned $200 million alone in China after opening there this past weekend. Disney is the parent company of Marvel and ABC News.

The comedy Life of the Party, starring Melissa McCarthy, bowed in second place, snagging an estimated $18.5 million. The Gabrielle Union thriller, Breaking In, finished third, delivering an estimated 16.5 million.

Overboard, in its second week of release, dropped from second to fourth place, earning an estimated $10.1 million.

A Quiet Place rounded out the top 10, earning an estimated $6.4 million.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated weekend gross ticket sales:

1. Avengers: Infinity War, $61.8 million
2. Life of the Party, $18.5 million
3. Breaking In, $16.5 million
4. Overboard, $10.1 million
5. A Quiet Place, $6.4 million
6. I Feel Pretty, $3.7 million
7. Rampage, $3.38 million
8. Tully, $2.2 million
9. Black Panther, $1.9 million
10. Blockers, $1.1 million

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“American Idol” contestants sing Carrie Underwood hits and celebrate Mother’s Day, as the top 3 are revealed

ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — In honor of Mother’s Day, the American Idol Top 5 finalists sang songs dedicated to moms, in addition to performing from the catalogue of American Idol alum and seven-time Grammy-winner Carrie Underwood.

At the end of the show, the contestants learned that Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett and Maddie Poppe were moving on to the finals.

Michael J. Woodard and Cade Foehner were sent home.

The Top 5 were surprised with a trip to Nashville and the opportunity to learn from Underwood while she served as superstar guest mentor for the week. Underwood also performed her current single, “Cry Pretty.”

The show opened with the top 5 contestants joining Carrie for her hit “See You Again.”

Here are Sunday’s Highlights:

Michael J. Woodard kicked things off with his version of Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor.” During rehearsals, Carrie explained to him that the song was “all about attitude from the beginning,” and predicting the performance would turn him into “Michael J. ‘Beast-mode’.” Afterwards, Lionel thought Michael succeeded in bringing the sass “on a grand scale.”

Woodard’s second performance of the night was Yolanda Adams’ “Still I Rise,” dedicated to his mom. Katy, who was moved to tears by the song and Michael’s pre-performance clip with his mother, joked, “I thought I had my emotions removed,” but it was “so beautiful what I saw between you and your mother.”

Gabby Barrett tackled Underwood’s “Last Name.” Carrie, addressing the camera during rehearsals, marveled at Barrett’s composure and maturity. Following the performance, Luke called Barrett, “Carrie Underwood reincarnated.” Richie agreed Gabby was “fabulous.”

Later, Barrett returned with her Mother’s Day song, “I Have Nothing,” by Whitney Houston. Lionel praised Gabby for pulling off the impossible by “Gabby-izing” a Whitney Houston song and succeeding.

Cade Foehner put his spin on Underwood’s “Undo It.” Carrie, noting that Cade had a tendency to be stuck on “level 10,” explained that a song needs “a beginning, a middle and an end.” The judges later echoed Carrie’s sentiments, with Katy telling Cade that when he loses the dynamics, his performance becomes “a little shaky sometimes.”

Cade redeemed himself with his Mother’s Day dedication, “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Katy applauded Cade for taking their earlier advice.

Caleb Lee Hutchinson tackled Carrie’s 2007 hit “So Small.” Her advice for Caleb was to simply “stay out of your own way,” explaining that the 19-year-old had a tendency to become “overwhelmed” with what’s happening around him. Afterwards, Perry praised Hutchinson for his authenticity, but warned that he was being outperformed by the competition and needed to “flap those wings a little bit harder when it comes to working the crowd.”

For his Mother’s Day song, Caleb sang Jamey Johnson’s “Stars in Alabama.” Declared Richie afterwards, “In this business, if I can close my eyes and know it’s you in two notes, that’s stardom.” Perry joked that when Caleb turned 21, she wanted to “have a beer” with him.”

Maddie Poppe started off with Underwood’s version of the Randy Travis hit “I Told You So.” Carrie’s advice for Poppe was not to overthink the songs, because she risked losing the emotion. Following Maddie’s live performance, Luke urged the singer not to worry about the notes, assuring her, “you tell the story perfectly.”

Later, Maddie delivered an emotional performance of “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys for her Mother’s Day tune. Katy said Poppe “did the song justice.” Luke added that watching Maddie choke up at the end of the song was “endearing.”

American Idol returns Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The first season of HBO’s Barry ends Sunday night

Jordin Althaus/HBO(NEW YORK) — On Sunday night, HBO’s new hit dark comedy Barry closes the book on its first season. The show stars co-creator and former SNL cast member Bill Hader as the title character, a hitman who catches the acting bug.

The show, which also stars Henry Winkler, Sarah Goldberg, and Stephen Root, has already been renewed for a sophomore go ’round.

Henry Winkler plays Barry’s drama teacher, who is oblivious to his client’s day job. In fact, he’s oblivious to most things — except money, Winkler tells us. “The teacher that I play really, really cares about his students — ability to pay cash and on time,” he jokes.

Winkler says the teacher he plays is an amalgam of many acting coaches he’s known — or heard about — in all of his years in the business. He mentions one in particular — without naming him or her: “You know, there are teachers out there — your students…they are working so hard to try to audition to being a waiter or being a salesperson…And then this teacher forced them to buy his paintings, with money they didn’t have! You know? Then you take that to the nth degree and you just you know dribble it out, and all of a sudden you’ve got Jean Cousineau.” 

The Happy Days and Arrested Development veteran says of Hader, “He is funny before the camera rolls, while the camera’s rolling, after the camera rolls. He is innately funny and he is innately generous. I ad-lib and…sometimes he says, ‘Could I just hear it the way I wrote it once just to see if it works?’ I go: ‘Bill! You have no idea how hard I’m trying to get all those words out!'”

Barry airs Sunday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on HBO.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Gabrielle Union debunks misconceptions and challenges “stereotypes” with her new film, “Breaking In”

ABC Image Group LA(NEW YORK) — Gabrielle Union is one tough mama bear in her new thriller, Breaking In.

In a recent Q&A session in New York, Union dished on her character in the movie, Shaun Russell, and the misconception she’s encountered with the image of a strong black mother on screen.

“She’s a fierce protector, mama bear. Her cubs are her everything,” Union told the audience. “[But] she’s married. Everyone’s like, ‘Is Shaun a single mom?’ And I’m like, ‘Why do you think she’s a single mom?'”

According to Union, just because her character’s significant other isn’t mentioned as her husband doesn’t mean one should assume the “stereotype” that she’s a single black mother.

“You don’t have to play a pillar of the community or a stereotype” said Union, referring to some of the misconceptions about black film. “There’s a billion of things in between. There’s literally billions of brown people on the planet and can do so many things.”

Union continues, “Just give us the opportunity to show different kinds of families, different kind of stories. The books are out there. The articles are out there. We’ve optioned them, we’re now financing our own projects. We’ve shown that inclusion is actually not just the right thing to do was actually quite lucrative. We just need the opportunity.”

While Union is known for both her television and film roles, the actress says she’s more than just an actress.

“So, that’s part of the reason why I produce, have my own production company — to try to provide that opportunity.”

Breaking In hits theaters today.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wakanda Forever: Ryan Coogler is on board to do a female-centered “Black Panther” spinoff

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) — After the immense success of Marvel’s Black Panther, the film’s director, Ryan Coogler, is weighing in on the future of the history-making franchise.

During a conversation with film critic Elvis Mitchell at Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, attended by Variety, Coogler revealed he’d be on board to do a spinoff of Black Panther — that centers on the women of Wakanda.

“Oh man. That would be amazing if the opportunity came up,” Coogler said. “They did it in the comic-book version.”

Coogler is referring to Marvel’s 2016 Black Panther comic book relaunch from Ta-Nehisi Coates, which focuses on the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s royal guard of elite female fighters. Later that year, Marvel released the World of Wakanda series which followed Ayo and Aneka, two women who fell in love while training to become part of the Dora Milaje. Then in March 2018, Marvel announced Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever, where the Dora team up with Spider-Man.

Coogler says the women of Wakanda are an essential part of Black Panther‘s narrative.

“There’s a whole section of the film where T’Challa is out of the movie and you’re just following the women,” Coogler explains. “That’s one of my favorite parts of the movie when I watched it, and I didn’t expect that. That part of the movie you feel like you’re watching something fresh and new. That part of it was exciting.”

“We have these actresses who could easily carry their own movie,” he added, mentioning Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright, Black Panther‘s female leads. “Some of them have before. We were so fortunate. I would watch a movie with them!”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hugh Jackman gets the last laugh with Laughing Man Coffee charity and “The Greatest Showman”

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) — Hugh Jackman is plenty proud of his new charitable company, Laughing Man Coffee. The X-Men film franchise star had some famous inspiration for his venture, which was itself inspired by a trip to Ethiopia with the charity group WorldVision.

Jackman worked shoulder-to-shoulder with a farmer named Dukale. “I made a promise to him …that I would do whatever I could to get his story out and to help him,” Jackman tells ABC News.

It didn’t take the self-described coffee addict long to get the ball rolling.

“I was on the plane reading Paul Newman’s book about how he started Newman’s Own,” says Jackman. “And so, by the time I came back, I rang my mate Barry, who had been in the coffee business for 30 years, and I said, ‘Dude, I got an idea: Let’s start a non for profit company around coffee that will give back to the growers.’ And that was the beginning of Laughing Man.”

Regarding the Oscar-nominee’s day job, he’s still blown away by the sleeper success of his musical The Greatest Showman. When the movie opened, Jackman reveals “There was not one email in my inbox, which is always a bad sign.  Crickets, literally crickets.”

However, the movie gained steam every week since its opening,eventually building to a global box office total of more than $430 million, and counting.  

Of late, we’ve also seen Jackman being again wooed by Ryan Reynolds’ alter-ego frenemy, Deadpool.  Jackman’s response?  “Just back it up a little,” he sarcastically advised his friend. “It’s just a little much…Play a little hard to get. It’s not sexy.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cast members and director dish on “Solo: A Star Wars Story” at L.A. premiere

Lucasfilm(LOS ANGELES) — The stars and director of the highly anticipated movie Solo: A Star Wars Story assembled at the film’s premiere Thursday night at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. 

ABC News caught up with Donald Glover — who plays Lando Calrissian — at the premiere. He said landing the role was deeply personal for him.

“It was one of the first characters I was ever introduced to in my life,” he revealed. “The Lando action figure was the first toy I ever had.”

Thandie Newton, who plays Val, told ABC News about the film, “It’s a roller coaster, I swear to god, with surprises and thrills and fun and a lot of heart.”

Paul Bettany plays Dryden Vos in the movie, and he believes this film is very different than the rest of the franchise. 

“[The viewers] can expect a really different tone and a lot of caper and a lot of escapade,” he said. 

This stand alone film follows Han Solo in his younger years, as he meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca. 

Emilia Clarke, who plays Qi’Ra, put it simply: “This is so treasured and loved and beloved and I’m just incredibly honored to be a part of it.”

Director Ron Howard, meanwhile, was asked about joining the film after the first director was fired.

“I believed there was something exciting to be done here and hoped I could help realize its potential,” he told ABC News. “It wound up going into it that way and very shortly I made a much deeper personal connection to the characters, the story and the themes.”

Han Solo himself is played by Alden Ehrenreich. Solo: A Star Wars Story officially flies into theaters May 25.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: Man breaks into Rihanna’s Los Angeles home and spends the night

ABC/Lou Rocco(LOS ANGELES) — Police arrested and tased a man outside of Rihanna’s Hollywood Hills home Thursday morning after an apparent burglary, according to a report from TMZ that was later confirmed by E! News.

Authorities apparently arrived at the pop singer’s home around 10 a.m. after the security alarm had been tampered with. Additionally, a Los Angeles Police Department official told the New York Daily News, “Someone was going inside the residence and saw him leaving.”

Rihanna was not home at the time, but the man appeared to have stayed the night.

When law enforcement encountered the man, he reportedly had to be tased while being detained.

TMZ reports that the man has been identified as 26-year-old Eduardo Leon. He is being held on $150,000 bail for felony stalking.

Rihanna and her team have not yet made a statement about the incident.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“Life of the Party” leads this week’s new movies

New Line Cinema(LOS ANGELES) — The following movies open nationwide on Friday:

Life of the Party — After suddenly getting dumped by husband, a middle-aged mom — played by Melissa McCarthy — goes back to college and immerses herself in campus life, with some help from her daughter — portrayed by Molly Gordon. Maya Rudolph and Matt Walsh also star. Rated PG-13.

Breaking In — Gabrielle Union produced and stars in this thriller about a woman who fights to protect her family during a home invasion. Rated PG-13.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

The Seagull — This film adaptation of the Anton Chekhov classic centers on a love triangle that unfolds between an aging actress, her lover and an ingenue — played by Annette Bening, Corey Stolland Saoirse Ronan, respectively. Elisabeth Moss, Brian Dennehy, Billy Howle and Mare Winningham also star. Rated PG-13.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.