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‘Leaving Neverland’ documentary draws high ratings for HBO

Michael Jackson and Wade Robson; courtesy HBO(LOS ANGELES) — Leaving Neverland, the documentary featuring two men who accuse Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them as children, has been a ratings winner for HBO.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first installment on Sunday night drew 1.29 million viewers, the third-largest audience for an HBO documentary this decade. The only two docs that pulled in more ratings were Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, with 1.7 million viewers, and Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, with 1.6 million.

The second installment on Monday night pulled in 927,000 viewers, for an average of around 1.11 million, says The Hollywood Reporter.  Oprah Winfrey’s sit down with the two men and the doc’s director, which aired following the documentary’s conclusion, drew 780,000 viewers on HBO alone. It was simulcast on OWN.

By comparison, the last six documentaries that aired on HBO on a Monday night only drew 187,000 viewers.

Michael Jackson’s family and estate have vigorously denied all claims in the documentary, and have filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO. The estate claims that the documentary breaches a “non-disparagement” clause in a contract HBO signed in 1992 when it agreed to air a Jackson concert film.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kylie Jenner, 21, is the youngest “self-made” billionaire in the world, says ‘Forbes’

Forbes(LOS ANGELES) — Kylie Jenner, at age 21, is officially the youngest “self-made” billionaire in the world, according to Forbes.

“I popped up at a few stores, I did my usual social media. I did what I usually do, and it just worked,” Jenner told the publication.

Jenner’s billionaire status was already predicted, but with the exclusive expansion of her eponymous Kylie Cosmetics line into Ulta’s 1,000-plus stores, revenue increased by nine percent and kept growing. Now, her estimated fortune is $1 billion, and she’s replaced Mark Zuckerberg as the youngest self-made billionaire.  Zuckerberg was 23 when he earned that distinction.

“I didn’t expect anything. I did not foresee the future,” Jenner explained to Forbes. “But [the recognition] feels really good. That’s a nice pat on the back.”

Forbes received a lot of backlash when they initially referred to the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star’s fortune as “self-made” 2018, with critics believing she was born into wealth. In her defense, Jenner responded in an interview with Paper, saying that “the self-made thing is true.”

“What I’m trying to say is I did have a platform, but none of my money is inherited,” Jenner said.

Even Dictionary.com threw shade on the “self-made” description, posting on Twitter: “Haven’t we gone over this? Self-made: Having succeeded in life unaided.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Girl power! Fandango says ‘Captain Marvel’ is its biggest advance ticket seller since ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) — Movie ticket company Fandango says the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel — opening on Friday ––  is on track to be its biggest advance ticket seller since last year’s Avengers: Infinity War.  

There’s a reason, says Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis. “Fans can’t wait to experience the nostalgic ‘90s vibe of the film, and to see Brie Larson as one of the most powerful and relatable superheroes we’ve seen on the big screen.”

Fandango polled 1,000 of its users about what they’re most anticipating about the film:

• 98% are looking forward to seeing how Captain Marvel connects to the ongoing Avengers storyline
• 92% are looking forward to the movie’s ’90s setting.
• 75% are looking forward to seeing the “de-aging” process used on Samuel L. Jackson to portray a younger Nick Fury and on Clark Gregg as rookie Agent Coulson.

Fandango also released an exclusive new Captain Marvel clip with Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, and Clark Gregg, hosted by directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, as part of the site’s popular “Director’s Scene Breakdown” series on YouTube.

Avengers: Endgame opens April 26 from Marvel Studios, which is owned by ABC News’ parent company Disney.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Luke Perry’s daughter says she’s “grateful for all the love” after her father’s death

ABC/Paula Lobo(LOS ANGELES) — A day after Luke Perry’s death, his 18-year-old daughter, Sophie Perry, broke her silence in an emotional Instagram post, thanking everyone for the outpouring of love in the wake of the tragedy.

Perry died on Monday at the age of 52 following a stroke days earlier in Los Angeles, California.  Sophie was among those by his side when he passed.

“A lot has happened in this past week for me,” Sophie wrote on Instagram. “Everything is happening so fast.”

She goes on: “I made it back from Malawi just in time to be here with my family, And in the past 24 hours I have received an overwhelming amount of love and support.  I cannot individually respond to the hundreds of beautiful and heartfelt messages, but I see them, and appreciate you all for sending positivity to my family and I.”

The post continues: “I’m not really sure what to say or do in this situation, it’s something you aren’t ever given a lesson on how to handle, especially when it’s all happening in the public eye. So bare with me and know that I am grateful for all the love. Just, being grateful quietly.”

Perry was best-remembered as teen heartthrob Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210.  More recently, he played Archie’s dad, Fred Andrews, on the hit CW show Riverdale.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Smelly cloaks and wrong theories: Kit Harington talks ‘Game of Thrones’ ending

Scott Kowalchyk/CBS(NEW YORK) — With the first full-length trailer for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones just released Tuesday, the timing was perfect for Game of Thrones star Kit Harington to drop by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for a visit.  Just don’t ask him to spill the beans on how the story ends.

Harington, who plays Jon Snow on the HBO series, said not only can he not give any clues, his own guesses were off base.

“I had theories all along and all of them were wrong,” Harington said.  “And I’m quite glad I never told anyone my theories because they were all wrong.”

Harington wouldn’t even share what some of those wrong theories were, saying he was worried about starting speculation that would quickly get out of hand.  That prompted Stephen Colbert to remark sarcastically, “You’re a great guest right now!”

Though the first episode of Game of Thrones aired April 17, 2011, Harington’s involvement at this point has lasted a decade, from the time he auditioned and was cast.  He says he had no idea back then that he’d still be a part of it ten years on.

“It’s extraordinary,” he marveled.  “It’s sort of after ten years of it, I’m still pinching myself and I still can’t quite grasp it.”

Clearly there’s lots Harington will miss about Game of Thrones, but Jon Snow’s trademark fur cloak won’t be one of them.

“It weighs a ton, it smells awful,” he revealed.  “I think they added weight to to it every year!”

Game of Thrones returns for its final season April 14 on HBO.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Queen Latifah says she needs “proof” before she condemns Jussie Smollet for alleged hoax

ABC(LOS ANGELES) — For now, Queen Latifah says she’s standing by her good friend Jussie Smollett.

In an interview with Yahoo‘s Through Her Eyes, Latifah says she’s not ready to condemn the Empire actor until she sees actual evidence that he staged his own attack back in January.

Until somebody can show me some proof otherwise, I’m going with him, ” she said. “The guy I’ve seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who’s very kind and who’s always been cool and sweet. And that’s just the guy I know.”

She continued, “So, until I can see some definitive proof — which I haven’t seen yet — then, you know, I gotta go with him until I see otherwise..”

As previously reported, Smollett turned himself in to police last month after reportedly staging the attack, in which he claimed two men had beat him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs and placing a noose around his neck. Now out on bond, the actor faces disorderly conduct charges for filing a false police report. 

Latifah, a cast member of Fox’s Star who once appeared in an Empire/Star crossover episode, admitted that she doesn’t “even know what to make of” the allegations against Smollett.

“All I know is that I hope everything works out in the end and everybody basically comes out unscathed,” she said.

Through Her Eyes airs every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The producers of ‘Magic Mike The Musical’ are looking for a few good men

(NEW YORK) — The producers of the Broadway musical based on the hit Channing Tatum male stripper movie Magic Mike are looking for more than a few good men to shake their moneymakers onstage.

Trip Cullman, Magic Mike The Musical‘s director, said in a statement, “We are looking for actors who can surprise and dazzle us in that same unprecedented way. We are especially open to men of any race, ethnicity or creed as long as they are that elusive unicorn who can act, dance and sing brilliantly. So that should be easy!”

The casting call is searching for “phenomenal actors, dancers and singers” between the ages of 18-30 who are in “excellent physical shape.” 

If you’re interested, send your headshot, height, weight, contact info and a video audition to casting@magicmikebroadway.com. 

That video audition must consist of a link to a YouTube video that features you singing a “pop/rock song…not longer than one minute…with piano accompaniment.”  You also have to perform a “brief contemporary or hip-hop dance no longer than two minutes in length that shows off your athleticism, technique and any special skills (gymnastics, tumbling, etc).”

Oh, and the producers were sure to include this warning: “Please do not send any tapes that include nudity.”

Magic Mike The Musical, is being co-produced by Tatum, along with Steven Soderbergh and Gregory Jacobs, who, respectively, directed both the original film and Magic Mike: XXL.

The production will preview at Boston’s newly refurbished Emerson Colonial Theatre starting on Saturday November 30, 2019, and run from Sunday, December 15 through January 5, 2020, prior to a Broadway engagement.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

In new ‘Game of Thrones’ final season trailer, dragons and armies are spoiling for a fight

Helen Sloane/HBO(LOS ANGELES) — “Our enemy doesn’t tire. Doesn’t stop. Doesn’t feel.”

That’s what Jon Snow says in the trailer for the final season of Game of Thrones, released Tuesday by HBO, and he’s obviously referring to the ultimate showdown between our heroes and the zombie-like White Walkers. 

The tense trailer shows armies massing, on land and on sea, and Dany’s dragons flying through the air as she and Jon lead men into battle. Sansa Stark looks up from the top of Winterfell to see dragons flying over her head; Tyrion Lannister looks at — something — in wonder, while his sister Cersei smiles wickedly. 

There’s also Arya Stark, running for her life from something we can’t see — but as the Faceless Assassin notes, “I know death. He has many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.”

Meanwhile, referring to their pact last season to team with Jon and Dany against the White Walkers, Jaime Lannister vows, “I promised to fight for the living. And I intend to keep that promise.”

And Bran Stark is seen telling someone, possibly Sam, “Everything you did brought you where you are now. Where you belong. Home.”

The eighth final season of Game of Thrones starts April 14 on HBO.  It will consist of six 90-minute episodes.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Grand Slam: Will Smith to play Venus and Serena Williams’ father in upcoming biopic

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Will Smith is taking on a pivotal role in his next project. The actor has signed on to play Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in the upcoming film, King Richard.

According to Variety, Smith, who is currently filming Bad Boys For Life, will also produce the project, which centers on Mr. Williams’, “overcoming hardship, skepticism, controversy, and his own troubled past” to help bring his talented daughters from Compton, California to the world’s most prestigious tennis courts.

The movie’s script, written by Zach Baylin, was noted as a runner-up on the 2018 Black List, which rounds up the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.

This is the latest project for Smith, who plays the Genie in Disney’s upcoming live-action version of Aladdin.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kelly Ripa “stunned” at the passing of “dear friend” Luke Perry

ABC/Paula Lobo(NEW YORK) — Friends, family, and fans are still shocked about the death of former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Luke Perry, who died Monday at 52 years old after he suffered a massive stroke last Thursday — including Kelly Ripa.

On Tuesday’s Live With Kelly and Ryan, Kelly revealed it was co-host Ryan Seacrest who broke the bad news to her; Ripa said she was so stunned she “crawled into bed and stayed there.”

Ripa’s connection to Perry is through her husband, Mark Consuelos, who co-starred with Perry on the CW series Riverdale.  Both Consuelos and Ripa both became close with Perry over the years: In fact, she moderated a Riverdale panel with Perry and the other cast members during last year’s New York Comic Con. 

Ripa and Seacrest then rolled a series of clips of their time with Perry, which left Ripa shaken. “I’m still stunned. I woke up this morning thinking that there had been a mistake.”

Her voice shaking, Kelly said, “Our thoughts are with his family, of course and his beloved children who he really thought about constantly. That’s why he went to work, and they really were in his thoughts all the time…I’ve never had a conversation with him without talking about his kids.” 

She added of Perry:This was a good good man. You won’t see a person say otherwise. He is a good man. A good soul. Conscientious. A gentleman. A dear friend of our family of the Live family.”

She added, “I mean, when I first saw him pretty much how you first saw him was as Dylan McKay on Beverly 90210 … I was like, ‘Oh now. Now we’re talking about something…Now this guy is sparkly.”

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