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Friday, February 10, 2017


Beyonce, who revealed Wednesday, February 1, that she is expecting twins with husband Jay Z, "had given up" trying to get pregnant before she got the happy news, a source close to the pop star reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly. The parents of 5-year-old Blue Ivy "had been trying and trying to conceive," says the insider. The "Hold Up" singer, 35 -- who shared in her 2013 HBO documentary, Beyonce: Life Is but a Dream, that she suffered a miscarriage before Blue was born -- was "frustrated" after unsuccessful in vitro fertilization treatments, the friend tells Us. "They were looking into surrogates and adoption." Just when hope seemed lost, the source says, "out of nowhere, it stuck!" Now, Beyonce and the rapper, 47 (born Shawn Carter), are "over the moon." But no one is more excited about the news than big sis Blue: "She was asking about another baby forever. Now she gets two!" When the 20-time Grammy winner took to Instagram to share her happiness on February 1, the post quickly racked up more than 10 million hits and shattered the record for most-liked Instagram of all time (which was previously held by Selena Gomez's coke ad pic). Shot by Los Angeles-based photographer Awol Erizku, the photo featured a veiled Beyonce wearing lingerie while cradling her growing belly. Behind her was a giant display of multicolored roses and blooms. The photo shoot was a "private collaboration" between Beyonce and Erizku, shares the pal. "The photos are about new life." Beyonce's outfit also drew speculation about the babies' genders. Her blue Liviara silk panties and Agent Provocateur burgundy bra with pink bows seemed to suggest, in some fans' opinions, that she is carrying a boy and a girl. The Houston native won't clear that up. Even if she knows the genders, explains the pal, she won't reveal them. (US Weekly)

Scarlett Johansson Makes First Red Carpet Appearance Since Split From Romain Dauriac as amfAR Honoree. While the room may have been filled with celebrities, Scarlett Johansson was the star of the night. As one of amfAR's two Award of Courage recipients, the actress stepped out with a smile at Cipriani's in New York City Wednesday evening -- her first red carpet appearance since news of her secret split from husband Romain Dauriac was confirmed. Despite the personal news, the actress looked radiant and chic in a black double-breasted suit jacket with a white collar over a pair of matching black trousers while her pixie cut kept the entire look all the more cool. The star's ensemble certainly stood out in a sea of designer gowns filling the audience. As a source told E! News, Johansson seemed to be in great spirits and really pleased to be in attendance at the annual gala. "I never saw her without a smile," the source said. Her Avengers co-star Mark Ruffalo took the podium to present the award to his dear friend, calling her "no armchair humanitarian" as he applauded her for her humanitarian work in Kenya, India and Sri Lanka working to better education, disease and domestic violence. "Funny, kind, socially conscious, beautiful and generous -- I'm not talking about my mom. Scarlett Johansson is that person," he said. "We live in turbulent times, but if there are any young women or men out there looking for a role model, they need look no further than Scarlett Johansson." Upon accepting the honor, Johansson gave an emotionally charged speech about her mother's late friend who died of AIDS in the early '90s -- her first encounter with the loss caused by the epidemic. "I'd like to thank amfAR for honoring me tonight. I am deeply humbled in the presence of all of those present and not present who spend their lives dedicated to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS," she told the audience at the event, sponsored by Moët Hennessy. "I'd like to acknowledge the more than 37 million people around the world today that are still living and struggling with HIV/AIDS and to dedicate this award to all those that have lost their lives and the lives of their loved ones to this disease and when I look at this and when I think of this night, I will always think of Tony." Both sentimental and celebratory, Johansson also participated in the event's charity auction later on in the night, battling briefly with the evening's second honoree, Donatella Versace, for a photograph of Elizabeth Taylor. However, while Versace ultimately placed the winning bid on the picture, the movie star later took home a pair of Harry Winston diamond and ruby earrings for the charitable price of $50,000. (Eonline)

Kelly Clarkson Thought She Had Cancer at the 2006 Grammys. Kelly Clarkson had trouble keeping it together at the 2006 Grammys. At just 23 years old, the singer was nominated in two categories: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Since U Been Gone" and Best Pop Vocal Album for Breakaway. She won both awards, making her the first American Idol winner to earn a Grammy. To top it off, Clarkson performed the ballad "Because of You" during the show -- but that's not why she was on edge. Clarkson shared her story for the first time on Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast. "Well, not many people know this -- not to be a Debbie Downer -- but I was told that morning that I had cancerous results for something. Here's the horrible part: I went the whole day crying. They redid my makeup like four times because I was like, 'Wow, so young.' I was just completely freaking out," the singer revealed earlier this week. "Then when I won, I thought, 'Oh my God. This is like God giving me one more thing before something horrible happens.'" Clarkson burst into tears when Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder announced she'd won the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. "Um...oh, God! You know I'm terrible at speaking when I cry, so sorry!" she said during her acceptance speech. "Thank you so much. Ah! OK. Thank you to everybody that has supported me this year, including my record label and my management. I love you...and thank you to my date, Ashley Donovan, my first producer in my closet back home as a kid. Thank you to my mom. Thank you so much, mom. I'm sorry I'm crying again on national television! Thank you to the fans. Thank you for everyone that worked on my record. Yikes! Just thank you so much. You have no idea what this means to me. Thank you so much!" The singer's fears only grew stronger after she won the Best Pop Vocal Album award. Thankfully, Clarkson's cancer diagnosis turned out to be a false alarm. "I went to the doctor's the next day and they apologized for mixing up results. And I was like, 'Are you for real?!" the "Dance With Me" singer recalled. "I was like, 'You completely ruined my entire [experience].' The first time for an a kid watching the Grammys, that was a big dream! It was kind of the worst/greatest day. And the next day was also the worst/greatest day because I wanted to punch someone. I was like, 'Who mixes up results? Why wouldn't you test again?' It was very much a roller coaster ride, that day, for me. So, it's kind of unfortunate, but a lot of the moments got stolen from that mishap. But hey, I didn't have cancer!" "I don't really tell that story, because it's kind of a Debbie Downer, but that's the real story. You think it would've been the greatest night ever for an artist," Clarkson continued. "And then it was like a, 'This is my last hurrah!' I was so dramatic about it because I was twenty-something and scared. It was so weird. I don't even remember anything but being terrified." The medical misinformation clouded her performance of "Because of You," too. "It's such a crap thing that happened, but at the end of the day, it's amazing that I got to perform something that I wrote at 16," Clarkson said on the podcast. "So, you know, it's cool." Clarkson is nominated this year in the Best Pop Solo Performance category for "Piece by Piece (Idol Version)," which came as a surprise. Even so, she joked, "It's always nice to being the same category as Adele and Beyonce!" When she performed the song during American Idol's final season in February 2016, she burst into tears. "It's just such a bookend for me -- a nice bookend. It's where I got my start, it's where the show finished, and my kids [were there] -- well, one of them was still in me -- and my other kids was running around the halls I used to warm up when I was 19 on the show. And my husband was there. It was just one of those cool moments where you're like, 'Man, if my 19-year-old self could see where I'm at today, how proud I would be and how amazed.' Because who would have thought that this all would have happened?" Clarkson, 34, said. "So, the particular version wraps up all of that nostalgia in one song. I don't know. I feel very blessed." (Eonline)

Nicole Kidman Explains Keith Urban's Reaction to Her Racy Scenes in Big Little Lies. Because it's not TV, it's HBO, you can count on there being some...shall we say...content for mature audiences only in the upcoming series Big Little Lies. And since such content is pivotal for Nicole Kidman's character in the story, based on the best-selling book by Liane Moriarty, she had to get a little racy on-camera. Asked how husband Keith Urban handled watching those scenes play out, the Oscar winner told E! News' Will Marfuggi at the series premiere in Los Angeles, "He knows. He's an artist, so he knows that the work is the work, and obviously this character's important in terms of the way in which the storyline plays out." But while she and Urban were together as usual on the red carpet, Kidman won't be able to make it to the Grammys with him this Sunday for an excellent reason. Namely, she's nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Lion at the 2017 BAFTAs, so the Australian actress will be in England. "I will be FaceTiming my husband and hoping that he wins," Kidman added. The lovebirds will be reunited by Valentine's Day on Tuesday, however, but Urban wouldn't tell us what he had planned. "I can't tell you that -- she's here, right there!" he smiled. Watch the full interview to find out what Kidman is hoping to unwrap next week. Meanwhile, Big Little Lies premieres Feb. 19 on HBO. Kidman plays Celeste Wright, one of three mothers raising their kids in a picture-perfect California town that, despite how it looks, is brimming with dark secrets that are quickly catching up to everyone involved. Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley play the fellow moms and Kidman said that, behind the scenes, they would chat about kids and other everyday things. "Just like normal women," she said. (Eonline)

Selena Gomez Talks Having a ''Really Difficult Time'' Before Rehab Stint, Why She ''Can't Stand'' Social Media. Selena Gomez is an open book, especially when it comes to connecting with her fans. The pop singer spoke candidly during a Netflix-hosted panel about executive producing the upcoming show 13 Reasons Why. The series follows a high schooler's suicide, and Gomez explained during Wednesday's event in New York City why she has such a personal connection to the story. "I think that my [own] high school experience was amplified," she admitted. "I wouldn't say it was worse, but it made it harder... Whether it was just kids or growing up in the biggest high school in the world, which was Disney Channel, it was also adults that had the audacity to kind of tell me how I should live my life." "It was very confusing for me. I had no idea who I was going to be, what I'm still going to become," the 24-year-old added. Production on 13 Reasons Why began just as Selena sought professional treatment for mental health issues last year, an experience she revealed brought her even closer to the show. "To be frank with you, I actually was going through a really difficult time when they started production. I went away for 90 days, and I actually met a ton of kids in this place that were talking about issues that these characters are experiencing," she said. "Whether I like it or not, people have seen a lot of my mistakes and I had to use that as a good thing, because then they're able to trust me," Selena went on. "I want to be a part of this, because I think this is what they want, this is what they need." One thing Selena thinks her fans could do without? Social media. "I can't stand what they're looking at and what they think is reality," Gomez offered. "There are 17-year-old's that look older than me and that freaks me out. We're just so disconnected from people now. Teens just really want [a connection]." (Eonline)

Paris Jackson Splits With Boyfriend Michael Snoddy After Almost 1 Year of Dating. While Paris Jackson's career seems to be taking off, her personal life appears to have hit a bump in the road. The daughter of the late legend Michael Jackson has split with her longtime boyfriend, Michael Snoddy, E! News has learned. A source tells us that while the two are broken up as of now, that may change in the future. "She's young," our insider added. "For now, she's focused on work." The twosome began dating back in the spring of 2016 and were nearly inseparable since, both in PDA-filled social media posts and real life. Snoddy most recently posted a photo of him with Paris while the two were visiting the City of Light for a photo shoot. "I [heart] Paris #understatement," he wrote alongside a snapshot of the two exes underneath the Eiffel Tower. Late last month, Paris made her Rolling Stone debut and opened up in a lengthy feature in the magazine about her personal life, her father and her hopes for the future. And when questioned about whether or not the "Billie Jean" singer is her biological father, the 18-year-old vehemently denied rumors to the contrary. "He is my father. He will always be my father. He never wasn't, and he will never not be. People that knew him very well say that they see him in me, that is the most scary." She continued, explaining, "I consider myself black. [Michael] would look me in the eyes and he'd point his finger at me and he'd be like, 'You're black. Be proud of your roots.' And I'd be like, 'OK, he's my dad, why would he lie to me?' So I just believe what he told me. 'Cause, to my knowledge, he's never lied to me." Us Weekly first reported the news. (Eonline)

Girls' Jemima Kirke Blames Her Divorce on Acting. Much like her character Jessa on Girls, Jemima Kirke tells it like it is. And that's exactly what she does in the U.K.'s ES Magazine's latest issue, on newsstands now. Speaking for the first time about her split from Michael Mosberg, her husband of seven years, the actress explains why she felt compelled to revaluate their romance. "I got divorced, and I attribute that to acting," she says matter-of-factly. "And just asking myself, 'Is this really me?'" Jemima, 31, and Michael, 40, are parents to daughter Rafaella Mosberg, 6, and son Memphis Mosberg, 4. The actress doesn't know what their future holds, but she's not fazed by it. "So much of my life has been about reaction, just following the flow rather than making a strong choice. In acting you are always asking yourself why you do things, why you make the choices you make. Everything means something," she says. "And so then you start looking at your own life in that way. I've learnt a lot more about myself and started to figure out what I really want." Girls had a bigger impact on Jemima's life than she ever imagined it would. The actress -- who tried to quit the show after its first season -- can't believe the series is ending after six seasons. "I am not at all sentimental, and on the last day of filming, I was like, 'Oh God, do I have to hug everyone?' But after my very last scene I went back to my dressing room and I was like, 'Oh s--t, I think I'm going to cry.' Because it actually did mean something to me that it was over," says Jemima, creator Lena Dunham's longtime friends. "My life has changed so much because of it." It seems the only thing that hasn't changed is Jemima's candor. "It is important, I think, that people allow themselves to have opinions and to not be so f--king likeable," she says of being unapologetically herself in public. "Everyone is so precious and so safe with the things they say; everyone's so scared of being slammed and judged. I'm just not." For more from Jemima, pick up ES Magazine's latest issue. (Eonline)

Boston Bombing Survivors Who Inspired Upcoming Film Announce Divorce. Boston Bombing survivor Jeff Bauman and wife Erin Hurley, whose relationship will be featured in the upcoming movie Stronger, are getting divorced. A spokesperson for the couple confirmed that they've decided to end their relationship, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Jeff and Erin have decided that it is best to move forward as friends," a statement to the outlet reads. "Though their relationship has changed, their admiration, love and mutual respect for each other will never waver. They are dedicated to loving and parenting their daughter, Nora, and ask for privacy." Bauman lost both his legs during the bomb attack during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. He was waiting for his then-girlfriend, Hurley, to finish the race. The pair welcomed a girl they named Nora in July 2014 and wed a few months later. Bauman wrote about his recovery in the book Stronger, which was adapted into the upcoming film starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Bauman and Tatiana Maslany as Hurley. An AP photo of Bauman being rushed away in a wheelchair by three rescuers became one of the most memorable images of the April 15 bombings, which killed three people and injured several hundred others. Stronger is slated to hit theaters later this year. (People)

Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift's whirlwind relationship may have been questioned by some as "fake," but the three-month romance was anything but that to the Golden Globe winner. "Of course it was real," Hiddleston, 35, shares in the March issue of GQ, appearing on its cover with a smoldering smile. "Taylor Swift is an amazing woman," he says of the 27-year-old songstress. "She's generous and kind and lovely, and we had the best time." When the interviewer gives Hiddleston the chance to address a burning question most fans had of the former couple dubbed "Hiddleswift," he jumped at the opportunity to explain why photos emerged of him wearing an "I heart T.S." tank top at Swift's annual Fourth of July bash at her Rhode Island home last year. See photos of the former couple together: "The truth is, it was the Fourth of July and a public holiday and we were playing a game and I slipped and hurt my back," the handsome Brit says. "And I wanted to protect the graze from the sun and said, 'Does anyone have a T-shirt?' And one of her friends said, 'I've got this' and we all laughed about it. It was a joke." "I have to be so psychologically strong about not letting other people's interpretations about my life affect my life," he continues. Their inside joke left those on the outside wondering how Swift and Hiddleston's relationship turned so apparently serious that he would declare his love for her on a piece of clothing just weeks after she split from longtime boyfriend Calvin Harris. "A relationship exists between two people. We will always know what it was. The narratives that are out there altogether have been extrapolated from pictures that were taken without consent or permission, with no context" he explains. "Nobody had the context for that story. And I'm still trying to work out a way of having a personal life and protecting it, but also without hiding. So the hardest thing is that that was a joke among friends at Fourth of July." "I don't know," he adds. "I just, I was surprised. I was just surprised that it got so much attention. The tank top became an emblem of this thing." Though Hiddleston doesn't directly address Swift's relationship past, he certainly didn't hesitate to continue saying kind words about his ex. "I only know the woman I met. She's incredible. A relationship in the limelight... A relationship always takes work. A relationship in the limelight takes work. And it's not just the limelight. It's everything else. So we decided to go out for dinner, we decided to travel." Travel they did to Rhode Island, Nashville, the U.K., Italy and Australia, and Hiddleston is left with no regrets. (ET)

In the decades following her long-term incestuous relationship with her father, Mackenzie Phillips struggled with forgiving him –and herself. In her first book, High on Arrival, Phillips revealed that she and her father, The Mamas & the Papas singer John Phillips, had an incestuous relationship for 10 years after he raped her at age 19. In her new book, Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction, the 57-year-old writes openly about the abuse and the years-long struggle to forgive her father, who died in 2001. "Do I think that my father held me in his arms when I was a baby and thought, 'I'm going to abuse my daughter some day?' No," Phillips writes. "I think that a toxic combination of chance and circumstance and drugs and alcohol morphed into something dark and ugly." "I don't hate him," she said in a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey. "I understand that he was a very tortured man, and he sort of passed that torture down to me." Now, Phillips writes, she tries to focus on the present. "I don't let my past define me," she told PEOPLE last July. "Even though I experienced my share of trauma and a very public meltdown, I can hold my head high because my recovery is the best thing I've ever done, aside from being a mom." This is a powerful statement for Phillips, who was once a drug addict. In Hopeful Healing she admits that she used cocaine while pregnant with her son, Shane Barakan, who is now 30 years old. "Should I apologize to Shane every day for shooting coke while I was pregnant? No. Is that appropriate? Absolutely not. Does he know about it? Yes," she writes in the book. "So how do I deal with that? I just do better. That's all anyone can do: just do better." Phillips is now a drug rehab counselor at Breathe Life Healing Center. "I've changed my life and think it's important for people to see you can recover," said Phillips. "Shame is an illusion." Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction is available now. (People)

Britney Spears Shares Niece Maddie Aldridge ''Is Making Progress,'' Thanks Fans for Their Prayers. Maddie Aldridge is continuing to make progress. The 8-year-old's famous aunt, Britney Spears, took to social media to thank her fans for their unwavering support during this difficult time. The "Glory" singer also made mention of her niece's road to recovery, writing, "We are so grateful to share that Maddie is making progress. Thank you all for sending thoughts and prayers our way. Let's all keep praying." Just Tuesday, E! News reported that Jamie Lynn Spears' daughter was making major headway after her serious ATV accident on Sunday in Louisiana. The Spears family rep (through the hospital treading Maddie) released a statement explaining that Maddie was "awake and talking" to her family members who have been by her side since she was hospitalized. "With her father, mother and stepfather by her side, Maddie regained consciousness mid-day Tuesday, February 7. The 8-year-old daughter of entertainer Jamie Lynn Spears was involved in an ATV accident at a family home Sunday in Kentwood, La. Paramedics resuscitated her and she was airlifted to a local hospital. She is aware of her surroundings and recognizes those family members who have kept a round-the-clock vigil since the accident." The statement continued, "Doctors were able to remove the ventilator today and she is awake and talking. Maddie continues to receive oxygen and is being monitored closely but it appears that she was not suffered any neurological consequences from the accident." (Eonline)

Lady Gaga: Why I Spoke Out Against Super Bowl Body Shaming. All eyes were on Lady Gaga at the 2017 Super Bowl. The pop singer's 13-minute set entertained millions of viewers, but unfortunately, several people decided to focus on her appearance rather than on her performance. Gaga responded to the body shaming via Instagram Tuesday, writing, "I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I'm proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don't need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That's the stuff of champions." "Thank you so much everyone for supporting me," Gaga added. "I love you guys." Speaking to Ryan Seacrest on his syndicated KIIS-FM radio show Thursday, Gaga explained why she felt compelled to address the elephant in the room. "I couldn't ignore that I saw my fans talking about that and that it upset them," the 30-year-old singer said. "I think other people maybe that are just like normal girls and guys who either have their own body image issues or just didn't think it was a nice thing to say [were hurt]. I just thought I would impart some of my positive attitude about it so that they felt like they had someone who was strong on their side." Before she performed on the world's biggest stage, Gaga watched "almost every" Halftime Show. "I looked at what really, really worked, and what I thought didn't work, what I thought was impactful visually, how to use the stadium, how to do something that was a little different but was still me. Ultimately what I discovered was, I thought less was more for me," she said. "Even though it probably didn't seem like that watching the show because it was so big, it was just a really cool stage with fire. There wasn't a lot of technology other than the 300 drones." In fact, Gaga said her only challenge was regulating her breathing during the performance. "I just kept doing it over and over, and I worked up my stamina," the "Million Reasons" singer explained. "I worked out a lot, I trained a lot, and by the time it was showtime, I was ready." After the show-stopping performance, Gaga's music sales soared -- just as she announced her upcoming world tour. "I think that even if you have my music, or you don't have it, there's something about a live performance that can reignite the fan in you. It made me feel good," she told Seacrest. "What I wanted more than anything was for people to watch the Halftime Show and be transported for a second out of the game and out of life, really, and to a new dream." (Eonline)

Todd Chrisley isn't offended by the ongoing queries about his sexuality. In an interview with The Domenick Nati Show on Wednesday, the Chrisley Knows Best star addressed rumors that he hasn't come out of the closet and admitted that it doesn't bother him that people continue to ask about his sexuality. "In order for it to disappoint me, it would mean that I don't agree with someone being gay," Chrisley, 47, said on the radio program, "I don't believe that's a choice that you make. I believe that you are the way that God has made you." The Atlanta millionaire has been married to his wife, Julie, 44, for almost 21 years and is the father of five children: Lindsie, 27, Kyle, 25,Chase, 20, Savannah, 19, and Grayson, 10. But although the reality star has heard rumblings about his sexuality for years, Chrisley says the speculation is only positive for him -- and his wife. "I'm flattered that people think I can get laid on both ends. So, that doesn't bother me," said Chrisley, who added, "And my wife certainly is flattered that as many men want her husband as there are women. With that being said, I'm never going to have a drought. You on the other hand might. But Todd will never have a drought." Ahead of his reality show's March 2014 premiere date, the USA Network star said about rumors that he's gay: "There's no coming out. ... What you see is what you get. I am what I am. Other people's opinions of me are just not my business." At the time, Chrisley said he's proudly flamboyant and unabashedly enthusiastic about fashion. "So what?" he said, noting that a man tweeted a message to him asking, "When are you going to come out of the closet?" "I said, 'I don't live in a closet, but if you'd like me to escort you out of yours I'm happy to do so.' All of a sudden the Tweet went away and he took it down because I flipped the script on him," said Chrisley. Chrisley Knows Best returns for a new season on Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. ET on USA. (People)

Christie Brinkley's ex-husband Peter Cook, an architect, is back at it again with young women. Cook -- whose second ex-wife, Suzanne Shaw, accused him of having a "pathological predilection" for young women -- was pictured snuggling up to a college sophomore, a 21-year-old aspiring singer named Zoey Tess, in three now-deleted Instagram and Snapchat pics from a date in East Hampton on Tuesday. "Everyone noticed them," said a source of the meeting. "He was being aggressive. He kept insisting, six or seven times, for her to sleep over, and she kept shutting him down." A source tells us Cook reached out to the young brunette -- who is just three years older than his daughter -- on Instagram several months ago. "She didn't know who he was," says the source. "He was saying his ex-wife was Christie, and showed her a picture of his 18-year-old daughter, Sailor, and [was] saying how he is closer with her than Christie." In 2015, Page Six reported that Cook was spotted "checking out every pretty young thing in skimpy outfits" in Sag Harbor, and in 2014 he was reportedly seen taking "creepy" photos of girls without their knowledge. Cook and Brinkley split and then went through a painful public divorce battle after he had an affair with then-18-year-old Diana Bianchi. A rep for Cook didn't get back to us. (Page Six)

Robin Thicke's lawyers went to court Wednesday to continue his battle over child custody, and got shut down by the judge. Robin is currently limited to 3 visits a week with 6-year-old Julian ... Thursday, Friday and Saturday for a few hours each day, and only with a court-appointed monitor present. Robin, we're told, was upset because he didn't get to visit with Julian last Friday, because the monitor pulled the plug after determining Julian didn't want the visit. The monitor also cut short Robin's visit on Saturday, when he took his son to Kids World. Robin's lawyers asked the judge to allow him his visits without a court-appointed monitor. The judge rejected that request. Robin then asked that the court appoint a different monitor who could be more impartial, but the judge said no. And then Robin asked the judge to prohibit the monitor from changing or canceling the scheduled visits. Again, the judge gave the thumbs down. Robin is currently prohibited from having contact with ex-wife Paula Patton or her mother, and aside from the scheduled weekly visits he can't have contact with Julian. The judge issued the restraining order last week after Paula made claims Robin was physically abusive to her and the child ... Robin has denied the allegations. (TMZ)

Jason Derulo is outraged at American Airlines, saying he was disrespected, cussed out by his pilot and confronted by 15 cops after a heated incident at Miami International Airport. Jason says he and his crew of 8 arrived at the airport for a flight to L.A. Wednesday afternoon when they tried checking nearly 20 bags. He says he's a preferred flying member -- Concierge Key -- and almost always flies American, but the AA staffer was rude and said he couldn't check his bags. We called around and it looks like Jason and crew may have arrived too late to check the bags, so a member of his team stayed behind and tried checking the bags on a later flight. That's when all hell broke loose. By this time, Jason and his team were on the plane and it had pulled away from the gate. His cellphone rang, and the guy he left with the bags said AA wanted to charge him $6k for the excess luggage. Jason was outraged and demanded that the plane go back to the gate so he could get off. He says the pilot went nuts on him, and the cops were waiting as he got off. And, he says, if he wasn't Jason Derulo and instead just a random black guy, he'd be in jail. (TMZ)

Katherine Jackson is the victim of elder abuse at the hands of her nephew ... according to legal docs she just filed in Los Angeles. Katherine just obtained a restraining order against Trent Lamar Jackson. In her papers she claims he is an "abusive con-man" who manipulated Mrs. Jackson for years so he could take control of her finances, stay rent-free in her guest house and estrange her from her kids. She believes Trent was taking money from her accounts and says she has to hide in her closet so she can speak freely to her kids. Katherine says Rebbie and some of her other children are willing to testify against Trent. Katherine also fears physical harm, saying, "Now that he knows his conduct will be revealed, she fears what he may do to her upon her return." She's currently in London visiting Janet. The 86-year-old says she tried to fire Trent from his job as her nearly 6-figure driver on February 3, with the Sheriff present, but Trent took off just as deputies and her lawyer arrived. The judge's order requires Trent to stay 100 yards clear of her, move out of her guest house and return all his keys. (TMZ)

Dani Mathers -- the Playboy Playmate who snapped a pic of a naked woman at an L.A. gym and posted it -- is barking up the wrong tree by asking the prosecutor to go easy on her. The L.A. City Attorney filed legal docs asking the judge to reject her lawyer's attempt to avoid jail by undergoing counseling and even taking an anti-bullying course. She's also willing to go to school to tell firsthand how bullying harms people. The City Attorney is scoffing at Dani's attempt for mercy, saying she never even apologized to the 71-year-old victim -- btw, the City Attorney says her age is relevant. You'll recall, when she posted the nude photo she captioned it, "If I can't unsee this then you can't either." Dani faces a maximum of 6 months in jail for the crime of invasion of privacy. The City Attorney has not said if he'll demand jail time. Dani's attorney, Tom Mesereau, tells TMZ ... this is a 'pathetic' attempt by the City Attorney to get a pound of flesh, and says it's a gigantic waste of taxpayer money. (TMZ)

Mischa Barton's meltdown last month had her neighbors extremely concerned, after the actress screamed for all to hear she wanted to kill herself. TMZ has obtained two 911 calls, where Mischa's neighbors reported she was off the rails, leaning over her fence and vowing to end her life. Mischa says someone slipped her a date rape drug and that was the trigger, but one of the callers says authorities come out every few months when she exhibits similar conduct. Mischa agreed to go to the hospital after paramedics arrived. She was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold back in 2009. (TMZ)

Broadway Star Alec McCowen Dies at 91. Alec McCowen, a West End and Broadway star who had global success with a one-man show about the life of Jesus, has died. He was 91. Talent agency Conway van Gelder Grant confirmed his death in a tweet. The Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspapers said he died on Monday. Born in Tunbridge Wells, south of London, on May 26, 1925, McCowen trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for troops with the Entertainment National Service Association at the end of World War II. He performed in London and New York through the 1950s before joining the Old Vic Company -- alongside Judi Dench and Maggie Smith -- and then the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was a notable Mercutio in Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet" at the Old Vic in 1960, and a witty Fool alongside Paul Scofield's king in director Peter Brook's "King Lear" at the RSC in 1962. In 1969, he gained the first of three Tony Award nominations as a failed priest who fantasizes he is the pope in "Hadrian the Seventh." He also played the psychiatrist who treats a teen accused of mutilating horses in Peter Shaffer's "Equus"; in 1973, he was Henry Higgins opposite Diana Rigg's Eliza Doolittle in "Pygmalion." A few years later he memorized a large chunk of the New Testament and turned it into an acclaimed one-man performance of "St. Mark's Gospel." He performed it around the world, including at the White House for President Jimmy Carter. A one-man show about the writer Rudyard Kipling also went to Broadway in the 1980s. Other major roles included an elderly missionary who returns from Africa to unsettle his Irish family in Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa" in 1990; a hostage in Lebanon in Frank McGuinness' "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" in 1992: and Prospero in a Sam Mendes-directed "Tempest" for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1993. For all his acclaim in classical and dramatic roles, McCowen once said he "I wanted to be an entertainer, not an actor, when I was young. I wanted to be Jack Benny." Though best known as a stage actor, McCowen appeared in more than two dozen films. He was memorable as a detective in Alfred Hitchcock's "Frenzy" and played gadget-master Q in the unofficial James Bond film "Never Say Never Again." McCowen's partner, Geoffrey Burridge, died in 1987. He is survived by his sister and several nieces and nephews. (PageSix)


Carrie Underwood Shares a Day in Her Life as an Athleisure Fashion Designer. Carrie Underwood has been stepping up her workout game lately -- and is looking pretty darn good while she's at it. It may be thanks to the singer's killer workout regimen...or the fact that she's now outfitted in her own athletic clothing line, aptly entitled Calia by Carrie Underwood. It's no secret the "Dirty Laundry" crooner can exercise her vocal chords, but now she and fans alike can exercise their bodies in high-waisted leggings ("there won't be any muffin-toppage going on," Carrie told E! News), color-blocked patterns and inspirational messaging. Now, prepping for her Grammys performance this Sunday is probably stressful enough, but promoting a brand-new fashion line is a whole other ballpark. The singer shared what a day in her life looks like with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos. No day starts without a great selfie. It's hair and makeup time before Carrie's appearance on the Today show. What does one wear in the green room of a broadcast television show? If one is Carrie Underwood, their own Calia top and infinity scarf, of course. Mic check: one, two, one, two. The singer gets mic'd up onset with Tamron Hall, Al Roker and guest host Nick Offerman. It's time to sit down with E! News to talk all things fitness, family and Grammys! The songstress walks the E! team through an exclusive first look at her spring collection, exclusively available at Dick's Sporting Goods. (Eonline)

Ciara Goes Makeup-Free at Makers Conference and Showcases Baby Bump in White Dress. Has Ciara gone full Alicia Keys? Then again, who needs makeup when you're glowing naturally? Pregnant Ciara ditched the heavy stuff Wednesday and appeared fresh-faced while attending the 2017 MAKERS Conference at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California with husband Russell Wilson, who was one of the speakers. Keys stopped wearing makeup last summer, saying in in an essay for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter, "I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing." Ciara also sported a demure fashion style to go along with her natural glow: She showcased her baby bump in a white, over-the-knee maternity dress and matching jacket and nude pointed kitten heels. Ciara is pregnant with her second child and her first with Wilson. She has a 2 and 1/2-year-old son, Future Zahir, with her ex, rapper Future. The singer wed Wilson in England last July and announced her pregnancy in October. Meanwhile, she is continuing her music career. Ciara recently made a major career move by signing a record deal with Warner Bros. Records. In a Facebook Live chat last month, she compared working on new music to another pregnancy. "My next album is going to be my other baby," she said. "So we've got two babies on the way!" (Eonline)

Yolanda Hadid Joins Exes David Foster and Mohamed Hadid to Support Gigi Hadid's Runway Show. Gigi Hadid's latest runway show turned into quite the family affair. As the supermodel helped launch her latest collection with Tommy Hilfiger Wednesday night on California's Venice Beach Pier, more than a few cheerleaders were sitting front row and center. Gigi's mom Yolanda Hadid was spotted next to Anwar Hadid who gifted his sister flowers as she closed out the show. As for Mohamed Hadid and David Foster, they both had prime viewing seats as they supported both Gigi and Bella Hadid's latest walks. So what did audience members get to see? For starters, models including Jasmine Sanders, Joan Smalls, Stella Maxwell and Hailey Baldwin were able to show off several looks from the Tommy X Gigi Spring 2017 collection. In addition, guests including Kris Jenner, Corey Gamble, Rachel Zoe and Lady Gaga were transformed into "Tommyland" that featured amusement park rides, food trucks, musical performances from Fergie and plenty of must-see fashion. "This is the Gigi show," Tommy shared at the end of the show before Gigi replied, "No this is the Tommy show." While the Hadid sisters deserve plenty of credit for their evening looks, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fans may have recognized two other familiar faces on the runway. As it turns out, Lisa Rinna's daughters Amelia Hamlin and Delilah Hamlin were also featured in the show that streamed live on Tommy's Facebook page. Special guests and models aside, fashion lovers may be curious to know how they can get the looks seen on the night's runway. As it turns out, the collection is See Now, Buy Now, meaning you can start purchasing right now. (Eonline)

Justin Bieber Resurfaces on Instagram and Gives Fans a Shirtless Selfie to Swoon Over. Justin Bieber is back with a vengeance. The pop star, who swore off Instagram in August after an online feud with Selena Gomez, returned Wednesday with a handful of photos to make up for lost time. And what better way to come back than with a shirtless selfie to get all the Beliebers, well, beliebing again? The Biebs puts his toned tummy on display and captioned his semi-naked look, "SOO MUCH CONTENT." Fans couldn't get enough. "Soo much beauty damn," one follower commented. "I love you Bieber," wrote another. It's as if no time has passed at all. Bieber also shared selfies of him hanging out with DJ Martin Garrix in a music studio, so fans are already speculating a collaboration between the two musicians. New music and a return to Instagram? The Beliebers nearly couldn't handle it. The "What Do You Mean?" crooner also shared a photo from the NHL All-Star Game as well as a photo from a dinner with some friends. "Weirdest moment," he wrote. Perhaps the Purpose singer wanted to return to the social medium in order to show fans -- and others -- that everything is going well for him in the wake of ex-girlfriend Gomez's new romance with The Weeknd. Although he hasn't commented officially about his ex's new relationship, he did get caught saying he doesn't particularly enjoy The Weeknd's tunes. "Hell no, I can't listen to a Weeknd song," Bieber replied, as seen in a video posted on TMZ. "That s--t's wack." We guess he'll just be sticking to Garrix's music for now. Regardless, it's nice to see you on Instagram again, Justin! (Eonline)

Ashley Graham Clarifies Her Pose on Vogue Cover Amid Photoshop Accusations. Ashley Graham is speaking out against accusations that Vogue altered her figure for its March 2017 issue. The supermodel appears alongside Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Adwoa Aboah, Liu Wen, Vittoria Ceretti and Imaan Hammam on the magazine's cover, each sporting black turtlenecks and multi-colored, high-waisted shorts while posing on the beach. It didn't take long for critics to point out that Graham is the only covergirl whose hand is placed on her thigh, which some believed was Vogue's attempt to make her look slimmer. Additionally, others thought that because Hadid's arm reaches past Jenner's waist and onto Graham's, Photoshop was used to cinch her midsection. Ashley took to Instagram with a response, clarifying in the comment section on her own page, "I chose to pose like that.. no one told me to do anything." Inside Vogue, Graham, 29, explained why acknowledging diversity in the fashion industry is so important nowadays. "Sixty-seven percent of the women in America wear a size 14 or larger," she explained. "Sixty-seven percent. Maybe you could ignore those consumers before, but now, thanks to social media, they're making their voices heard. Women are demanding that brands give them what they want. And what they want is to be visible." Ashley went on, "Designers aren't the only ones pushing fashion in an all-embracing direction." The stunner continued to defend her stance by re-posting her first-ever Vogue cover to Instagram and captioning it, "Dream. Come. True! THANK YOU @voguemagazine for having me on your cover!! @inezandvinoodh #diversity #inclusion #thenewnorm #fearlesswomen #vogue125". E! News has reached out to Vogue for comment. (Eonline)

Is there a little Speidi on the way? Spencer Pratt sparked speculation that his wife, Heidi Montag, is pregnant after he tweeted about baby names on Tuesday, February 7. "Impossible picking baby names because every name reminds me of someone I don't like," the former reality TV villain, 33, tweeted. Not long after, Pratt's Twitter feed was flooded with questions from fans asking him if he and Montag, 30, were expecting their first child together. While he did not directly answer whether the "Superficial" singer is pregnant, Pratt told one of his one million followers that the couple -- who tied the knot in a televised April 2009 wedding ceremony on The Hills -- are looking forward to starting a family in the near future. "Hopefully soon," he wrote. However, Pratt, who is in London filming Celebrity Big Brother UK with Montag, later suggested that he and his spouse do not currently have a bundle of joy on the way. "My bad didn't realize you needed a baby to start thinking about names," he wrote in a subsequent tweet. For her part, Montag shut down the rumors altogether after the Daily Star's Twitter account asked, "Is Heidi Montag pregnant?" to which she replied, "Not yet... " As fans saw on season 4 of WE tv's Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars, the famous duo discussed their differing opinions about having kids. In one particularly heated January 2015 episode, Montag revealed to the show's marriage counselors that she's "ready to have children and Spencer's acting like a child." In response, Pratt (who has since changed his tune) admitted that he was not too hot on the idea of fatherhood and was intentionally "baby blocking." During an October 2016 interview with Faithwire, Montag opened up about her wish to become a mother. "You know, I had to pray to get my husband to even ... agree to have a kid, and so this whole journey over the last few years ... I have had to do," she explained. "You know, it's not so easy, not everyone can just have kids whenever they want. There is a lot of hardship and prayers and certain things you have to put into that." As previously reported, the Colorado native's ex-BFF and former Hills costar Lauren Conrad announced in January that she is pregnant and expecting her first child with husband William Tell. (US Weekly)

Ten years after the death of Anna Nicole Smith, her mother has a message for Larry Birkhead. "I wanna be part of Dannielynn's life," Virgie Arthur told The Daily Mail of her estranged relative. "It's not fair to her, not to know her mother's side of the family, it's not fair." Arthur, 65, says she hasn't seen the 10-year-old since 2010 and is convinced that she will reach out eventually -- most likely to the dismay of her father. "One day you will have problems with her," Arthur warned. "Although you've never let us be a part of her life, we're still here and one day she will come to find us." Recalling that Anna Nicole was very curious, she added, "Dannielynn will be too." (Page Six)

Xoxo -- and now on to the next one. Leighton Meester made a surprise appearance on the cover of Rogue magazine on Wednesday, February 8. The actress dished to the publication about leaving her Gossip Girl days in the past as she embarks on her latest role in Fox's upcoming time travel comedy Making History. Meester, aka Blair Waldorf to many of her fans, has been out of the spotlight since giving birth to her first child, daughter Arlo, with husband Adam Brody in August 2015, and stuns on the cover -- her first in years -- in a delicate floral cap and gown. "I think I'm different," Meester explained while talking about making the transition from the beloved CW show to Fox. "I started Gossip Girl 10 years ago when I was 20, and I'm 30 now. I loved doing it, and now I'm doing something else that I love, and something new that's a little bit more my taste as a 30 year old, something I've grown into. I feel so lucky that I can have such amazing fans and they either grew up with [the show] or they're growing up with it now. I've also heard people say, 'Oh, we watch that as a throwback,'" Meester recalled of the cult classic, which was set in the Upper East Side and ran for six seasons. With her character's school girl skirts and headbands stored away, signing on to Making History was both an easy and difficult choice to make, given the gig marks her return to work since giving birth to her little girl. "When I went into [the show], and when I decided that I wanted to work consistently on something [since becoming a mom], I had criteria. I read other [scripts] too, but this was just the one. It was love at first sight," Leighton said of the upcoming series, which revolves around a professor who creates a device that allows him and his colleagues to change history to improve their lives. "I'm proud to work on a show that uplifts the female lead, and has a not-so-subtle yet approachable commentary on the treatment and mistreatment of women throughout the ages," she concluded to the magazine of her colonial character Deborah Revere. (US Weekly)

Audrey Hepburn's eldest son was sued Wednesday by a charity he helped establish to continue his mother's support of children's welfare causes. The Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund sued Sean Ferrer on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging he has interfered with the charity's plans to exhibit several of the Oscar winner's high fashion dresses and other memorabilia. The exhibitions are the primary source of money for the charity, which supports children's centers in hospitals in Los Angeles and New Orleans and a facility in New Jersey. Ferrer and his half-brother, Luca Dotti, established the fund after their mother's death along with their mother's longtime companion, Dutch actor Robert Wolders. Dotti currently serves as the charity's chairman. The siblings are embroiled in a separate court dispute over division of jewelry, property and other items their mother left to them after her death in January 1993. The lawsuit contends that while only one brother has to give permission to display the items, Ferrer has threatened litigation over planned exhibits in Korea and China, and also restricted the charity's access to its website. The lawsuit contends Ferrer's actions may force the charity to cease operations and could "irreparably damage the sterling reputation of the late Audrey Hepburn." Emails a phone message left for Ferrer's attorney Wednesday were not returned. Ferrer, who once ran the charity but stepped aside several years ago, has interfered with potential exhibitions of some of Hepburn's Givenchy dresses in China and Korea, the lawsuit states. "The fund is seeking to continue to raise funds in the same way it has done for more than two decades," its attorney Steven E. Young wrote in an email Wednesday. In 2013, the charity made $30,000 in donations to children's hospitals in Los Angeles and New Orleans, according to the most recent tax records available. The records show the foundation's revenues declined from $290,000 the previous year to $223,000 in 2013. Wednesday's lawsuit comes 18 months after Ferrer sued Dotti seeking to divide up ownership of jewelry, property, a vintage movie poster collection and other memorabilia Hepburn left to her sons. Attorneys for both men reported to a judge in November that negotiations over the items had been productive, but no settlement or resolution has been announced. Young said Wednesday's lawsuit and the dispute over other items that belonged to Hepburn are not connected. Hepburn won an Academy Award in 1954 for "Roman Holiday" and was awarded the film academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993. She died before that year's Oscars ceremony, so Ferrer accepted it in her honor and summarized his mother's commitment to helping children. "She believed every child has the right to health, to hope, to tenderness and to life," Ferrer said during the ceremony, according to a transcript on the film academy's website. "On her behalf I dedicate this to the children of the world." (Page Six)

Vanessa Williams Used a Pet Psychic to Find Her Dog. Vanessa Williams has twice enlisted the help of a pet psychic when her beloved Yorkie Enzo went missing -- with mixed results. The actress revealed on Pet Life Radio's "Tails of the City," hosted by Paul Shaffer's daughter, Victoria, that the first time Enzo was gone the psychic theorized he was abducted, which wound up to be true. The next time, in 2011, the guru believed he'd fallen down a ravine, but was able to escape and was then picked up by someone on the street. Williams never saw Enzo again. (PageSix)


Aretha Franklin: "I Am Retiring This Year." Aretha Franklin worked her entire life to earn some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. So, it should come as no surprise that the 74-year-old Queen of Soul is stepping out of the spotlight. "I must tell you, I am retiring this year," she told Detroit TV station Local 4 Tuesday. "This will be my last year. I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it." Fans needn't panic: the 17-time Grammy Award winner clarified she's not retiring completely. Franklin will do "some select things," she said. "One a month, for six months out of the year." Why walk away from the music industry now? Franklin's grandchildren are leaving for college and she wants to spend time with them. The retirement announcement is bittersweet, she said, because "it's what I've done all of my life." "I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now," the "Chain of Fools" singer explained. "I'll be pretty much satisfied," she added, "but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either." Franklin plans to record a final album -- her 42nd -- and release it in September. "Of course, several of the songs are going to be produced by [Stevie Wonder], and of course there's only one Stevie, right? It's kind of multi-[directional]. We're not pigeonholed to any one thing," she said. Franklin added that she plans to record the original music near where she lives. "I keep my business in Detroit," Franklin told the TV station, "or as close to Detroit as possible." The album will be Franklin's first since 2014's Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics. Franklin said she is "exuberant" about her new album and "can't wait to get in the studio." (Eonline)

Here's How Lady Gaga's Parents Played a Role in the Singer's Super Bowl Halftime Show. There were a million reasons for Lady Gaga to be excited about her Super Bowl halftime performance. But perhaps one of the biggest ones involved her mom and dad. Just a few short days after the Mother Monster wowed audiences with her Houston gig, fans are learning more about how two family members made this gig extra special. "I was singing 'Million Reasons' and my mom and dad were right there," she explained to Zane Lowe on Beats 1. "I think that's why I said 'Hi mom and dad.' It was so surreal and to see my parents in the crowd." Gaga also revealed that when she first got to the stadium, she asked her mom and dad to come out on the field and take a bunch of photos together from the 50-yard line. "It's really exciting," she explained. "I wanted to enjoy the moment, not just be hell bent on everything." As the Grammy winner took her performance to new heights -- literally -- with performances of "Poker Face," "Just Dance" and "The Edge of Glory," Gaga also explained her mindset going into the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. "It was special in a lot of ways. I think I returned to my family and roots on the album and I think had it on the stage that night," she explained. "I really know who I am in a deeper way. It was super cool, I'll never forget it." Moving forward, Gaga is preparing to hit the road for a world tour in support of her fifth studio album, Joanne. She's also celebrating the release of her brand-new music video for "John Wayne" that debuted on Apple Music. "It's so awesome to see the internet is just exploding and everyone is online talking about it," Gaga shared. (Eonline)

Mariah Carey is having a bad week. It looks like Ticketmaster is trying to boost slow sales for her upcoming "All the Hits" tour with Lionel Richie by offering tickets as part of a "buy one, get one free" promotion for the concerts, which kick off in March. "This Valentine's Day, grab a ticket for you and your special someone ... all for the price of one," one promo suggests. Plus, Carey's comeback single "I Don't," a collaboration with rapper YG, is a flop. When it dropped last week it was No. 6 on iTunes, but is No. 55 as of press time. Industry insiders say -- Carey's New Year's Eve debacle live in Times Square -- when she failed to keep up with her songs or even lip-sync -- properly -- isn't helping. Carey, 46, who hasn't toured North America in more than six years, will open for Richie in 35 cities, with a stop at Madison Square Garden on April 1, aka April Fools' Day. "Mariah is working enthusiastically with Live Nation and Lionel's team to put together an outstanding tour," a rep for the songbird said. "Ticket sales are beyond great -- fans are in for a real treat." (Page Six)

In the 20 years since her groundbreaking debut "Baduizm," Erykah Badu has only gotten more creative. Besides continuing to make music, she's been a TV host and producer, performed with her daughter in the Lone Star Circus and delivered dozens of babies as a certified doula. She even changed her Twitter handle to ErykahBadoula . Essence magazine will celebrate Badu's work and the 20th anniversary of "Baduizm" on Thursday at its eighth annual Black Women in Music gala in Los Angeles. "From the time that she first hit the scene with her album 'Baduizm,' we all fell in love with the genius that is Erykah Badu," editor-in-chief Vanessa De Luca said in a statement. "It is only fitting that we honor the accomplishments of our neo-soul queen, whose remarkable artistry still moves us 20 years later." "Baduizm" was released in 1997 and went on to win the Grammy for best R&B album, besting releases by established performers like Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Patti LaBelle and Babyface. Reflecting on her debut, Badu said she didn't realize her style was so unique as to launch its own genre. "I just wanted to share how I felt and hope that I could spark feelings in others," she said in a recent interview. "... I thought it was more of a movement for creativity and self-expression. After that, I just kind of used the same formula. I take my time and write what I feel. If there's nothing to say, then I don't have anything to write." Badu said she's still "working on music every day of my life," but that's just part of her creative work. She's putting together an EP with emerging singer-songwriter D.R.A.M., producing a documentary for "Baduizm 20," planning her annual birthday party jam session in her hometown of Dallas and studying to become a licensed midwife. Becoming a birth assistant was her response when one of her best friends was expecting in 2001. "She had a natural, 52-hour labor," Badu recalled. "And I noticed after the whole thing was over that I hadn't gone to sleep, I wasn't hungry, I didn't leave her side. So it felt like something that came (to me). Most of our true gifts are really natural to us. So I began to study midwifery and I became a doula." Badu volunteers her services, ensuring the mother is healthy and comfortable throughout her pregnancy and "up to the last few seconds until she's no longer someone's apartment and she becomes someone's restaurant." "It's like being the welcoming committee," she said. The 45-year-old artist doesn't know how her work as a doula has affected her music, but she knows both come from the heart. "It's all love," she said. "I think they all come from the same place, all of the work that I do: music, being a doula, being a parent. It all comes from a place of sincerity." (Page Six)

Justin Timberlake has revealed the real reason he left popular boy band, NSYNC, back in 2002. For years (15 to be exact), fans have wondered what exactly made JT say Bye Bye Bye to the group that shot him to fame as a teenager. And now, he's finally dished the dirt. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, the 36-year-old hit-maker said: "I was about 15 or 16-years-old. We'd just given a concert in Germany at a festival on this huge field." "And we were in the tour bus afterward, driving on a dirt road, and I looked out the window and saw all these young, impressionable females running after the bus...I think we can all agree that I did not have a normal childhood." NSYNC, made up of Justin and fellow bandmates Bass, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick and Joey Fatone sold over 70 million albums during their career together. But still, there was something missing for the Can't Stop The Feeling singer... "I felt like I cared more about the music than some of the other people in the group," he said. And I felt like I had other music I wanted to make and that I needed to follow my heart." And boy, are we glad he did! It brought us the solo JT we all know and love today. In 2013, NSYNC got together for a one-off reunion performance at the MTV VMAs (it was EPIC). Despite announcing their hiatus in 2002, their break-up wasn't officially confirmed before 2007. (British Glamour)

Lady Gaga Talks 'Amazing' Super Bowl Performance, 'A Star is Born' & Metallica. It's a pretty good time to be Lady Gaga. The singer's sales are through the roof in the wake of her high-flying, widely praised Super Bowl LI halftime performance and, from the sounds of it, she and Bradley Cooper are having a blast working on the remake of A Star is Born. Speaking to Apple Music Beats 1 host Zane Lowe on Wednesday (Feb. 8), Gaga talked about her instant nostalgia for Sunday's gig, which was seen by a monumental 117.5 million viewers, making it the second-most-viewed halftime show in Super Bowl history. "I'm really happy and had such an amazing time performing at Super Bowl, wish I could relive it all over again," Gaga told Lowe. "I really had a real sense of being in the zone for this performance, worked on it for a really long time, took months, trained hard. Every second I wanted to give the world an day fans what they deserve, a great show. It's really exciting, I wanted to enjoy the moment not just be hell bent on everything. When we first got there I asked my Dad and friends and Mom to come out to the field with me and took a bunch of photos at the 50 yard line." Gaga said when it came to the set's most emotional moment, her intense performance of the Joanne ballad "Million Reasons," she was definitely thinking of her mom and dad. "I think that's why I said 'hi mum and dad' it was so surreal and to see my parents in the crowd," she explained, adding that she was "really happy" that she caught the football at the end of the 13-minute extravaganza, after losing sleep the night before wondering if it was a good idea. "I think that I knew I gave it everything I had in me," she said of descending 70 feet on wires. "I knew I had prepared and on top of doing what I rehearsed I added that extra bit of heart to the performance." Check out the full interview here: As if she's not busy enough prepping for her upcoming Joanne tour, Gaga is also hard at work finishing the music for the A Star is Born remake with Bradley Cooper, and from the sounds of it, things are going really well. "Right now I'm finishing the score for Stars Born with Bradley and some other producers and collaborators. Then I'll shoot the movie and then go on tour," she said of the movie that will mark Cooper's directorial debut, slated for release on Sept. 28, 2018. "The best part about making this movie is working with Bradley. He's such a genius and a ninja like human being. We've become such great friends. It's tremendous to work with him all the time in the project, he's very inspiring." One thing she was more circumspect about was her planned hush-hush performance with hard rock icons Metallica at Sunday night's (Feb. 12) Grammy Awards. "I was at Bradley's house with [Metallica drummer] Lars [Ulrich] and we were just hanging out," she said. "He's amazing. I went to see them live, I saw them recently and we were watching the show, those guys play better than they've played in their whole lives." The singer also touched on her eye-popping, action-packed new video for "John Wayne," which was directed by envelope-pushing collaborator Jonas Akerlund, who also oversaw her 2009 "Telephone" clip. "I have known Jonas for a really long time and we've been wanting to work together again and I thought for this song him and I would be perfect to do it together," she said of the pair's collabo on the cartoonish clip for the country-tinged rock song. "He downloads from me the visions on the song, like falling off the back of a horse but I hold on and carry on enjoying it, or a scene with a guy and me in a car and being reckless to see how reckless love can be. He has a very cinematic approach but doesn't forget to make it a music video." Not surprisingly, Gaga said she did her own stunts for the video, though she wouldn't reveal which ones she left to the professionals. "That's me the whole time on top of the car going really fast, I was in high heels going from the trunk to the top of the car flying into the front seat, my mother was screaming at me," she revealed. (Billboard)

Jerry Cantrell Shares 'A Job To Do' From 'John Wick' Sequel. It's good to have nice neighbors. It's even better when your neighbor is a composer who asks you to write a song for a movie with him. So discovered Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell, who has written "A Job To Do," the end-title song to John Wick: Chapter 2with Tyler Bates, who also scored the film. Billboard exclusively premieres the song. "I moved houses a few years ago and ended up meeting my new neighbor, Tyler," Cantrell tells Billboard. "He did the first [John Wick] movie and a song with Marilyn Manson, ['Killing Strangers'] that I thought really fit the film. He mentioned there was going to be a sequel and maybe we could work it out." Cantrell and Bates wrote the music together for the heavy, mid-tempo track and then Cantrell, who is also working on a new Alice In Chains' album, tackled the lyrics from the perspective of Keanu Reeves' title character, a hit man who reluctantly comes out of retirement in order to battle an international assassins group. The song opens with an acoustic guitar and drums before steadily building to a dense explosion of sound. "I see you, just another job to do, trying not to give myself away," Cantrell sings. Writing specifically for a movie "was kind of fun," Cantrell says. "It almost felt like an assignment that I gave to myself. It's not unlike how I normally write from a personal point of view, whether mine or someone else's." Cantrell didn't see the Chad Stahelski-directed movie before writing the song, but was familiar enough with the character from the first film to get inside his head for the sequel. Cantrell had previously written "Leave Me Alone" for 1996's The Cable Guy, as well as collaborated with Damageplan for "Ashes To Ashes" from 2004'sPunisher. "A Job To Do" is featured on the film's soundtrack, which comes out Friday (Feb. 10) on Varese Sarabande digitally, the same day the movie opens in theaters. A physical version will be released March 3. (Billboard)

Blind Melon Settles 'Insane' Copyright Lawsuit. The dispute veered from a possible discussion of cover songs to differing interpretations of what happened in licensing negotiations. Members of Blind Melon have reached a settlement to resolve a lawsuit brought over Mandy Jiroux's "Insane," which was alleged to infringe the copyright to the rock band's 1993 mega-hit song "No Rain." The case was filed last August and was somewhat unusual. According to the complaint, this is "a somewhat unique case where substantial and verbatim copying is not disputed, but Defendants will claim that they had a license to incorporate substantial portions of Blind Melon's most successful song 'No Rain' into the Infringing Works." The plaintiffs spoke through their lawsuit how Jiroux's manager Kenneth Komisar originally got in contact for a "No Rain" cover, but after the conclusion came that "Insane" (still on YouTube) was a derivative -- not a cover -- the band members allegedly denied permission. Counterclaims were subsequently brought that alleged Blind Melon expressly and impliedly agreed to license their famous song in exchange for 100 percent of publishing. There was no signed written agreement, and the dispute veered from a possible discussion of cover songs (the U.S. Copyright Act only allows for a compulsory license when the "basic melody or fundamental character of the work" isn't changed) and fair use to differing interpretations of negotiation over "Insane." Without any substantive ruling, the case ends after mediation and after a judge was informed in court this week of a settlement. Terms weren't disclosed in court papers. (Hollywood Reporter)


Filming at the Met Cost 'Ocean's Eight' a $1M Donation. Art insiders have been buzzing over a New York Times piece wondering, "Is the Met Museum a great institution in decline?" -- with news of a nearly $40 million deficit, layoffs and expansion plans on hold. One bright spot has been the filming of Hollywood movie "Ocean's Eight" at its Temple of Dendur. Sources tell Page Six that the fee to re-create the starry Met Gala at the museum included a $1 million donation. Page Six reported the movie starring Anne Hathaway, Sandra Bullock and others reproduced Anna Wintour's ball with appearances by the Vogue editor and many fashion fixtures such as Kim Kardashian, Alexander Wang and Zac Posen. (TMZ)

Box-Office Preview: 'Lego Batman' Set to Spank 'Fifty Shades Darker'. 'John Wick: Chapter 2' is also opening over the pre-Valentine's Day weekend. Holy sweetheart, Batman! In a sequel showdown, director Chris McKay's Theis widely expected to rule the pre-Valentine's Day box office when opening Friday opposite Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick 2. Tracking suggests Lego Batman will take in north of $60 million for Warner Bros. Animation and producer Dan Lin. More bullish box-office observers believe the spin-off will even approach or clear $70 million, considering The Lego Movie, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, debuted to $69.1 million over the Feb. 7-9 weekend in 2014. In Lego Batman, Will Arnett voices the role of the tiny Caped Crusader as the superhero tries to find himself and save Gotham City from a hostile takeover by The Joker (Zach Galifanakis). The voice cast also includes Michael Cera, Rosaria Dawson and Ralph Fiennes. Imax partnered with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment on Lego Batman, directed by Chris McKay. The forecast for Universal' Fifty Shades Darker isn't as rosy, at least in comparison to the record-breaking $85 million bow of Fifty Shades of Grey over the three-day Valentine's Day/Presidents Day weekend in 2014. Projections show the follow-up earning $30 million-$40 million in its U.S. bow. At the time of Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James' books about an S&M-laced romance were a global sensation. Dubbed "mommy porn," the female-fueled pic saw women turn out in groups to watch the movie, much as the first Sex and the City film. The sequel returns Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as the characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, respectively, with James Foley assuming directing duties after James clashed with Fifty Shades of Grey helmer Sam Taylor-Johnson. It doesn't help that Fifty Shades of Grey had the advantage of Valentine's Day landing on a Saturday night, as well as launching over the long Presidents Weekend, which falls a week later this year. (Universal is counting on the sequel doing strong midweek business since Valentine's Day is Tuesday.) The weekend's third new nationwide entry is Lionsgate's John Wick: Chapter 2, a male-fueled action film starring Keanu Reeves. Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Ruse, John Leguizamo and Ian McChane co-star in the movie, directed by Chad Stahelski. Projections suggest John Wick 2 will debut as high as $20 million. The first film opened to $14.4 million in October 2014. In terms of their Rotten Tomatoes scores, Lego Batman currently boasts a stellar 98 percent, followed by John Wick 2 with an impressive 95 percent. Fifty Shades of Darker lags at 18 percent. (Hollywood Reporter)

Berlin: 'Toni Erdmann' Producer, Director Will Not Work on Remake. Komplizen Film, which produced the original German-language hit, said it was "in negotiations" on a remake, apparently contradicting reports that Paramount has done a deal for U.S. version of the Oscar-nominated drama. Toni Erdmann director Maren Ade and the film's producers have distanced themselves from reports of an upcoming U.S. remake of the Oscar-nominated German hit. Komplizen Film, the Berlin-based company that produced the original film, said they "were in negotiations" over a possible remake of Toni Erdmann but that no deal had been signed. Furthermore, the company said in a German statement (translated by THR), "if there is ever a remake of Toni Erdmann, neither Maren Ade nor Komplizen Film will play an active role (in the new movie)." That appears to contradict media reports from earlier this week that Paramount had secured remake rights to Toni Erdmann, with Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig attached to star as the father and daughter characters played by Peter Simonischek and Sandra Huller in the original. Ade and Komplizen Film partners Janine Jackowski and Jonas Dornbach were also named as executive producers on the reported remake, something the firm's statement denies. "We're very happy with our film the way it is, the wonderful response from the movie goers have seen it, the wonderful response, the numerous awards and our Oscar nomination," Jackowski and Dornbach said in a statement. Paramount could not immediately been reached for comment. (Hollywood Reporter)

Berlin: 'Django' Director Says Film Has "Parallels" With Refugee Crisis, Trump Travel Ban. "I wanted to show a musician in a complex period of history and as I moved down that avenue, I realized that there were a lot of parallels," says Etienne Comar of his Berlinale curtainraiser. While the Berlinale opening film, a biopic of famed jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, might not sound like something with any overtly political tones, its director said Thursday that there are strong connections between the story and some of the most contentious topics in the current political debate. Those include the refugee crisis and U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban. "There are a number of parallels with our contemporary period," said Etienne Comar, who is making his feature debut with Django, chronicling the life of Reinhardt as a gypsy musician during the Nazi occupation of France. "I wanted to show a musician in a complex period of history," he added. "And as I moved down that avenue I realized that there were a lot of parallels-refugees, the way you can contain people from travel." Comar added that the whole topic of the film was about the freedom that music can provide during such fraught periods, adding that music and the arts were often the first thing to be attacked by totalitarian and terrorist regimes. "It's no secret that Nazi propaganda tried to draw up these rules for jazz, which blended all sorts of different cultures," he said. "By it's very nature it requires the blend of difficult cultures. I do hope that message comes across." Speaking about artists speaking up about political issues, Comar suggested that when they make statements in the media, it doesn't always work. "But when they do it through their art, it's very impressive," he added. Django opens the 67th edition of the Berlinale on Thursday night. (Hollywood Reporter)

Hollywood Docket: Dueling 'Sully' Lawsuits Move Toward Trial. Plus, Beyonce is sued over "Formation" samples and Time Warner moves to dismiss a discrimination suit. Dueling lawsuits over an aviation consultant's pay for his work on Sully are closer to trial, after a California judge denied motions to strike the complaint and cross-complaint. Scott Heger sued Warner Bros. and Kiki Tree Pictures in July, claiming he made an agreement to act as the "aerial coordinator" for the film and arrange for Blair Adhesive Products to acquire the necessary airplanes but Warners declined to pay him. The producers countersued, arguing the planes that were delivered were not visually complete and were missing components needed for filming. The producers also moved to strike Heger's claim for punitive damages, arguing there were not sufficient facts to support malice, oppression or fraud, or to show conduct or authorization by a managing agent, officer or director. "The Court disagrees," writes Judge John P. Doyle in a tentative ruling denying the motion to strike, which he adopted during a Feb. 1 hearing. "Kiki, Warner Defendants, and Moore have failed to demur to the intentional misrepresentation claims asserted against them, which claims are sufficient to support the fraud basis for punitive damages predicated upon the alleged fraudulent promises to compensate Heger and Blair and the threat to blacklist them from the entertainment industry." Meanwhile, Heger and Blair moved to strike claims from the cross-complaint. They argue their agreements with Kiki Tree contain liability release provisions which bar breach of contract claims. Doyle notes that the parties agreements span at least three documents, two of which relate to a specific aircraft, and it's unclear how the release of liability for the airplane agreements relates to their overall procurement deal. "Notably, the Cross-Complaint is based on the procurement agreement, and the relationship between the three agreements is subject to more than one reasonable interpretation which is not properly resolved at the pleading stage," writes Doyle. The trial is currently scheduled for Aug. 21. In other entertainment law news: -- Last year, Beyonce's "Formation" video sparked scores of conversations analyzing the underlying messages about culture and police brutality -- and now spoken word samples used in the song are at the center of a lawsuit. The estate of Anthony Barre is suing Bey, and just about every person and company connected to the song and video, for copyright infringement. Barre, a New Orleans comedian and music artist known as Messy Mya who died in 2010, was known for his catch phrases and raspy voice, according to the complaint. Barre is first heard at the very beginning of "Formation" saying "What happened at the New Orleans" and later in the song saying "Bitch, I'm back by popular demand." The suit claims the samples infringe the rights in two works of Barre's performance art, "A 27 Piece Huh?" and "Booking the Hoes from New Wildings." His estate is seeking royalties, damages and an order that Barre be credited as a writer, composer, producer and artist on the track. -- Time Warner is asking the court to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of a "vague, unascertainable putative class" of African-American employees. In December, Celeslie Henley and Ernest Colbert Jr. sued CNN, along with Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner, claiming there are not only "glass ceilings" for advancement, but also "glass walls" that segregate the company into divisions in which black leadership is acceptable and others in which it is not. Time Warner says it is "at a loss" to determine which class claims are targeted at each of its companies. The media giant is asking the court to either strike the claims or order Henley and Colbert to provide a "more definite statement of the class definition and their individual and class claims." (Read the full motion here.) -- For the time being, Midnight Sun producers are clear of a lawsuit from a screenwriter who says the unreleased film infringes on her 2010 treatment for a film called Shade, which is also known as Midnight Juliet. Bethany Ashton Wolf sued John Rickard, Alan Ou, Wrigley Pictures, Boies/Schiller Film Group and Open Road Films, among others, for copyright infringement and breach of contract. She claims she pitched her story to Rickard and Ou, but negotiations fell apart because they didn't want her to direct the project and they later used her screenplay for the basis of their film. Midnight Sun producers argue their project is a licensed derivative work of a 2006 Japanese film called Taiyo no Uta, upon which Wolf's story is also based, and Wolf's claims are legally deficient. U.S. District Judge George H. Wu agreed, finding she failed to adequately plead her claims and dismissing the suit with leave to amend. (Read his full ruling here.) -- Century City law firm Sklar Kirsh is beefing up its entertainment practice with its third in-house attorney hire in recent years. Hillel Elkins is joining the firm, following his work as executive vp for business and legal affairs at Relativity Media. "By recruiting top talent, we've created a team with a unique understanding of the complexities and nuances of Entertainment transactions," said Sklar Kirsh co-chairman Jeffrey Sklar. "Hillel's impressive in-house experience in film and TV gives us a competitive advantage in representing entertainment companies and executives." Prior to Elkins, Sklar Kirsh hired former Relativity general counsel Michael Rosner and former Deluxe Entertainment GC Scott Ehrlich. -- In Beverly Hills, Rami S. Yanni is joining entertainment law firm Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman. His practice will include all aspects of intellectual property, brand and content licensing, as well as IP-focused mergers and acquisitions. Yanni is the former SVP of Saban Brands, which created the Power Rangers franchise, and was responsible for the company's dealmaking, litigation and intellectual property work. "We are delighted to add Rami to our close-knit legal team of professionals," said co-managing partner Burt Levitch in a statement. "Rami's expertise and varied perspectives will prove to be a tremendous asset to the firm's clients. Additionally, his talents and personality are a perfect fit for us." (Hollywood Reporter)


The Crown Season 2 Adds Michael C. Hall as JFK. The Crown is going to Camelot. In the upcoming second season of Netflix's Golden Globe-winning historical drama, Claire Foy's Queen Elizabeth II will cavort with late American President John F. Kennedy and his beguiling wife Jackie, E! News has confirmed. Michael C. Hall will portray Kennedy, marking his return to TV since the conclusion of Dexter in 2013, while Jodi Balfour (Quarry) will be putting on the pillbox hat as the former First Lady. Deadline first reported the casting news. Hall's JFK is described as a man who is most at home in front of a crowd, but one who doesn't take too kindly to being upstaged by his wife. Feeling unmanned by Jackie's popularity, he seeks public revenge by flaunting his many infidelities, while behind closed doors, his jealousy manifests in the form of anger and manipulation. Season two of The Crown, which is currently in production, begins with soldiers in QEII's Armed Forces fighting an illegal war in Egypt and ends with the downfall of her third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, following a devastating scandal. The new episodes will see the end of the age of deference and the beginning of the revolutionary era of the 1960s. Do you think Hall and Balfour have what it takes to bring John and Jackie to life? Netflix has yet to announced an air date for season two of The Crown. (Eonline)

Prince Liam Clashes With Robert After He Asks for a Shady ''Favor'' to Win the Crown in Sneak Peek From The Royals. This battle of brothers isn't ending any time soon. As the vote to choose the next king of England looms, Prince Robert (Max Brown) asks Liam (William Moseley) for a "favor" to help him defeat their uncle Cyrus (Jake Maskall) in the exclusive clip from Sunday's all-new episode of The Royals. "At today's hearing, they may ask you to speak, but if they don't I'm going to suggest it," Robert tells him. Liam promises to support his brother, but clearly that just won't cut it. "I appreciate that," Robert says. "But I also think you should denigrate Cyrus. Talk about his drug use, mention his cancer, his erratic behavior. Hell, make something up if you have to." Liam isn't convinced. "You really think that's necessary?" he asks. "Unfortunately, I do," Robert replies. "But if it comes from me, it will play as negative campaigning. Besides, it's not like Cyrus has been a model of virtue." "But, why stoop to his level?" Liam asks, advising, "The people see your nobility, and they appreciate it. The privy council will too. Remind them how great our country is and can be." He adds, "Tell them that everyone should have a chance. We're England. We can be great and majestic. Remind them of that. Inspire them. That's what they want from a king." But Robert dismisses Liam's suggestion and calls him "naïve." Brand-new episode of The Royals Sunday at 10 p.m., only on E! (Eonline)

Fire Ceremonies, Tears, Therapy Appointments: How Girls Cast Is Saying Goodbye to Their Characters. Playing the same character for a number of years and then having to say goodbye to that fictional skin you lived in is a different process for everybody. Just ask the cast of Girls. "When I wrapped shooting the show I kind of said goodbye to [Marnie]," Allison Williams told E! News at the Girls season six premiere. "It's over this quick." Did she do anything special? "No, I just burst into tears," she said. "It's really fast because one second you're doing a scene as this person you've been for six years and then when they say cut... that was it. It's gone. It's that ethereal." But it wasn't that simple for her costars. "I didn't say goodbye to her," Zosia Mamet, Shoshanna on Girls, told us. "I don't know if I will. That's interesting. Maybe I'll have some weird fire ceremony in my backyard upstate. I think it's going to be a continuous process for sure." Mamet said reuniting with her costars to do press for the final season has been hard and emotional, the most emotional it has been since they wrapped shooting. Her costar, Jemima Kirke, said her farewells to Jessa might be happening and she's unaware. "I might be processing subconsciously and I might bring it up in therapy tomorrow because that's a really good question, 'cause I didn't say goodbye," Kirke said. As for creator and star Lena Dunham, Hannah will always be with her. "I was saying today that I kind of can't say goodbye to her because it's so deep in my DNA," she said. Girls returns for its final season on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 10 p.m. on HBO. (Eonline)

'Real Housewives' producers are ready to Make Atlanta Great Again, which means bringing back NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak ... and the infamous frenemies just might be up for it. Sources close to the show tell us execs want the milestone 10th season to be HUGE, and since fans have been clamoring to see NeNe and Kim reunited ... they're trying to make it happen. Previous attempts to get them for a spin-off failed ... due to scheduling conflicts, but we're told that won't be an issue this time around. We're told producers put out feelers already and there's definite interest on the part of both women. No formal offer's been made yet, but the fact Kim is doing a cameo at the end of season 9 is a good sign a deal is close. We can see it already ... "Welcome back, Wig!" (TMZ)

TV Pilot Season's Hot Trends: Trump-Friendly Military Dramas, Fewer New Shows, Bigger Stars. The total number of pilots ordered currently hovers around 70, down from nearly 90 last year. Says Universal Television president Pearlena Igbokwe, "Everyone is trying to be more disciplined in their approach to volume." With few TV shows canceled and lots still on the bench, the broadcast networks headed into pilot season this year with fewer needs. In fact, at press time, the total number of pilots ordered hovered around 70, down from nearly 90 a year earlier. "Everyone is trying to be more disciplined in their approach to volume," Universal Television president Pearlena Igbokwe told THR in January. And who's to blame them: Why place new bets when networks still are holding their breath to see whether they have a late-season hit (whatever that means today) on their hands? Of the projects ordered, those that walked through the door with a star attached had a clear leg up since they offered a head start during an ultracompetitive casting period that has cable and streaming services swimming in the same talent pool. Toni Collette, Reba McEntire, Felicity Huffman and Zach Braff helped their ABC scripts move through, while Alan Cumming and Mark Feuerstein as well as Craig Robinson and Adam Scott did the same at CBS and Fox, respectively. Also aiding certain projects was a home-studio advantage. Proof: Eleven of Fox's 12 pilot orders have come from sibling 20th TV, while CBS has bought predominantly from CBS TV Studios. ABC is the most varied buyer, scooping up projects from five of the six major studios, but 14 of its 24 orders still come from ABC Studios. In fact, the desire for ownership is so great now that one studio exec wonders whether he'll even bother shopping projects to non-affiliated broadcast nets next season. When it comes to content, there have been tonal shifts, too. Among the less subtle: an appeal to Trump's America, be it with a focus on the military or the heartland. All but ABC have a military drama in contention (CBS has two, with S.W.A.T. and a Navy SEALs entry); and ABC has a Kenya Barris comedy about a couple divided by politics and McEntire's drama set in the South. There's plenty of escapist fare as well, though space seems to have replaced time travel as the narrative engine en vogue this season: a pair of comedies (NBC's Spaced Out, Fox's Ghosted) and a couple of dramas (CBS' Mission Control, Fox's Orville) all are in the works. (Hollywood Reporter)

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