17th Annual Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament

Thursday, July 20, 2017

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Shawn Ashmore Welcomes First Child With Wife Dana Ashmore. Congratulations are in order for Shawn Ashmore! The X-Men star and his wife of four years, Dana Ashmore, welcomed their first child. The couple announced the birth on social media late Tuesday along with their baby boy's first photo. The adorable snap focused solely on the little guy's pint-sized hand. "Couldn't be more in love with my new baby boy and my incredible wife," the actor adorably captioned the sweet picture. Ashmore has been chronicling the pregnancy on Instagram with recurring photos of his leading lady all along the way. At the start of June, he shared a photo of an ultrasound and teased fans, "Only a few short weeks left:)" He wasn't kidding! Less than two months later, the baby has officially arrived. While Ashmore has not revealed the name of their firstborn, judging by his openness online, he'll share the little one's moniker before we know it. In the meantime, thanks to Dana's sweet words, it sounds like the star is perfectly ready to be a dad. "I'm so so excited for this guy to be a dad!" she wrote about him right before Father's Day. "I'm so lucky to have married the sweetest, funniest (Or so I have him believe) ... coolest guy in the world. He is going to make the most amazing dad and I can't wait for the adventures to come. Truly mr.wonderful!" Congratulations to the new mom and dad! (Eonline)

Mindy Kaling is sharing her good news. "She just started telling her friends she is pregnant," a source tells PEOPLE of Kaling, 38, who is expecting her first child later this year. But while she's sharing the pregnancy news with those around her, the mom-to-be is staying mum on the identity of her baby's father. "She is not telling anyone, not even close friends, who the father is," says the source, adding that The Mindy Project star and mastermind is not dating anyone at the moment. Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? According to an insider who spoke to E! News, the pregnancy was "an unexpected surprise" for Kaling, who is next slated to star in the upcoming films A Wrinkle in Time and Ocean's Eight. Of motherhood -- something her character Mindy Lahiri explored on The Mindy Project and that Kaling has written about in her second memoir Why Not Me? -- she told Yahoo! Style in 2015, "I think I've decided that unlike everything else in my life, I'm going to be fast and loose about kids." "I'm going to not actively plan, but if it happens, it would happen," she added. "I'm not cavalier about who I would have a kid with. But the thing I ask every parent that I really admire, the one comment they all have is that they wish they had kids earlier." Today's Savannah Guthrie Was Very Superstitious About Her Pregnancy: "I Didn't Want to Jinx It" A combination of superstition and frugality led to Savannah Guthrie holding back on preparing for the arrival her newborn son Charley. Kaling has plenty of life lessons to pass on to her little one on the way. One invaluable thing that The Office alum learned from her own late mother? The value of hard work. "She was very busy, and she did not suffer fools," Kaling told Good Housekeeping in 2015 of her mom Swati, who died of cancer on the same day Fox picked up The Mindy Project in 2012. "Her no-nonsense attitude is the single best thing I got from her," adds the now-mom-to-be. "We're hungry, ambitious people. It's a family trait." (People)

Ben Affleck Drops Out of Triple Frontier to Focus on "Wellness and Family." Ben Affleck has dropped out of Netflix's Triple Frontier "to take some time to focus on his wellness and his family," Deadline reported Tuesday; the movie will move forward without him. Director J.C. Chandor's film has been in the works since 2009; it was originally envisioned as Kathryn Bigelow's follow-up to her Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker. Paramount and actors Tom Hardy and Channing Tatum dropped out in April, weeks before production began. After they abandoned the project, Netflix picked up the film, and Ben was first attached in May. Mark Boal (of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty fame) wrote the screenplay, set in the converging border territory of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The high-profile project has attracted some major actors over the years, including Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks and Will Smith. Ben previously stepped down as director of Warner Bros.' The Batman in January to focus on portraying the superhero onscreen; he will remain a producer on the project. "There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require," he said in a statement. "Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world." He will promote his next big movie, Justice League, at San Diego Comic-Con later this weekend. In a number of ways, 2017 has been a year of personal growth for the Oscar-winning director. In March, Ben announced he had recently finished another stint in rehab. "I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I've dealt with in the past and will continue to confront. I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be," the actor wrote on Facebook. "I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step." Ben and Jennifer Garner called it quits in 2015, but they didn't file for divorce until this spring; the exes share three children: Violet Affleck, 11, Seraphina Affleck, 8, and Samuel Affleck, 5. Ben is now dating Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus, whom he first met years ago. On Sunday in St. Paul, Ben received the 2017 Starkey Hearing Foundation Gala Humanitarian Award for his work with Eastern Congo Initiative, a charitable organization he founded in 2010. (Eonline)

Jesse Williams' fling with Minka Kelly not built to last. "Grey's Anatomy" star Jesse Williams and Minka Kelly have been coupling up since he filed for divorce from Aryn Drake-Lee, but sources don't expect the pair to last. "They're just getting to know each other. I don't think it's that serious, and it probably won't last," a source close to Williams told us. "He's been so busy working and trying to figure [out the divorce]." We hear he's devastated that Drake-Lee's restricted his visitation of their kids, as reflected in documents he filed seeking custody. "He hasn't been able to read his kids to bed because he can't keep them overnight," says the pal. "It's been the most frustrating thing .?.?. The end of his marriage really is devastating." Drake-Lee plans to file a formal response in court. (PageSix)

Savannah Chrisley Opens Up About Dating NBA Rookie Luke Kennard. Summer loving, and Savannah Chrisley's having a blast! The Chrisley Knows Best star and protective pops Todd Chrisley were guests on E!'s Daily Pop Tuesday, and co-hosts Catt Sadler, Justin Sylvester and Carissa Culiner couldn't help but get the down-low on Savannah's relationship with NBA player Luke Kennard. Savannah, 19, was by Luke's side as he got drafted to play for the Detroit Pistons last month, and unlike her past relationships, she was totally down to introduce her man to Todd. "Honestly, I wasn't [afraid] because, for the first time, he's an awesome human being," Savannah gushed. "There was no hesitation about it. It started off very pure and right. [Todd] was involved from the very beginning. That's the way to do it." Savannah and Luke met when their families just so happened to be seated at nearby tables while dining out in Los Angeles. The athlete then reached out to Savannah on Instagram to tell her how beautiful he thought she was, and shortly thereafter they began seeing each other. That's when Todd chimed in, explaining, "She has been a 'Shady Sheila' in her past. We don't have to worry about that because Luke is a wonderful, fine young man whose integrity and morals are beyond reproach. His family is just wonderful, good, God-fearing people." Savannah (who just launched her Faith Over Fear fashion collection with HSN) agreed, adding, "They are definitely people I would be blessed to have in my life so that's a good way to feel." And it seems as if even Todd is starting to imagine what a future could look like for Savannah and Luke years down the line. "They make a great looking couple," the reality TV star remarked. "I can't have somebody ratchet coming in here trying to tear up my DNA." His daughter added with a laugh, " I don't know if I could deal with a not-cute child. I need a cute baby!" Chrisley Knows Best returns to the USA Network with all new episodes this fall. Catch Todd and Julie Chrisley's appearance on Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry, airing Wednesday at 9 p.m. on E! (Eonline)

John Mayer Opens Up About Finding Happiness Before Turning 40. He may be months away from turning the big 4-0. But instead of fearing his upcoming milestone, John Mayer is completely content with the life around him. In a personal new interview with GQ Style, the Grammy winner is more than happy to talk about fashion and accessories. At the same time, he's the first to admit he feels pretty fulfilled with the life around him. "The reason I'm so happy now is because a lot of expectation that I had for myself was probably a little bit unnecessary. I have a perfect image of ambition and reward for my life right now," John explained to the publication. "I know what to expect, I know how much I should be asking for when I knock on the door, and I get it. I really write down on a piece of paper what I want out of life and what I want out of work and what I want out of 'fame' -- and I have all the stuff I want." He added, "And, yeah, I would probably like another 10, 15, 20 percent, but that comes with another 85 percent of headache. That's the truth. It would take another 85 percent of my happiness to get another 15 percent to 20 percent famous and, like, culturally relevant or whatever. You know?" When the reporter followed up and asked if the man behind huge hits like "Daughters," "Your Body Is A Wonderland" and "Gravity" is drawing back from fame, John agreed. "There's nothing in my life that doesn't feel good. I'm not being pushed into battle, I'm leading the charge. Because I understand what my vision is -- and yes, I believe we can still use the word vision," John explained before describing his new music. "I'm like, John, you made a record full of ballads and R&B songs that nobody knows how to promote because you're not an R&B artist. So I think 'Still Feel Like Your Man' is an ace level song and recording. I will stand up for that song any day of the week as one of the most pure-sounding, most interesting -- it's an R&B little tiny masterpiece, and I've worked long enough and hard enough with incredibly, insanely talented people to be able to say that." As John continues to travel the country for The Search For Everything world tour, the performer is determined to deliver an unforgettable show for his audience. In fact, he may just be receiving a little inspiration from the one and only Drake. "I wanted to have a really big show," John told the Associated Press "I want to be competitive. I want to be in the world where people are creating bigger and better shows. I think there's a healthy competition involved in it. I went and saw Drake's show...you see something that wows you and as an artist yourself you go, 'I want a little of that.'" (Eonline)

Jennifer Lawrence barfs at Broadway show. "The Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence lost her lunch during a performance of Olivia Wilde's Broadway show, "1984," on Monday night -- but it wasn't the edgy play that made the megastar sick. Page Six has previously reported that theater fans have been regularly fainting and tossing their cookies at the intense Orwellian drama at the Hudson Theatre. "Sending my love to those 4 people who fainted in the audience," Wilde even tweeted in May with the disclaimer, "Warning: this is not your grandma's Broadway." The visceral reactions are apparently thanks in part to the show being "loud, and people find it shocking," a theater pro said. "There is a particularly harrowing scene involving a rat." But on Monday night, a source told Page Six: "Midway through the show, Jennifer Lawrence bolted from her seat. Several people saw her getting sick in the lobby. The ushers were very helpful and courteous in helping her out." But a friend of Lawrence's explained that the star's reaction had nothing to do with the play but rather, "She caught the stomach flu from her nephews." The pal added that poor Lawrence is "really sick." While Lawrence handled the situation with impressive aplomb, others have not made it out of "1984" unscathed. Last month, Wilde broke co-star Tom Sturridge's nose and "busted" her lip. Fun-loving, down-to-earth Lawrence -- who's famous for being publicly candid with tales involving bodily functions -- has recalled she's been ill at swankier occasions. She told Seth Meyers last year of manager Guy Oseary and Madonna's annual Oscars shindig that when she was nominated for "American Hustle" in 2014: "There's this big fancy party, this Guy Oseary and Madonna party .?.?. And I puked, on the porch." She joked, "I was in such bad condition, and I look behind me while I'm puking, and Miley Cyrus is there like, 'Get it together.'" Chris Rock, Eddie Redmayne and Huma Abedin have also been spotted at "1984," produced by Sonia Friedman and Scott Rudin. (PageSix)

Katy Perry on Taylor Swift: 'We've Had Our Differences' But 'I Love Her, I Always Have'. Katy Perry is adamant that her bad blood with Taylor Swift is finally over. In a new interview, the "Bon Appetit" singer addressed her now-defunct feud with the 10-time Grammy winner. "I love her, I always have," Perry, 32, said on Australia's Today show on Wednesday, July 19. "We've had our differences but I just continue to say, 'God bless her on her journey.'" The pop stars' years-long feud started making headlines again earlier this year after Perry released her single "Swish Swish," which many fans speculated to be about Swift, 27. The song, which appeared to be Perry's response to Swift's hit "Bad Blood," features several insults including, "Your game is tired / You should retire / You're 'bout as cute as an old coupon, expired." The "Teenage Dream" singer later opened up about the beef during an appearance on James Corden's Carpool Karaoke segment. "It's really like she started it, and it's time for her to finish it," she said of the former country singer. Then, Perry surprised fans when she forgave and apologized to her rival during a June 10 interview with Arianna Huffington. "I am ready to let it go," she said. "I forgive her and I'm sorry for anything I ever did, and I hope the same from her. ... I love her, and I want the best for her. And I think she's a fantastic songwriter, and I think that if we, both her and I, can be representatives of strong women that come together despite their differences, I think the whole world is going to go like, 'Yeah, well we can do this.'" Swift has yet to publicly comment on the current status of her relationship with Perry. However, she told Rolling Stone in 2014 that the feud began over a conflict with their backup dancers. "She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour," Swift alleged, without naming Perry as the pop star in question. A source recently told Us Weekly that the "Shake It Off" songstress is tired of the drama: "She honestly wants no part of this, that's why she avoids talking about it. She doesn't want to engage." (US Weekly)

Emma Watson Pleads with Fans to Help Her Find Her 'Most Meaningful and Special Possession'. Emma Watson has lost something very dear to her, and now she's asking her fans for help. The Beauty and the Beast star, 27, took to Facebook telling her followers she lost three rings on Sunday at the Mandarin Oriental Spa in London. Watson explained that she left the rings in a safe inside her locker, but she forget about them when she left. The actress said she called the spa, but security said they could not find the rings. "As of now they are missing," the actress writes. "Were these just any rings I could accept this, but one of them was a gift from my Mum." She continues, "She bought it the day after I was born and wore it for 18 years, never taking it off, and then gave it to me for my 18th birthday. I wear this ring every day, it is my most meaningful and special possession." Watson pleaded with readers to return the rings if they were found, writing, "I cannot express how much it would mean if they came back to me-no questions asked. If you have seen them or have any information please email: findthering@outlook.com." The actress' mom, Jacqueline Luesby, is a lawyer in the U.K. The Harry Potter star told Buzzfeed in March while promoting her latest film that her mother's ring served as inspiration for Belle's own jewelry, specifically, a ring that "would sit on her little finger." "The costume designer saw that I had one which my mom had given to me, and she was like, 'Can I design one for Belle?' because Belle's mother dies when she's really young." She added, "Anyway, I was really proud of the ring and thought it was so beautiful that I asked if I could keep one and they said I could." (People)

Joycelyn Savage's father knows EXACTLY who got her involved with R. Kelly, and how she ended up living with the singer ... because she claims her dad helped orchestrate the whole thing. Sources close to Joycelyn tell TMZ ... the 21-year-old singer's father, Timothy, was on board with his daughter going to live with Kelly almost 2 years ago after Joycelyn and Kelly met at a concert. We're told the eventual plan -- hatched by Dad, R. Kelly and others -- was for Joycelyn to stay at Kelly's house to develop as a singer under his tutelage. We're told Timothy was the one who dropped her off at a friend's house to be driven to Kelly's. Our sources say Timothy knew Joycelyn would stay with Kelly for some extended period -- perhaps months -- but had no idea it would be for years. As Joycelyn first told us ... it's been about 6 months since she's seen her family in person -- but she's telling friends her dad knows her exact whereabouts. She's refused to reveal her location to us. (TMZ)

Ron White's pending divorce just took another major twist -- because he says his so-called estranged wife isn't really his wife, anyway. According to docs filed by Ron ... Margo Rey's divorce filing last month was totally bogus, because she was never legally married to him. Although they had a wedding ceremony in October 2013, White says they never got a marriage license. As for Margo claiming they had a common law marriage in Texas -- Ron calls BS in the docs ... saying they never lived together there as husband and wife and "never represented to others that they were married." He's also quick to point out there's no common law marriage in Cali ... so he wants the whole divorce tossed outta court. We reached out to Margo ... no word back so far. (TMZ)

'Cash Me Outside' GirlDad to Judge ... Lemme Be Done Paying Child Support!!! Danielle Bregoli's dad says his estranged daughter is such a big shot making loads of dough he shouldn't have to pay child support anymore. Ira Peskowitz filed docs in Palm Beach County, Florida saying the 14-year-old's a celebrity who can provide for herself, so he shouldn't have to fork $1,100 a month to provide for her. In docs, obtained by TMZ ... Ira slams Danielle's mom for allegedly exploiting their kid. He says Barbara Bregoli "is exploiting the minor child as a 'celebrity' for the child's bad behavior." He goes on to say it "is fueling a downward spiral of dangerously inappropriate, antisocial and possibly criminal behavior." It's ironic ... the alleged exploitation is the basis for him asking the judge to terminate his obligation. Say what you want about Danielle, but we're told she's earned a small fortune since February. As we've reported ... Danielle shot back at her estranged dad for trying to get into her business ... long after their relationship went kaput. Danielle tells us, "I never heard from my father until I got famous. Believe what y'all want but it's all bulls*** and I'm doing great. He just wants money." (TMZ)

Madonna isn't gonna sit back and watch her jailhouse letter from Tupac get sold in an auction ... because she says it was jacked from her home. Madge filed an emergency court order Tuesday in NYC to block the website gottahaverockandroll.com from hawking the letter and a ton of other personal memorabilia -- including personally worn panties. In docs, obtained by TMZ, Madonna says she was blindsided by the auction, and says she never knew some of these items were no longer in her possession. Madonna believes a former friend and art consultant, Darlene Lutz, betrayed her by taking the loot. We broke the story ... Pac wrote an extremely revealing letter from prison explaining why he had to end his relationship with Madonna -- because she was white and continuing the relationship would hurt his image. According to the docs -- first reported by the Daily News -- the Tupac letter, a pair of her "personally worn panties," letters from her pal, Rosie O'Donnell, and several other handwritten notes to family members were never sold or gifted to anyone. Bottom line -- it's a material world, she's a material girl ... and she wants her stuff. UPDATE: A spokesperson for Gotta Have Rock and Roll website and Lutz tells TMZ, "Madonna and her legal army have taken what we believe to be a completely baseless and meritless action to temporarily halt the sale of Ms. Lutz's legal property. We believe that her intent is nothing more than to besmirch the good reputations of the auction house and Ms. Lutz. Madonna's allegations will be vigorously challenged and refuted in a court of law in due course." (TMZ)

Aaron Carter was opening his door while driving and swerving all over the road -- until he drove right past a parked cop ... according to an extremely worried 911 caller. In the audio obtained by TMZ, the caller says he'd been following the Chevy Suburban, and saw it go all the way from the median to the guardrail. Once he got close enough, he declared ... "Oh, he looks like he is on something." What's interesting is the caller points out a cop was sitting nearby as Aaron was pulling his SUV into the AutoZone where he was arrested. That totally syncs up with the arresting deputy's report. As we reported, Aaron's threatening to go after cops because he's says they never saw him behind the wheel ... and, therefore, had no right to arrest him. (TMZ)

Harvey Atkin of 'Meatballs' movie dies at 74. Harvey Atkin, the Canadian actor who played the summer camp director Morty in "Meatballs," has died. He was 74. Atkin's longtime agent Larry Goldhar said Tuesday that Atkin died Monday night following a battle with cancer. Atkin appeared in more than 90 episodes of "Cagney & Lacey" as Sgt. Ronald Coleman, and he appeared frequently as Judge Alan Ridenour on "Law & Order." But many knew him best for his breakout role in Ivan Reitman's 1979 Bill Murray comedy. His mustached, bespectacled Morty Melnick -- a heavy sleeper -- was the target of numerous pranks by the camp counselors. The movie ended with Morty waking up on a raft in the middle of a lake. Atkin is survived by his wife, Celia, his daughter, Lisa, and his son Danny. (PageSix)

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

Two New Harry Potter Books to Be Published in October 2017. Hermione Granger's reading list just got a little longer. British publishing house Bloomsbury announced Tuesday that two Harry Potter books will be released in October, coinciding with the opening of the British Library's Harry Potter exhibition, "A History of Magic." Harry Potter: A History of Magic - The Book of the Exhibition will take readers through subjects studied at Hogwarts, while Harry Potter - A Journey Through a History of Magic will cover mystical topics including alchemy, ancient witchcraft and magical creatures. Each chapter in The Book of the Exhibition "showcases a treasure trove of artifacts from the British Library and other collections around the world, beside exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive," according to the publisher. Each subject area includes a "specially commissioned essay" from people like Steve Backshall, Richard Coles, Owen Davies, Julia Eccleshare, Roger Highfield, Steve Kloves, Lucy Mangan, Anna Pavord and Tim Peake. A Journey Through a History of Magic, meanwhile, will teach readers lessons on Astronomy, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Divination, Herbology and other wizarding subjects. The books will be available Oct. 20, and they are both available for pre-order now. The London-based Harry Potter exhibition, meanwhile, will run through February 2018; it honors the 20th anniversary of J.K. Rowling's novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Next spring, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will begin performances on Broadway. The play, which runs in repertory in two parts, has been a critical and commercial hit in on the West End. (Eonline)

OUT Magazine is unveiling its annual list of the most influential members of the LGBTQ community. Rachel Maddow topped this year's list, with Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres taking the second and third spots respectively. The MSNBC anchor, 44, has the number one cable news show among adults, and her reporting on The Rachel Maddow Show helped her network beat rival CNN this quarter for the first time since the spring of 2014. After reaching nearly 3 million viewers one night earlier this week, it's easy to see why Maddow's sphere of influence has earned her the top spot -- an honor previously held by Apple CEO Tim Cook and DeGeneres. "The annual Power 50 list recognizes those individuals who are working to make a positive impact on LGBTQ culture, beyond simply being at the pinnacle of their field/professions," reads a statement from the magazine. New to the list this year is R&B star Frank Ocean, 29, who released his critically acclaimed album Blonde earlier this year. "After Ocean came out, his music career took on a vital, intersectional role, bringing male pronouns into romantic mainstream R&B and emphasizing the complexity of human sexuality," explains the magazine. Another newcomer, Tarell Alvin McCraney, was honored for his work co-writing this year's Best Picture winner at the academy awards, Moonlight. Taking the stage after the infamous Oscar-mix-up with La La Land last year, the win "proved a historic moment for black people and LGBT people alike," writes the magazine. McCraney, the movie's co-screenwriter, also wrote the work the film is based on, which was loosely based on his own life. Visit OUT.com for the complete list, which includes other notable members of the LGBTQ community like Transparent creator Jill Soloway, Feud: Bette & Joan show-runner Ryan Murphy and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. (People)

Harry Belafonte phones in acceptance speech. Harry Belafonte literally had to "phone in" his Freedom Award acceptance speech at the 15th Broadway Stands Up for Freedom benefit. The star and civil-rights icon felt under the weather, so he called into the event from his cell, according to an insider. He asked the audience's "humble forgiveness" as New York Civil Liberties Union exec director Donna Lieberman held the phone while Belafonte made his speech. But, "You could hear a pin drop in the audience during his moving toast," an attendee told us. Musical stars including Gavin Creel ("Hello, Dolly!"), Chris Jackson ("Hamilton") and Adrienne Warren ("Shuffle Along") performed. (TMZ)

Stan Lee makes his mark on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Stan Lee, legendary comic writer and co-creator of iconic Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk, is a spry 94 years old, and he's still trying to outdo himself career-wise. (Sadly, Lee's wife, Joan, passed away July 6 at the age of 93.) He arrives to work every day at the Los Angeles offices of POW! Entertainment, where he continues to generate ideas for cutting-edge films and television projects, including the popular U.K. sci-fi crime series "Stan Lee's Lucky Man," starring James Nesbitt and Eve Best. "I might come up with a new character who is more popular than the ones I've already done, or I might want to come up with a whole new kind of entertainment," says Lee, whose hand and footprints were captured in cement in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre Tuesday. It is an event paid for and sponsored by the fan-funded media company Legion M. "The big thing is to keep working and keep trying to create, and hope you come up with something good." For Lee, that something good has manifested itself into a canon of groundbreaking comic heroes. Starting in the 1960s in New York -- together with artists Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby -- Lee created revolutionary three-dimensional characters. These were figures carved from the real world, with relatable flaws and problems to which any fan -- kids and adults -- could relate. From Peter Parker's insecurities or Dr. Stephen Strange's arrogance, these superheroes were far from perfect, each with an Achilles' heel that made him vulnerable when he least expected it. They may have been larger than life -- they could scale walls and fly across the sky -- but they resonated with audiences on a deeply personal level. This humanistic approach to superhero protagonists changed the trajectory of the comic book industry and turned Lee, himself, into a cult hero -- a bonafide champion of the underdog in all of us. (Lee claims to have ruined his eyesight reading all the impassioned typewritten letters sent to him from fans over the decades.) "The super[hero] angle is the thing that's fiction, but I tried to make everything else as realistic as possible," Lee says of his approach. "I try to think that if I had a superpower, what would my life be like?" So ubiquitous in their popularity, Lee's Marvel superheroes became to the modern world what mythological gods were to ancient cultures. Where there was once Apollo, there was now Captain America. These characters have never fallen out of favor. While many film studios have struggled to get audiences interested in film versions of such once-iconic characters as King Arthur or the Lone Ranger, nearly every Marvel film rakes in big bucks at the box office. The rare misses, including the 2015 version of "Fantastic Four," usually fail for straying too far from their creators' core ideas. Conversely, the latest "Spider-Man" casts Peter Parker as a high school student, which is a return to Lee's original intent. "I think when it comes down to it, it's the relatable nature of all of the heroes that makes them resonate [with people]," says Lee. "They were not gods come down from the heavens," adds Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. "We recognize ourselves in them, and in their struggle to do what's right." In 1972, having definitely altered the landscape of comic books, Lee took a break from writing and became Marvel's publisher. In 1981 he moved to Los Angeles to develop Marvel's TV and movie properties. Then, in 2000, Lee partnered with Gill Champion, POW! president and a producer who worked on Daniel Petrie's 1981 crime drama "Fort Apache, the Bronx." "Although he remains chairman emeritus at Marvel, he was allowed to go out and compete, in a sense against himself, and create for the next generation of fans of superhero stories," says Champion. The way things work today, Lee delivers "a germ of the idea" to the team of POW! team writers, who then shepherd these ideas for further development. In addition to "Lucky Man," which Champion says will be headed for American screens soon, POW! has produced the Syfy reality TV series "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" and the graphic novel series "The Zodiac Legacy," which Lee co-created with writer Stuart Moore. The company is also developing an anime series called "The Reflection." Per Champion, Lee kicks off every ideas meeting stressing "story, story, story and character, character, character." "His sense of visuals is still as strong as ever," he says. Same goes for Lee's popularity; he can't walk down the street without someone asking for his autograph. (On Aug. 22, a tribute event for fans named "Extraordinary: Stan Lee" will take place at L.A.'s Saban Theater.) "He's always there to sign an autograph, and now that everybody has their own camera, to take a selfie," Champion says. "I don't think there are many celebrities who would share that kind of experience with the fans." On the cusp of turning 95, Lee has no plans to slow down. On June 30, he delivered the keynote commencement speech at the University of California Los Angeles Extension, urging recent graduates to "enjoy your work, because you spend your entire life working." Retirement, Lee strongly believes, "is a dirty word." "I love what I do," says Lee. "If I had to do anything else, I'd be miserable. If I weren't coming into the office and working with the people here, I would be sitting at home, watching television." To that end, Lee is now shooting four cameos for a quartet of movies. He makes a cameo appearance in every Marvel film, but "Thor," he says, was his favorite. "It's the only cameo that I've done that was two scenes. Now I'm hoping they'll give me three scenes. Before you know it, I'll be one of the actors in the movie." (PageSix)

The Royal Fab 4 Tour Continues! William, Kate, George and Charlotte Arrive in Berlin. After two busy days in Poland, Prince William, Princess Kate and their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte have arrived in Germany for the second half of their five-day tour. The royal family departed from Warsaw Wednesday morning, boarding their private plane for the one-and-a-half-hour flight to Berlin. Upon landing, the family of four received an official welcome at Berlin Airport. Later in the day, William and Kate are expected to visit The Brandenburg Gate, one of the city's most important monuments. The monumental gate was built in the 18th century as a symbol of peace. They will then make a poignant visit to Berlin's Holocaust museum and memorial, where they will meet survivors of the Holocaust and tour the museum before walking through the memorial. Their day continues with a visit to Strassenkinder, a charity which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They will also meet representatives from the Robert Enke Foundation, which raises awareness and understanding of mental illness -- a cause that's very important to the royal couple. They will end their busy day with a meeting with German President Joachim Gauck in the Bellevue Palace Gardens, followed by a Queen's Birthday Garden Party at the British Ambassador's Residence, where William will give a speech. The royals' tour kicked off Monday when they arrived in Warsaw for a busy two days that included a visit to the Warsaw Rising Museum, a young entrepreneur's reception, another garden party in honor of Queen Elizabeth's recent birthday and an emotional visit to the Stutthof concentration camp. George and Charlotte are pros when it comes to royal tours. Last September, the family of four traveled to Canada for a week-long visit, which included a memorable playdate with the royal siblings. The royal parents announced their decision to bring their kids with them on the tour in early July. "They have decided that their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will travel with them and we expect the children to be seen in at least a couple of occasions over the course of the week," their spokesman said. "They look forward to a busy and impactful tour and are grateful that they will have the opportunity to meet the Polish and German people -- such important friends of the United Kingdom -- as a family." (People)

Gwen Stefani's Sons Are Taking Style Cues From Blake Shelton. Gwen Stefani isn't the only one who kinda, sorta, really likes Blake Shelton...Her sons can't help but adore him, too! As we've discussed before, the country crooner has totally won over Kingston, Zuma and Apollo's hearts since he started dating the No Doubt front woman in October of 2015. Whether he's letting little Apollo take the lead on a hike or he's flying beside Kingston on a private helicopter ride for his birthday, Shelton has made sure to spend quality time with Stefani's boys...and that time has certainly rubbed off on their sense of style! Seriously, the three kiddos -- and especially the eldest, Kingston and Zuma -- have started dressing more and more similar to the "Came Here to Forget" singer. For example, they've been photographed rocking lots of camouflage, and as we all know, Shelton is a big fan of the pattern. Stefani shared this photo of Kingston, rocking his green camo as he posed for the camera. But aside from camo, the kids have also been spotted rocking another one of Shelton's go-to styles: cowboy boots! And then there's the plaid...so. much. plaid. We'll always remember Stefani's Christmas celebrations with Shelton and their two combined families during which everyone was rocking plaid, playing the guitar and singing along like the big country Christmas it was! If this isn't a Shelton clone, we don't know what is. But the funniest moment that the kids really showed their love for Shelton (and his cowboy style), was when they asked him to draw a replica of his arm tattoo! Stefani snapped a pic of the funny moment with all the boys flexing their forearms and showing off the barbed wire and deer print "ink." Needless to say, these boys sure do look up to Shelton, and that's a pretty awesome effect to have, considering how serious the country star has gotten with Stefani over the years! (Eonline)

Melissa McCarthy and Yanic Truesdale's Gilmore Girls Reunion Is the Only Thing That Matters Today. Even if people have been particularly stupid today, Michel still found a reason to talk to Sookie. Yes, former Gilmore Girls co-stars Yanic Truesdale and Melissa McCarthy reunited ...in Greece! They gave us all the feels as they shared a sweet selfie together on Instagram, hanging by the pool with an incredible ocean view while on vacation. Truesdale captioned the photo, "I love when this happens! By coincidence, we both booked a vacation at the same time in Greece! #magicaltiming #bestvacations." But McCarthy and Truesdale weren't the only ones involved in the fun. The actor also shared a photo reading his other former co-star Lauren Graham's book, Talking as Fast as I can. "Catching up on my reading in Greece," he captioned the photo. At last a vacation! Proud of my friend Lauren for her funny and entertaining new book! #talentedactress." Of course, it's no surprise that these co-stars continue to gush over each other. In reuniting for the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Netflix's four-part event series, they all shared fond memories about working together on the show. "Oh, it was a bloodbath," McCarthy joked with E! News after filming her return. "No, it was so fun. I get so sentimental to be back on those sets and to see everybody. It was amazing how we just all fell back into it." (Eonline)

Ryan Seacrest may have found the next American Idol ... on the subway in NYC. The morning talk show co-host was using public transpo Tuesday when a guy busted out a rousing rendition of "Stand by Me" ... so he started recording. The presumed host of the 'A.I.' reboot didn't seem to know all the words, but still enjoyed the show. Ryan got a gentle reminder at the end, though -- this ain't an 'Idol' audition ... and filmed performances ain't free. He should be able to afford it ... he's expected to bank $10-15 million to join the 'A.I.' team. (TMZ)

Just friends or not, Scott Disick and Bella Thorne are still hanging out. An eyewitness tells Us Weekly that Disick and Thorne showed off "extreme PDA" while celebrating Steve Aoki's new album, Kolony, at Catch NYC on Monday, July 17. "They were hugging a lot," the eyewitness tells Us. "They were very lovey-dovey." According to the source, Thorne, 19, arrived after Disick, 34, and also left the hot spot before the self-proclaimed Lord made his exit. Their outing comes hours after Thorne told Jenny McCarthy during an interview on her SiriusXM radio show on Monday that she never hooked up with Disick, despite their headline-making trip to Cannes, France, in May. "I was never with him sexually," The Duff actress insisted to McCarthy. As Us Weekly previously reported, Thorne left Cannes after Disick was seen getting close with a bevy of other women. She told Complex magazine last month that she flew out because she couldn't keep up with Disick's partying. "Scott is really nice, sweet, charming. I don't drink, and he really drinks a lot. And it just ended up ... I just wasn't down," she told the mag. "I was like, 'I gotta leave.' I love to go out and have fun, I love to f--king dance, but I just don't party hardcore like that and it was way too much for me." Prior to reconnecting in NYC, the duo were last seen in L.A. on June 22. (US Weekly)

Jenni JWoww Farley Shares Precious Video of Her Daughter Dressed as Belle, Dancing With the Beast (AKA Roger Mathews). OK, if this doesn't give you all the feels, we don't know what will... Jenni "JWoww" Farley and her husband Roger Mathews threw their daughter Meilani an epic, Disney and Princess-themed third birthday party. But while the photos of the birthday bash certainly came out adorable, nothing tops the daddy-daughter moment JWoww caught on video. Dressed as the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Mathews twirls Meilani -- dressed as Belle, of course -- around while singing and dancing to "Tale as Old as Time." JWoww captioned the sweet video," We worked hard to make this day happen. Everything went wrong but this moment was perfect. Thank you @mbridal for creating this dress for meilani. You are amazing and @cakepopsbyjenn for creating the best decor in the pics!!! @merakistudiosnj." She shared several more photos of the party, which appeared to take place Sunday. The day was filled with visits from princesses -- including Ariel, Rapunzel and Belle -- as well as a Little Mermaid-themed dessert table and even an outfit change by Meilani! The guests included JWoww's bestie, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi , who snapped several photos throughout the day with her 2-year-old, Giovanna Marie. Needless to say, the b-day bash appeared to be every little girl's dream and more! (Eonline)

While "Real Housewife" Luann de Lesseps' new marriage to Tom D'Agostino Jr. is "hanging by a thread," Page Six reported, her ex-boyfriend, vintner Jacques Azoulay, is shopping a reality show with current squeeze Missy Hargraves about their own rocky relationship. Spies tell us Azoulay and Hargraves -- the animal activist/model who was once married to Conan O'Brien producer Jeff Ross -- were spotted "canoodling" last weekend at the Capri hotel in Southampton. But a Hamptons source says of the pair, "One second it's amour .?.?. the next, it's all-out war." The source adds that they're even "shopping a reality show featuring her worldwide critter crusades and their stormy on-again/off-again relationship." Hargraves told us when reached for comment, "I never ever thought I would be involved in a reality show. But I would do anything for the animals. Anything." The couple's co-hosting a Hamptons event on Saturday for the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center before its Get Wild summer gala on Aug. 12. Azoulay dated de Lesseps for four years. (Page Six)

Caitlyn Jenner: Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady" Was My Anthem. It's about time! At long last, Caitlyn Jenner made her debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday. "You've had every member of my family here," she said. "It's about time you had me! I've got all the good stories." Ironically, Jimmy Kimmel just so happens to be Kendall Jenner's neighbor -- something Caitlyn hoped to use to her advantage. "If I brought over some binoculars, could you kind of spy down on her?" she asked. "I never know what's going on in that house." The ABC host laughed and replied, "Can I tell you what's going on in that house? There's a lot of people bringing clothes in and out of the house -- just all the time. There's so many clothes going in and out of the house!" "I can see that," Caitlyn said. "No, Kendall is a very great kid." Jimmy then confessed he had actually met Caitlyn "a long time ago" when he was a radio sportscaster at KROQ in 1996. "We were at the Olympics in Atlanta. You were on the Kevin & Bean show -- I was the sports guy on that show -- and we met at that time," the comedian said. "It was a big deal for me because I am of the age where -- like, you were on the Wheaties box!" "I'm trying to get back on it now," Caitlyn joked. "Maybe I should come out of retirement!" That led Jimmy to bring up "the elephant in the room," which he could no longer ignore. "It's unusual that now I'm meeting you as a woman after meeting you as a man...Is it strange for you to look in the mirror and go, 'Hey, now I'm who I wanted to be?'" he asked. Caitlyn smiled wide and told the host, "No. I wake up in the morning and I have a feeling of peace. It's very difficult to go through your life with this. I never met anyone else who was trans until after I came out." Recalling her lifetime of "hiding" and "secrets," Caitlyn shared a "funny" story she'd never told anyone before. "If you noticed today on Instagram, I posted a picture of me and Steven Tyler." "I was at a fundraiser in Minneapolis, and he was the entertainment. I had met him, I think, once, briefly -- many, many years ago. But he was sitting there and I'm thinking, 'I've got to go say hi,'" the Olympian said. "So, I go backstage after and I look up at Steven and I said, 'I have had some really, really tough times in my life. For six years, at one point, I stayed in my house, and every once in a while I would get dressed and go sneak out in the dark and drive around." Caitlyn said she told Steven all about how she would drive around town listening to Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady," years before she came out as transgender. In fact, she said, "That became my theme song, driving around in my little car with my little CD in there, whipping up the tunes and stuff. I said, 'I just want you to know, it made me feel good.' He loved it. He hugged me and said, 'We've got to get together.'" In her Instagram caption, Caitlyn joked that she and Steven "are working on our duet for Dude Looks Like a Lady. One of my favorite songs!" Later in the interview, Caitlyn gave Jimmy some grief for mocking her on TV before she came out. "We didn't know what was happening," Jimmy told her. "We thought you were just vain!" "I know. It's OK," Caitlyn said, to which Jimmy replied, "Sorry about that, by the way." "It's OK," Caitlyn reassured him. "Now he's going to apologize! I accept your apology. I don't know if you saw, but when I was on [The Tonight Show with] Jimmy Fallon, I gave him a real hard time." Seizing the opportunity to tease his affable late-night rival, the host laughed, "Well, he deserves it. He said some real terrible things. He does that a lot. He is very hard on people." (Eonline)

Good news Laker fans ... a new era of Showtime could be right around the corner, that's according to Magic Johnson's wife, Cookie, who says Lonzo Ball has what it takes to be the next Magic. Lonzo's been KILLIN' it in the Summer League, serving notice to the entire basketball world that he's really, really, good. Question is, just how good can he be? Cookie thinks he can be as good as her All-Universe husband, and told us as much when we got her out in Beverly Hills. We'd say it's unfair to put such Hall of Fame expectations on the kid, but for some reason we think he's used to it. (TMZ)

R. Kelly is an unsexy, unsavory person who's been getting a pass for way too long ... according to Tiffany Haddish and Charlamagne tha God. The "Girls Trip" star and the co-host of "The Breakfast Club" were at Heavvy Set's No Kid Hungry event in NYC ... when they went off about the latest Kelly allegations -- that he's keeping women in a "cult" -- and they both wonder why the public keeps letting him off the hook. Their point is ... other celebs have been ousted from "the culture" for doing far less than Kelly -- and they really take issue with his self-dubbed nickname. Not all pied pipers should be followed ... in their eyes. (TMZ)

China's Internet crackdown on memes comparing President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh is a major overreaction not worthy of even a bother ... according to the guy who gives Pooh a voice. Jim Cummings -- the voice of Pooh since the '80s -- told us China and Prez Xi are taking the comparison all wrong, because it's actually a good thing. The memes started with a side-by-side image of Pooh and Tigger with a 2013 pic of Xi and President Obama -- and took off from there. Well, up until the government started blocking the images on all public sites and forums. Jim, who also voices Tigger, advises a smackerel of Pooh's favorite food to calm the sitch -- but with nearly 1.5 billion people ... might take more than that. (TMZ)

Dalmatian mom gives birth to a whopping 18 puppies. A Dalmatian known as Miley is giving '101 Dalmatians' a run for their money. While Miley didn't give birth to as many puppies as the Disney classic, she did set a new world record for the largest Dalmatian litter in Australia. A whopping 18 spotted pups were brought into the world on May 18th. The new mom is busy taking care of her healthy and sweet mini-mes with the help of Miley's breeder Cecilia Langton-Bunker and a lovely little girl named Lulu. According to the Herald Sun Miley made it through a lengthy 13-hour labor to bring her little ones into the world. The average Dalmatian litter is around 8 or 10 which left Cecilia quiet surprised when Miley continued to deliver 8 more puppies. Cecilia credits the happy and healthy litter to Miley's dedication to her offspring. While Miley's above average pregnancy was the first of its kind in Australia another over-achieving mom in the UK gave birth to 18 dalmatians in 2009. (AOL)

Music

Here's a Chance to Perform with Nicky Jam on Best.Cover.Ever. Are you ready? Nicky Jam was just announced as a judge on Best.Cover.Ever., the Ryan Seacrest-Produced competition series on YouTube. "Cover songs are a terrific vehicle to help discover fresh talent, and YouTube is the perfect platform to do it," said Seacrest in a statement. "These new young artists will also have the chance to work alongside some of the most renowned musicians in the world, which we hope will generate some great experiences for the artists and contestants alike, and in turn produce some memorable performances." Artists like Justin Bieber began his career by sharing covers on the video website, which helped him become a superstar. "YouTube is the best place for emerging musicians to be discovered, and Best.Cover.Ever. will encourage these artists to go for their dreams alongside the best in the business," said Susanne Daniels, YouTube global head of original content, in a statement. "We're thrilled that Ryan Seacrest will give new talent the opportunity to shine in front of over 1 billion fans around the world." "Mi gente, I'm in this new cool show on YouTube called Best.Cover.Ever and the winner get's the chance to perform with me in LA, an exclusive YouTube video. All you need to do to a video cover of my song 'El Amante,'" the 36-year-old musician said in the promo video. If you're interested, head over to thebestcoverever.com for the official rules and regulations on how to enter, just make sure to submit your cover by August 18. Other mega-superstar judges this season include Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Charlie Puth and Jason Derulo. Now, get your cover on! (Eonline)

Romeo Santos Releases NSFW "Imitadora" Music Video. Romeo Santos, you just made us blush! On Tuesday, the 35-year-old singer released the music video for his single "Imitadora," and it's definitely sexy. We love that the musician likes to showcase his acting skills in his videos and this one is no exception. In this story, Romeo is an agent that was burned by his girlfriend, played by Jessica Cediel. "Imitadora," which means imitator in Spanish, is all about Romeo feeling like he's with an imposter of the woman that he loves. He continues to ask her trick questions to see if it's her because he can't seem to recognize her due to her actions. The 35-year-old Colombian model, TV host seduces the naive agent, and he foolishly falls in love with her. The video shows some very steamy scenes between the two that are NSFW. The song hit No. 1 on Billboard's Latin Airplay chart in its fourth week on the chart, which dethrones Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" featuring Justin Bieber. On Friday, July 21, Romeo will be gifting fans with a new album on a very special day -- his birthday. Golden will be Santos' first album since 2014. "I want to thank you guys so much for the support, from the bottom of my heart. I want to see you all at the in-stores [events]," the singer said in a video that he shared on Instagram. We can't wait for Santos' new music to drop! (Eonline)

Demi Lovato Invites Paris Hilton, Jamie Foxx & Wiz Khalifa to 'Sorry Not Sorry' House Party Teaser. Demi Lovato is prepping the summer's biggest house party. In a tease of her "Sorry Not Sorry" video posted on Tuesday night (July 18), Lovato asked "Hey @ParisHilton @iamjamiefoxx and @wizkhalifa are you ready for this one tomorrow?" The full video is slated to drop on Wednesday morning (July 19). The color-splashed backyard bbq scene finds Lovato riding atop a stuffed bear and singing the song's soaring hook, dancing around in foam and shaking it along with a glittery sunglasses-wearing Hilton. Lovato is clearly enjoying the empowering, unapologetic vibe of the song, which she recently celebrated with a wild East Coast house part where she got a piggyback ride from New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Last week she also kicked off her Sorry Not Sorry House Tour, which will find her performing a series of intimate gigs across the country for superfans. (British Glamour)

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton Announce Final Performance Together. Two of country music's biggest stars, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, whose onstage chemistry spawned hit duets like "Islands in the Stream" and "Real Love," will be making their final performance together this year. Rogers, who is retiring from touring, says his final performance with Parton will be part of an all-star farewell show to be held at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 25. The two have been performing together for more than 30 years since "Islands in the Stream," written by the Bee Gees, became a pop crossover platinum hit in 1983. Other performers for the farewell show are Little Big Town, Flaming Lips, Idina Menzel, Elle King, Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss, with more names to be announced. Rogers made the announcement Tuesday at a press conference in Nashville. Tickets for the show will go on sale July 21. Rogers, 78, said it's been more than a decade since he performed with Parton for a CMT special. "I think we owe it to her to let her go on with her career, but we owe it to me to do it one more time, and we're going to do that," Rogers said after the press conference. In his 60-year career, Rogers has had several successful duet partners, including Dottie West, Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton and Linda Davis, but Parton's star power made their collaborations a tour de force. "We can go three years without talking to each other and when we get together, it's like we were together yesterday," Rogers said. "We both feel that comfort." "Performing with Kenny for the last time ever on October 25 is going to be emotional for both of us, but it's also going to be very special," Parton said in a statement. "Even though Kenny may be retiring, as he fades from the stage, our love for each other will never fade away." The actor, singer and photographer with hits like "The Gambler," ''Lady" and "Lucille," announced in 2015 he would do a final farewell tour before retiring to spend more time with his family. Rogers said he and Parton would definitely sing "Islands in the Stream," but beyond that, he wasn't sure yet. "Whether we do something else, I don't know," Rogers said. "That would require a rehearsal and I don't know that Dolly or I, either one, are up for that. (Billboard)

Terrell Owens is gettin' the cold shoulder from Ice Cube ... 'cause the ex-NFL superstar's plea to join the Big3 has been officially shut down by the league's founding father himself. ICYMI -- We talked to T.O. last week about wanting to join ex-NBA hoopers like Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups and Ricky Davis in Cube's new 3-on-3 league ... and he said he was 100% serious about joining in on the fun. But Cube was quick to shut down the idea ... telling TMZ Sports T.O. ain't exempt from Rule #1 of the Big 3 -- ex-NBA players ONLY!! So it looks like it's back to the celebrity games and the Drew League for T.O.'s hoop dreams. That's cold, Cube ... (TMZ)

Kanye West Returns Fire in Lawsuit Over 'The Life of Pablo' Exclusivity. Kanye West has hit back at a lawsuit which claimed he conned fans and failed in his promise to deliver The Life of Pablo as an exclusive to Tidal. West was sued by a supposed fan who argued the rapper and the streaming service engaged in "deceptive conduct" by luring others into subscribing to Tidal on the basis that it was the only channel to hear Pablo, when the album would later enjoy a wider release. The proposed class action, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco last year by Justin Baker-Rhett, included references to tweets posted by West, including one that proclaimed, "My album will never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale... You can only get it on Tidal." Pablo first appeared on Tidal in February 2016, but the Chicago hip-hop star tinkered with some of the tracks and a repackaged, alternative version of the album rolled out the following month on rival platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify. These tweaks are central plank to West's defense. Because it proves his tweets were true, his team argues. Pablo has been a "living breathing changing creative expression" -- a reference to another Kanye tweet -- and "he has altered lyrics, changed vocals, added new beats, and remixed songs," the new document reads. "In other words, the original version of The Life of Pablo, which debuted on Tidal in February 2016, was always exclusive to it." Kanye and his team want the lawsuit dismissed. "The versions of The Life of Pablo that are available on other streaming services are different from the original, Tidal-only version," notes the new doc, which Billboard has seen. "Plaintiff does not dispute that there are differences between the versions of the album available on the different streaming services, and therefore he has not shown that Mr. West's tweet about the exclusivity of The Life of Pablo on Tidal was false." (Billboard)

Listen to Nine Inch Nails' 'This Isn't the Place'. "Less Than," the first single from the upcoming ADD VIOLENCE EP and the last we heard from Nine Inch Nails, gave us the sound of Trent Reznor's industrial rock institution doing what they do best: sleek sequenced synths, then explosive guitar noise; a tight and sleazy verse, then a big shouted chorus; a lot of tension, then just enough release. "This Isn't the Place," the follow-up single, is a slipperier composition, less "Head Like a Hole" than, say, "11 Ghosts II." It's the kind of Nine Inch Nails song that offers mounting pressure that never seems to resolve, and it's more powerful for withholding any sort of contrived catharsis. Aside from some wordless moans, "This Isn't the Place" waits a full two and a half minutes before introducing Reznor's singing voice. If only because of this quasi-instrumental opening, it's likely to remind you of Ghosts I-IV, NIN's sprawling collection of wordless sketches from 2008, or of Reznor's work with longtime collaborator Atticus Ross, providing shattered-glass sonics for films like The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. These are the works on which Reznor fully embraced his role as tinkerer and sound designer, placing importance on the delicate interactions between a small collection of drones and eerie percussive sounds, rather than the power of bloodletting wails. "This Isn't the Place," too, is conspicuously minimal in its arrangement, with ping-ponging synth accents and a persistent pallor that made me wonder whether its title is a wry play on the utopian Talking Heads classic. When Reznor finally does start singing, it's in a cracked and uncertain falsetto. He seems more interested in using his voice as just element in the atmosphere, rather than acting as rock'n'roll frontman. Over the course of the song, a swelling string ensemble creeps slowly out from the back of the mix, and for one thrilling moment, it threatens to overtake him completely. Then, the strings recede and dissolve. In short order, so does everything else. (Billboard)

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's 'Despacito' Sets Global Streaming Record. It's official: "Despacito" is now the most streamed song of all time, and it got there in just six months. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's hit original song and its remix featuring Justin Bieber have accumulated more than 4.6 billion streams across all platforms since its release in January. The track, which is currently No. 1 in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, surpasses the previous record holder, Justin Bieber's "Sorry" (and its various remixes), which has clocked up more than 4.38 billion combined plays, Universal Music Group reports. "Despacito," which means "slowly" in Spanish, was fast out the gate. Just hours after the Latin collab arrived on Jan. 13, the Puerto Rican singers had a monster on their hands. The upbeat track set a new record on Vevo by becoming the Spanish-language video with the most views in 24 hours (it collected 5.4 million hits). Another Vevo record fell when "Despacito" become the fastest Spanish-language video to reach 200 million views, which it achieved in 22 days. It's also the fastest ever music video to 2 billion views (154 days). Commenting on his record-smashing feat, Fonsi said: "Streaming is a connector for audiences worldwide and it has helped my music reach every corner of the planet. It is truly an honor that 'Despacito' is now the most streamed song in history." Lucian Grainge, chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group, congratulated Fonsi and everyone who helped make the record a hit. "Luis Fonsi already had the undisputed, biggest song of the year-and now he's setting even bigger records. Streaming has opened up the possibility of a song with a different beat, from a different culture and in a different language to become a juggernaut of success around the world. My congratulations to Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, as well as everyone at Universal Music Latin Entertainment, Republic Records and Def Jam, on this tremendous accomplishment." Streaming has "democratized music consumption, it has made Latin music increasingly relevant on the charts and it has amplified our songs and videos to a world stage," comments Jesús Lopez, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula. "'Despacito' has broken every record thanks to Luis Fonsi's talent and creativity, which have positioned him as a pillar of Latin music for the past 20 years. I also congratulate Erika Ender, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber for their valuable contributions, as well as the different teams involved in the success of this song." "Despacito" (released on Universal Music Latino / Raymond Braun / SchoolBoy / Def Jam / UMLE / Republic Records) is just the 35th single to top the Billboard Hot 100 for at least 10 weeks. The record for the longest stint at No. 1 is owned Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day," which ruled for 16 weeks in 1995-96. (Billboard)

Movies

Game of Thrones Director "Quite Surprised" By Ed Sheeran Cameo Reaction. Game of Thrones director Jeremy Podeswa, the man who helmed the Game of Thrones season seven premiere, has a message: Leave Ed Sheeran alone! Well, he didn't say that specifically. Speaking with Newsweek, the Emmy-nominated director said he thought the singer, "did a lovely job." In the Game of Thrones season seven premiere, Sheeran appears in a scene with Maisie Williams' Arya Stark. She comes upon him and a band of soldiers camping and he sings, then they offer her food and drink. "For years, we tried to get Ed Sheeran on the show to surprise Maisie, and this year we finally did it," Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff said at a SXSW panel in March. After his appearance, the internet lit up with criticism (and praise), but Sheeran deleted his Twitter account...sort of. It came back. "He was appropriate for the part because he needed to sing. If people didn't know who Ed was, they wouldn't have thought about it twice. The hoo-ha seems to be from things that are outside of the world of the show. In the world of the show he did a lovely job, and he looks like he belongs in that world," Podeswa said. According to the director, viewers "interrogated it too much" and brought "so much of his [superstar] presence into the thing which is far beyond what anybody was thinking going into it." "He is known to the producers of the show and some of the cast, and he's a gigantic fan of the show. As everybody knows, the show really eschews stunt casting -- it's never, ever done that," he said. Game of Thrones has had other musicians appear before. Other cameos include Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, Will Champion from Coldplay, Sigur Rós, and Mastodon, yet none of those sparked as much conversation as Sheeran's. "I was quite surprised about the reaction actually because I know he's very well-known and a successful singer but you're in the bubble of the show -- the cast are well known too, everybody is really well known...none of them can walk down the street without being followed. You don't think about that very much in this context," Podeswa said. Sheeran previously recurred on FX's The Bastard Executioner and has played himself in an episode of NBC's Undateable and Bridget Jones' Baby. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Podeswa said he thought Sheeran "fit right into the world" of Game of Thrones. "He could not be more kind. He just wanted to do a good job. He was very cute. The only thing he asked is if he could change the key of the song he was singing, and he asked it very tentatively," he said. "He wanted to do a good job and was very concerned about that. He hung out with everybody on set all day, with all of the other guys sitting around the campfire. He was a team player. I swear to God, he was really just like one of the guys. He was lovely." The next episode of Game of Thrones season airs Sunday, July 23 at 9 p.m. on HBO. Titled "Stormborn," this is what HBO says happens: "Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receives an unexpected visitor. Jon (Kit Harington) faces a revolt. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) plans the conquest of Westeros." Bryan Cogman directed the episode with a script from Mark Mylod. (Eonline)

Jada Pinkett Smith Says Husband Will Is 'Perfect' as Aladdin's Genie: He's 'Always Creating Magic'. Jada Pinkett Smith can't wait for the world to see how magical her husband Will Smith is. The Girls Trip star, 45, gushed about her partner of over two decades on Wednesday's episode of the Tonight Show and told host Jimmy Fallon exactly why the role of Genie was a great fit for Will. "You know what, this is perfect for you because you're always creating magic," the actress recalled telling her husband, who was in early talks to headline Disney's live-action Aladdin since April. On Saturday, Walt Disney Studios production president Sean Bailey confirmed at the D23 Expo that "the amazing Genie will be played by the equally amazing Will Smith." Guy Ritchie is directing the film with newcomers Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott playing Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively. For the forthcoming remake, the fictional city of Agrabah will be created from global influences, including the Middle East, India, and even China. Queen Latifah On Will Smith Changing Her Life: 'Will Gave Me My First Job On TV' "Girls Trip" Star Queen Latifah Talks How Will & Jada Smith Have Been There for Her Throughout Entire Career. Not only will the 1992 animated movie be a major influence, but the screenplay will go back to the classic Arabic folktales of One Thousand And One Nights. Girls Trip hits theaters July 21. (People)

Could Harry Styles win an Oscar for Dunkirk? He's been lauded for his debut performance... Name not pronounced 'see-air-a' like the Goodies singer. With a voice that's sold millions, hair that's made headlines and a cheeky chappy personality that has won the hearts of interviewers (and Victoria's Secret models alike), it would seem only fair to the remainder of the male population for Harry Styles to absolutely SUCK at acting. We're talking hide-behind-your-hands really, really AWFUL stuff, here. But alas... Never will teenage girls be more interested in the rich history of World War Two after Harry Styles' debut acting performance in Christopher Nolan's epic, Dunkirk. And critics are applauding Harry's performance. In the film Harry plays Alex, a tenacious, barely-out-of-his-teens British soldier who is - along with another 330,000 soldiers including Tommy, played by Fionn Whitehead -desperate to escape Dunkirk as the German army rapidly advance into France, roughly eight months into WWII. His performance has had largely positive reviews with Empire saying it's "definitely not the Rihanna-in-Battleship debacle you may have feared" (their words not ours, Rih) and The Mirror saying "if you didn't know who the way, you'd probably be picking him out as an actor to watch." Dunkirk has already sparked awards chatter with people calling the film Nolan's best yet. But can it make a dent at the Oscars, due to take place in early 2018? And does Harry stand a chance at an Actor in a Supporting Role nom? Only time will tell... (British Glamour)

An exclusive clip from new romcom The Big Sick. It's a story of love and comedy... If you get the tube every day, you'll already have seen the posters for StudioCanal UK's hotly anticipated new romcom The Big Sick and if you've seen the trailer too, you'll know exactly why we can't wait till it hits cinemas. Starring Pakistani-American standup comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani, the film is loosely based on his real-life romance with wife and co-writer Emily V Gordon. In the film, the comedian connects with student Emily and their relationship blossoms, but it appears destined to fail due to Kumail's traditional Muslim parents and their attempts to arrange his marriage. When Emily becomes ill, Kumail is forced to navigate the medical crisis with her parents. The film explores the cultural differences between an interracial couple and the power of love to cross boundaries. Set to be the biggest film of the summer. The Big Sick hits cinemas on July 28. (British Glamour)

Wanda's Theme Park Sale Price Increases by $2.1B as Second Buyer Joins Deal. Wang Jianlin's surprise move to sell off his Chinese theme parks and hotel holdings takes another twist as R&F Properties joins the transaction, and the terms change dramatically. Dalian Wanda Group's surprise deal to sell its Chinese theme park and hotel businesses took another twist Wednesday. At a hastily arranged press conference held in central Beijing, the real estate and entertainment conglomerate revealed that a second Chinese firm -- Guangzhou-based property developer R&F Properties -- would now be involved in the multibillion-dollar sell-off, which has been dubbed China's largest real estate transaction ever. Last week, Wanda, headed by China's second-richest man Wang Jianlin, announced that it had reached a landmark agreement to offload the bulk of its theme parks and hotels to fellow property developer Sunac China for $9.3 billion. But those terms were abruptly reworked Wednesday, with Sunac still onboard as the theme park buyer, but R&F emerging as the surprise acquirer of the hotels. There were several curious nuggets among the new deal terms as well. Previously, Sunac had agreed to pay RMB 33.595 billion (about $5 billion) for 76 of Wanda's Chinese hotels, but under the new agreement R&F will pay just RMB 19.906 billion (approximately $3 billion) for 77 Wanda hotels -- seemingly a colossal discount. Sunac's price for the theme parks holdings was revised upwards though. The Tianjin-based property developer formerly agreed to pay RMB 29.575 billion ($4.4 billion) for a 91 percent stake in 13 Wanda theme parks, which the company calls "culture and tourism projects." Sunac will now pay RMB 43.844 billion (about $6.5 billion). Overall, the value of the sale has jumped from $9.3 billion to $10.9 billion. (Hollywood Reporter)

Tencent Co-Founder Brands China's LeEco A "Ponzi Scheme". The struggling conglomerate's film studio co-produced Matt Damon's 'The Great Wall' and runs a joint venture headed by former Paramount president Adam Goodman, but it's now sucked up in the parent company's death spiral. Struggling Chinese Internet conglomerate LeEco can now add "public ridicule" to its growing list of woes. Last week, the cash-crunched technology firm founded by outspoken entrepreneur Jia Yueting became the subject of a formal review by Chinese regulators. Days later it was derided as nothing less than a Ponzi scheme by several of China's dominant tech tycoons. "[LeEco] is obviously a Ponzi scheme -- you don't belong in the investment market or entrepreneurial world if you can't see that," Tencent co-founder Zeng Liqing wrote in a widely shared social media post over the weekend. With a market capitalization of $351 billion, Tencent is Asia's most valuable company. Zeng's scathing critique, which was shared on Tencent's own WeChat social messaging service, was "liked" by none less than Xu Xiaping, one of China's most respected angel investors, and Tencent chairman Pony Ma, the world's 20th richest man ($33.5 billion, according to Forbes). The latest public embarrassment for LeEco comes as the firm struggles against the downward momentum of a corporate death spiral. Once dubbed the "Netflix of China," LeEco began a wild expansion from its core Internet video business about five years ago, burning through billions as it launched costly mobile phone and electric car divisions -- among much else -- in a bid to rival Apple and Tesla on the world stage. The conglomerate's film studio Le Vision Pictures, meanwhile, co-produced Matt Damon's big-budget Chinese spectacle The Great Wall and launched a Los Angeles-based subsidiary headed by former Paramount Pictures president Adam Goodman. Nearly all of this expansion was fueled by deep borrowing, however, and Jia began to run out of rope last year, as revenues from the conglomerate's new ambitions were short in coming (for a more detailed look at LeEco's background and unraveling see here). The company has been sustained by several sizable loans to cover the cash crunch -- one for $600 million last November, and another for $2.2 billion in January from property company Sunac China (the same firm that is attempting to buy Wanda's theme park business). Many observers believe the cash infusions have done little but delay the inevitable, however. Many of Jia's assets have been frozen by court orders as his creditors have protested late payments on loans. LeEco's core Internet video business, Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp -- among its very few assets that is still perceived as valuable -- on Friday estimated losses of just under $100 million for the first half of 2017, compared to profits of about $42 million during the same period a year ago. On Tuesday morning, Leshi extended a months-long freeze in trading of its shares on the Shenzhen stock exchange. The company says it is embarking on a major asset restructuring as its attempts to cope with the deep financing difficulties of its parent company. (Hollywood Reporter)

American Cinematheque to Honor Imax With Sid Grauman Award. The company's Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster will accept the accolade. The American Cinematheque will recognize the achievements of Imax with the 2017 Sid Grauman Award, presented by Hill Valley, on Nov. 10 during the American Cinematheque annual benefit awards show at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Richard Gelfond, Imax Corp. CEO, and Greg Foster, Imax Entertainment CEO and senior executive vp of Imax Corp., will accept the award on the company's behalf. "The American Cinematheque is pleased to present this year's annual Sid Grauman Award to Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster on behalf of Imax for their outstanding contribution to theatrical exhibition," American Cinematheque chairman Rick Nicita said Tuesday in a statement. "Their leadership of Imax has resulted in a breathtaking expansion of not only box office grosses around the world but in a quantum leap forward for the excitement and enjoyment of the moviegoing audience. There is no better way to see a movie than on the big screen and Imax gives us the biggest screens of all." The American Cinematheque board of directors created the award in 2015 to recognize "significant contributions to the Hollywood film industry in the continuing advancement of theatrical exhibition." It is named in honor of Sid Grauman, a pioneer in the theatrical exhibition of movies, founder of the Egyptian Theatre and a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV

BBC Responds to Complaints About Jodie Whittaker Starring in Doctor Who With a Perfect Statement. Chances are you've read some tweet or think piece about the new star of Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker. Gasp! Yes, the Doctor will be a woman. You may recognize Whittaker from Broadchurch, Attack the Block or Black Mirror. Yes, she's an accomplished actor too! BBC, the UK home of Doctor Who, has received complaints about the casting of the first woman in the title role and had to issue a statement about the naysayers. Really. "Some viewers contacted us unhappy that Jodie Whittaker has been cast as the new Doctor," the BBC complaint report website says. And their response? "Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of the Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the programme. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series. The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender. As the Controller of BBC Drama has said, 'Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.' We hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story." Haters, to the left. In an interview with BBC, Whittaker had a message for fans. "I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that's exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one." Chris Chibnall is taking over the reigns of the series from Steven Moffat. "After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we're excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we're thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away," Chibnall said in a statement. "Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way." Whittaker will make her debut in the Christmas special as Peter Capaldi exits. (Eonline)

Teen Wolf Reboot Already in the Works at MTV, Yes Even Before the Show Has Officially Ended. Teen Wolf is ending only to be rebooted. Probably. MTV is already at work on rebooting the popular series -- even before it's officially ended, according to reports. The series could turn into an anthology with a new cast and some returning faces, The Hollywood Reporter reports. "These characters and these stories have hit a peak," MTV president Chris McCarthy told The Hollywood Reporter. "We are talking with [creator Jeff Davis] about how do we actually keep that franchise alive. And the beauty of the evolution of media is you can see the series going on through a series of podcasts and then see a resurrection of a new class in a couple years." Teen Wolf, which was MTV's first scripted series, launched in 2011. The series is a reboot of the Michael J. Fox movie, but couldn't be further from it. Take a look at the final season trailer right now. Teen Wolf will be in Hall H for San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday. The series could also live on in podcast form after the finale. "How do we keep this franchise alive in podcasts, in the spirit of Serial, and then how do we actually reboot an entire new class? Because the heart of MTV is around these timeless issues of young people and coming of age, but the timely piece will be the whole new cast, new set of issues and stories to explore through them," McCarthy told THR. Reboots and revivals are nothing new in the current TV landscape, they just usually happen after a show has been off the air for some time. The X-Files will have another event series season on Fox, Will & Grace is returning to NBC and in the reality genre, ABC has American Idol now and TLC is bringing back Trading Spaces with Paige Davis as host. In the animated realm, Nickelodeon is bringing back popular animated shows Rocko's Modern Life, Hey Arnold and Invader Zim as TV movies. Get more info on all the latest remakes and revivals in our handy guide. The final season, which features the returns of fan-favorites Colton Haynes, Dylan O'Brien and Charlie Carver, premieres Sunday, July 30 at 8 p.m. on MTV. Too soon for a Teen Wolf reboot? (Eonline)

Paige Davis Returning to Host Trading Spaces on TLC. Trading Spaces might be getting a little makeover for its revival, but one thing is staying the same: Its host. Paige Davis will return to the TLC home makeover series to once again host the program, E! News has confirmed. "I will be hosting Trading Spaces again, I'm back at TLC, back home and back where I belong," Davis said in the video announcement. Trading Spaces is returning to TLC 10 years after it ended. The series takes two sets of neighbors and challenges them to makeover a room in the other's house with the help of a designer and a limited budget. "TLC is back into home and property with Nate & Jeremiah By Design, our new show helping distressed homeowners turn disasters into dream homes" TLC President and general manager Nancy Daniels said in a statement when the revival was announced. "We are thrilled to expand in this space, and what better way to do that than to bring back Trading Spaces, the series that put property on the map." At the time of announcement, Davis wasn't attached to the project. In March, Davis told E! News in a statement that all she knows is "fans are constantly bringing up to me how much they miss the show...so with TLC bringing it back, there will for sure be a lot of happy viewers out there!" Davis, who wasn't the original host of the series, that was Alex McLeod, left the show in 2005 and the series was host-less. She returned to host in 2008. Her other hosting duties include the OWN series Home Made Simple in 2011 and Davis has appeared in numerous stage productions including Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, Sweet Charity and Boeing-Boeing. Davis' return to the home makeover series follows Cash Cab's revival at TLC's sister network Discovery Channel. Ben Bailey is returning to host that game show. TLC will bring back Trading Spaces in 2018. (Eonline)

She's back! Kim Zolciak confirmed her return to The Real Housewives of Atlanta in an Instagram post on Tuesday, July 18. "FINALLY! After many months of negotiations, I'm happy and excited to confirm that as of today my deal is done!" she wrote. "I'm coming to play with the ladies over at RHOA." The reality TV star, 39, added that she will also continue filming her own series, Don't Be Tardy, and will be a part-time member of the Housewives cast. "Since you all have made my OWN show such a huge success, I've decided to continue to carry that instead of carrying a peach!" she concluded. "See you soon bitches! #CANTWAIT #2ShowsSameNetwork #Blessed #SeeUAtLeastHalfTheSeason #MoreThenAFriendLessThanFulltime" Us Weekly reported back in April that Zolciak was in negotiations to return to the Bravo hit for its 10th season, albeit "in a smaller role." The mom of six made a name for herself on RHOA when it debuted in 2008, leaving the series during its fifth season in 2012 to star in her own spinoff, Don't Be Tardy. NeNe Leakes is also returning to the show for season 10 and will appear "in a majority of the season's episodes," a production source told Us Weekly last month. Expect fireworks when the show returns -- Zolciak has already taken aim at Kenya Moore on social media after the former beauty queen, 46, said in a radio interview in May that the "Tardy for the Party" singer was coming back to the show because she needed money. "Sweetie don't try and come for me so you can have a story line for next season," Zolciak warned. (US Weekly)

Russian Social Network VKontakte Unveils Reality Show. It says 'Public Games' will be the first reality show taking place exclusively on social media. The "Russian Facebook" VKontakte on Wednesday unveiled plans for a reality show called Public Games. Casting for the show is in progress, with Public Games set to go live on the social network in September, the company said. "This is the first reality show that will take place entirely on a social network, and it is completely organized by communities," a VKontakte representative said. "Also, it will be the most technological [reality show]." For example, a network that uses facial recognition will determine the least active participants and eliminate them, VKontakte said. The reality show will feature 24 participants who will compete by completing various tasks, the nature of which were not immediately detailed. They will be filmed by 100 cameras, with footage from them being available around-the-clock on VKontakte. The winner is set to collect a cash prize, the size of which will be determined later. Public Games is being produced by Divico and Mastiff, one of Russia's largest reality show producers, known for such shows as Vacations in Mexico and Russia's Top Model. VKontakte has more than 95 million monthly users. (Hollywood Reporter)

Everyone doing okay?? On Tuesday, it was revealed that Ben Affleck has dropped out of Netflix's Triple Frontier in order to "take some time to focus on his wellness and his family." It's said the flick will move forward without the Oscar winner. Whoa. Of course, this career decision comes just as the A-lister's alleged romance with Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus is heating up. As you surely know, tongues have been waggin' quite a bit about the twosome's relationship as Miz Shookus seemingly commented on the situation last week. Also, a lot has happened for Affleck in 2017. In case you forgot, back in March, the Live By Night director admitted that he completed a stint in rehab and FINALLY filed for divorce from Jennifer Garner this past spring. Not to mention, this isn't the first time the celebrated actor has walked away from a project. In fact, Ben announced in January that he was stepping down as director of Warner Bros.' The Batman so he could focus on portraying the superhero on screen. We don't necessarily blame Ben for walking away from Triple Frontier as the movie's production has faced some bumps along the way. In April, Paramount and stars Tom Hardy and Channing Tatum abandoned the project. It almost seemed like a miracle when Netflix and Affleck signed on to revive the project. But, clearly, it was not. Looks like the streaming service will be scrambling to find its star. Good luck to everyone involved!! (Perez Hilton)

Jim Henson's Son Brian Opens Up About Kermit the Frog Actor Steve Whitmire's Firing. Brian Henson feels "guilty" that he didn't fire longtime Kermit the Frog voice actor Steve Whitmire 13 years ago. Henson, chairman of the Jim Henson Company named after his late father who created The Muppets, opened up to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, July 17, about Whitmire's contentious exit. He claimed the main reason for letting Whitmire go was that he was being "'disrespectful' in being outspoken on character issues." Henson said he wishes he would have parted ways with Kermit's puppeteer when he sold the company to Disney in 2004. "I have to say, in hindsight, I feel pretty guilty that I burdened Disney by not having recast Kermit at that point because I knew that it was going to be a problem," he told THR. "And I have always offered that if they wanted to recast Kermit, I was all for it, and I would absolutely help. I am very glad we have done this now. I think the character is better served to remove this destructive energy around it." The businessman claimed Whitmire's communication with colleagues was "appalling" and that he made "outrageous demands and often played brinkmanship." He added: "Steve would use 'I am now Kermit and if you want the Muppets, you better make me happy because the Muppets are Kermit.' And that is really not OK." Longtime Muppets performer Matt Vogel will be replacing Whitmire, and Henson believes the character is in good hands. "There was a lot of complexities to Kermit that have been kind of falling away, and I do believe Matt Vogel can access that energy really well. And Matt is a very good performer," he said. "And I believe that in protecting Kermit going forward, Matt will do a really wonderful job. I think the fans should not be so scared of change." Earlier this week, Whitmire gave his version of events, claiming he was fired over his detailed character notes and a union dispute. "They were uncomfortable with the way I had handled giving notes to one of the top creative executives on the series," he told The New York Times. "Nobody was yelling and screaming or using inappropriate language or typing in capitals. It was strictly that I was sending detailed notes. I don't feel that I was, in any way, disrespectful by doing that." He added to The Hollywood Reporter that he was trying to help Kermit remain consistent. "We have been doing these characters for a long, long time and we know them better than anybody. I thought I was aiding to keep it on track, and I think a big reason why the show was canceled [after one season last fall] was because that didn't happen," Whitmire said. "I am not saying my notes would have saved it, but I think had they listened more to all of the performers, it would have made a really big difference." (US Weekly)

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