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Friday, May 4, 2018

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

There's going to be a new baby in the neighborhood -- 90210 star Shenae Grimes-Beech and her husband Josh Beech will be welcoming a daughter later this year. "I can't believe our world is about to get a whole lot bigger and brighter and can't wait to embark on this wild ride with my partner in crime," the actress, 28, tells PEOPLE exclusively. The couple wed five years ago (Grimes-Beech wore an unconventional black wedding gown for their big day), and the star says she's always known her husband would one day make an amazing dad. "I feel like being a father was something Josh was put on this planet to do, and I'm thrilled that we're welcoming a daughter because I know how special the bond between my mum and I has always been," says Grimes-Beech, who's currently on hiatus from her new TV crime drama The Detail. "She is such an incredible mama to me and I'm so excited to share everything she's instilled in me and taught me with our baby girl!" "To say that I am over the moon that we are going to be having a little baby Beech is a huge understatement," says Beech, 31, who still plans to release music with the Jaguar Bones but is currently focusing on fashion photography. "Life's about to get a whole lot wilder, and I can't bloody wait!" On their wedding day, the Beeches exchanged vows to Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," and "that is exactly what we're excited to share with our little family's new addition," adds Grimes-Beech, who recently launched her new YouTube channel and will continue working on her fashion and beauty blog Lost in Lala. (People)

Newlywed bliss! Weston Cage Coppola and Hila Aronian opened up exclusively to Us Weekly about their recent nuptials. "The greatest honor of my life was to marry Hila," Cage Coppola, 27, tells Us. "My favorite part was the power and energy in Hila's vows." "His vows were amazing people came up to me and said 'How did you find this guy? He's amazing,'" Aronian added of her groom, who is Nicolas Cage's eldest son with ex Christina Fulton. "I felt people we're into it and felt what we were feeling." Us Weekly exclusively confirmed on Saturday, April 28, that the couple tied the knot on the grounds of an estate in Canyon County, California. "She brought heaven on earth to me so I wanted to show her heaven on earth. Her uncle Cameron and aunt had the best venue," Coppola, an actor and singer, told Us of Aronian's uncle Dr. Kamran Azizi and aunt Dr. Mahrokh Yashar's estate, which was decorated in a rocker-boho theme. "We wanted to get married outdoors and we looked at all these venues and it became very complicated, like getting water," Aronian further explained. "The estate was gorgeous, there are so many plants there, so much parking, a huge space, room for a stage hookah bar, cigar bar." The duo, who announced their engagement in December 2017, explained their decision to have entertainment, including belly dancers and tarot card readers at their nuptials. "Hila and I encourage the arts and education and worldliness, so we tried to entertain and inspire, with the belly dancers, serving sushi and having hookah was perfect for us," the actor said. Cage Coppola opened up to Us about his decision to add Coppola to his name. (His new wife will also take on the last name "Cage Coppola.") "My father had given me a choice when I was very young -- you can have either one, they're both your last names," he explained. "It was very Russian and went back to my Mediterranean heritage and celebrated the Italian last name ... We returned to our roots with the name change." (US Weekly)

After 28 years of marriage, The Cars' former frontman, Ric Ocasek and wife, Paulina Porizkova have decided to call it quits. On Wednesday, the former supermodel shared on social media with plenty of car and transportation metaphors that the couple, who wed in August 1989, have been "peacefully separated for the past year." "Our family always has been -- and still is -- a well-built car," Porizkova wrote in an Instagram post. "When the four of us are together, we can go wherever the road takes us. But as a bicycle, my husband and I no longer pedal in unison. So we're ditching the bicycle," she continued. "Ric and I have been peacefully separated for the past year," added Porizkova. "The photos of our happy family are, in fact, happy family photos; we are just no longer a couple." The Czech-born actress, 53, went on to talk about the love that she and Ocasek, 74, still have for each other. (The pair first met while filming the music video for The Cars' song "Drive" in 1984.) "The love we have for one another is so wide and deep it's practically tangible, and that sort of love can never disappear," she shared. "Expect to keep seeing happy family photos." "As I'm sure you can understand, out of respect for our children and each other, we'll not be commenting further (here or elsewhere) at this time," Porizkova concluded the post. Last month, the estranged couple -- who have two adult sons together, Jonathan and Oliver -- showed a united front at Ocasek's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in Cleveland, Ohio. At the event, Ocasek and Porizkova, both dressed in sparkly outfits, embraced each other as they posed for pictures. (People)

James Van Der Beek Delivers Inspiring Message to Fans With Dyslexia. James Van Der Beek won't let a learning disorder prevent his dreams from becoming a reality. It's no secret that the actor has found huge success in and out of Hollywood after starring in Dawson's Creek, Mercy and more hit projects. But what some fans may not know is that the proud dad and husband is also dyslexic. James decided to partner with The Child Mind Institute's #MyYoungerSelf campaign to end the stigma of mental health and learning disorders. In the process, he may have inspired a whole lot of fans with his personal story. "You'd think that words wouldn't really be my thing and yet, they are. I have committed an entire career to writing them, to reading them out loud in front of people to memorizing them and reciting them back in front of many other people and if I could say one thing to my younger self, it would be have fun with it," he shared in a new video obtained by E! News. "You know you aren't stupid so don't ever believe for a second that you are." James continued, "All of that work that you're going to have to do, all that mental gymnastics that you're going to have to do to make the connections that other people seem to make effortlessly, that's going to wake up other parts of your brain. They are going to allow you to have ideas. They are going to seem crazy to other people, but those ideas are going to be what sets you apart. There's a reason why a lot of other really creative people are dyslexic." Throughout the month of May, the Child Mind Institute will mark National Mental Health Awareness Month by revealing homemade videos featuring a celebrity or mental health advocate. Ginger Zee, Kristen Bell, Lindsey Stirling, Sarah Silverman and Gabrielle Union are just some of the stars who will participate and share personal stories. As for James, he has another piece of advice for those who can relate to his story. "Whenever it gets in your way or you realize you made a mistake, laugh," he shared. "Laugh because that's what's going to set you apart and you're going to be grateful for it. I guarantee you." Learn more about The Child Mind Institute and how you can help by visiting their website. (Eonline)

Ryan Reynolds Opens Up About His Struggle With Anxiety. Ryan Reynolds is as confident as they come in Deadpool 2 -- but off-screen, he's a bundle of nerves. "I have anxiety. I've always had anxiety," the actor reveals in The New York Times. "Both in the lighthearted 'I'm anxious about this' kind of thing, and I've been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun." The actor, who once told GQ he "had a little bit of a nervous breakdown" after the first Deadpool was released in 2016, adds that he's able to overcome his anxiety at work by channeling his character. "When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead," he says, "and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set." Like the mercenary he plays on-screen, Reynolds has a famously quick wit. "That's that great self-defense mechanism," he admits. "I figure if you're going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly." But whenever he meets fans in real life, for example, Reynolds says they are often highly disappointed to find "this incredibly boring version of a guy who looked like their hero." Naturally, the pressure for Deadpool 2 to do better than the first film weighs on him. "When there's built-in expectation," the actor explains, "your brain always processes that as danger." In his youth, he says, his dad was "the stress dispensary in our house." To keep the peace, "I became this young skin-covered micro manager. When you stress out kids, there's a weird paradox that happens because they're suddenly taking on things that aren't theirs to take on." Reynolds' anxiety followed him into his 20s, where he got into a "real unhinged phase." "I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way," he says. Reynolds explains that he would wake up in the middle of the night, paralyzed by anxiety. He self-medicated, but after a few friends died of overdoses, he eased up on the partying. As the years went on, he began working more steadily in Hollywood and was cast as the leading man in a few films. But for all his successes, there were even bigger failures...like 2011's Green Lantern, the critically reviled flop in which he met his future wife, Blake Lively. "I feel like a dink saying the word 'hit,'" he admits. "But some of the biggest hits I've had are not critically received. That's just a bonus when that happens." Reynolds says that movie, in particular, is "the hair shirt I'll wear." The experience humbled Reynolds, which was ultimately a blessing. "Offstage, he's not bigger than life. He's not like the Rock. When the Rock walks in the room, I'm sure it's like, 'Oh, my God, the Rock.' But that's not Ryan," actress Leslie Uggams explains. "He's not Mr. Hollywood." (Eonline)

Jeannie Mai is taking care of her health in a positive way. The Real co-host, 39, shared a side-by-side photo of herself on Instagram showing off her pride at gaining 17 pounds on Wednesday. The recent Emmy-winner posed in a metallic bronze silk gown describing her relationship with food and her body. "On the left is the first time I tried on this dress, at a weight I've kept for 12 years, 103 lbs.," Mai wrote in the caption. "Staying 103 came from my self-control to lose "chubby" teenage weight and a stressful idea that my body was built to look best "thin." As I'm nearing my 40s, I realize that I've been thru so much shit mentally and emotionally, why the hell should my body be forced to suffer (from my over controlling ways) too?" The TV host continued, "So 3 months ago I started a new eating plan and training program and gained 17 lbs. I don't have a weight goal. Just a promise to be as physically Strong as I am mentally Indestructible ????." "So far I'm 3 months of eating more, (clean protein and saying Yes to carbs!!), lifting heavy weights (best therapy ever!!) and truly loving all of Me. Not sure where I'm headed but I know I'm gonna look the best I've ever looked because Im spending quality time on ME. Here's to Mai first #transformationTuesday. What tips you want me to share in my journey? Cuz I'm def learning now that a figure with curves offers interesting angles ?? #summerbodyhereIcome #leanmuscle#StrongisthenewSexy," she added. Mai's health update comes days after her ex, The Hollywood Hunter star Freddy Harteis, revealed in a now-deleted Instagram post that he was expecting his first child with girlfriend Linsey Toole. A rep for Mai confirmed to PEOPLE in October that the couple was separating after 10 years of marriage, in part due to Harteis' desire to have children. Harteis announced his girlfriend was pregnant by sharing a photo of himself on Instagram holding a sign that read "I love you, Daddy" and said in the caption the baby is a girl. A rep for Harteis did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. Mai has been open about the highs and lows of their relationship on The Real, telling her co-hosts in 2014 that the couple disagreed about expanding their family. "You know how much I love Freddy, my husband. He's my life. And before we got married, I was very clear about the fact that I probably would not have kids, just because I've never felt that. And now, getting older, he definitely seems like he wants kids, and he actually came out and said that he wants children," an emotional Mai said at the time, tearing up on-air. "I guess it's just really hard because I can't just have a child for another person, and you don't have a child to save your marriage, but we are in love, and we are enjoying life, and he's my Freddy, and I'm his Jeannie, and we don't have any other problems except that, which, you never know what could happen in the future," she added. "So right now we are clinging to each other, and we're waiting for God to kind of tell us what that means, and it's kind of weird to go to sleep every single night holding on to that person you love so much, not knowing where it's gonna go." (People)

Orange Is The New Black star Taylor Schilling on female mentors and shunning intense wellness trends. Taylor Schilling managed to turn orange into the new black thanks to her turn as Piper Chapman in the Netflix original comedy-drama. And now, in a new pulsating and tense Netflix original film, The Titan, she attempts to save the world alongside the dreamy Sam Worthington. Starring in a film set in a dystopian future, where the world has become uninhabitable due to global warming, may sound like a Sci-fi lover's dream, but until filming commenced, Taylor wasn't a fully-fledged futurist geek. "I'm not big into it! I love it when I do watch Sci-fi films, but I have never even really followed stars that much, I'm getting into it now," she said. No time like the present then, hun. But what was the appeal of playing the wife of a scientist putting themselves through an experiment to discover whether life could be sustained on other planets, then? "I thought it was blast, I've never really done anything like that before." One should always mix up their IMDB after all. The role sees Schilling quite literally - break free of her Orange Is The New Black roots by switching her blonde locks in favour of brunette bombshell status. "I fully dyed my own hair and I really enjoyed it," she said. "I did really like being brunette." What is that age-old myth of blondes always having more fun? Aside from surface shifts, the star is noticing a change in the Hollywood landscaping that surrounds her career, calling "a culture that supports women truly revolutionary" in light of Time's Up. "Conversations that have been happening privately between myself and actor friends around questions of representation, what it means to be a woman and the games your need to play, becoming public is just extraordinary. It's incredible, as women, that we are making space for the future girls." In light of this seismic change, it's not surprising the actress urges the new generation of acting talent to quite simply be themselves. "As uncomfortable, unacceptable, as rough around the edges and as messy as that be," she adds. "It's so valuable and everyone wants that, and they may not know it yet, but they want your individuality. Be yourself in a world that is trying to evade and turn you into someone else. That is the most revolutionary act that there is." Is anyone else fist pumping as they read this? Given that Taylor rose to fame starring in a show with a female ensemble cast, it's no great surprise to learn she is all about girl power, noting that almost every project she's worked on has starred a woman that has taken her under her wing. "I have like a collection of jewels, I have a little jewel box full of mentors that I wouldn't be able to do anything without." What a metaphor for life, that is. Amongst the swirl of media attention that comes with being a heavy-hitting Hollywood star, it's rare to meet an actress who isn't trying out yet another quick-fix wellness regime, too. "I try to not mess with my body, which often means, at times, not going on any kind of prescribed plan or following any kind of trends I actively avoid that. I do really firmly believe my body is not an object that should be molded into a shape or a size." Five wellness hacks every millennial should incorporate into their life to feel amazing every day But how does Schilling unwind if she isn't doing a downward dog at dawn? "The truth is that I love it when I can be lying down in bed by 6pm with a book. I read for like 4 hours - I'd love to just read forever." In case you were wondering, she is currently avidly reading Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, which "talks about how we came to be and what life for humans could be like in the future." A light, feel good page turner it seems. Speaking of the future, filming for another season of Orange Is The New Black has just wrapped and is heading to a computer screen near you very soon. However, ever the professional, Taylor is tight-lipped on plot spoilers, except coyly divulging, "everything has changed because of the way it ended last season with the riot and the girls. The women are in an entirely new place externally and a new place internally because a lot of relationships have changed. It's exciting." Our Netflix future is suddenly looking a little more utopian rather than dystopian! In the meantime, check out what's coming to Netflix in 2018. (British Glamour)

Amy Schumer is getting back into action after her recent hospitalization for a kidney infection. The I Feel Pretty actress shared a black and white photo of herself standing outside with a black dog in the background. In typical Schumer fashion, she has a slight smile on her face and cheekily wore no pants. "On the mend," Schumer, 36, wrote in the caption. The comedian shared on Instagram at the end of April that she had been hospitalized for five days with a "horrible" kidney infection. Schumer was in the middle of promoting her new film I Feel Pretty when the infection struck. "Here's what I've been up to this week. I was hospitalized for five days with a horrible kidney infection," she posted on Instagram. "I want to give a big thank you to the doctors, the bad ass nurses also my husband who's name is, I want to say, Chris? And my sisters Kimby and Mol who have been by my side the whole time." Schumer wrote she had hoped to go to the London premiere of I Feel Pretty, but her doctors "have told me that's a no go." "I'm really disappointed selfishly to miss this trip because I love London and Europe in general and all the great people (food) there. But I need to put my health first," she said. Despite her recent health problems, Schumer shared she was excited by the positive reception for her new film. "I am so grateful for all the support the movie is getting," she said. "I hope people check it out in England and everywhere else in the world. It's sweet and fun and you will walk out feeling better. Which is something I hope to feel soon too." This is the second time in two years that Schumer ended up in the hospital for health issues. During a trip to Paris with her then-boyfriend Ben Hanisch, they both contracted food poisoning. "That is when I learned not to ever throw up in a wicker basket," Schumer later joked to Ellen DeGeneres. (People)

Paula Patton's boyfriend won't be married for much longer. On Wednesday, Zachary Quittman's wife, Mia, filed for divorce, according to The Blast. Page Six exclusively revealed in April that the Malibu realtor, 37, was still married as he was making the media rounds with Patton, 42, while she promoted her movie, "Traffik." "They're married, they're not even legally separated," a source told us last month after the actress initially gushed about him in an interview. "He doesn't even have his stuff out of the house." However, exposing his marital status only ramped up his exposure as he then made appearances on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" and "Kathie Lee & Hoda," and took solo shots with paparazzi. Our source told us at the time that Mia was in the process of pursuing divorce against her husband of nearly 20 years. A rep for Patton did not immediately return our request for comment. (Page Six)

Cate Blanchett Says Harvey Weinstein Harassed Her, Too. Cate Blanchett is sharing her thoughts on Harvey Weinstein. It's been several months since the movie producer was first accused of nearly 30 years of alleged sexual misconduct, and now Blanchett has claimed that "yes," she has been sexually harassed by Weinstein. In a new interview with Variety, the Oscar winner was asked point-blank if Weinstein, who produced a number of her films, ever sexually harassed or acted inappropriately with her. "With me, yes. I think he really primarily preyed, like most predators, on the vulnerable," Blanchett told the publication. "I mean I got a bad feeling from him. He would often say to me, 'We're not friends.'" When asked what Weinstein meant by that, Blanchett told Variety, "Well, I wouldn't do what he was asking me to do." Blanchett, who declined to clarify her statement, then continued, "I'm really interested in the people who have transgressed in ways that are beyond the bounds of offensive, what people like Harvey have done, and there are men across many industries [who have done that]. He's been held up as an exemplar because he's unfortunately typical of certain men. I'm interested in those people being prosecuted. We have to set a legal precedent." The actress went on to share, "Part of the mission of Time's Up is to help those who do not have the capacity to raise the funds to defend themselves and to move toward workplace equality, fairness and safety. When legal precedent is set by people being actually convicted, then other people can benefit from that because those precedents have been set. But me fueling the gossip and accounts? There's enough out there." Blanchett won the Best Actress Oscar in 2014 for her work in Blue Jasmine, which was written and directed by Woody Allen. When asked by Variety where she stands on Dylan Farrow's "allegations of sexual abuse against her father," Blanchett replied, "Obviously, Dylan Farrow has been living in a world of pain, and if the case has not been properly tried, then it needs to be reopened and go back into court because that's a place where those things get solved." Would Blanchett work with either Weinstein or Allen again? "I don't think Harvey will be making films with anybody," Blanchett said. "He was brought on as the producer on many films that I had absolutely no say on. I didn't have a creative or functional relationship with him." As for Allen, "Would I work with Woody again? I had a very productive time working with Woody, and he has written some of the most extraordinary roles for women. But at the time I worked with him I knew absolutely nothing about what was going on, and it came out subsequently." Blanchett then added, "But, far more important than me adding to yet another headline... and finger-pointing is, if that issue has not been dealt with... I am absolutely for it to go back into the courts because there lies the solution." Back in Oct. 2017, Weinstein was terminated from The Weinstein Company, three days after the New York Times published a story about allegations of sexual misconduct stretching back over a decade. Weinstein's spokesperson previously told E! News that "any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein," adding that the producer never retaliated against any woman "for refusing his advances." (Eonline)

Russell Simmons Expresses Support for #MeToo, Isn't ''Angry'' About Rape Allegations. Russell Simmons is speaking up about Hollywood's fight against sexual assault. Days ago, the hip-hop mogul and the woman accusing him of rape agreed to dismiss the $5 million lawsuit she filed against him. Simmons still faces a separate $10 million lawsuit, and has maintained his innocence amid multiple sexual misconduct claims. In a recent Instagram post, Simmons said he hasn't felt "too angry" about the allegations because, in his words, "listening intently to the dialogue around the #metoo movement has inspired me to look beyond my personal scenario." "In the end I'll be fine," he added. "I've accepted responsibility for the life that I have lived and been very forcefully and vehemently denying accusations for things that I have not done." Simmons, 60, said he hopes the #MeToo and Time's Up movements will create a "better world" for his daughters, 18-year-old Ming and 15-year-old Aoki, even if there's "a little blood on my shoulders" and "collateral damage" in the process. His statement continued, "But today my meditation reminded me yet again that black women have bared the biggest burden for sure. And for sure ALL women of ALL RACES and RELIGIONS (in part because of and supported by all great religions and institutions) have lived unequal throughout the ages, in unjust and incredibly unfair circumstances." Simmons then offered his own solution for the future, saying, "I want to be a forward thinker and supporter of the necessary change. Here is what I believe to be a fact if we continue to let the masculine energy govern our world without guidance from the feminine forces then men will destroy the planet, or at least make in uninhabitable for humans." "So for so many reasons the goal should be to be inclusive, fair and promote equality on all levels. We have a long way to go I'm along for the ride," he continued. Kimora Lee Simmons has previously defended her ex-husband from the accusations. (Eonline)

Meek Mill is getting back to work, but he's not quite in the studio just yet -- he's taking to the streets of Philly with PA's top dog ... demanding criminal justice reform. Meek is set to join Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Wolf Thursday for a "Call-to-Action" event, in which they and other special guests will be discussing how to make PA's criminal justice system more fair and focused on rehabilitation, as opposed to mere incarceration. Keep in mind ... Meek was just sprung from prison last week. He's been out and about since then, but it looks like he's diving right back into what he said he'd do ... fight for people who are wrongly imprisoned. A man of his word, indeed. (TMZ)

Bill Cosby is the victim of a lynch mob and straight-up got a heavy dose of mob justice in his sexual assault case ... this according to his wife. Camille Cosby lashed out and viciously defended her husband of 54 years after he was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand back in 2004. Camille released a statement ... accusing the media of "frenzied, relentless demonization of him" and accepting Bill's accusers allegations without any proof. For what it's worth ... a juror in the Cosby trial said what sealed the disgraced comedian's fate was his own admission. Camille went on to accuse the District Attorney's office of an unethical campaign to destroy Bill and called for a criminal investigation of "that D.A. and his cohorts." (TMZ)

'The Hills' star Doug Reinhardt was sitting on a couch -- on the mend from a serious knee operation -- when his drunken wife grabbed his metal crutch and gave him a beating ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ. Natalie Sutton was arrested early Saturday morning in Paradise Valley, AZ and charged with felony assault and battery. Our sources say she and Doug had gone to dinner and returned to their hotel. He sat on the couch where he was recovering from an ACL operation when Natalie suddenly went ballistic, grabbed his metal crutch and began swinging, targeting his bum knee and head. Doug was injured and bloodied. He called the cops, they arrested Natalie on the spot for the attack. She was released later Saturday and ordered not to go near him. We've learned Doug filed for divorce on Monday. They married last October. You may recall Doug had dated celebs in the past, including Paris Hilton and Amanda Bynes. He got engaged to Allie Lutz, but they never married. Looks like it's time for another fresh start. (TMZ)

The Hills' Doug Reinhardt's Wife Arrested on Domestic Violence Assault Charges. Natalie Sutton, the wife of former The Hills star Doug Reinhardt, was arrested last weekend on a misdemeanor domestic violence assault charge in Paradise Valley, AZ., E! News can confirm. According to TMZ, the 32-year-old reality star, who also gained notoriety for dating Paris Hilton, was attacked with his own metal crutches. Paradise Valley Police told E! News, "Natalie Sutton was booked into Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Fourth Ave. Jail on the early hours of April 28." The information continued, "Her report indicates a class one misdemeanor charge for criminal damage and a class one misdemeanor charge for assault, both classified as domestic violence." Sutton was released the same day. In Arizona, domestic violence cases are non-bondable. Those arrested for these offenses are required to see a judge for their initial appearance. The pair was married in October. Previously, Doug dated Hilton and Amanda Bynes. In 2013, he was engaged to Allie Lutz. Doug has also played baseball for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Baltimore Orioles. (Eonline)

G-Eazy was arrested in Sweden after allegedly attacking security guards and getting caught with cocaine. Sources familiar with the situation tell us the rapper was partying in a club after his show Wednesday in Stockholm and was acting belligerent. We're told several security guards approached him, asking him to calm down, but G-Eazy started to throw punches ... striking one guard in the face several times. We're told he was detained by police, who allegedly discovered cocaine in the rapper's pocket. Our sources say he was taken into custody on suspicion of assault, possession of narcotics and use of narcotics. Several videos taken inside the club show G-Eazy partying with friends -- including girlfriend Halsey and rapper Sean Kingston -- and handing out shots. We've reached out to several members of G-Eazy's team ... so far, no word back. UPDATE: We've obtained video of G-Eazy getting loaded into a police car. In another clip, Halsey can be heard yelling about getting hit in the face -- we're told she may have been struck by a security guard during the scuffle inside the club. (Eonline)

Sandra Bullock's Stalker Found Dead After 5-Hour Standoff With SWAT Team. After a five-hour stand-off with a SWAT personnel, Joshua James Corbett, who was previously convicted of breaking into Sandra Bullocks house in 2014, was found dead inside his home in La Crescenta, Calif. on Wednesday. NBC Los Angeles reports that Corbett died of a self-inflicted injury, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. LAPD confirmed to E! News that the individual inside the residence died from a self-inflicted injury but could not reveal the name of the deceased because next of kin still needed to be notified. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the standoff began after Los Angeles police attempted to serve a warrant at the residence, which resulted in the man barricading himself inside a building in the back of the property, the outlet reports. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the standoff began after Los Angeles police attempted to serve a warrant at the residence, which resulted in the man barricading himself inside a building in the back of the property, the outlet reports. NBC Los Angeles also reports that detectives with the LAPD Fugitive Warrant Section went to the home at about 7 a.m. and soon after SWAT personnel were requested. It is currently unknown what the warrant was being served for. Police stated that the man claimed that he had a weapon and threatened to kill them. NBC Los Angeles also reports that crisis negotiators tried to coax the individual out of the building for five hours, but he would not come out. Eventually, they went inside and found the suspect had died of a self-inflected wound that was not the result of a gunshot. In May 2017, Corbett pleaded no contest in breaking into Bullock's Los Angeles home. Fans may remember the scary incident as Bullock was in her residence at the time of the break-in and had to hide in the closet while guiding police to her house. After striking a plea deal, Corbett was released from jail, where he'd been held on $2.185 million bail for charges of felony stalking and burglary over the 2014 incident. He was then sentenced to 5-years' probation and treatment at a mental health facility. Additionally, the actress was granted a 10-year protective order against him until 2022. In June 2017, Corbett was released from a mental health facility. (Eonline)

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

Miley Cyrus' New Converse Collection Is Very Miley Cyrus. Chuck Taylor, meet Miley Cyrus! Converse released it's highly-anticipated, glitter-infused collaboration with the "Malibu" singer. The new collection, which has had fans on the edge of their seat since November 2017, includes eight pairs of sneakers -- revamps of the brand's classic high-top and low-top shoes -- and athleisure (Think: bike shorts, tracksuits and sports bras). "I definitely had my fans in mind and in my heart when I was creating," she told Nike. "I put what they love about me and what I love about them into the design." For the pop star, it includes bandana-printed fabrics, glitter Dad hats and a mouse-shaped logo with her initials embedded in the center. It's fun. It's bold. Yet, it's unique enough to be the standout piece of your outfit and, of course, pay homage to the singer's fearless style. At first glance, the collection looks feminine (mostly due to the amount of soft pink), but don't let the glitter fool you. The collaboration is unisex. "No age, no gender, no sex -- I wanted everyone to feel included," Miley said. All of the pieces are also under $100, making the collaboration something that everyone can wear and afford. (Eonline)

Brooklyn Beckham just gave dad, David, the sweetest birthday surprise ever. On Wednesday, Brooklyn who attends university in New York showed up for his father's 43rd birthday celebration in England, and the former soccer star had no idea his oldest son was going to be there. In the video, shared by both David and wife, Victoria, on Instagram, Brooklyn walks into a restaurant where the Beckham family is enjoying a meal. "David," Victoria, 44, says in the background as Brooklyn walks to the family's table. When David, who turned 43 on May 2, finally sees his 19-year-old son, he gets teary-eyed as he repeatedly asks, "What are you doing here?" Are you okay? Happy birthday," replies Brooklyn as he embraces his dad with a huge hug. "I just landed." An overjoyed, David, can't help but give his son a kiss on the cheek. "I didn't know you was coming in," he tells Brooklyn. "I missed you so much." Even the couple's 6-year-old daughter, Harper, had no clue her older brother would be joining them. "I didn't know Brooklyn was coming," she says in the background. "Best birthday surprise, my big boy coming home @brooklynbeckham @victoriabeckham@romeobeckham @cruzbeckham#HarperSeven," David captioned the video. Victoria also shared it on social media, writing: "The biggest surprise of the day... Welcome home @brooklynbeckham X happy birthday @davidbeckham I love u so much x kisses." On Tuesday, Victoria kicked off David's birthday wishes with a family photo. "Happy birthday to the best daddy!! X we all love u so much!!! So many kisses from us all xxxx we miss u @brooklynbeckham X," she captioned the snapshot of Beckham surrounded by all of his children -- Romeo, 15, Cruz, 13, and Harper -- sans his oldest son. Romeo and Cruz also posted photos of their dad on their Instagram accounts, revealing special moments they captured with their father. "Happy birthday to the best dad in the world! I hope you have an amazing day ?? love u @davidbeckham" Romeo wrote alongside a photo with his father. "Happy birthday to the best dad in the world, I love you so much and I hope you have an amazing day @davidbeckham," Cruz captioned a picture of him and his dad. And although little Harper doesn't have her own Instagram account, Victoria shared a sweet moment of the couple's daughter reading her hand-written birthday card out loud. "Happy birthday daddy ?????? I love u so so much x Kisses from Harper Seven xxxx," Victoria captioned the post. Last month, Brooklyn was spotted kissing Playboy model Lexi Wood while at a tattoo parlor in Los Angeles, having fans wondering if he split from on-and-off-again girlfriend Chlo Grace Moretz. Although Brooklyn has not spoken publicly about allegedly ending his relationship with Moretz, the last time he shared a photo of the 21-year-old on social media was in February, when he wrote that he loved her "to the moon and back." (People)

Now we know the secret sauce behind Vanessa Trump's divorce from Donald Trump Jr. Page Six can exclusively reveal her family recently came into millions thanks to an investment in legendary Italian eatery Rao's red sauce. We're told that Vanessa's late father, prominent lawyer Charles Haydon, was a close friend of late Rao's owner Frank Pellegrino Sr. and Ron Straci, a lawyer who was a founder and co-owner of Rao's Speciality Foods. The business was started in 1992 to sell the restaurant's signature marinara sauce, and has expanded to a variety of sauces, olive oils and dressings sold around the world. According to red sauce sources, Haydon -- whose clients included Marilyn Monroe -- had invested as much as $1 million in Rao's Specialty Foods back in the day and controlled 30 percent of the company. The saucy venture was quietly sold in 2017 to a big corporate firm for around $415 million -- serving a juicy payout for Vanessa's family. Confirming rumors of a "life changing" financial windfall, last fall, Vanessa's mother Bonnie, 71, bought the Fifth Avenue penthouse of the late former Fox News boss Roger Ailes for $6.4 million -- in cash. There had been a family feud over the sauce company, leading to a lawsuit between Pellegrino and Straci, which listed Bonnie as a defendant. The lawsuit was settled last year as the company was sold. With her newfound financial security, an emboldened Vanessa, 40, filed for divorce from Don Jr. in March after 12 years of marriage. Now even Junior, who has five kids with Vanessa, wants to know how much his estranged wife has in the bank -- and last week filed a demand for a statement of net worth in Manhattan Supreme Court, even though their divorce has been listed as "uncontested," meaning they were expecting no disputes over money. A lawyer for Vanessa and a rep for the Trump Organization didn't get back to us. Straci didn't respond to messages left with his family. (Page Six)

Kanye West's relationship with the paparazzi has changed a lot over the years ... case in point -- his interactions with them now end with a hug. Kanye was in Calabasas Tuesday afternoon -- apparently talking to Kim on the phone after his visit to the TMZ newsroom -- when he was approached by a photog. Ye answered his question ... then opened up a dialogue. Kanye asks the guy about his personal life and fatherhood and explains how his respect for dads has grown after starting his own family ... especially for dads who provide for their family. The rapper's words definitely struck a chord with the cameraman ... and the 2 ended in a warm embrace. (TMZ)

Yes, this is REAL!!!!! UFC superstar Paige VanZant was giving a rear naked choke demonstration to U.S. troops during a USO event with Max Holloway ... when she actually CHOKED OUT THE DUDE UNCONSCIOUS!!! VanZant had selected a volunteer who agreed to let Paige apply the choke in front of a crowd of very excited soldiers. But, just a few seconds after she began to squeeze, the soldier's lights went out -- and when Paige released the hold, he collapsed to the floor. Don't worry ... the soldier got right up and appeared to be okay -- even waving to the crowd, which had erupted in cheers! (TMZ)

Talk about an overreaction -- James Harden reached out and smacked the crap out of a Jazz fan's cell phone Wednesday all over some harmless heckling ... and the cops were involved. But get this ... despite the fact the fan was on the receiving end of the smack, the cops treated HIM like the bad guy and scolded him for talking trash at a basketball game. So, what was the heckle that sent Harden over the edge? "You're still the worst flopper in the NBA." The fan was behind a barricade at the time of the incident and posed no physical threat to Harden. Still, the Houston Rockets star smacked the guy's phone anyway. The fan was flabbergasted when cops chastised him -- even though he pointed out that HE was the one who was physically assaulted. Eventually, the fan went back to his seat and promised not to stand behind the barricade for the rest of the game. No arrests were made. This isn't the first time Harden's been accused of smacking a fan with a camera -- remember, he was sued back in 2013 for allegedly belting a guy outside of a nightclub who yelled, "Kobe owns your ass!" (TMZ)

Wayne Brady says the guy who got slammed into the friend-zone on "Let's Make A Deal" only has himself to blame ... 'cause he should've nailed down his relationship status before the show. We got Wayne outside K Bakery in Pacific Palisades Wednesday, and he swore the brutal-to-watch diss -- which has gone viral -- was painfully real. If ya missed it ... contestants Steve and Jessie dressed in matching '70s prom outfits, prompting Wayne to ask how long they'd been together. It all went downhill from there. Wayne says he feels bad for Steve, but it's clear the guy missed some important social cues. Steve and Jessie ultimately won a trip to Mexico on the show. As far as he knows, the trip's still a go ... but Wayne says it's not clear if it's gonna be booked for one or two. (TMZ)

Kanye West's friend, G.O.O.D. Music artist Malik Yusef, says the rapper's comments about slavery were hurtful, but he insists Kanye was on point and could have won people over if he had more time. Malik tells TMZ ... Kanye's take on slavery -- that it was "a choice" -- could have been developed into a compelling argument, but an hour show isn't the place to make the case. Yusef agrees with Kanye -- slaves had a choice -- just not the black and white version Kanye suggested. He points out if a slave chose to revolt, he'd be making that decision based on options -- bleak options like not being able to read, having no food ... and putting himself and his family in danger. So basically, Kanye oversimplified ... and Malik says his "choice" of words was a big problem. (TMZ)

Kokito, the French bulldog placed in the overhead bin of a United Airlines flight, died of suffocation ... TMZ has learned. According to results of Kokito's necropsy, conducted at Cornell University, the 9-month-old puppy was the victim of the decreased oxygen levels in the overhead compartment. Stress combined with the animal's narrow airway -- which is common in the breed -- were also factors. You'll recall Kokito's owner had the 20-pound dog in a carrier at her feet, but a flight attendant on the flight from Houston to NYC insisted the carrier be place in the overhead bin. Witnesses said Kokito was barking for a long time. Prosecutors in NY and Texas are looking into the dog's death as a possible criminal matter, which is why the experts at Cornell were called on to conduct the necropsy. United just announced it will resume allowing certain dog breeds in the cabin during flights. It had suspended that while flight crews went through mandatory "compassion training." Interestingly, French bulldogs remain on the airline's no-fly list due to "concern for higher adverse health risks." (TMZ)

The lawyer for the Robledo family, Evan Oshan, tells TMZ United has yet to adequately answer questions about Kokito's death. The dog suffocated in an overhead bin after a flight attendant ordered the dog's owner to stash it up there. The dog barked persistently ... but no one came to its rescue. Oshan says United's moves thus far have been nothing but face-saving -- and the airline has not provided the family with what they want ... the ID of the person responsible for killing their pet. Oshan has been demanding the flight attendant's name. He thinks the evidence thus far in the active investigation(s) will lead to criminal charges -- animal cruelty -- and he says a civil case is also forthcoming. Buckle up, folks ... turbulence ahead. (TMZ)

Music

Shawn Mendes Celebrates His "Youth": Listen to His New Song With Khalid. Shawn Mendes wants to heal the world through his music. In three weeks, the pop singer will release his self-titled third studio album. Earlier this morning, Mendes premiered "Youth" exclusively on Apple Music's Beats 1 with Zane Lowe. Mendes had been teasing the song through a global outdoor campaign across Berlin, Chicago, L.A., London, Melbourne, Miami, Washington D.C., New York, Rio, Stockholm and Toronto. The album's lead single, "In My Blood," peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. The 19-year-old singer-songwriter also dropped "Lost in Japan" as a pre-release single -- one of 14 album tracks. Mendes teamed up with five-time Grammy Award nominee Khalid for "Youth," and the duet is a tribute of sorts to the victims of last summer's bombings in the U.K. "I've known Khalid for about maybe a little over a year now. We just immediately hit it off. It's just a really, really awesome friendship -- like, talking all the time," Mendes said. "When things first really started happening for him, we were always like, 'We've gotta get together! We've gotta make music!'" When a bomb was detonated at Ariana Grande's Manchester concert in, Mendes happened to be in London. "There was the attack on the bridge, and I remember that day thinking, like, 'OK, I gotta text [Khalid],'" he recalled. "When I texted him, I said, 'When we get together, we have to make a statement. We have to move. We have to write about what's going on in life and how the youth is feeling because I think we have the voice to do that.' We got together that day and I was like, 'This is a huge task.' Because you're always terrified going into a session knowing like, 'OK, this is going to be a big session. I have one day. Is it going to be the greatest song or not?'" "I remember I woke up in the morning and the whole thought of my youth trying to be taken away from me [was overwhelming]. Not youth as in my age -- youth as in my love, my happiness, my joy, my purity. It's not even about age; you could be 50 and your youth is there. It's in you. And all of these horrible things happening in the world, all of the headlines, it felt like every day it was just being pulled more and more out of us," Mendes explained. "I was like, 'This is what we have to write about.' And It was awesome. I'm really, really proud of the song." Writing "Youth" was "so hard," Mendes confessed to Lowe. "It's so easy to sit at a piano and talk about being in love or heartbreak or something, but the hardest thing in the world is to sit at a piano and talk about what the world is going through, and heartbreak, in a different light." When E! News caught up with Mendes at the TIME 100 Gala in New York City last week, he said, "The first couple singles are a huge contrast from each other. One's rock and one's more on the R&B side. It's kind of how the entire album is; it's a hybrid of music in a really cool way." (Eonline)

John Legend to Perform at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. It's about to be a good night! John Legend is set to perform at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, E! News can exclusively reveal. The singer-songwriter is fresh off last month's performance in NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live, and his latest hit "A Good Night" is full of feel-good energy. Legend joins a previously announced lineup of star-studded performers, which includes Camila Cabello, Dua Lipa, Shawn Mendes and BTS. To add to the excitement, Ariana Grande will open the ceremony and Kelly Clarkson is hosting. Legend is awaiting the arrival of his second child with Chrissy Teigen, who we hope (at the very least) will live-tweet her hubby's performance if she's not attending! The 2018 Billboard Music Awards will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 20, at 8 p.m. ET by NBC. Tickets to attend the annual event are on sale now. (Eonline)

Future Nabs PARTYNEXTDOOR For Smooth Track 'No Shame'. Though Future has remained mum on the music front -- with the exception of his appearances on DJ Esco's Kolorblind mixtape -- the prolific star is slowly beginning to churn out bangers again. On Wednesday (May 2), Future enlisted PARTYNEXTDOOR for their syrupy collaboration "No Shame." Slated to reside on the Superfly soundtrack, which will see co-production credits from Future, "No Shame" finds Future flexing his signature warble. With his vocals coated in Auto-Tune, Future name drops Lady Gaga and Wakanda, all while crooning about his affinity for "perkys." "10 bracelets on me lookin' like sunblock /White diamonds drippin' on me, neck Lady Gaga/Cut off any typical broads gave me side eye/Perky runnin' out of time," he sings. PND seamlessly slides his way through on the chorus to keep the momentum intact. There's no shame in my game (ain't no shame) /There's no shame in my pain (in my pain) / found new propane (I found) /I found new cocaine," he sings before Future joins in to share dual-responsibility on the melodious hook. (Billboard)

Christina Aguilera Is Done With The Voice Forever. Christina Aguilera is putting The Voice behind her. Along with CeeLo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, Aguilera was one of the reality competition's original coaches. She returned for Seasons 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, allowing other artists -- like Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Shakira and Gwen Stefani -- to sub in. In the May 5 issue of Billboard, Aguilera says she's done with NBC's ratings juggernaut. Doing the show was an "energy sucker," she says, comparing it to a "churning hamster wheel." "I was longing for freedom," she adds. When she'd leave the set from 2011 to 2016, she tells the magazine, "I would just take everything off -- the makeup, all of it -- and would blast hip-hop, or Nirvana, 'Creep,' Slayer. Anything like that to get me out of that zone, that TV mode." Aguilera says she felt "suffocated and restricted" during that period. "I didn't get into this business to be a television show host and to be given all these [rules]. Especially as a female: You can't wear this, can't say that. I would find myself on that show desperately trying to express myself through clothing or makeup or hair. It was my only kind of outlet." Over time, Aguilera argues, "It became something that I didn't feel was what I had signed up for in Season 1. You realize it's not about music. It's about making good TV moments and massaging a story." On June 15, Aguilera will release her new album: Liberation. She worked with singer Demi Lovato, songwriter Julia Michaels and producer Kanye West, among others. (Aguilera's plans to record with Cardi B and Childish Gambino didn't pan out.) "To me, there's nothing like an amazing hip-hop beat," the "Accelerate" singer says. "At the end of the day, I am a soul singer. When you strip back the words 'pop star' and the many things that I've done, singing soulfully is where my core, my root and my heart really is. And as you can see, it's what I'm inspired by." Aguilera will hit the road to support her latest effort, for the first time in over a decade. "Touring is so frightening to me, because I am a mom first. It's part of why I stayed in the position I was [at The Voice]," she says. "It's easy to get comfortable and cushy in the same place and not have to worry about uprooting your kids. I've been putting myself on the back burner." No more. As the five-time Grammy winner tells Billboard, "It needs to happen. I'm looking forward to getting back out and actually showing my kids what Mommy really does!" (Eonline)

Rihanna Says She's Not Friends With Drake: "It Is What It Is." Rihanna and Drake are officially over -- personally and professionally. The low-key couple called it quits years ago, and the rapper's public profession of his love may have planted the seeds for their split. As fans will undoubtedly remember, Drake presented the "Wild Thoughts" singer with the Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 MTV VMAs. At the time, he announced he had been in love with her since he was 22 years old -- and when he went in for a kiss, she swerved. Looking back on the moment now, Rihanna says in the June issue of Vogue, "The VMAs is such a fan-focused awards show, so having that energy around me, and knowing the people who had received the award in the past, made it feel like a big deal. Waiting through that speech was probably the most uncomfortable part. I don't like too many compliments; I don't like to be put on blast." Asked about the current state of their relationship, Rihanna tells the magazine, "We don't have a friendship now, but we're not enemies either. It is what it is." Rihanna is similarly hesitant to discuss her current boyfriend, Saudi businessman Hassan Jameel. Admittedly, a lot has changed for Rihanna in the last year -- and now she's focused on becoming a mother. "OK, so now that I'm 30, are there things I'm supposed to do? Should I be worried?" the "Work" singer wonders. "Should I be freezing my eggs? What do you do at 30?!" Whenever she does become a parent, "I'm not gonna be able to take my eyes off my kid," she predicts. "I know that already about myself. They're going to have to force me to hire a nanny." In the near future, Rihanna is ready to get back to work, work, work, work, work, work. In addition to building out her beauty and fashion companies, she will soon appear on the big screen in Ocean's Eight alongside Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling and other A-list actresses. Music was less of a priority in the last year, as she wanted to spend some quality time with Jameel. "I used to feel guilty about taking personal time, but I also think I never met someone who was worth it before," she says, without referring to him by name. Taking a break has done wonders, she adds. "Even mentally, just to be away from my phone, to be in the moment, that has been key for my growth. Now, when I come to work, I'm all in. Because before you know it, the years will go by. I'm glad I'm taking the time. I'm happy." (Eonline)

Kanye West has left L.A. for the Cowboy State ... to put the finishing touches on his 5 upcoming albums. Sources tell TMZ, Kanye flew out of L.A. Wednesday for the secluded home he's rented in Wyoming ... literally on a mountaintop. Kanye's spent a lot of time there over the last few months, flying in various rappers and producers to help with his music. We're told this is an extended stay ... at least several weeks. And our sources say Kanye is not bothered by the fallout from his "TMZ Live" interview. To the contrary, he has told people the episode was "fire" and got people thinking ... which he says was his goal. Our sources say Kanye will get a stream of visitors who will help him with the final touches. The first album is due out May 25 ... and 4 more will follow. (TMZ)

Young Dolph's latest music video is set on a plantation ... and the rapper compares signing to a major record label to modern day slavery. Dolph dropped his latest EP "N***** Get Shot Everyday" a few months back and drops the video for his single "Slave Owner" Thursday. In the video, Dolph plays an unsigned rapper who arrives at Liberty Land Records Plantation. Upon his arrival, a white man -- presumably the plantation owner -- declares Dolph will make Liberty Land a lot of money. Dolph is accompanied to Liberty Land by a ton of strippers in a new Bentley truck. The timing of the video's release seems suspicious given Kanye West's slavery comments on "TMZ Live" this week ... but sources close to Dolph tell us it's purely coincidental -- it's been planned for months. (TMZ)

Mick Fleetwood says to expect some surprises when Fleetwood Mac hits the road again this year without guitarist Lindsey Buckingham -- including some Tom Petty gems. Buckingham was fired from the band last month and replaced by Mike Campbell, the lead guitarist for Petty's Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn from Crowded House. It was a pretty bad departure, but when we got Mick at LAX Wednesday he told us the band wouldn't be cutting all of Lindsey's songs out of the setlist ... but they will be focusing on having fun. Remember, classics like "Go Your Own Way" and "Don't Stop" are largely Lindsey jams. We asked if there's any chance for reconciliation, and Mick's answer is pretty definitive -- and sad for fans of the OG Mac. (TMZ)

Singer Loren Gray is getting a boat load of cash after signing with Capitol Records ... and she's barely old enough to drive a car. The 16-year-old -- who has a massive social media following that includes nearly 11 million Instagram followers and 2.5M on YouTube -- signed her deal back in March ... and TMZ's obtained the deets of her contract with Capitol Records. According to docs, Loren's getting a $550k advance for her first album and can make up to a whopping $4.8 million total for her second, third and fourth albums. And that doesn't even count the royalties she stands to get if she cranks out a few hit songs. Loren burst onto the scene covering songs on YouTube and producing makeup tutorials. She can now add professional singing to her resume ... with a fat bank account to go along with it. (TMZ)

Shakey Graves on Hanging Up His Cowboy Hat With New Album 'Can't Wake Up'. He's not ditching the acoustic guitar and that suitcase kick-drum entirely, but he's the first to say it's time for something new. Even if the new stuff doesn't need it and the van gets fuller by the minute, Alejandro Rose-Garcia, aka Shakey Graves, will still tour with that damned empty suitcase. Since 2011, an acoustic guitar and a hollow piece of luggage outfitted with a kick-pedal pilfered from a drum kit have served as the bedrock of the Austin native's sound. He sang of "city boys in country clothes" on Roll the Bones, his full-length debut, and kept time on the suitcase while he did so; his fluency in Americana-inflected rock went from proficient to expert on its follow-up, 2014's And the War Came, with "Dearly Departed," the album's lead single and his most radio-friendly effort to date, making a beeline for the audio pleasure center of any twang devotee. His strength as a performer bloomed from this ability to make more with less, but this posed a unique problem, even if it's a good one to have: The old idea of Shakey Graves -- of him stepping to the stage in an undershirt peeled fresh from a three-pack and a thrifted Stetson with his guitar slung over his shoulder and the suitcase at his feet -- is a relic that stuck, more of a character sketch than a representation of what Rose-Garcia can do and where he wants his music to go. The suitcase will come on tour because the old songs are still in the set list, but the house that Shakey built is rejecting it as a musical cornerstone. "If, for some reason, you've been obsessive about all the music I've made, this won't be a confusing leap off a bridge for you," he tells Billboard about Can't Wake Up, his third album out May 4. "For everybody that's just discovered me wearing a cowboy hat from six years ago, it may be a bit of a bummer. That's fine. Some part of me feels compelled to poke the bear about why people have such issues with growth or change because everything is changing so obviously around us. I don't feel comfortable or necessarily real being like, a starving fake busker. I detest busking and I always did -- I had a busking license once. I'd never want to take that out of someone's hands if that's what inspires them when they see me play a suitcase or whatever, but this record was much more what I wanted to hear, much more the kind of music I listen to." This materialized as a major stylistic shift -- less "Dearly Departed," more "Dearly departed Disney characters listening to Pet Sounds at a corner dive in the afterlife, as rendered by Salvador Dal." In 2016, Rose-Garcia found himself at a breaking point: He'd been touring behind And the War Came for years and was eager to explore new directions, but his aggressive touring schedule kept him away from Austin -- and creative progress, as he does the vast majority of his writing at home. "I decided to stop the touring machine because I was kind of being driven crazy by it," he says. "I am not a very panic attack-y person at all, and I had a really close mental breakdown where I was being asked about a festival two years from then into the summer, and I was like, 'Fuck you! No! I'm not down to plan two years into my future!'" With a renewed focus and an open schedule, he got back to work, and the space between him and the obligation of an immediate deadline or set list gave him plenty of room to shrug off the constraints of expectation and play, in more ways than one. With Can't Wake Up, Rose-Garcia switches from honky tonk troubadour to the "inescapable, grandiose cheese" of the pop structure he picked up from the Disney and Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks he learned by heart as a kid. Harps ("Foot of Your Bed"), wood block trots ("Tin Man") and choruses straight out of the fun house ("My Neighbor") take the place of the suitcase thwacks that peppered albums prior. It's hardly cartoonish, thanks to the depth of the lyrical content and a smattering of riffs the Pixies would approve of ("Mansion Door") and surf-rock detours ("Climb on the Cross"). He even built a diorama that would eventually wind up on the cover of Can't Wake Up, a dark scene in murky violets and neon fuchsia shadows that evoke a known street that transforms within the hour -- in daylight, it's familiar; at night, it's foreign, the destination of a wrong turn taken. "Overall, I was oversaturated with music," he says, detailing how he worked out of this fatigue with Can't Wake Up. "I feel like the outside world thinks that musicians just live and breathe and roll around in music all day long. I know some of 'em do, but a lot of this record was me being so much more comfortable with not propagating some stupid myth about me being this guy who just drags his guitar around and can't stop playing music!" He laughs. "I love making music, and I'm not that guy. I don't wistfully sit by the Mississippi River and pull tunes out of the earth, you know what I mean? It's not like that hasn't happened in my life; I have a deep connection to the music I make... I make music to try and express the experience of being alive for hopefully 80-100 years: how is there so much beauty and grief at the same time? What's the point of all of this? That's why I make stuff. That's why I built a diorama for the record: I'd rather do that than take a picture of my face." Growth, aesthetic shifts and crafts aside, the spine of a Shakey Graves song is very much the same; fans who love the Western amble of "Built to Roam" off Roll the Bones will recognize similar strains in "Dining Alone," and "Big Bad Wolf" is a lyrical powder keg of the same stripe as "The Perfect Parts" on And the War Came. Playing these sister songs every night is a challenge he's looking forward to. The suitcase can stay, because it still has potential in the connections Rose-Garcia is still unspooling between the music of his past and that of his present. "There's a lot of through lines," he says of these connections. "Initial concepts of the record were me considering opening with that song because it would sound familiar, and then disassembling it... This is just the beginning to a certain degree. I'm excited to disassemble these over time, see what's happening." (Billboard)

Movies

'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Tracking for Record $160M-Plus Memorial Day Bow. The Ron Howard-directed standalone makes its world premiere May 10 in Los Angeles, followed by a stop at the Cannes Film Festival. Disney and Lucasfilms' Solo: A Star Wars Story is tracking to open to record-breaking numbers over Memorial Day, not adjusted for inflation. Directed by Ron Howard, the standalone film should zoom past $160 million over the four-day holiday weekend, according to tracking surveys. The current Memorial Day record-holder is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($139.8 million). Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke star in the Han Solo origin film, which is tracking ahead of fellow standalone film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in terms of key metrics, such as unaided awareness. In December 2016, Rogue One posted a three-day debut of $155.1 million. Tracking is hardly an exact science. When Rogue One first came on tracking three weeks before its release, projections showed the movie debuting to $130 million-plus domestically. Solo chronicles a young Han Solo and his adventures with the Wookiee Chewbacca, as well as his first encounter with Lando Calrissian. (Hollywood Reporter)

Box-Office Preview: 'Avengers: Infinity War' Plots $100M-$125M Second Weekend. A trio of smaller films open nationwide this weekend -- including Jason Reitman's 'Tully' -- as the major Hollywood studios continue to avoid going up against the Disney/Marvel juggernaut. Pity any film going up against Avengers: Infinity War. The Disney and Marvel superhero tentpole is slotted to earn north of $100 million-$125 million in its sophomore weekend after opening to a record-breaking $257.7 million domestically and $640.5 million globally last weekend. On Friday or Saturday, Infinity War will become the fastest film in history to cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office. The other major Hollywood studios continue to hold off unfurling their big summer pics because of Infinity War. Instead, the three new titles opening this weekend are smaller movies targeting specific audiences. MGM and Lionsgate's Pantelion Films open their remake Overboard in roughly 1,500 theaters. Popular Mexican star Eugenio Derbez (How to Be A Latin Lover) stars in the romantic comedy, which is tracking to earn $10 million-$15 million in its debut. Derbez, whose credits include the box-office hit, How to Be a Latin Lover, stars opposite Anna Fairs in Overboard, about a working-class single mom who is hired to clean the yacht of a rich playboy, only to be unjustly fired. After Derbez's character falls overboard and awakes with a bad case of amnesia, he's duped into thinking he's her husband and put to work. Focus Features and director Jason Reitman's Tully, starring Charlize Theron, will go after the specialty crowd when rolling out in approximately 1,300 cinemas. The film is a reunion for Theron, Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, who worked together on Young Adult. Tully stars Theron as a mother of three, including a newborn, who forms a unique bond with a night nanny (Mackenzie Davis) gifted by her rich brother (Mark Duplass). The movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, has sparked controversy in some quarters for its depiction of postpartum depression. The film, rated R, is tracking to open to $3 million-$4 million. The weekend's third new nationwide offering is Bad Samaritan, directed by Dean Devlin. The horror-thriller marks the first wide release from Devlin's distribution venture, Electric Entertainment, in association with Vertical Entertainment. Bad Samaritan stars David Tennant as a low-level hustler who is caught up in a nefarious kidnapping plot. Robert Sheehan, Kerry Condon, Carlito Olviero and Jacqueline Byers also star. New movies opening at the specialty box office include Magnolia and Participant Media's documentary RBG, about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Hollywood Reporter)

Jake Tapper's 'Outpost' Film Enlists Scott Eastwood, Orlando Bloom to Star. The war action title is scheduled to begin production in August and is poised to beat to the gate a rival project at Sony that chronicles the same siege titled 'Red Platoon.' Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones and Orlando Bloom will star in Millennium Media's Afghan war action film The Outpost. Directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender) and based on a book by Jake Tapper, the true story of the 53 U.S. soldiers who battled a force of some 400 enemy insurgents in Northeastern Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Originally built to engage the locals in community development projects, Combat Outpost Keating -- located at the bottom of three steep mountains just 14 miles from the Pakistan border -- faced a constant threat of being attacked by the Taliban, putting the U.S. army soldiers stationed there at significant risk. When the brass finally decided to close the base, the Taliban enemy found out and decided to make a statement. Production is scheduled to begin production in August and is poised to beat to the gate a rival project at Sony that chronicles the same siege titled Red Platoon. Millennium will introduce the film to international buyers in Cannes with U.S. rights currently available. Eastwood will play Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha, and Jones will play Specialist Ty Michael Carter, both of whom received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Bloom has been cast in the role of 1st Lieutenant Benjamin D. Keating 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, who was killed in Afghanistan. Additional casting has Cory Hardrict playing Sgt. Vernon Martin. Oscar-nominated writing duo Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (The Fighter) adapted the book, which is based on CNN Anchor and Chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper's New York Times best-seller. Paul Merryman, Tamasy, and Marc Frydman will produce with Lurie under his Battle Plan Prods. banner alongside Millennium's Jeffrey Greenstein and Jonathan Yunger. Johnson will executive produce along with Millennium's Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Les Weldon, Matt O'Toole, Yariv Lerner and Rob Van Norden. "Telling the stories of the men and women who served at Combat Outpost Keating, and those who love them, was the honor of a lifetime," Tapper said. "I am so pleased that Rod Lurie and Millennium will bring the tales of their selflessness and valor to an even wider audience. The 2009 heroic battle of COP Keating resulted in a rare two Medals of Honor and countless other medals. We can never fully repay the troops and their families, but the fact that millions more Americans will soon learn their inspiring story will hopefully convey to these patriots an even greater and deeper sense of appreciation." Added Lurie: "I am very proud to say that many of the actors we have already cast in the supporting roles are themselves veterans as are crew members. I hope to continue that process. Mostly, though, I am just damn thrilled to be telling one of the most heroic stories of military survival ever recorded. Think of the 300 Spartans in a modern war. That's what this is." Eastwood recently starred in Pacific Rim: Uprising and The Fate of the Furious, both for Universal. He made his debut in Flags of Our Fathers for his father, Clint Eastwood, with other credits including David Ayer's Fury at Sony and Suicide Squad at Warner Bros. He is repped by UTA, LBI Entertainment and Stone, Genow. Last year, Jones appeared in two best picture Oscar nominees: Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Jordan Peele's Get Out as well as Sean Baker's critically acclaimed The Florida Project. He recently wrapped production on Lone Scherfig's untitled film opposite Andrea Riseborough, Bill Nighy and Zoe Kazan. ICM Partners, Untitled Entertainment and Bloom Hergott handle Jones. Bloom is best known for his roles in New Line's The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He is represented by ICM, Lighthouse Management & Media and Independent Talent Group. Hard's film Destined premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival last summer as an Official Selection. Hard played a supporting role in American Sniper. Lurie, who served in the Army and is a West Point graduate, created the TV series Commander in Chief for ABC and directed the Robert Redford starrer The Last Castle, about a court-martialed general who rallies 1,200 inmates to rise against the corrupt system that put him away. The deals come as Tapper's book Hellfire Club, a 1950s-set political thriller about secret societies and communist witch hunts, is being shopped by UTA. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV/STREAMING . . .

Kyle West Tears Up After Seeing Aaron in a Wheelchair on The Arrangement. Kyle West (Josh Henderson) is finally coming face to face with the one person he hurt most. In a clip from Sunday's all-new The Arrangement, Kyle and Megan Morrison (Christine Evangelista) try to move Julie and Aaron to a safe place and in the process, Kyle is forced to confront Aaron, who is wheelchair-bound as a result of his and Terence's (Michael Vartan) dirty deeds. "No! How could you bring him here?" a shocked Julie screams after seeing Kyle. "We don't have time for this. You have to listen to me. You're not safe," Megan warns. Julie can't seem to get past having the person responsible for her brother's pain in her home. "Hey! Stay the hell away from him!" Julie tells Kyle as he makes his way towards Aaron. Kyle tears up at the sight of Aaron in a wheelchair and it's in that moment that he fully realizes what he's done. "Kyle West. Last time you saw me, I looked like you," Aaron tells his former friend. (Eonline)

The Crown Season 3 Cast Officially Adds Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Watkins. The Crown has officially staffed up for season three. Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies were previously announced as taking over the roles of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip from Claire Foy and Matt Smith, and now Netflix has officially confirmed Helena Bonham Carter will play Princess Margaret. "I'm not sure which I'm more terrified about -- doing justice to the real Princess Margaret or following in the shoes of Vanessa Kirby. The only thing I can guarantee is that I'll be shorter than Vanessa," Bonham Carter said in a statement on Twitter. Her involvement was previously rumored, but only just confirmed. The Crown has also added Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson. "I am delighted to become part of this exceptional show. Harold Wilson is a significant and fascinating character in our history. So looking forward to bringing him to life, through a decade that transformed us culturally and politically. And excited to be working so closely with Olivia and the whole team," Watkins said in a Twitter statement. The Crown season three will jump ahead in time. Season two ended in the 1960s, and season three will feature Queen Elizabeth facing new challenges in the ever-changing world. Look for the likes of Prince Charles to be in his teens in the new season. A premiere date has yet to be announced, but it will likely debut in 2019. Foy originated the role of Queen Elizabeth and received rave reviews and awards for her performance as the monarch. Emmy nominee Colman, who starred in Broadchurch and The Night Manager, will play the part in seasons three and four of the Netflix historical drama. "I'm so thrilled to be part of The Crown, I was utterly gripped watching it, a proper 'just one more' feeling," she said in a statement. "I think Claire Foy is an absolute genius, she's an incredibly hard act to follow, I'm basically going to rewatch every episode and copy her!" The Crown recently made headlines thanks to a wage gap controversy. Smith was paid more than Foy for their work in the show, his Doctor Who fame the reasoning according to producers. However, the production company has since apologized and Foy reportedly is set to receive back pay after the parity scandal. The Crown seasons one and two are now streaming on Netflix. (Eonline)

Riverdale Continues to Tease Us With Black Hood Possibilities. If there's a competition for TV's craziest show, we'd like to humbly submit Riverdale for consideration. Wednesday night's episode was chock full of chaos, starting with the least interesting thing going on right now: the mayoral race. Archie appeared to be campaigning for his dad, but he was really "staring into mens' eyes" to see if they were the Black Hood, with no luck so far. Meanwhile, Betty was slowly developing a case for her father being the Black Hood (which is the thing that has always made the most sense), and she found some serious evidence with help from Cheryl. He was still paying for his "ShareBnB" and had a copy of that Nancy Drew book used to make the cipher only Betty could solve, but when Betty confronted him, he claimed the book was a birthday present for her and was shocked to hear that Cheryl was helping with her investigation. She temporarily gave up on her theory, particularly when the Black Hood appeared to show up at the mayor debate with a gun in the balcony while Hal was cowering on the floor with everybody else. But by the end of the episode, she was calling her dad, telling him they needed to continue their earlier conversation and talk "just you and me, just like you wanted, like it was supposed to be." And then while Betty was waiting with a gun for her potentially black hooded dad, the Black Hood or another Black Hood or someone else entirely in a black hood was knocking at Cheryl's door. Elsewhere, Midge's murder was still consuming the town and Riverdale High. Archie's ill-advised private security group the Black Circle (which Archie had now quit) was convinced the killer was whichever Southside Serpent she was sleeping with. Fangs admitted that he was indeed sleeping with her and while he also said he didn't kill her, he was arrested. After the apparent Black Hood's appearance at the debate, Fangs was released while a huge mob waited outside the sheriff's station. Archie arrived to help and went to tackle Reggie as he pulled a gun out of his jacket pocket. They wrestled, and the gun ended up going off while they both had a hold of it, shooting Fangs in the stomach. And somehow, in the middle of all of that, Veronica had time to take a break from trying to get her dad to open a casino to put on lingerie and have sex with Archie, because there's never too much murder going on for some teenage hanky panky. Now, we've got a lot to contemplate, like how many Black Hoods there are and whether this means that Betty's dad is actually a Black Hood or if he's just a real weirdo. We're confused, to be honest, and also getting a little annoyed, which is actually fine because there are only two episodes left. Our answers will come soon. Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. (Eonline)

The Originals, The 100, and the Art of a Good Time Jump. While they both may air on the CW, The 100 and The Originals are not typically two shows you'd talk about in the same breath. One's about extra-immortal vampires who've been around for thousands of years and now inhabit the French Quarter in New Orleans. The other is a post-apocalyptic survival show in which no one is even close to immortal and that's the point. But this year, the two shows have a weird number of things in common. They both started their fifth seasons within a week of each other, and both left their fourth seasons on a development that radically changed the show, separating all the main characters in some seriously significant ways. And then they both headed into their fifth seasons with major time jumps and a promise -- spoken or unspoken -- that those main characters will find their way back to each other. Both shows also use that time jump incredibly well, as a way to both jump start their stories and bypass some boring bits to give us some of their best episodes ever. Last week's premiere of The 100 spent a brutal first half hour showing Clarke (Eliza Taylor) struggling to survive after the death wave of radiation that left the ground essentially uninhabitable, then jumped ahead to when things really got going, six years after the end of season four. After we learned what Clarke had gone through -- nearly dying before finding and essentially adopting a little girl who had also survived -- we got to see the extent of how everything had changed in six years. Clarke was still trapped on the ground, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), Abby (Paige Turco), and most others were still trapped underground, and one small group was still trapped in space. Everyone had grown up and relationships had changed, particularly due to the fact that the time jump was several times longer than time covered in the first four seasons. "It gives you the freedom of [letting you do] almost anything that you want to do, because you can justify it in the sense of, you know, they had enough time for that to develop," executive producer Jason Rothenberg tells us of that time jump. "Really, we could do anything." "Anything" included turning Clarke into a survivalist mom of a preteen, putting two space-bound characters into a rather polarizing relationship, and, as we saw in the night's bunker-centric episode, heroically killed off a mentor and created a new system of justice that involved fights to the death for any lawbreakers, with Octavia overseeing it all. And while none of that is truly surprising, it is seriously exhilarating in the ways the best episodes of this show have always been. In some ways, the episode is similar to what The Originals does with the night's episode, the third of the season. It's an hour entirely focused on Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and his journey during the eight-year time jump as he's "forced to confront his past, and to choose between his past and a possible future," according to director Joseph Morgan. The stories are quite different, but they do both take a moment to focus only on one important part of the story that took place in the time we missed, condensing a six or eight-year journey into one poignant hour. The Originals returned two weeks ago for its final season with a premise that's a pretty big deal on that show about siblings promising to never leave each other's side. All those siblings had been forcibly separated after each taking on a piece of a terrible evil that threatened their super powerful niece/daughter, and they could never see each other again if they wanted that evil to stay buried. At the start of the premiere, eight years had gone by. Klaus (Morgan) had occasionally paid his brother a visit, but Elijah had asked to be compelled to forget about his tormented vampire life and the vow he made with his siblings. Creator Julie Plec says the time jump was partly an excuse to age up Klaus' powerful daughter Hope from seven to 15, to give her better stories. But it was also to make sure that the decision made at the end of season four -- to separate the family -- had real stakes. "We wanted the stakes to have felt like there was an actual consequence to that choice that stuck," Plec says. "So we didn't want to do like six months later, everyone's back and it's a family reunion. We really wanted to feel an extreme and difficult amount of time had passed -- enough time for somebody, for example like Elijah, could have created an entirely new, rich, and full life for themselves." While Elijah gets an entire episode, Plec didn't feel it was necessary for everybody to get that time jump backstory. "For most people it was just being able to capture them in a moment in time in the present that reflected the journey they'd been on the last eight years," she says. "That felt right for most people, so Freya and Keelin had been able to enjoy a happy relationship in spite of being newly separated for work, that New Orleans was living in enough levels of peace that Hayley felt comfortable finding a new boyfriend..." But Elijah was a different story. "With Elijah, we really really wanted to explore what his life would look like if the burden of codependency to Klaus was lifted, and in this case that's what happened at the end of last season," she explains. "Who would that Elijah be? What would he sound like? What would he wear? Would he smile, would he be happy? And that was something we were dying to dig much deeper into and that resulted in the episode we told mostly from his point of view." Elijah is nearly unrecognizable eight years later and everyone in The 100's bunker has been through the ringer in six years, but Rothenberg says a time jump requires some careful balancing of character development. "The trick also, of course, is to have it feel like [the characters are] different, but they're not. They're still the same people that we've come to love so there has to be that sort of consistency. And of course the actors haven't changed, so they still feel the same hopefully. That's one of the tricky things about a time jump, but that's also the thing that's most exciting about it." Clarke may now be a gun-toting parent and Klaus may be an absent father murdering buildings full of people, but neither of those are unexpected or unfamiliar roads. They also make complete sense in the time that has passed, and they've given us some new dynamics that may not make us happy, but they've certainly got us compelled and entertained. It's both shows giving us some of their best episodes, and maybe even their best seasons ever. Only time will tell. The 100 airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m., and The Originals airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW. (Eonline)

'The Crown' Enlists Jason Watkins as Harold Wilson. Jason Watkins, left, will play former prime minister Harold Wilson on Netflix's 'The Crown.' The third season of the Netflix royal drama will return in 2019, the streaming service announced Thursday. Netflix's The Crown has cast its Harold Wilson. BAFTA-winning actor Jason Watkins has been tapped to take on the role in the third season of the Netflix royal drama from producers Sony Pictures Television Studios. Season three picks up in 1964 and covers Wilson's two terms as prime minister, from 1964 to 1979 and again from 1974 to 1976, with season four likely to explore Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana. In addition to announcing Watkins and confirming Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Netflix also revealed that season three of The Crown will not premiere until 2019. As for Watkins, the casting reunites him with The Crown creator Peter Morgan following their collaboration on ITV's The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies. Watkins joins a cast that includes the previously announced Tobias Menziesas Prince Philip (taking over the role previously held by Matt Smith); Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth(taking over for Claire Foy) and Carter as Princess Margaret(taking over for Vanessa Kirby). "I am delighted to become part of this exceptional show," Watkins said. "And so thrilled to be working once again with Peter Morgan. Harold Wilson is a significant and fascinating character in our history. So looking forward to bringing him to life, through a decade that transformed us culturally and politically. And excited to be working so closely with Olivia; and the whole team." Netflix on Thursday also confirmed Carter's casting, with the actress saying in a statement of her own: "I'm not sure which I'm more terrified about -- doing justice to the real Princess Margaret or following in the shoes of Vanessa Kirby's Princess Margaret. The only thing I can guarantee is that I'll be shorter (than Vanessa)." Watkins is repped by United Agents in the U.K. (Hollywood Reporter)

Meek Mill Docuseries From Jay-Z Set at Amazon. Amazon says the six-part series will explore the rapper's "fight for exoneration while exposing flaws in the criminal justice system." Amazon Studios is turning its lens on Meek Mill. The retail giant and streamer is teaming with the rapper for a six-part documentary series that will follow Meek and, as Amazon describes it, his "fight for exoneration while exposing flaws in the criminal justice system." The untitled series, which is expected to premiere in 2019, is exec produced by Jay-Z and his Roc Nation banner, Intellectual Property Corp.'s Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman as well as investigative journalist Paul Solotaroff and documentary filmmaker Isaac Solotaroff. The docuseries will offer viewers what Amazon says is unprecedented access to Meek's life, career and criminal justice odyssey while also demonstrating the "negative effects long tail probation is having on urban communities of color." "I'm grateful for this unique opportunity to share my story and I look forward to collaborating with Amazon Prime Video, Roc Nation and the Intellectual Property Corporation on this incredible series," Meek said. "Not only will this documentary give viewers an unprecedented look at my life, but it will also allow me to use my public platform to highlight the need for criminal justice reform. Born Robert Rihmeek Williams, Meek in November was sent to county lockup for two to four years after he was captured while performing a wheelie in an Instagram video. It was the third time Judge Genece Brinkley sent the rapper to prison for violating his probation. The sentencing ignited outrage and triggered a series of investigations after many deemed it too severe. The docuseries will explore those investigations as advocates see the sentencing as evidence of the inequalities in a criminal justice system where African-Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. Amazon notes that the investigative series will follow Meek and his supporters as they attempt to uncover the different facets of corruption that kept the rapper under the thumb of Philadelphia's criminal justice system for more than a decade, while revealing his life post incarceration. Each hour-long episode will unravel Meek's past -- from the childhood trauma that shaped him as an artist, to the vast conspiracy behind his latest imprisonment -- while following present day developments in his legal battle, personal life and music career. The series will also feature Meek's original music. Jay-Z, who has exec produced docuseries exploring the injustices within the criminal justice system connected to cases involving Trayvon Martin and Kalief Browder, penned an piece in November in the New York Times in which he voiced his support for Meek. "For about a decade, he's been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside," he wrote. "What's happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day." (Hollywood Reporter)

NBCUniversal Int'l Entertainment Channel Renamed Universal TV in Brand Refresh. The U.K. kicks off the update of what has so far been known as the Universal Channel, positioning it as a "destination brand that celebrates world-class, high-quality, character-driven content." NBCUniversal International Networks on Thursday unveiled a brand refresh for its flagship general entertainment channel, kicking off with the U.K., with other markets to follow. So far known as the Universal Channel, the network will now be called Universal TV. The company said it is positioning it as a "destination brand that celebrates world-class, high-quality, character-driven content." The brand refresh will next come into effect in South Africa on May 10, followed by Australia, Germany, Latin America and Brazil in the coming months. The refresh is designed to provide "a bold, new, contemporary brand identity across all linear, digital and social platforms including a new logo, typeface and fresh color palette," the company said. "Continuing to draw on the strength, recognition and heritage of the 'Universal' name that's long been synonymous with quality entertainment the evolved proposition for the new-look brand continues to highlight that characters are at the heart of great storytelling." In the U.K., character-driven programming on the channel includes such recent acquisitions as The Resident, Gone and The Disappearance. The network ranks in the top 10 pay TV channels in Britain, while also seeing strength other countries. "Universal TV's reinvigorated identity best positions our flagship brand into the future as a relevant, compelling destination for fans of character-driven programming," said Lee Raftery, chief marketing & content officer and managing director UK & emerging markets at NBCUniversal International. "In making this latest investment in Universal combined with the raft of top-quality shows we have recently acquired we're reinforcing our commitment to delivering a must-watch destination for affiliate partners and viewers, alike." NBCUniversal International Networks' central marketing team worked on the rebrand with creative agency Red Bee and brand consultant Lee Hunt. (Hollywood Reporter)

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