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Thursday, September 13, 2018

TV/STREAMING . . .

BIP's Grocery Store Joe to Compete on Dancing With the Stars. Grocery Store Joe is leaving paradise to enter the ballroom. Joe Amabile will be joining the season 27 cast of Dancing With the Stars on the tell-all show after the finale. The former Bachelor In Paradise contestant was shocked when the announcement was made in front of the cheering audience, right after he and Kendall Long shared that they were back together. He and the blonde got back together after they left Mexico and have since been going the distance, traveling back and forth from Joe's home state of Illinois and Long's home in Los Angeles. Knowing that these two deserve a second shot at love Harrison told the pair, "I know some people and I've pulled some strings. I've secured you a spot on Dancing With the Stars." "I don't know how to dance!," he shouted when Chris told him. But he ultimately relented, knowing it will mean he and Kendall can be a hop, skip and a jump away from one another. The grocery store manager soared to fame when he starred on Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to get down on one knee for Becca, since he was sent home on the first night. According to the bachelorette, "He was great on night one but I could tell he was nervous and I wasn't sure if he could get past the cameras." He got his second chance in Paradise. However, he didn't get the woman of his dreams there either -- at least until now. Now, the businessman is looking to win the love and support from America when he competes on the dance show. Let's hope Joe has better luck on this reality show. (Eonline)

Bachelor in Paradise Ends With 2 Engaged Couples and They're Talking Babies, Weddings and More. Can you hear it? Over the cries, accusations and rehashing of drama, they're there, in the distance, Bachelor in Paradise wedding bells! During the season five finale of Bachelor in Paradise, not one, but two couples got engaged. Krystal Nielson of The Bachelor season 22 and Chris Randone of The Bachelorette season 14 are engaged to be married, as are Jordan Kimball of The Bachelorette season 14 and Jenna Cooper from The Bachelor season 22. Jenna and Jordan even have a wedding date and are talking baby names. "The names that I pick are going to be the names," Jenna said before Jordan rattled off some potential names. (Tucker was Jenna's choice earlier in the season.) In the video, Jenna and Jordan also detail what it's like existing as a couple after leaving Paradise. "I think I'm going to be the one to leave Florida," Jordan told us. "I think I could use a new chapter in my life, so, we're literally in talks about that right now." "I think we're being really realistic about it too. It makes sense for our careers, where we're at right now," Jenna added about the move. The duo set June 9th as their wedding date. Why? It's Jenna's birthday and the day they met while filming Paradise, Jordan revealed. Say it with us: "Awww!" As for who's in their wedding party, expect plenty of familiar faces. Meanwhile, Krystal and Chris showed off the engagement ring to E! News ("I love a man who listens," Krystal said.) and revealed they've not set a date, but they were looking forward to all the planning and spending time together. "I'm very passionate," Chris said, "and I like to be around the woman I'm in love with." He said it's been difficult to not be able to be there for Krystal, who memorized Chris' number when they were on Paradise, in person. "It was really hard being apart," Krystal said. "Because we spent so much time with one another in Paradise, 20 hours a day for a month, and the distance was hard, but we have each other's back." She said she's excited to take the distance out of the equation because their lives are "so compatible." Both of those proposals went down on the beach in Mexico, but one couple didn't fare so well. Annaliese Puccini was ready to go all in with Kamil Nicalek, and professed her love in a heartfelt speech, clearly expecting a proposal in return. Kamil admitted he wasn't there yet and needed to take their relationship at his own pace. His pace turned out to involve dating Annaliese for weeks after filming ended, only to then dump her on stage in front of the audience and all of their former Paradise pals during the reunion. Of all the rude things that have happened on this franchise, that was actually up there with the worst. He explained right there on the couch that he might not be the guy for Annaliese, and while she's an amazing woman, he didn't want to string her along. Annaliese then pointed out that he had just booked them an Air BnB to stay together for the week, and he had no real explanation. Annaliese took a second to cry backstage, but then came back with the fury of a thousand dogs and bumper cars. "I tried to break up with you..." she said, and apparently, he said he wasn't ready to let her go. Chris then sent Kamil away. Good riddance! In much happier news, Joe Amabile and Kendall Long revealed that they reconciled after their breakup during Paradise, and are now together, though long distance. To help with that long-distance problem, Chris Harrison surprised Joe with an offer to join season 27 of Dancing with the Stars, and he said yes! ABC has also already announced that The Facts of Life star Nancy McKeon and Disney Channel's Milo Manheim will be dancing along with him, and sources tell E! News that singer Tinashe will also hit the dance floor. The full cast will be revealed on Wednesday, Sept. 12 on Good Morning America. Bachelor in Paradise aired on ABC. (Eonline)

Getting job shamed is turning out to be very good for Geoffrey Owens' career ... he just booked another TV role in wake of his viral Trader Joe's photo. Sources close to "NCIS: New Orleans" tell TMZ ... Geoffrey arrived on set Tuesday in the Big Easy to shoot scenes for an upcoming guest starring role on the hit CBS show. It's unclear how long he'll be working on the series, but we're told he's there until Thursday. Our sources say producers of 'NCIS: NO' reached out to Owens after the TJ's pic went viral and offered him the gig. He'll reportedly play Commander Adams, an old and valued friend of lead character Dwayne Pride ... played by Scott Bakula. The episode is slated to air in late October. As we reported ... this isn't the first benefit that's come for the former 'Cosby Show' star after being job shamed for working at Trader Joe's. Tyler Perry offered him a 10-episode job on his show's upcoming season on OWN -- which Owens accepted -- and Nicki Minaj vowed to send him $25k. There's no business-like show business. (TMZ)

Norm Macdonald Canceled From Tonight Show After Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr Comments. The Tonight Show made a last-minute cancellation. While stand-up comedian and SNL alum Norm Macdonald was originally scheduled to appear on the late-night show on Tuesday night, the network confirmed that would no longer be the case. "Out of sensitivity to our audience and in light of Norm Macdonald's comments in the press, 'The Tonight Show' has decided to cancel his appearance on Tuesday's telecast," a show spokesperson told E! News in a statement. Early Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with Macdonald, who is currently promoting his upcoming Netflix talk show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show. In the interview, the comic commented on the #MeToo Movement, stating, "I'm happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit. It used to be, 'One hundred women can't be lying.' And then it became, 'One woman can't lie.' And that became, 'I believe all women.' And then you're like, 'What?' Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there." In response to a question about someone admitting wrongdoing, MacDonald continued, "The model used to be: admit wrongdoing, show complete contrition and then we give you a second chance. Now it's admit wrongdoing and you're finished. And so the only way to survive is to deny, deny, deny. That's not healthy -- that there is no forgiveness. I do think that at some point it will end with a completely innocent person of prominence sticking a gun in his head and ending it. That's my guess. I know a couple of people this has happened to." When asked by THR who he knew, Macdonald answered with Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr, both of whom he has worked with in the past. C.K. admitted to sexual misconduct in November 2017 after several women came forward with allegations against him. Barr's offensive tweets about Valerie Jarrett sparked the swift cancelation of the rebooted Roseanne in May, for which Macdonald was reportedly supposed to write for. "Well, Louis [C.K.] and Roseanne [Barr] are the two people I know. And Roseanne was so broken up [after her show's reboot was canceled] that I got Louis to call her, even though Roseanne was very hard on Louis before that. But she was just so broken and just crying constantly," Macdonald continued to THR. "There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, 'What about the victims?' But you know what? The victims didn't have to go through that." The star further told THR that Barr "is certainly not a racist. That's just crazy." The 58-year-old later issued a statement on Twitter regarding his comments. "Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years. They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions," he told followers Tuesday evening. "If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry." (TMZ)

How RuPaul's Drag Race Became Mainstream in a Way No One Ever Thought Possible. It all started with an Emmy win. Or maybe it was the move to VH1. Or perhaps it was the Lady Gaga appearance. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when RuPaul's Drag Race made the leap from queer cult favorite and straight into the zeitgeist but made the leap it has. While Mama Ru has been known to downplay the potential for drag culture to ever truly go mainstream, it's harder still to argue against the idea that a show that's been around for nine seasons and counting, launched two spin-offs, an aftershow and a yearly fan convention, had one of its more entertaining elements ripped off on another reality show, been parodied on Saturday Night Live and introduced the country to a lexicon previously unheard outside of a gay bar hasn't done just that. And if you'd told anyone who tuned in for that first episode on Logo way back in 2009 that this would all become possible, they'd have called you crazy. When RuPaul Charles brought Drag Race to Logo almost exactly nine years ago in his first attempt to find America's next drag superstar, he was also re-introducing the world to the art of drag -- and on what was undoubtedly a shoestring budget. Returning to the Viacom family after an eponymous talk show on VH1 in the '90s, Ru and his partners at World of Wonder delivered a show that combined the craft of Project Runway with the fierceness of America's Next Top Model, all while flipping every reality TV trope on its head in what can only be described as loving mockery. Despite its fuzzy, lo-fi camera filter and paltry prize ($20,000 in cash and some MAC cosmetics), RuPaul's Drag Race quickly began connecting with a small, but fiercely devoted fan base thanks to the heartfelt ethos of its creator, which is encapsulated in Ru's closing remarks on every episode: "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" But it was an uphill battle to be taken seriously. Nielsen didn't even rate the first season, if you can believe it. As the seasons went on and more fans began trickling in, the show underwent minor changes to its judging panel (Goodbye, Merle Ginsberg! Hello, Michelle Visage!) and its challenges (the iconic and highly-anticipated "Snatch Game" challenge, which tasks the queens to deliver their best celebrity impersonation while competing in Ru's version of the classic game show Match Game, wouldn't arrive until season two), while its set would grow and its grand prize increased incrementally each season until settling at the current dollar amount, $100,000, in season four. But the tone of the show, in its search for the queen who possesses just the right amount of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, has never wavered. (For the uninitiated looking to understand the tone, look no further than the acronym those four qualities creates.) And while the ethos of self-acceptance, self-expression, and cheeky dismantling of societal norms has endeared the show to its target LGBTQ audience, its the irreverence and showmanship that has drawn in those who might've never dreamed of attending a drag show in the lives. In short, RuPaul's Drag Race is just damn entertaining. Entertaining enough for Logo to order its first spinoff, RuPaul's Drag U, in 2010, and the second, RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars, in 2012. While Drag U, which featured three women in each episode who were paired with Drag Race alumni to get drag makeovers to help access their "inner diva," came to an end after just two years, All-Stars returned in 2016 and its third season is currently airing on new network home VH1. Entertaining enough that it went global via Netflix in 2013, making the series available in 30 countries worldwide, currently. Entertaining enough for a fellow Viacom network (Spike TV, now Paramount Network) to ape one of its signature elements (the Lip Sync for Your Life elimination challenge) and turn it into Lip Sync Battle, which, despite the star power it pulls in, can only be described as a weak imitation of the real thing. Entertaining enough that it's become an industry of its own, launching careers out of most of its contestants, who, thanks to DragCon, touring, merchandising and recording contracts, are earning in the low to mid-six figures annually. And, at long last, entertaining enough to land a damn Emmy. In 2016, RuPaul finally earned a much-deserved nomination for Outstanding Reality-Competition Host and won, beating out category mainstays Jane Lynch, Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn, Tom Bergeron, and Ryan Seacrest. The following year, the series landed a stunning eight nominations, including its first for Outstanding Reality-Competition Series (it lost to The Voice), racking up three wins, including a repeat for Ru as host. And it's that acknowledgement from the industry establishment that helped the series make the leap in season nine from its Logo home, with its limited potential viewership of 48.6 million homes, to VH1, a network with nearly double that footprint. "It was just this idea that the Emmy win really cemented the show in mainstream pop culture, and VH1 is more broadly available in homes across the US," VH1 original programming senior vice president Pamela Post, who worked at Logo when Drag Race first began, told IndieWire. "It was an opportunity to broaden the show's viewership even further." The leap to VH1 saw season nine premiere with nearly a million viewers watching, breaking ratings records for the show as it nearly tripled the viewership of season eight's premiere. That the episode featured Lady Gaga, arguably the show's biggest get to date, certainly didn't hurt. But the fact that Gaga even made an appearance, one that was planned and filmed months before the decision was made to change networks, points to the cultural cachet the show finally carried. With a fourth round of its All-Stars off-shoot on the way, a recently-wrapped 10th season breaking ratings records, earning four E! People's Choice Award nominations and another Emmy for Ru, and an 11th in the casting stages, all signs point to RuPaul's Drag Race still being on the rise. And the effects of that rise can be felt everywhere, from the sketch during Chris Pine's SNL episode where he and Bobby Moynihan played two butch auto mechanics obsessed with the show to the social media presence of just about every company desperate to appear hip, incorporating slang from drag culture like it's no big deal. So has Drag Race gone mainstream? Or has it, as RuPaul likes to argue, merely brought drag to the mainstream? And is there a difference? "So drag becoming mainstream? Honey, please. That's not going to happen, mainly because the mainstream wants you to choose an identity so they can sell you beer and shampoo. That's just the way it is," Ru argued in Rolling Stone late last year. "In drag, we are shape-shifters. We don't hear the rules. We change every day. People need a box to understand how to navigate their lives. They need a grid to go 'Oh, I'm here and that's there.' They're not fluid in the way of saying 'I'm both male, female, black, white. I'm earth. I'm united.' Drag says, 'I'm f--king everything.'" While we may disagree on Drag Race's mainstream position, we have only one thing to say to that: Can we get an amen? (Eonline)

'Mayans MC': Kurt Sutter Explains Major 'Sons of Anarchy' Crossover Character. Spoiler alert! [This story contains spoilers for season one, episode two of FX's Mayans MC, "Escorpion/Dzec," as well as major spoilers from Kurt Sutter's Sons of Anarchy.] Months ago, actor Michael Ornstein received a text message from his old friend and colleague Kurt Sutter, asking if he was still living in Los Angeles, and if he was available to hop back into the Sons of Anarchy universe. One can only imagine the exact phrasing of Sutter's inquiry, just as much as one hopes Ornstein's reply was along the lines of his Sons character Chuck "Chucky" Marstein's most frequently repeated saying: "I accept that." However the offer played out, the results speak for themselves. Midway through "Escorpion/Dzec," the second installment of FX's Mayans MC, Ornstein appeared in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it capacity as Chucky, the artificially-fingered ex-con who served as the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club's bookkeeper and veritable mascot over the course of Sutter's original biker drama. It's a brief first look back at Chucky, often a source of comic relief in the midst of the SAMCRO drama, but also someone with his fair share of moving moments across six seasons of Sons. It's far from the last look, too, as Chucky will continue appearing throughout Mayans MC, working in the front office of the scrapyard that hosts the Mayans' Santo Padre chapter. "Michael is one of my oldest and dearest friends, so I love having him around," Sutter tells The Hollywood Reporter about bringing the beloved Sons of Anarchy figure back into the fold. As for why he tapped Chucky as the connective tissue between Sons and Mayans, Sutter, explains, "It was one of those things where you're setting up the dynamics of the world and who are the players, and as you get into the episodes, you can expand those layers. I knew we had our clubhouse and the club itself is set in this scrapyard world where that's their day job and that's where the clubhouse is located ... and I also knew there would have to be some sense of the reality of how that world operates. So, who are the external players in that world making it function? I remember thinking, 'Well, I want to create a character who's running the front office. Who's my Chucky here?' Then I went, "Well... maybe it's Chucky!'" Certainly, Chucky's return is a surprise for Sons fans, but no one was more shocked at Sutter's creative decision than Ornstein himself. "It just made me think about Chucky in the sense that he's sort of a hobo," Ornstein tells THR with a big laugh, talking about his character's enduring quality. "He's a drifter, traveling around, and the thing about him is that he represents this blind love and loyalty to whoever gives him a place to be and a job and a reason to be there, to be part of the family. Once he's in that place, he has this deep loyalty to that place. I just love that. It's such an honor to play someone as pure as that." In order to tap back into Chucky yet also forge a new path forward into Mayans, Ornstein says he spent two hours by himself on the scrapyard set, as a means of bonding with the place: "I just wanted to really do everything from the inside out and understanding, like, how long he has been here? How did he get here?" In that regard, Sutter says the way in which Chucky transferred from the SAMCRO clubhouse to the Santo Padre charter won't receive too much elaboration: "There's a reference to it. There's this throwaway line that Coco has in episode six or something like that where we find out why [Chucky is] there. It's just this thrown away thing and you realize, 'Oh, my god. That's why he's there.' But there's never an exploration of it, an explanation of it. He's just there, and in a very Chucky-esque way. Then you get a sense that he's there creating new relationships." With that said, the status quo at the end of Sons of Anarchy certainly opens the door for Chucky's new world order. By the time Sons ended, SAMCRO and the Mayans were close allies; simultaneously, Chucky lost the most important person in his life: Gemma (Katey Sagal), the Sons' matriarch, and the person who often gave Chucky his sense of purpose. Even if it doesn't play out on the show in vivid detail, Ornstein says Gemma's death (as well as a few other losses) will add depth to Chucky, all these years later. "I worked up a whole history with Chucky, where I don't feel like he ever had any real kind of family," says Ornstein "The way he survived through Sons of Anarchy, I feel that every loss that he suffered -- with Otto [played by Kurt Sutter], who was really his only friend, and then with Gemma, and then preparing Jax's chariot in the finale of Sons -- to realize what he did there with that bike and that handshake and the way that ended up -- and then to take it three years later, to where he is now. I feel like all of that history, he's taking it with him into [Mayans], which makes everything lusher and more deep." "The loyalty that he feels now with this club, with these guys, with this environment is so much deeper, bringing that history along with him and that loss," he adds. "What he has now, I feel like he's much more fully formed, as a person, having gone through all of that." "As the season progresses," says Sutter, "you get a sense that in the real time of that world, we're playing it as it's three years or so since the end of Sons. You get a sense that he's in the process of acclimating to this new world and he's approaching it in a very obscure Chucky kind of way." Speaking with THR mere hours before his first appearance on Mayans, Ornstein says he feels a sense of "honor" in being the most recognizable player from Sons to recur on the new show: "I just can't wait for people to see Chucky. I just can't wait for people to make that connection and feel that bridge [to the original series]. I just find it to be so cool." (Hollywood Reporter)

Jeff Lewis fired a major shot at his longtime "Flipping Out" co-star, Jenni Pulos ... and it's sure to make fans flip out. The famed house flipper just shared a promotional image for the upcoming Tuesday night premiere of season 11 of the show on social media ... with one major edit -- a huge red "X" over Pulos' face. Lewis is standing between Jenni and his partner, Gage Edward. The caption's pretty innocuous, but Jeff's clearly letting it be known ... his relationship with Pulos is dunzo. Jeff and Jenni reportedly had a falling out after an explosive fight -- which will be aired on the upcoming season -- and haven't spoken since. As for what led to the fight ... she reported Jeff to the network, claiming he was abusive, harassed her and generally created a hostile working environment. Lewis followed up with his own claim ... that he and Pulos had been faking their business relationship for the cameras and she hadn't actually worked for him for years. Regardless, the 2 had been together on screen since the hit reality series debuted in 2007 ... and both are executive producers. They're just no longer friends. (TMZ)

One of the most famous "Big Brother" contestants says the show's longtime host, Julie Chen, might be expendable with Les Moonves now gone -- but the show is rock solid. Dan Gheesling -- who won season 10 and was the runner-up on season 14 of "Big Brother" -- says if Julie steps away from her hosting role on CBS' hit reality series, whoever replaces her will have some massive shoes to fill. Her 18-year run has been that iconic. So far, Julie has not given even a hit that she'll leave the show. In fact, she made it clear ... she'll be hosting Thursday night's episode. The real question ... will "Big Brother" go on the chopping block now that Moonves is gone? Sharon Osbourne said this week on "The Talk" nobody's job is safe now ... nor are any of the CBS shows in the wake of Moonves' departure. Ultimately it comes down to ratings. Although Dan says the show is a juggernaut ... the ratings are down this season from last, although the all-important demos are still strong. As they say in TV land -- TBD. (TMZ)

Emmys Telecast Under the Gun to Increase Ratings. Television's premier awards show can't seem to capture its golden-age magic, and a new eight-year broadcast pact could freeze fees if viewership doesn't rebound. When Michael Che and Colin Jost take the Microsoft Theater stage Sept. 17, their Emmy hosting gig will come with the usual pressures -- for viewers, social media metrics and cool points. But their ratings on NBC won't affect the latest rights agreement between the TV Academy and the Big Four networks, an eight-year deal that kicks off with the 2019 show and is seen by many as make-or-break for the awards' broadcast future. The count of U.S. scripted series will top 500 in 2018. But interest in TV's top honors, as with many awards shows, is slipping. The past three Emmy telecasts averaged 11.5 million viewers, easily ranking as the least watched of TV's big awards shows. "Everyone was really motivated to get this deal done," says one Big Four exec. "Then some flies got in the ointment and it screeched to a halt." The length of the deal proved the biggest sticking point. The TV Academy was eager for eight years, while ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC pushed for just four. The resolution was a compromise: If the first four Emmys of the new deal don't drop further in the ratings, the Academy's licensing fee will go up for 2023-26. If the show continues to lose steam, the networks will pay the same amount for those second four years. How to goose those ratings is still up for debate. Many bemoan staid production, while even more (especially on the network side) are said to be pushing to shuffle some of the less sexy categories (i.e., writing and directing) to the two untelevised Creative Arts shows. "The Academy feels it is important that all of our nominees and winners get the respect and recognition they deserve," says TV Academy chairman and CEO Hayma Washington. "Part of that respect and recognition comes from delivering the awards in an entertaining and engaging format. That's always a balance." Talks with the guilds, typically done before the telecast pact, have been postponed until after the 2018 show. Adds one source close to the matter: "We are trying to figure out the telecast changes question. It's the same conversations that the Oscars are having." But don't look for the introduction of a "popular" category, as the Motion Picture Academy recently teased for its own 2019 show -- then postponed amid widespread criticism and confusion over parameters. At a gala where the favorite is Game of Thrones, which lured more than 30 million viewers per episode to its most recent season, such a move is considered gratuitous, even silly. "Nobody bats an eye or cries 'snub' when a popular show doesn't get nominated because there are just so many popular shows," says another exec. "The Emmys are more like a sport at this point." (Hollywood Reporter)

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