John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan are back together. John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan are back on, according to a source. "They are together. It's been a few months," a source told Page Six. The rocker and the "You've Got Mail" star ended their relationship in 2014 after dating for three years. He told shock jock Howard Stern that Ryan "hated" him in an interview earlier this year. "I loved Meg Ryan. She hates me to death. I think it's because I'm a child," he said. But the couple remained friends and were spotted hanging out again after the Stern interview. Ryan also continues to be in the stands at his shows. "Meg was at his recent Forest Hills Stadium concert, dancing on the side of the stage," a spy said. (PageSix)

David Foster and Elizabeth Hurley Are in the ''Early Stages'' of Dating, Source Says. Elizabeth Hurley has a new man in her life, and his name is David Foster! A source tells E! News the 52-year-old model and successful record producer are "dating" and in the "early stages" of a relationship after a years-long friendship recently turned romantic. Hurley and Foster first sparked dating rumors when photographers spotted the pair boarding a private jet at an airport in Olbia, Italy. The Royals star flashed a smile while walking through an Italian airport on Tuesday, with Foster by her side. A friend of the publicly unconfirmed couple also shared a group photo from their vacation aboard an extremely luxe yacht, which featured Hurley and Foster sitting closely. So what brought these two celebs together? Our insider explains, "They have known each other for years now as they have many mutual friends, but recently became romantic... [David] talks very highly of Elizabeth." A separate source detailed David and Elizabeth's getaway. We're told the ageless beauty joined the musically-inclined star and a big group of friends and family "for about three days as they cruised around Sardinia" on Bob Manoukian luxury barge called the Siran. "They looked like a couple in the beginning stages of getting to know each other," our insider dished. "They were with a group of friends, but they had some private flirty moments together where they laughed and got close." This could potentially mark Hurley's first relationship since she split from cricketer Shane Warne in 2013. However, the English model told E! News back in 2015 what exactly she looks for in a man. "I do like to laugh," she told us. "I like someone who's loyal and kind of fabulous." Looks like she might have found someone who's meeting the criteria! Foster on the other hand, has been split from his ex-wife Yolanda Hadid, mother of Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid, since 2015, and this isn't the first time since then he's sparked romance speculation. He was seen getting cozy with American Idol alum Katharine McPhee back in May of t s year, and turned heads when he stepped out with supermodel Christie Brinkley at the end of 2016. "I tend to go from marriage to marriage -- leaving one wife for another," Foster, who's been married four times, told Vanity Fair in January. "This is the first time in my adult life that I've been single. It's a very powerful feeling, but I'm not used to it." Hurley and Foster have yet to comment on the relationship. (Eonline)

Mindy Kaling Has 'Always Talked About' Being A Mom! We are so excited for Mindy Kaling's pregnancy! And even though The Mindy Project star is super private about her personal life (and who the baby daddy is), we're happy to hear this milestone is something she's always wanted! An industry insider told People: "Mindy is really motherly to the people she loves and cares about. She takes care of them." Adding: "Being a mom is something she's always talked about, but never spoke of a set plan or anything in terms of a timeline of when she wanted it to happen." No time like the present! It's also been reported that the 38-year-old recently moved into a bigger, family-friendly house in El Lay so it sounds like she's off to a great start! (Perez Hilton)

Chrissy Teigen "Cannot Wait to Have the Biggest Family" as She Savors Every Moment With Baby Luna. Chrissy Teigen is absolutely in love with family and fast food. As the supermodel celebrates the launch of McDelivery -- a partnership between McDonald's and UberEATs -- the proud mom to baby Luna is opening up about the joys motherhood and her hopes for the future. While traveling through New York City with E! News' Jason Kennedy, Chrissy revealed that nobody is pressuring her to have more children. At the same time, she can't help but think about a future with more babies. "I probably think about it more than anybody. I cannot wait to have the biggest family," she shared with us. "Everybody is curious. They're like, 'When are you going to do it? When are you going to do it? When's the process going to start?' It's so fun absorbing baby Luna right now." Chrissy continued, "I think I'm enjoying my time absorbing and seeing everything -- all her new little steps and new moments -- and being there for them." So when the fast-food giant created McDelivery with UberEATs, Chrissy was just a little bit excited. "I'm so grateful that I reached the point in life where all my favorite things come together, which is food delivery and McDonalds," she joked to E! News. "I don't have to do anything. I have no shame about loving fast food." As for how the model looks so good even after indulging in a few tasty items, Chrissy says it's all about balance. "I will cook all day and when you're tasting all day and cooking all day, I tend not to eat it for dinner," she explained. Chrissy continued, "I've always been weird about talking diets and talking fitness because what works for somebody doesn't work for other people. There's a good balance in everything." (Eonline)

Macaulay Culkin May Have Already Won 2017's Greatest Makeover (and These Photos Are Proof). Macaulay Culkin's glow up is so real right now. We all remember him as one of our childhood heroes thanks to his role as tricky, little Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. But as he got older and stepped away from acting for a while, he seemed to take a bit of a turn...far away from the cute child star he once was. As you may recall, Culkin worried fans in 2012 when photos surfaced of him looking rail-thin, tired and gaunt. Over the years, his image rarely changed, and he continued to spark conversation about his well-being, including speculation over whether he was heavily using drugs. He responded to in an interview last year, denying the allegations and noting that people don't really have a right to be concerned about him, considering his separation from the spotlight. Well, now the 36-year-old is back in the spotlight, giving us proof that maybe he really is just fine...and by fine, we mean fiiiiiine. Without further ado, we present to you 2017's Greatest Makeover (thus far, at least): The New and Improved, Super Hunky Macaulay Culkin. Rocking black jeans, boots and a chambray shirt, Culkin stepped out in Los Angeles earlier this week looking healthy, glowing and hotter than ever. He appears to have put on a healthy amount of weight and cut his hair into a wispy, messy style that fits him and his five o'clock-shadowed jawline just right. Not to mention, the addition of the retro, thick-rimmed square glasses make him the kinda-nerdy, kinda-hipster hunk we wouldn't mind enjoying an organic hemp milk latte with. Perhaps the transformation is for his new role in Changeland, his upcoming film with Seth Green and former Disney star Brenda Song. In fact, the night that these life-altering photos were snapped, Culkin was actually spotted hanging out with Song. The two enjoyed dinner together in Hollywood at Craig's restaurant. Though it's unclear whether the two are romantically involved, one thing is definitely clear: We can't wait to see more of this Culkin transformation. Swoon! (Eonline)

Chris Martin still hangs with ex-mother-in-law Blythe Danner. Chris Martin is even close with his ex-mother-in-law. The Coldplay rocker, who divorced -- err, "consciously uncoupled" from -- Gwyneth Paltrow was spotted on a date with Paltrow's mom, Blythe Danner, in the Hamptons on Tuesday. A spy said Martin and Danner "joined Hilaria Baldwin at Guild Hall in her box at a sold-out staged reading of the comedy 'Gross Points' by Ira Lewis, starring Alec Baldwin." Baldwin starred in the original production in 2001. Danner has said of Martin and Paltrow, "They've made it work." (PageSix)

Justin Bieber Hits a Paparazzo With His Truck Outside Church. Justin Bieber hit a paparazzo with his truck Wednesday night after leaving City Church in Beverly Hills, police confirmed to E! News. According to an onlooker, the paparazzo was "on the ground moaning" after Bieber accidentally hurt him outside the Saban Theater at 9:24 p.m. PT. "Justin slid into his truck in the alley. He got in the driver's seat and saw all the photographers flashing. He drove out slowly, and there was a group of photographers on the driver's side and a group on the passenger's side. Once he drove out, the driver's side paparazzo started walking around the front of the car. It was like a mob scene, flashing at him," an eyewitness says. "The group on the right passenger side got pinned against Kourtney Kardashian's car, parked on the sidewalk. The guy fell down in the mob -- kind of under the front of the car -- and the wheel ran over his leg when Justin accelerated. When the photographers stopped flashing and knelt down to help their friend, that's when Justin realized he hit someone and got out of the car to help." According to another person on the scene, a girl from church started yelling at the paparazzo, shouting, "We are here for you! We are praying for you!" Bieber, 23, turned around and said, "We don't need more people yelling here, OK? That's nice of you, but we don't need anybody else yelling, please." Bieber "looked worried and was cooperative when the police showed up." The "Despacito" singer spoke to cops on the scene. "They taped off the area and the cops took him inside," an onlooker adds. "They did not arrest him." As he was questioned, Bieber "was totally cooperative with the police," according to an onlooker. Meanwhile, paramedics tended to the injured paparazzo, who was transported to L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center via ambulance. The 57-year-old suffered non-life-threatening injuries to one of his lower extremities, police said. Bieber's rep did not immediately respond to the media's request for comment. Earlier this week, Bieber canceled the remaining dates of his Purpose World Tour "due to unforeseen circumstances." A source told E! News Wednesday that the singer was "burnt out" after spending more than a year on the road. Echoing that sentiment, an insider confirmed he had "definitely done some soul searching lately, but it was his own decision to cancel the tour." Since the announcement, he's been leaning on his friend Patrick Schwarzenegger for support. (Eonline)

Rapper Z-RO was arrested after allegedly beating his ex-gf in an assault that lasted over 2 hours ... TMZ has learned. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the ex, rapper Just Brittany, reported the incident Monday to Harris County cops, but said it actually happened back in April. It's unclear why she waited 3 months to report it, but we're told Brittany played cops recorded audio of the alleged incident. Sources say cops wrote up a report and immediately sent it to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, which determined it was enough to arrest the Houston icon Wednesday and charge him with felony aggravated assault. He's being held without bond. Just last year, the couple recorded the now interestingly titled track, "Mama Should've Told Me." (TMZ)

June Foray, the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale from The Bullwinkle Show, died Thursday. She was 99. Foray, known as the first lady of acting, played various characters on the screen from the Looney Tunes' Witch Hazel, Nell from Dudley Do-Right, Granny in Tweety and Sylvester, and Cindy Lou Who in Chuck Jones' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. A close friend of Foray's, Dave Nimitz, confirmed her death on Facebook, writing, "With a heavy heart again I want to let you all know that we lost our little June today at 99 years old." Foray won a Daytime Emmy for The Garfield Show in 2012, in which she played Mrs. Cauldron. She received a Grammy Award for voicing Cindy Lou Who in 1968 and received the Television Academy's Governors Award in 2013. She was approached to voice character in The Bullwinkle Show in the late 1950s, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2011 that she was excited by the idea. "My agent called and said there is a man named Jay Ward who wants to meet you for lunch," she said. "He has an idea for a TV show. I said, 'Why not?'... [Jay] and Bill Scott started telling me about this idea they had about a moose and a squirrel. I thought it was a cockeyed idea, but after the second martini, I thought it was wonderful." "A week later we did a demo, and then I forgot about it. Then about a year later my agent called and said, 'Remember those guys that you had lunch with that had the idea of a moose and a squirrel? They are ready to go.'" (People)

Chester Bennington's family wants to keep his funeral a close family and friends affair. Sources close to the late Linkin Park frontman tell TMZ ... the family wants to keep the memorial intimate -- and while they're aware fans want to pay their respects ... the plan, for now, is a private ceremony. We're told the family just hasn't figured out how to give fans their moment to honor Chester. As for Chester's final resting place -- we're told the family's not jumping at the offer to take the plot next to Chris Cornell at Hollywood Forever Cemetery because it's in such a public space. (TMZ)


Prince William Says Goodbye to Life as an Air Ambulance Pilot as He Looks Back at "Daunting" Rescues. Prince William did his country proud. Before his final shift as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance Thursday, the 35-year-old Duke of Cambridge wrote editorial for The Eastern Daily Press to look back at his time served. William announced in January that he would be leaving the EEAA; he and Kate Middleton would also leave Amner Hall, their family's country home, to live in Kensington Palace full-time. After flying rescue helicopters with the Royal Air Force for three years, the prince joined the EEAA in 2015. "Over the past two years I have met people from across the region who were in the most desperate of circumstances. As part of the team, I have been invited into people's homes to share moments of extreme emotion, from relief that we have given someone a fighting chance, to profound grief. I have watched as incredibly skilled doctors and paramedics have saved people's lives. These experiences have instilled in me a profound respect for the men and women who serve in our emergency services, which I hope to continue to champion even as I leave the profession," he wrote. "I am hugely grateful for having had this experience." "From the moment I joined, when that phone rang at the base for the first time, it was clear that I was a fellow professional, a pilot with a job to do -- in such a team there can be no other option," the prince wrote, "but still I am grateful to my colleagues for accepting me so readily." "As a pilot, my job is to get the medical team to the patient as quickly and safely as possible, so they can give treatment as soon as possible after injury," he said. Though they are dispatched to just one percent of ambulance call outs, it "can mean the difference between life and death." In the last two years, William recalled, "I have watched our medical team perform surgery on a patient within minutes of jumping off the helicopter -- their level of skill is astounding." In fact, he's constantly amazed by the "level of skill" his colleagues regularly demonstrated. "As a team, we travel to some very daunting incidents and we have been though some incredibly tough times together, witnessing some appalling tragedies," he wrote. "One of the first call outs I made was to a young man who had committed suicide; it was an incredibly tough day and had a profound effect on all of us, not least in my determination now to draw attention to this issue." "Another rescue that sticks in my mind was to a young man who was involved in a road accident. His uncle in the car with him sadly didn't survive, and I was sure that from what we were faced with he wouldn't either -- but thanks to the skills of our medical team he is alive today," wrote William, who will soon ramp up his royal duties. "We were first on scene and in such circumstances we all had to pitch in to fight to save the young man's life. It is days like this, when you know you have made a difference, that give you the determination to keep going." William made sure to thank members of the community "who fund, support and keep the air ambulance flying." In conclusion, the prince wrote, "As I hang up my flight suit, I am proud to have served with such an incredible team of people who save lives across the region every day." (Eonline)

Leonardo DiCaprio Has Titanic Reunion With Kate Winslet and Billy Zane at His Foundation's Gala. A whopping 20 years has gone by since Rose left Jack in the icy ocean, but that doesn't mean our hearts haven't gone on thinking about the perfect screen gems and the villain who sought to rip the ill-fated lovers apart... Now, two decades later, the film's trio of actors, comprised of Titanic's leads Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane have reunited at the glittering Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation St. Tropez Gala in France -- and we have to say the meet up was big -- epic even -- one may say even more massive than an iceberg! Zane took to Instagram to document the fleeting moment. Along with the ice-blue image, the actor wrote, "Gangs back together. Now we're saving icebergs. Go figure. @katewinsletofficial @leonardodicaprio @leonardodicapriofdn." In addition to being a totally globally conscious tweet, it's also pretty awesome, which makes sense because Billy Zane's a cool dude -- just ask Hansel. There's a massive auction at the private party and one of the hot items on the table is a private dinner in New York City with both DiCaprio and Winslet (although availability is limited to a date sometime in October or November at a Manhattan restaurant of the recipient's choice). Of course the titanic-sized reunion wasn't the only electrifying moment of the night. Madonna also performed for the A-list masses, singing a number of her hit songs including "La Isla Bonita" and "Ray of Light." Lenny Kravitz also performed at the star-studded gala, which will be honoring Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo with the foundation's "New World Leadership Award" for her "innovative approach to making Paris a model for sustainable urban living and design," according to a statement from the gala. The A-list group of event chairs expected to make special appearances include Cate Blanchett, Emma Stone, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hanks, Jared Leto, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Tobey Maguire and Uma Thurman among others. Last year, the gala raised more than $45 million. Since 2010, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has allocated more than $80 million in grants to environmental causes. (Eonline)

Reese Witherspoon opens up about her relationship with her mini-me daughter. She's the spitting image of her mum... When a photo of Reese Witherspoon and her daughter went viral, we could not believe the extraordinary similarity between the two. This week, The Legally Blonde star revealed to Entertainment Tonight that she finds it "so weird" that her daughter is turning 18. After giving birth to Ava Phillippe at only 23, Reese explains, "I feel like we grew up together, it's great." Reese also shares son Deacon with her ex-husband and fellow Cruel Intentions co-star Ryan Phillippe as well as Tennessee, four, with her current husband, talent director Jim Toth. Reese went on to discuss that she wouldn't mind her children watching her films, she added "all of them are a labor of love" for her. (British Glamour)

Kim Basinger has kept a low-key lifestyle away from the Hollywood spotlight these days, having only appeared on the red carpet once in the past year. But on Wednesday, the 63-year-old actress was spotted at Los Angeles International airport with her 21-year-old daughter, Ireland Baldwin. The mother-daughter pair arrived at the terminal dressed in casual clothing. In February, Basinger celebrated her most recent headline-making movie, 50 Shades Darker, and made a rare red carpet appearance at the film's Los Angeles premiere. The 91/2 Weeks star played the business partner and former lover of the sadistic protagonist Christian Grey in the second installment of the racy blockbuster film series. Meanwhile, Baldwin continues to make a name for herself. Earlier this month, the model landed her first campaign with Guess, joining the ranks of her supermodel idols Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, and Naomi Campbell. "My mom has taught me about prep, and how to make your skin and your body look good," Baldwin told PEOPLE. "For me, my mom taught me to drink cranberry juice with no sugar-the pure kind from a Whole Foods or health food store. Cranberry juice and dandelion tea! You make the dandelion tea, let it brew and then pour them together over ice and drink that. I get really bloated. Like, I literally just breathe air, or chew gum, or eat one French fry and I'm huge. So, it helps with bloat. It helps with everything-it's the best thing in the world! I'm not even kidding. It will change your life." (People)

The wisest part of getting your wisdom teeth removed is having someone record you when you're coming down off the drugs ... and Simone Biles knows it! The Team USA Olympic gymnast hit the oral surgeon's office -- and after the procedure, she was OUT HER DAMN MIND! At one point, Biles thought she was driving a truck -- and even honked the imaginary horn! Good news ... she's fine now and even joked about it on social media. "Hope yall get a good laugh!!" (TMZ)

Kendra Wilkinson's Marriage Advice May Change Your Life: ''Sex Makes Everything Better." Kendra Wilkinson's known for making her private life public and her recent interview with E! News is certainly no different! Kendra got down and dirty during a fun-filled meet up with E! News' Erin Lin while gearing up for her show, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, in Las Vegas. The interview starts off sweetly as the former The Girls Next Store star explains how she and husband Hank Baskett are working hard at being in a long-distance relationship. To survive as a couple in a long-distance relationship, Kendra explains that communication is key. "We're eight years in our marriage now, so communication is what we have to hang on to right now to keep our relationship strong. To be honest with you, it was weak at first," she confessed. "I was starting to really miss home, he was starting to miss me. It was almost like a detox we were both going through because we're so used to being together every minute of the day... now that we're apart, it was heavy, it was pretty intense. Now we're starting to find our way." Well that's all fine and lovely, but then the interview quickly devolves into some pretty serious sexy talk! When asked about how her sex life has been this summer, the mom of two gets real and confesses that it hadn't been so good because she hasn't been able to see her main due to the distance. She candidly says: "I'm in heat. I'm a 32-year-old woman. I'm a horny ass motherf--ker!" The blonde then tells a recent story about how she and Hank were fighting on a trip back to Los Angeles and she stopped mid-fight to have sex before she went back to Las Vegas. Kendra says she blurted out, "As much as I want to fight with you -- I need sex more!" The reality star then admits to Erin, "After a while the vibrators start to get numb and you need the real thing." As for the fight, needless to say, the carnal romp quelled the marital storm. Kendra wisely said, "Sex makes everything better!" It seems after some struggle, the long-distance loves have found their way...to the bedroom! Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man will be held at the Anthony Cools Showroom at Paris Hotel Las Vegas. The shows runs Thursdays through Tuesdays. (Eonline)

Montel Williams is PISSED that Donald Trump wants to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military ... and says they're getting stiffed with his "too expensive" argument. We got Montel, famously a Navy veteran, Wednesday in L.A. and he absolutely unloaded on the Prez for what he sees as blatant discrimination against able-bodied Americans who want to protect their country. He's beyond intense, and one of the biggest reasons he's so fired up has to do with military spending on erectile dysfunction drugs. Montel dropped some eye-opening numbers on us as he called BS on Trump claiming trans medical expenses are too costly. You can tell he means this ... from the veins bulging out of his neck. (TMZ)

Kim Goldman, sister of Ron Goldman -- who was killed by O.J. Simpson -- is so terrified of her ex-husband's threats and attacks on Ron's name ... she's demanding court protection. Kim divorced Michael Hahn in 2007, but says he's emotionally abused her ever since. In court docs, obtained by TMZ, Goldman says Hahn has sent her a series of threatening emails over the years -- even invoking her late brother, Ron, and father Fred. According to Kim, a message he sent just last week reads, "You dress my son like your dead brother, changed his name to Ron Goldman. Your f***ed up and need help. F*** all of you." Kim says Hahn has never played a significant role in their 13-year-old son's life. She says another text was even more violent -- "Your not a victim. Your a piece of shit that will burn in hell next to your scum bag brother who got what he deserved." Kim wants an order for Hahn to stay 100 yards away from her, and also wants the court to force him into anger management. (TMZ)


Kesha Releases ''Learn to Let Go'' Music Video Alongside Meaningful Essay: ''We Can't Let Our Past Define Us." Kesha just released her latest song and music video off her album Rainbow, and of course, it's already got us singing and smiling along. The hit, "Learn to Let Go," was the first song she wrote for the album, expressing a message about embracing your past but not letting it define you today. Thus, the music video to go with it takes us on a journey through some of the pop star's special childhood moments as a means of embracing that childlike innocence we tend to lose as we get older. In fact, in an essay for Huffington Post, Kesha dives deeper into that idea. "'Learn to Let Go' is more than a song title... it's become one of my mantras over the last few years," she wrote. "As much as our past creates who we are, we can't let it define us or hold us back. And especially if you've been through something hard, and we all have, you can't hold on to resentment because it's like a poison. You have to learn to let go of those bad feelings and move forward." She continued, "The only way to truly evolve is to let the past be the past and move forward with an open heart. If you let your demons haunt you, they will haunt you forever. Learn from your mistakes but don't dwell on them, and if you feel like someone has wronged you, let that be their problem -- not yours." After admitting that she struggled to find the perfect lyrics for this song, she said she was inspired by a friend who had been through some hardships but still managed to always remain positive. "Her beautiful spirit inspired me to consider how, even though we all go through tough things in our lives, we all have the ability to make the decision to just let it go and move forward," Kesha wrote. "Your past only has as much effect on your future as you want it to. It's about embracing your past, but not letting it define you." She continued, "For the video we play on that concept by incorporating home movies that my aunt Sonia Sebert had filmed over the years and then we recreate some of the scenes with me as an adult in a really whimsical kind of way. It's this idea of reconnecting to my child-like self because that's when you are so full of wonder and joy. You can choose to learn from the bulls--t along the way but not dwell on it and instead connect with that joyful childhood innocence." The message is especially reflective from Kesha's own struggle as she, too, had to learn to move on from her past following her emotional legal battle with Dr. Luke over the last several years. "This song, and the ideas behind it, were a big part of this record, and I hope my fans like it because it is my gift to them for sticking with me for all of these years," she concluded. "This idea of learning to let the negative things go has been extremely helpful for me over the last few years, and I hope it resonates with others." (Eonline)

Quincy Jones suddenly has 9.4 million reasons to go off the wall ... and yes, his lawyers really are bad (ass) ... after scoring a huge victory over MJJ Productions and Sony. The jury handed down its thriller of a decision Wednesday in Quincy's legal battle for unpaid royalties on Michael Jackson's three mega hit albums. Quincy argued accountants for the defendants screwed him out of dough he was owed for producing those records. He sued for at least $10 million, so he pretty much got what he wanted. You can say this about Q -- he really didn't stop until he got enough. (TMZ)

"I Wanna Be Bad" Singer Willa Ford Blames Failed Career on 9/11. Willa Ford's career was a casualty of 9/11 -- or so she says. Ford burst onto the music scene in May 2001 with the raunchy single "I Wanna Be Bad." The track, which featured rapper Royce da 5'9", peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts; it was the lead single from her debut album Willa Was Here, released on July 17 via Lava Records. But the pop star's second single, "Did Ya' Understand That," failed to chart. So, what happened? "That's the question I get on the daily, literally," Ford tells Billboard. "It was the perfect storm. A lot of people don't realize this, but my second single was released on Sept. 11, 2001. Everything that happened that day froze; the world stood still, as it should have. My second single didn't do well because anything that launched that day kind of got canned." Other musicians released full-length albums on 9/11, including Mariah Carey (Glitter), Bob Dylan (Love & Theft), Ben Folds (Rockin' The Suburb) Jay-Z (The Blueprint) and Nickelback (Silver Side Up). While it may sound "silly" to blame her poor single sales on a national tragedy, Ford says "they slate things" on radio, so it "fell to the wayside. I didn't think it was a big deal because we were making a new album anyway." Lava Records had been "acquired by another record company," she explains, "and the president of our record company left the company." As a result, Ford tells Billboard, "I ended up in no man's land." "I felt like this pop machine had taken me and put me in the wash cycle and I had been spinning out of control. I wanted some time to refocus myself. I started re-evaluating what I was doing," she says. "I was a classical opera singer with musical theory -- a real, legit musician. I loved what I was doing -- I wrote the songs, but I felt like the authenticity wasn't there. I knew that it wasn't going to have the staying power that I wanted it to have. I really took a step back because I felt like I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing at the time. I know that sounds crazy, but it was the perfect storm, and I walked away. It's really hard when you walk away to go back to it." Initially, Ford was marketed as an alternative to pop princesses like Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears. "People really didn't think that we all liked each other, but I really did like all the girls. Britney Spears was really the first pop girl to launch, so you can't touch that: Britney is iconic. Then you had Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore. Everyone was doing this squeaky clean image, and I was 21 coming out on a record like, 'This is not me.' I was on a record label with people like Kid Rock and Jason Flom, who in the business is amazing. He was the president of our record company. He got it that I was 21 and didn't want to be a goody two shoes. He let me come out guns blazing..."she says. "When 'I Wanna Be Bad' came out, people were more PC, and it was just a more honest song." Ford's sophomore album never saw the light of day, but it was "practically done," she reveals. "It was raunchy, but there were some songs that were really cool. There was a song called 'Sexy Sex Obsessive,' which sounds funny out loud, but it was pretty striking at the time, and there was a song called 'Who I Am,' which got secretly released in Europe..." Ford says, adding that she intentionally tried to get "kind of dirty" on the album. "It was as if pop met Nine Inch Nails." If she were to make an album today, she reveals it "would go in two directions." She likes the idea of doing a "pop-dance record that you'd see in the club with a ton of remixes." And she's "obsessed" with country music. "I went to Nashville for a while and did some writing. People were like, 'You're Willa Ford. You grew up on a farm. Why are you not doing a country record?'" Ford recalls." That's the only other kind of record I would make, and that would be for myself." (Eonline)

Charli XCX's new video is more important than you might think. The video features some of the biggest male names in music in a way you've never seen them before... Charli XCX dropped the music video for her new single Boys Wednesday night and not only does it cast an A-list crew of male celebrities, it brilliantly challenges the gender stereotypes within the entertainment industry. The 24-year-old singer, who self-directed the video alongside Sarah McColgan, recruited the likes of Will.i.am, Diplo, Stormzy, Charlie Puth, Tinie Tempah and a whole host of other male stars to playfully act out a set of typical music video scenarios in a hilarious case of role reversal. The boys are seen doing everything from eating pancakes in a dressing gown (Joe Jonas really works the colour pink) laying on rose petals and pillow fighting, to munching on a bowl of cereal, seductively washing a car (think Jessica Simpson in the 'These Boots Are Made For Walkin' video) and swinging around a hedge trimmer, topless - hello, Cameron Dallas. Talking about the concept of the video, Charlie said: "I made the boys aware of the whole 'inverting the male gaze' concept. Girls are always doing sexy things in pop videos and I wanted the guys to be doing sexy things instead, using all these stereotypical scenes like being in the shower, eating provocatively. The boys were super onside, it's nice for guys to be sexy sometimes." Charli is set to release her this studio album next year. She will be joining GLAMOUR's Hey Its OK podcast to talk all about her new music, directing the video and lots more on 15 August. (British Glamour)

Naughty! Usher forgot to put his seatbelt on during his Carpool Karaoke. Usher joins James Corden in the car for Carpool Karaoke and they sing all the hits... It was for only 28 seconds, but remember, safety first, boys! After being strapped in for the majority of his Carpool Karaoke, Usher forgot to put on his seatbelt again at 11:36, when the boys got back in the car after helping some fellas who'd broken down. During the Carpool Karaoke James Corden got a lesson in how to be cool from Usher. The R'n'B star joined the Late Late Show host for his journey to work and they made a couple of stops along the way. After giving James a lesson in how to have swag, they made a trip to the Hollywood Walk Of Fame (to give his star a little clean). (British Glamour)

Madonna Performs Hits Set at Leonardo DiCaprio's St. Tropez Fundraiser. Leonardo DiCaprio can still draw a crowd while hauling in some major cash. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation played host at the 4th annual fundraising auction gala on Wednesday in St. Tropez where the Oscar-winning actor welcomed friends and allies who share LDF's mission of "protecting the earth and all of its inhabitants through projects that build climate resiliency, protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction, and restore balance to threatened ecosystems and communities." The event brought in a whopping $30 million thanks to table sales and the exclusive auction, which is always heavy on art. Though there is a ways to go to reach last year's tally of $45 million. Wednesday's auction, conducted by Simon de Pury, featured works by Paul McCarthy, Damien Hirst, Jonas Wood, Cecily Brown, Richard Prince and a special commission by Lawrence Weiner. The experiences section has also snagged a fair share of headlines in the hours after the event thanks to the promise of a Titanic reunion over dinner. DiCaprio and Winslet will pair up for a dinner date with a winning bidder in New York this fall. Other auction items are now available online. Art featured in the auction was curated by Lisa Schiff of SFA Advistory with Andy Boose and AAB Productions handling event production duties. Winslet was in attendance along with another Titanic star, Billy Zane. Joining them were Adrien Brody, Tobey Maguire, Anne Hidalgo, Doutzen Kroes, Taylor Hill, Iman Hamman and Gerard Butler. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was honored with the foundation's "New World Leadership Award" for her commitment to bringing about sustainable policies and innovative climate resiliency programs in Paris. There was another reunion worth noting. Sean Penn was there too, and he watched ex Madonna hit the stage to perform songs including "4 Minutes," "Ray of Light," "Ghosttown," "Open Your Heart" and "La Isla Bonita." Lenny Kravitz also rocked out for the jet set crowd. DiCaprio, the LDF founder and chairman, presided over the festivities with foundation CEO Terry Tamminen and the global fundraising chairman Milutin Gatsby, who spearheaded the launch of the gala. "The health of our planet is grave-this crisis is real," DiCaprio said in his remarks. "What we seem to lose sight of is that we are part of nature, in fact we depend on nature for our very survival. Our natural systems sustain us with all that is necessary for life-such as ample food, clean air and drinkable water." He also explained the impact his foundation has had with its environmental efforts. "We helped protect more than 1.6 million square kilometers of ocean-an area more than twice the size of Texas-including in the Ross Sea. Our work is helping save endangered species such as the wild jaguar and the Gray Wolf, which has made a comeback after being on the brink of extinction," he noted. "We are active in Tanzania, restoring the wildlife of Mkomazi national park, and in the grasslands of Kenya, where we are helping jump start an important carbon sequestration project. These are just a few of the stories about the impact the generosity of our donors has helped make possible." (Billboard)

Scooter Braun on Pop Culture: It 'Ain't That Important' Compared to Health Care. Pop music can mend bridges, transport a mind and change your world. But it can't really save a life. Access to health care can. And Scooter Braun, the manager of Justin Bieber, Usher, Ariana Grande and others, is giving it some perspective. Braun weighed in on the legislative hot-potato with a social media post that also drilled into the state of today's nation and how pop culture, particularly his role, fits into it. It's a call to action from someone who has built a stellar career in pop, and it comes as the U.S. Senate yet again tried and failed to pass a contentious Republican plan to repeal Obamacare without a replacement healthcare policy. "Today I went to work and I did my job. We booked some tours...strategized on selling some shows...worked to protect our clients...discussed some songs...and worked to make sure all those who worked for us feel good about the experience. Now I don't want to take away from what we do but it ain't that important! When people are talking to me about our drama like it is the most important news ever I'm grateful but come on," Braun wrote. "Today the president disrespected those who have had more courage than he ever did," he added. "Today millions are living in fear of losing their healthcare with no plan in site (sic). Today someone probably just a few miles from YOU right now is standing over a hospital bed praying someone they love recovers and makes it back to them. I know Pop culture is fun and amazing and interesting and I of all people am grateful for how it has changed my life...but it isn't nor should it ever be our priority. Pop culture is best discussed when it is used to make us smile, escape our issues for a moment, or shed a light on real issues. So remember that...and let's try and get back to the Real Issues. See you at work tomorrow." The battle over healthcare, meanwhile, continues to rumble on. Republican Senators will now consider a scaled down "skinny" repeal measure, which could eliminate mandates requiring individuals and employers to obtain or provide health insurance, and abolish a tax on medical device manufacturers, according to Reuters. (Billboard)

Frank Ocean's Full FYF Fest Set Assembled With Fan Footage. Frank Ocean's Brad Pitt-featuring set at FYF Fest in Los Angeles last weekend was a truly special affair and now people everywhere can enjoy it thanks to an enterprising fan. Ocean's entire set has been assembled now from fan footage into a single piece running over an hour in length, offering a mix of angles and a homemade look that blends easily with the Spike Jonze's live video direction during Ocean's set. Hollywood stars aside, as the R&B headliner noted during his performance, this show was of particular significance due to how rarely Ocean performs. "This is my fifth or fourth show back in so many years," the singer said during his set, apologizing for a mistake few in the audience could of possibly have noticed. (Billboard)

Beyonce Can't Dodge 'Formation' Copyright Lawsuit. Beyonce's legal team is going to have to work a little harder to slay a copyright infringement lawsuit over her hit "Formation." Spoken word from the late Anthony Barre -- also known as Messy Mya -- is featured on the song, and his estate sued in February for copyright infringement, among other claims. Barre's voice is heard saying "What happened at the New Orleans," "Bitch, I'm back by popular demand" and "Oh yeah baby. I like that." His sister, Angel Barre, claims the samples infringe the rights in two works of her brother's performance art, "A 27 Piece Huh?" and "Booking the Hoes from New Wildings." A Louisiana federal judge on Tuesday denied Bey's motion to dismiss the copyright claim on fair use grounds -- but she's not buying Barre's argument that the doctrine doesn't apply to digital sampling of a sound recording. At this stage facts alleged by the plaintiff are taken as true, and U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown found that Barre has made a case that Beyonce's use of the clips was not transformative and that, although the samples were short, it was a "qualitatively significant" use. She also notes that a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, like this one, is "viewed with disfavor and is rarely granted." "Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged in their complaint that Defendants did not change or alter the 'expressive content or message' of Anthony Barre's YouTube videos, but rather used unmodified clips without adding anything new," writes Brown in a 66-page decision, which is posted in full. "[T]he Court concludes at this stage of litigation that 'the copyright law's goal of promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts' would not be better served by allowing Defendants' use of Plaintiffs' copyrighted material without authorization or compensation than by preventing it." Brown also denied the motion to dismiss Barre's false endorsement and Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act claims -- but did dismiss the claim for unjust enrichment. If the court denied the motion to dismiss, the defendants asked it to strike Barre's request for statutory damages and attorneys' fees under the Copyright Act and treble damages under the LUTPA. Brown denied the motion in its entirety, finding that Beyonce's lawyers failed to show that Barre's requests are "'redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter' such that striking it from the record is proper." Read the decision at THR.com. (Billboard)


Venice Competition Includes Films From George Clooney, Guillermo del Toro, Darren Aronofsky. The Italian festival is during its 74th edition once again debuting a number of Oscar contenders. In its 74th year, the Venice Film Festival is once again debuting a slate of potential Oscar contenders from top directors, including George Clooney, Darren Aronofsky and Guillermo del Toro. Festival director Alberto Barbera on Thursday unveiled the lineup for this year at the Cinema Moderno in Rome. "I'm very satisfied," Barbera said about the lineup. "I have to say that I am 97 percent satisfied in the sense that there are only maybe two or three films that we wanted to have for the festival, and we couldn't, because they will go to other festivals. So all the films that we saw and that we wanted to have are in the lineup of this year's festival." As previously announced, Alexander Payne's satire Downsizing, starring Matt Damon, will open the fest in competition. The film is about a family that seeks a better life through shrinking. The film also stars Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Laura Dern and Jason Sudeikis. Vying for the Golden Lion this year, from a jury led by Annette Bening, are 21 world premieres. Artist and activist Ai Weiwei will enter the competition with his documentary about the current refugee crisis, Human Flow. Darren Aronofsky, who presided over the Venice jury in 2011, will bring his eagerly-anticipated horror film Mother! to the festival. Mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Ed Harris, centers around a relationship being tested after the arrival of unwelcome visitors. Damon will be pulling double-duty at the fest as he will also star in George Clooney's Suburbicon, written by Clooney and the Coen Brothers, about a family morally descending after a home invasion goes very wrong. It also stars Coen favorites Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin. Guillermo del Toro will debut his other-worldly Cold War era fairytale The Shape of Water, starring Michael Shannon, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer. And Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a dark comedy from Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), starring Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage and Frances McDormand, will also bow on the Lido. Paul Schrader's religious-themed thriller First Reformed, starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, will also premiere in Venice. Abdellatif Kechiche will bring his 1980s coming-of-age story Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno to the fest, and Paolo Virzi will premiere his first American The Leisure Seeker, starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland, to the Lido. Out of competition, the festival continues its relationship with Netflix with the world premiere of Our Souls at Night, with honorary Golden Lions going to the film's stars Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. Netflix will in Venice also premiere its first Italian production, the modern-day mafia saga Suburra. And it will screen the Errol Morris series Wormwood, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Parker, the festival's only non-world premiere. Also out of competition, Stephen Frears will debut Victoria & Abdul, starring Judi Dench, Ali Fazal and Eddie Izzard about the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and a young Indian clerk. And Fernando Leon De Aranoa's Loving Pablo will debut, starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Peter Sarsgaard. James Toback's The Private Life of a Modern Woman stars Sienna Miller, Alec Baldwin and Charles Grodin. And Abel Ferrara's documentary Piazza Vittoria will screen, telling the story of the neighborhood in Rome where he lives. Rodarte sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy will premiere their feature film Woodshock, starring Kirsten Dunst and Pilou Asbaek. And Kitano Takeshi's new yakuza film Outrage Coda will close the fest. New this year, Venice is launching its first VR competition with 22 films, with a jury headed by John Landis. The lineup includes the film La Camera Insabbiata by Laurie Anderson and Huang Hsin-Chien. Venice's Horizons section will open with Susanna Nicchiarelli's Nico, 1988 about the Velvet Underground singer and Andy Warhol muse. The only American film in Horizons is the documentary The Rape of Recy Taylor by Nancy Buirski, about a white gang rape of an African American woman in Alabama in 1944. Also in the lineup of the section is Anne Fontaine's coming-of-age story Marvin, which stars Isabelle Huppert and Finnegan Oldfield. The 74th Venice International Film Festival takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 9. (Hollywood Reporter)

Chinese Cinemas Ordered to Give Heavy Play to State Propaganda Film. Beijing regulators have ordered cinemas to give 45 percent screen share to the Friday opening of a lavish propaganda film celebrating the People's Liberation Army. Chinese moviegoers will have abundant opportunity to see their country's latest big-budget propaganda movie this weekend -- regardless of whether anyone actually wants it. Beijing's state media regulators have ordered cinemas across the country to give heavy play Friday to the opening of The Founding of an Army, a lavishly produced propaganda piece commemorating the 90th anniversary of the establishment of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA). Last week, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a directive to local cinema chains large and small requiring them to ensure that the movie opens on at least 45 percent of all Chinese screens. Senior management of the largest chains also were called into a meeting at the Film Bureau in Beijing last week for a discussion of the order, sources tell THR. "We have been trying to negotiate a lower screen share, because 45 percent will be very difficult to reach and could seriously hurt our revenue for the weekend," says a manager of a nationwide chain who was present at the meeting (the individual asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of speaking out against government propaganda policy). "We're hoping to get down to at least 40 percent," the manager said, adding that the process did not look hopeful. The Founding of an Army is the third installment in the "Founding of New China" trilogy, a series that celebrates landmarks in the establishment of the Communist Party of China. The first two films in the propaganda series were co-directed by Han Sanping, former head of the state-backed China Film Group, and mainland director Huang Jianxin; but the new installment is helmed by Hong Kong film legend Andrew Lau, best known for Infernal Affairs, which was remade by Martin Scorsese as The Departed. The film is packed with celebrity cameos -- from veterans like Andy Lau to hot young stars like Jing Boran -- and billed as a war epic with "youthful revolutionary elements." The heavy-handed screening order won't immediately cut into Hollywood revenue, since China has already blocked popular U.S. movies -- such as Spider-Man Homecoming and Dunkik -- from the market during the late-summer blockbuster season (part of the usual summer blackout policy designed to boost the local industry). But state screening orders have been known to cause all kinds of problems within Chinese cinemas. In August 2015, cinemas were caught stealing revenue from Paramount's Terminator: Genisys in order to reach government-mandated quotas for a propaganda movie released in parallel. Washington and Beijing trade officials are currently engaged in a high-stakes renegotiation of the U.S. film industry's terms of doing business in China. With the urging of the Motion Picture Association of America, the United States Trade Representative office is understood to be pushing hard for China to give up its many policies of protectionism and market manipulation. This week's order is the latest indication that Beijing has little intention of doing so. (Hollywood Reporter)


What Would Diplo Do? Premiere Sneak Peek: James Van Der Beek Meditates on Buddha, Jesus Christ and Shirtless Snaps. What Would Diplo Do? Well, he'd talk about meditating, Jesus Christ and his crew at parties, and Buddha being the original tweeter, at least that's what he'd do in the first two minutes of the Viceland series What Would Diplo Do? Get your exclusive first look at the new series starring James Van Der Beek, who is also an executive producer on the series. The series, which debuts Thursday, Aug. 3 at 10 p.m. on Viceland, is described as a "loving send-up" of the electronic music scene. Van Der Beek plays a fiction version of Diplo in the series about a superstar DJ who "can bring 60,000 people to their feet... but kind of sucks one-on-one." In the clip, Diplo's backstage after a successful event and in need of meditation. He goes to his happy place, his backyard. "Yo, this nature s -- t is tight," Van Der Beerk says as Diplo. "If Buddha said we should have no material possessions then why was he so fat? And why Monks always be asking for money? I bet if Jesus was on Twitter, he would have more followers than Buddha." A look inside the mind of TV Diplo also reveals ninjas and shirtless snaps for Instagram posting. Yes, all in his mind. Bobby Lee, Dillion Francis, Dora Madison, Jamar Malachi also star. What Would Diplo Do? premieres Thursday, Aug. 3 at 10 p.m. on Viceland. (Eonline)

Teen Wolf Cast Gives a Hilarious Romance Update Before Season 6B Premieres. Just because Teen Wolf only has 10 episodes left, that doesn't mean there's no room for love. When we sat down with the cast at Comic-Con, ahead of the premiere of the final season, we asked everybody to give us an update on their on-screen romances. Some took the request seriously. Some took it not so seriously (Greenberg?!), and some filled us in on their love lives off screen, as well (someone please call Dylan Sprayberry!). Either way, it's an informative video if we do say so ourselves. First, we catch up with Scott (Tyler Posey) and Malia (Shelley Hennig), who are apparently working their way towards being an item, which is actually nice after everything they've both gone through over the course of the series. Poor Theo (Cody Christian) is still single, as is Liam (Sprayberry), whose girlfriend left him. Then, Melissa Ponzio fills us in on how things are apparently going between Mama McCall and Teen Wolf's resident joke/invisible Beacon Hills student Greenberg, while Khylin Rhambo says Mason gets a little closer to the always single Theo this season. He's even got a couple name for them, so get ready for #Meow. Whatever happens, returning star Charlie Carver thinks everybody's going to enjoy themselves. "I think all of those shipping folk will find 6B to be just a cornucopia of ships," he reveals, and Colton Haynes agrees. "They're going to have to make a new harbor." Teen Wolf premieres this Sunday at 8 p.m. on MTV. (Eonline)

Larry David Explains Why Curb Your Enthusiasm Is Coming Back Now: "Why Not?" Six years later, Larry David and the Curb Your Enthusiasm cast don't seem to have missed a beat. That's not a shock, but it still felt like a breath of fresh air when David took the stage at the TV Critics' Association summer press tour alongside Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin, J.B. Smoove, and executive producer Jeff Schaffer. They spent the hour making fun of journalists' questions and journalists themselves, but they did also give us a few bits and pieces about what to expect from the new season of the comedy series, which returns for the first time since 2011 this October. First of all, why now? "Why not? You know, I kinda...I'm not a misser, so to speak," David told reporters. "I don't really miss things, people that much, but I was missing it, and I was missing these idiots, so I thought yeah, what the hell. And I got tired of people asking me 'is the show coming back?' I couldn't face that question anymore. I wasn't ready to say no, never, and I kept saying, oh you know, maybe, who knows, so I thought yeah, I wouldn't have to be asked that anymore." Executive producer Jeff Schaffer teased that the new season is "very dense" and that there are a lot of stories. He also revealed that we will very quickly learn what Larry's been up to for the past five or six years. "It'll be self-evident," Schaffer said, before the show goes to a "very fun crazy strange place." Apparently, the real Larry (who is only "about a quarter of an inch away" from TV Larry) has gotten into enough awkward situations since the end of season eight to fill season nine. "The amount of uncomfortable situations he's been in...it's like we're sitting in the Fort Knox of awkward," Schaffer said. While Smoove promised that his character Leon is the "same old Leon," Jeff Garlin revealed an unexpected inspiration for the upcoming episodes. "It really thematically follows Pirates of the Caribbean," he joked(?) of season nine. "More like the last one than the first few. Curb Your Enthusiasm returns Sunday, October 1 on HBO. (Eonline)

Squeaky clean movie star Tom Hanks was meant to make an appearance on Lena Dunham's down-and-dirty HBO show "Girls," but scheduling didn't work. A source on the series, which ended in April, says that Hanks really wanted to be on the show -- on which his wife, Rita Wilson, starred as the mom of Allison Williams' character -- but that he was unable to fit it into his schedule. No word on what role Dunham was cooking up. Hanks is currently filming Steven Spielberg's "The Papers." (Page Six)

Big Little Lies Season 2 Is Looking More and More Likely: Here's What HBO Needs to Make it Official. Break out the wine glasses and Audrey Hepburn costumes, it looks like we're heading back to Monterey. The chances of a second season for Big Little Lies are looking better every day, especially Wednesday, when HBO's programming president Casey Bloys told reporters at the 2017 Summer TCA Press Tour that the network is in talks with author Liane Moriarty about potential storylines. "Liane taking her crack at it and I think that it's interesting," he said, according to ET Online. "I don't think [there's been] a time when we've gone to the writer of the novel, the source material, to come up with like, 'Do you see ongoing stories?' I'll be very curious to see what she comes up with that. Normally you go to a TV writer, and say, 'What do you see?'" Moriarty, who released the book the breakout hit was base on in 2014, had previously revealed she had been approached about continuing the story on the small screen. "The producers have asked me to see if I can come up with some ideas," she said in April. "I wouldn't write a new book but perhaps a new story and then we'll see what happens." But would director Jean-Marc Vallee return, given his previous statements that he was done with Big Little Lies? Bloys hinted that executive producers and stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman may be able to persuade him. Still, Bloys stressed the importance of having the best story in place for a second season, saying, "We have to see the material and if it's worth everybody's time. If it is, then the conversation of directors [will happen]. I understand why Jean-Marc feels [that way]. He did that. He's doing another show for us, all eight episodes. But Nicole and Reese can be very persuasive." Witherspoon and Kidman, who both earned Emmy nominations for their acting work, in addition to the series being nominated, are both open to returning as Madeleine and Celeste. "We're talking to Liane Moriarty, who wrote the book, about how could these characters go on, what would happen?" Witherspoon told E! News. "We definitely left it open-ended so there's a possibility there." So what stories would Moriarty be interested in telling in a second season? For starters, more Bonnie (Zoƫ Kravitz). "The obvious thing is, first of all, I think we could bring in more of Bonnie's story from the book," the author said about a potential second season. "And also what happens next [for Celeste]. That's the question that's also a really interesting thing, when you've been through a relationship like that, how do you feel now? How would she feel? She's grieving. She's still grieving for the end of a terrible relationship and I think that would be a really interesting thing to explore. So there's a whole lot of different storylines." (Eonline)

HBO Boss Defends Game of Thrones Creators' Controversial Slave Drama Amid Backlash. HBO isn't backing down from their forthcoming drama Confederate, regardless of the controversy it's already mired in. When the network announced last week that they'd be staying in business with Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss by ordering straight-to-series a new drama from the duo set in an alternate reality where the Southern states successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery is not only legal, but a modern institution, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative. As HBO programming president Casey Bloys appeared before reporters Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, he was questioned over whether the response gave the network pause. While he admitted the announcement could've been handled better, he expressed nothing but confidence in the project and its high-profile creators. "File this under hindsight is 20-20: If I could do it over again...The idea that we would be able to announce an idea that is so sensitive and requires such care and thought on the part of the producers in a press release was misguided on our part," he said. "We assumed the response. We assumed it would be controversial. I think we could've done a better job with the press roll-out. We knew the idea would be controversial... What we realized in retrospect is people don't have the benefit of the context with the producers that we had." With Benioff and Weiss set to write and executive produce as a quartet alongside husband-and-wife team Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman, Bloys reiterated that the network wasn't afraid to stand behind the project. "The bet for us is on our talent...that they're going to be the difference," he said. "We're going to stand behind them...These four writers are at the top of their game, they can do anything they want and this is what they feel passionately about. So I'm going to bet on that." As described by the network when the project was announced, Confederate will take place during the lead-up to the Third American Civil War, following characters on "both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone -- freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall." While Bloys admitted he hasn't seen a script yet, he did open up about how the show will depict modern-day slavery. "Producers have said they're not looking to do Gone With the Wind 2017; it's not whips and plantations," he said. "It's what they imagine the modern institution of slavery would look like." Confederate will launch once Benioff and Weiss wrap Game of Thrones, either next year or in 2019. (Eonline)

Mahershala Ali Is Set to Star in a Potential True Detective Season 3. Does the idea of True Detective season three entice you? What if we told you it could star Oscar-winner and general charming human Mahershala Ali? According to The Tracking Board, the star is reportedly in early talks to star in a third installment of the HBO crime anthology series, which earned rave reviews for its first season but wasn't quite as well-received in its second. The first season starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and season two starred Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn, so Ali's movie star status would fit right in. In fact, in this post-Moonlight world, Ali is probably one of the biggest stars they could sign. The series debuted in 2014, aired a second season in 2015, and then has been in limbo ever since. HBO has not officially greenlit a third season yet, but in March, EW reported that creator Nic Pizzolatto had written the first two episodes, and that Emmy-winning producer David Milch had joined the show to collaborate with Pizzolatto. While this would be Ali's first starring role on a TV show, he has appeared in several episodes of Netflix's Luke Cage and House of Cards, as well as the HBO series Treme. HBO has not yet returned a request for comment. Would you come back to True Detective for Ali? Will you go back to True Detective no matter what? Is time a flat circle? UPDATE: HBO programming president Casey Bloys confirmed at the 2017 summer TCA press tour that Ali is signed on to star in True Detective season three, if it happens. Bloys says he has read five "terrific" scripts, and HBO is currently on the hunt for a director. "When we find a director, we'll be a go." (Eonline)

Megyn Kelly's NBC morning show gets a name. Page Six has exclusively learned Megyn Kelly's upcoming morning program will be called "Megyn Kelly Today." The title was to be unveiled at NBC internal meetings Thursday, sources said. The development comes at the same time Kelly's Sunday night show will end its initial run this week after eight episodes, NBC News confirmed Wednesday. Her upcoming one-hour weekday show at 9 a.m. will be in front of a live audience and premiere Sept 25. The "Megyn Kelly Today" moniker is meant to incorporate the show into the "Today" franchise when it airs in place of the show's former third hour, known as "Today's Take." A source said, "Megyn is already shooting for the morning show. She was just on the West Coast for a shoot on Tuesday." Kelly's ratings-challenged Sunday show was announced as a limited summer run that would return next year after "Sunday Night Football" and the Winter Olympics. We hear the network was angling for around 10 episodes, but it will end with eight and an interview with Ricky Gervais. An NBC source said, "The exact number of shows was never set," and that Kelly "needs to be freed up to focus" on "Megyn Kelly Today." The Sunday show debuted to great fanfare in June with a Vladimir Putin interview that brought in 6.1 million viewers, and courted controversy with its Alex Jones profile, but slid to 3.1 million viewers last Sunday. But a source said, "NBC News bosses have patience, especially since this was a limited summer run. And they are very happy the with strong journalism and quality of the program." With summer over, the pressure's now on for her morning show debut. A TV insider said, "To launch a daytime show usually takes at least a year." (PageSix)

'Dancing with the Stars' wants Sean Spicer. Sean Spicer is taking his first steps to transition from the White House briefing room to the bright lights of a TV news studio -- but he's also being courted by "Dancing with the Stars," Page Six has learned. The outgoing press secretary spent the day in New York City in talks with major broadcasters about a new career in TV where he can share his insider knowledge of President Trump. Spicer, who announced his resignation Friday, was seen coming out of high-level meetings at ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News in Manhattan, according to sources. A source told us some news execs "made the full-court press" as they competed to woo the high-profile spokesman -- who brought in solid ratings and plenty of late-night fodder -- while others "just kicked the tires." But there's also speculation 45-year-old Spicer's next stop could be showing off some spicy dance moves on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." Actor Zach Braff jokingly tweeted when Spicer stepped down, "Can't wait to see Sean Spicer waltz on Dancing With the Stars." But a TV insider confirmed to Page Six that the dancing competition show has indeed reached out to the Beltway insider. "That has legs," the source said. Viewers will recall that current energy secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry turned in politics for the "Texas cha-cha" on the show last year after losing to Trump in the GOP primary. (If Spicer does join the show, hopefully he'll be better at cutting a rug than Perry, who was the second contestant booted off last season.) The embattled press secretary Spicer stepped down after Trump named Anthony Scaramucci his new communications director. Scaramucci, a millionaire financier, predicted Spicer would not be hurting for offers. "He's done an amazing job," Scaramucci said last week. "I wish him well and I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money." Reached by phone on Wednesday, Spicer said: "I have no comment." An ABC rep said, "We don't comment on casting." (PageSix)

David Simon Aims to Straddle a Fine Line With Porn Industry Drama 'The Deuce'. HBO could have a tough sell with David Simon's latest drama. The Deuce, named after Manhattan's seedy 42nd Street of yore, is about the dawn of the porn industry in 1970s New York. Sex and sexual violence seem inherent to that narrative, a fact that did not seem lost on Simon when he previewed the show for press on Wednesday night. One year after HBO programming president Casey Bloys faced an aggressive line of questioning from Television Critics Association reporters about sex and violence against women in Westworld, Simon, his cast and fellow executive producers were asked about the same themes in their upcoming show. The celebrated auteur, who brought The Wire and Treme to the pay cable network, had a thoughtful answer -- but not until one of his leads, Maggie Gyllenhaal, had her say. "I feel like, after making the show, I get to take that one," said the actress, who plays a prostitute in the period drama. "I think it's become clear that there is a huge amount of misogyny in the world. I think we thought we were in a better place than we were." Gyllenhaal got laughs for her not-terribly-subtle reference to Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. She pressed on, getting a bit more serious. "We have to lay this on the table and do it in a way that's thoughtful and smart and also real," the actress continued. "That includes having to see some things that look violent and uncomfortable. But, I think, if you don't put that on the table and take a really good look at it, nothing will change and nothing will shift." Simon agreed with Gyllenhaal, though he didn't vocally echo her hopes for seismic change. "Sexual commodification or objectification aren't the currencies that are driving the show," he said, admitting that those harsh realities go hand-in-hand with the history of the adult film industry. "It's what the show's about. It's the show's reason for being. That is what the product is, this is what the product was." The Deuce also stars James Franco (as twins) and Lawrence Gilliard Jr., and tackles the transition of pornography from paper-bag bootlegs to a legal business. Gyllenhaal said that it's probable that show will titillate some viewers, but Simon made one thing very clear about the dynamics between men and women in the porn industry. "We're not using misogyny as a currency to get you interested," he said. "If we did that, we failed." The Deuce premieres Sunday, Sept. 10, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. (Hollywood Reporter)


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