TV/STREAMING . .

Twitter erupts over Jussie Smollett's return to 'Empire'. "Empire" returned with Jussie Smollett for its midseason premiere on Wednesday, and fans went wild over his onscreen persona dealing with public drama as the actor in real life faces 16 felony counts for his alleged hate crime hoax. On the episode, Smollett's character, Jamal, had to end his engagement when his fiance, Kai, couldn't agree with his family's illegal actions. Eventually, Jamal's family became involved in some high-profile drama, which he had to address. "I don't know if y'all been reading the blogs and all the foolishness, but it's kinda been a tough week," Jamal said. Twitter couldn't get enough of the irony. "LeeDaniels is a psychic," one fan tweeted about "Empire's" creator. "Jussie Smollett watching #Empire right now," tweeted another, who included a gif of Anthony Anderson crying. However, some viewers were uncomfortable watching Smollett on their TVs, even though the episode had been filmed a while ago. "I'm sorry it's so hard for me to look at jussie without wanting to slap the s�t outta him #Empire," a viewer tweeted. "I'm just ready to see them write off Jamal #Empire," a fan tweeted, alongside a gif of a woman giving a glare. ""it's been a tough week" ... hahaha more like a month so far, Jussie #Empire," another wrote. Smollett, 36, is appearing in court Thursday over allegations he staged a racist and homophobic attack against himself. (PageSix)

Survivor: Edge of Extinction Switches Up the Tribes With Hilarious Results. Bless you Wendy, Survivor's most chaotic player ever. Wendy first terrorized the Manu tribe with her injured ankle and her refusal to let anyone kill a chicken and her theft of the flint, and Wednesday night, even with a whole new tribe, Wendy was still at it. Jeff had all the players drop their buffs and pick new ones, forming three tribes instead of two. What ended up happening was that Kama was divided into two between Manu and Kama. All of the former Manu, which was now very small, ended up on one tribe together, named Lesu...except Wendy. Wendy stayed on Manu as the only person left with new tribemates. She was thrilled with her new tribemates and shared every piece of info she had about her former tribe, until her new tribe expressed desire to kill the chickens. Wendy first tried to convince them to wait until the chickens laid eggs, but then in the night, she gleefully set the chickens free. (Remember: she is not a vegetarian.) The rest of her tribe immediately knew she was responsible for letting the chickens go, but the chickens didn't really go very far despite Wendy's best efforts, so everyone else planned to kill the first one they could catch, even as Wendy begged. "You're my best tribe! You're my tribemates!" Then, with some major help from Wendy, the new Manu won immunity, and Lesu lost once again, meaning they had to go to Tribal without the original easy vote they thought they had, and Wendy has several more days at least to see what other chaos she can cause. Either she's living on extremely borrowed time, or she's going to end up winning this whole season. The former Manu tribe then had to head to Tribal while they all loved each other, and at first it seemed like they were getting rid of Lauren, who had basically stopped eating because of how nauseous the rice was making her. But Lauren was confident enough to not use her idol, and it ended up being Rick's turn to head to the Edge of Extinction to be sad and cold with Reem, Keith, and Chris. Will Wendy survive another week next week despite her questionable chicken decision? Something tells us that yes she will. Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS. (Eonline)

Luann de Lesseps Describes Her "Intervention Weekend" On RHONY. Luann de Lesseps has had quite the year. The Real Housewives of New York star got arrested, she went to rehab, she got into a lawsuit with her own kids, and then she went to rehab again, somehow put on a cabaret show in the middle of all that, and that's not even all of it. In the night's episode of RHONY, Lu and her closest friends went to dinner in the Hamptons and rehashed "Intervention Weekend," which was how Luann ended up in rehab a second time, which began with Lu desperately trying to buy a six-million-dollar house. She didn't have six million dollars to buy a house, so she hit up friends like Bethenny to give her money to buy it. Bethenny refused, and Luann was angry. "I had been sober for months, and gradually, I had a little glass of wine here, a glass of wine there, and then having this lawsuit with my kids, I just -- you know, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had polished off two bottles of rose, and that still wasn't enough," Luann said. She had even offered to pay an extra million dollars to make sure the 8,000 square foot house was hers, and her friends around the table remembered hacking into her email to cancel various transactions. "We all realized enough was enough," Barbara Kavovit said. "We called the attorneys, I got power of attorney. Bethenny blocked calls. We blocked emails, and that was it." "I'm glad you remember, because I don't remember a damn thing," Luann said. Barbara said that if Luann had refused to get help, they were ready to strap her down and drag her there. "I had to relearn in rehab the second time around that alcohol is a power greater than me," Luann explained. Then the conversation switched back to the major problem of the episode: Barbara is having a clambake, and Dorinda can't come unless she calls and clears things up with Luann first, which she absolutely refused to do. And so the clambake happened, and not only did no one seem to know how to dress for a clambake (sparkly muumuu? white lace dress? casual jean jacket? no one knows!), things got real awkward when Ramona, Tinsley, and Sonja arrived together, intending to confront Barbara. Dorinda did not go, but she did send Luann a text with a Tyler Perry quote about forgiveness, which was fantastically confusing, if not at all helpful. Now, our final question after the night's episode: Where did Dorinda get those mermaid costumes? Because we need them, even if we'll never look as cute as Tinsley didn't believe she looked. The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo. (Eonline)

You's Long Journey to Becoming a Hit and Getting a Second Season. You took a rough path to being one of the most popular shows on Netflix. Executive producer Greg Berlanti, who is also responsible for at least 16 other shows or pilots currently in production, is one of the most successful producers in TV, but he didn't have an easy time finding or keeping a home for You. The series, which stars Penn Badgley as a charming stalker and murderer, was originally bought by Showtime. "But...once they read the script, they were really cool about saying, 'You can take it somewhere else,'" Berlanti said on a panel at the INTV conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday, according to Variety. The show then went to Lifetime. "We shot it, and because of their launch cycle it sat in the can for a while for two-and-a-half years. Then they finally started to release it, and it didn't do very well." Lifetime wasn't into a season two, and Berlanti says he begged. "You go into offices and sound like a crazy person: 'I still think it's going to work, I still think it's going to work -- maybe one more episode, maybe if people have a chance to see five more episodes." As Lifetime was saying no, Netflix stepped in and bought the show, agreeing to make a second season, though nobody could have predicted quite how popular the show would become. Berlanti said he "started getting a flood of emails and texts from people -- who knew me and knew the show had been on since the summer -- and then I felt like people were really discovering the show." Netflix even claimed that the show was on track to at least be sampled by 40 million people, and meanwhile, Penn Badgley was finding himself fending off fans who were a little too attracted to his stalkery, murdery character. Even Berlanti himself says that was the draw of the books, written by Caroline Kepnes, that made him want to make the show in the first place, alongside EP Sera Gamble. "I couldn't believe that I was so in this person's head that I was actually kind of rooting for this relationship," he said. "I loved making the show... and it was nice that it made the cut and survived long enough to get another chance at life." Season two will follow Kepnes' second book, which takes Joe to Los Angeles to stalk somebody new, since the former target of his affections, Beck (Elizabeth Lail) is no longer with us. (Eonline)

'The View' Rips Aunt Becky and Felicity Huffman to Shreds: Why They're 'Shocked' and 'Sickened'. Meghan McCain was especially passionate, after Lori Loughlin's husband slammed ASU. The admissions scam involving Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin was the topic of the day on "The View," where all the cohosts expressed their utter disgust over the situation. The two actresses were among 50 suspects who allegedly paid a collective total of $25 million to guarantee admission of their offspring into elite schools. Loughlin and her husband allegedly paid $500k to have their daughters look like recruits for USC's crew team, despite never participating in the sport. Huffman is accused of dropping $15k on a scheme involving college entrance exams. While Joy Behar said she wasn't exactly surprised -- only "surprised they got caught" -- both Ana Navarro and Sunny Hostin took the opportunity to point out the hard workers who don't get admitted to some Ivy League schools in favor of these alleged scammers. "I was shocked. I was shocked to learn that I could have gone -- if my parents had enough money -- I could have gone to school pretending I was a gymnast," Navarro joked. "There are so many black and brown kids and poor white kids at these schools who are told and made to feel they don't belong there," she continued. "There are people who go against affirmative action, they have filed lawsuits, have said rich white people are getting discriminated and to know they are gaming the system this way and the ones that don't belong there and don't deserve to be there and are paying to be there are these kids, not those kids, just angered me." \Sunny echoed her sentiments. "For me, I thought, how mediocre must you be if you have to game a system that disproportionally advantages you anyway," she said. While she said legacy admissions and donations have long been part of the system, this scandal "is very, very different and that sickened me." For Sunny, the athletic angle bothered her the most, as the mother of a teenage son who works his ass off playing three sports. "I've been the mom seen him sitting in the Epsom salt bath every night ... I've been the mom that wakes him up at 4:00 in the morning because he's going to swim practice at 5:30 when his friends are still in bed ... I've been the mom where he's gotta leave our summer vacation because he has preseason football," she explained. "And these parents are superimposing their kids' faces on my kid's face, that's ridiculous!" After acknowledging she often brings up her family on the show, McCain did it once again, explaining her personal connection to the scandal. She called out "Aunt Becky's husband," Mossimo Giannulli, for "talking crap" about Arizona State University. In one of the e-mails from Giannulli that was included in court documents, he made it clear he didn't want his daughter attending the school. "We just met with (our older daughter's) college counselor this am," read the e-mail. "I'd like to maybe sit with you after your session with the girls as I have some concerns and want to fully understand the game plan and make sure we have a roadmap for success as it relates to (our daughter) and getting her into a school other than ASU!" Meghan's connection: The school partners with the McCain Institute for International Leadership, inspired by her late father's "legacy of public service." "They find students, identify, develop and train a global network of character driven leaders that I have the luxury to be a part of that institute," she explained. "And [ASU] was chosen because ASU is a premiere educational system as well. Maybe it isn't as good from Hollywood elites as Harvard or Yale, but let me tell you something, ASU has a president Michael Crow who is an incredible president and has been doing incredible things for a long time." "I'm very proud to have my family's name attached to ASU," she added. "It's an incredible, incredible college and Aunt Becky's husband, whoever the hell you are, I had no idea who you were until yesterday, sorry. Your kid probably wouldn't have been good enough to have even gotten into ASU, okay?" They wrapped it all up with Navarro dropping another joke, saying, "I want Becky with the good hair to go do jail." (Too Fab)

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