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'Dancing with the Stars' season 29 recap: Vernon Davis sent home while four tie in first place

ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) -- With both the pressure and emotions running high on Monday night's Dancing with the Stars, it was a fight to the finish to make it into this season's top ten.  Unfortunately for football star Vernon Davis, who gave his all for his Cha Cha and again showcased his vast improvement over last week, he was sent home.

Vernon found himself sent to the bottom two with Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, who was coming off from last week's highest score of the season -- 29/30.  All three judges expressed frustration that they had to choose between the two and Judge Bruno Tonioli had the toughest decision of all because he had to act as the night's tie-breaking vote.  He ultimately chose to keep Weir.

As for who topped the scoreboard, dancers brought their A game Monday night because of the narrowing competition, which resulted with the season's first four-way tie at the top. 

One Day at a Time star Justina Machado, Backstreet Boy AJ McLean, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe and Cheer's head coach Monica Aldama all dazzled the judges and earned the night's high score, a 27 out of 30.

Machado's beautiful and empowering Viennese Waltz to Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman" served as a message to women everywhere to embrace their body and live their life.  The judges were impressed to see a newer, gentler side side of the bold dancer and commended her reliability to always give 110% on the ballroom floor.

McLean, who dedicated his Samba to pro dance partner Cheryl Burke, delighted the judges with his sexy and breezy routine to J Balvin's "Mi Gente" while Aldama's triumphant rumba to Rod Stewart's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" earned high praise from the judges' table and, also, her highest score of the season.

Bristowe, who struggled to learn the Samba during rehearsals, earned valuable critique from the judges about the areas she needs to improve after finishing her spicy routine to Justin Bieber's "Sorry."  Her hard work paid off in the end, allowing her to also collect straight nines.

Another breakout dance came from Catfish host Nev Shulman, who was just one point shy of joining the four way tie at the top.  His expressive and vivacious jazz routine to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's "Good Vibrations" was decidedly the most entertaining dance of the night.

As for the night's most emotional moments, The Real host Jeannie Mai and Selling Sunset's Chrishell Stause both tugged at the heartstrings when opening up about their families. 

Mai recounted the harrowing tale of her grandparents fleeing post-war Vietnam with their children to start a new life in America while Stause revealed that she lost both of her parents to cancer in the span of the year.

While the two executed phenomenal dances, they both fought through tears on the ballroom floor.

Dancing with the Stars returns next Monday to celebrate all things spooky and Halloween, October 26, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Here are the current standings:

First Place: (tie)
Justina Machado, One Day at a Time star, with Sasha Farber -- 27/30
AJ McLean, member of Backstreet Boys, with Cheryl Burke -- 27/30
Monica Aldama, head coach on Netflix's CHEER, with Val Chmerkovskiy -- 27/30
Kaitlyn Bristowe, former star of The Bachelorette, with Artem Chigvintsev -- 27/20

Nev Schulman, host of Catfish, with Jenna Johnson -- 26/30
Jeannie Mai, host of The Real, with Brandon Armstrong  -- 25/30
Nelly, Grammy Award-winning rapper, with Daniella Karagach -- 24/30
Chrishell Stause, Netflix's Selling Sunset star, with Gleb Savchenko -- 24/30
Johnny Weir, Olympic figure skater, with Britt Stewart -- 22/30

Lowest score:
Skai Jackson, Disney Channel star, with Alan Bersten -- 18/30

 

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Viola Davis discusses the challenge of becoming 'Ma Rainey' and the gift of working with Chadwick Boseman

Netflix(NEW YORK) -- Viola Davis says she took on a role she "didn't think [she] could play" when she transformed into the buxom, outspoken Blues singer Ma, in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

In a preview event for the upcoming Netflix film, Davis says she decided to play the titular character because of its immense challenge.

"I didn't see myself as that age, that character, there's just a lot of things I didn't see myself as," Davis, 55, said, noting that she actually "sees [herself] as 28."

"It's like I stopped at the age that I actually saw the play, until I realized, 'Viola, now you are that age,'" she laughs.

Set in the 1920s, the film, based on August Wilson's 1984 stage production, centers on Ma, a legendary Blues singer who struggles with her white agent and producer over control of her music amid racial tensions in the music industry. It also follows Chadwick Boseman's character of Levee, an ambitious trumpet player in Ma's band.

"Well, not to compete with Chadwick's mother, but Chadwick is my baby," Davis says of the late actor, adding that she also played his mother in the James Brown biopic Get Up.

"Chadwick was just an artist," Davis continued. "That's just who he was. I don't know if people know the exact impact of that statement."

According to Davis, Chadwick was a pleasure to watch on set because he knew the importance of both "demanding" respect as a talent, while making sure to show up as a skilled and prepared actor.

"For someone so young, it was incredible to watch," Davis said. "That level of not mistaking your presence for the event. That's what [it was like] working with Chadwick all the time. The beauty of it."

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom launches December 18 on Netflix.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Taraji P Henson confirms her split from fiancé Kelvin Hayden

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- It looks like Taraji P Henson is back on the market.

The What Men Want actress, who recently celebrated her 50th birthday, confirmed she has called it quits with her fiancé and former NFL player Kelvin Hayden during an interview with The Breakfast Club morning show. 

Henson and 37-year-old Hayden, got engaged in May 2018 after two years of dating. The couple was set to get married in April but postponed the wedding due to COVID-19. But in the end, Henson says: "It didn’t work out." 

"I tried, I said, 'let's do the therapy thing' but if you're both not on the same page with that, then you feel like you're taking it on yourself and that's not a fair position for anybody to play in a relationship," Henson shared. 

Henson said the couple realized that they were prioritizing each other’s happiness over their own. "We have to first learn how to make ourselves happy, to make each other happy," she added.

She didn't share too much detail as to what exactly caused the breakup but she says: "It's nobody's business what's going on in my personal life."

"All I'm saying is relationships take work. And it takes both sides to really be there. It's selfless," she continued. "Sometimes, you gotta take it to the therapist and work it out first. That's why it is so important."

After launching a virtual therapy campaign earlier this year, Henson plans to continue pushing the importance of therapy and mental health, particularly within the Black community, on her upcoming Facebook Watch show, Peace of Mind with Taraji.

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'The Notebook' almost starred George Clooney and Paul Newman

L. Cohen/WireImage for Rogers & Cowan(LONDON) -- The much-beloved 2004 romantic drama The Notebook stars Ryan Gosling as the younger version of an older man, played by James Garner, recounting the story of the love of his life.  But it was almost George Clooney and Paul Newman who starred in it -- if only Clooney hadn't gotten cold feet.

“Basically, I was going to play him as a young man, and it was funny. We met and said, ‘This is it. It’s going to be great,'" Clooney revealed during a wide-ranging virtual conversation Sunday at the British Film Institute London Film Festival, according to Deadline.

So what happened?  Clooney, who became friends with Newman late in the latter's life, re-watched a few of the Oscar-winning screen legend's films.

“He’s one of the handsomest guys you’ve ever seen. We met up [again] and I said, ‘I can’t play you. I don’t look anything like you. This is insane,’” Clooney recalled. ‘We just wanted to do it because we wanted to work together, [but] it ended up being not the right thing for us to do.”

Unfortunately, Clooney and Newman never worked together on screen before Newman died in 2008 at age 83.

Clooney can next be seen in the science-fiction film The Midnight Sky, which he also directed, debuting on Netflix in December.

By Christopher Watson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


John McClane is back in new Die Hard...battery commercial?

20th Century Fox/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- No surprise that fans of the Die Hard movie franchise got excited when Rumer Willis posted a brief video tease on her Instagram Sunday of her dad, Bruce Willis, apparently reprising his signature movie role of Die Hard super-cop John McClane, with the hashtag #DIEHARDISBACK.

Could it be a secretly-filmed Die Hard sequel about to drop?  Not unless your idea of thrilling action is trying to replace a dead battery.

That's right: the tease was for a Die Hard car battery commercial.  But to be fair, producers did pull out all of the stops.  The action-packed two-minute spot, which is also for Advance Auto Parts and debuted during the Green Bay vs. Tampa Bay NFL game Sunday, featured Willis avoiding a posse of of gun-toting bad guys and other signature obstacles as he battles to buy and install a new battery into his car. 

We even get cameos from Clarence Gilyard, who played bad-guy tech genius Theo in the 1988 original, as well as De'voreaux White, reprising his role as Argyle, the limo driver, who runs into McClane on the street -- literally -- and then gives him a ride back to his car.  Or tries to, at least.

Willis does seem to be having a good time, pretty much smirking his way through the entire affair.  We don't want to give to much of it away, but suffice it to say McClane wins in the end.  The commercial's posted on YouTube, where as of late Monday morning it had earned nearly 15,000 views.

By Christopher Watson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Bette Midler shares first look at 'Hocus Pocus' reunion

Rebecca Smeyne/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It's a Halloween miracle! Bette Midler shared a photo with her Hocus Pocus co-stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, giving fans a first look at the trio's highly anticipated reunion.

"Your 3 fav witches - @sarahjessicaparker @kathynajimy & ME - are returning for 1 night only on 10/30 at 8p ET! 'In Search of the Sanderson Sisters' is the best thing to happen to #Halloween since 'Hocus Pocus' Reese's Pieces," she wrote on Instagram.

In the behind-the-scenes snap, Midler, 74, Parker, 55, and Najimy, 63, are all smiles and wearing their costumes from the beloved 1993 movie while acting positively witchy in front of a blue screen.

The trio are reprising their respective characters of Winifred, Sarah and Mary -- aka the Sanderson sisters -- for a virtual Halloween fundraising event called Hulaween, which benefits the New York Restoration Project.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is hosting the celebration, which includes guests such as Hocus Pocus stars Thora Birch, Omri Katz and Doug Jones, to name a few.

More information about tickets for the event can be found here.

By Carson Blackwelder
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Michael B. Jordan is helping expand a "new universe" for Black superheroes

Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- The popular teenage DC superhero Static will soon appear on the silver screen and, in preparation for the big movie, the DC Universe is turning to Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan to usher in the franchise's next phase.

Jordan will not only serve as the film's producer, he will also help expand the DC universe to usher in more Black superheroes, says The Hollywood Reporter

"I’m proud to be a part of building a new universe centered around black superheroes; our community deserves that," announced Jordan over the weekend. "Outlier Society is committed to bringing to life diverse comic book content across all platforms and we are excited to partner with Reggie and Warner Bros on this initial step."

Outlier Society is Jordan's production banner.

Static, whose civilian name is Virgil Ovid Hawkins, first arrived in comic books in 1993 under Milestone Comics -- a Black-founded company that labored to make comics more inclusive -- and went onto star in the animated TV series Static Shock that ran between 2000 and 2004 on Kids' WB.  

The character made cameos in several other DC Universe flicks, such as Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice, as well as in video games and in one direct-to-video movie.

It is unknown when Static Shock -- the film -- will arrive in theaters.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dwayne Johnson helps ring in fan's 101st birthday with tequila and a song

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- Leave it to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to ensure his fans celebrate the best birthday ever, no matter their age.  For one 101-year-old admirer, the Moana star made sure to hook her up with several bottles of his signature tequila.

"HAPPY BEAUTIFUL 101 BIRTHDAY to Grandma Grover," Johnson cheered on Saturday, posting a photo of his delighted fan clutching her prized possessions. "Good to see you received my gift of @teremana bottles and the card I wrote you!"

Beyond ensuring the centenarian rang in 101 with some amazing mementos, he also imparted some wisdom to Grandma Grover.

"Remember to SIP the Mana, grandma and it’s not time to do shots," Teased Johnson, noting that his tequila is meant to pack a delicious but potent punch.

Regardless, the Jumanji star was extremely touched to have earned Grandma Grover's respect.  "Happiest of birthdays - what an amazing and blessed life," he wrote her. "Enjoy your mana, Marie!"

He ended his heartfelt shoutout with the humorous hashtag #GrandmaGettingHerGrooveBack.

As for Johnson's appreciative fan, she is now the proud owner of the actor's Blanco and Reposado small batch tequila.

That's not all that Grandma Grover received from "My Rock," as an earlier video shows that the actor sent her a personalized message of him singing an over-the-top version of "Happy Birthday.  Of course, her adorable reaction was caught on video

This also isn't the first time the former wrestler honored his fan.  Last year, he helped ring in her 100th birthday after a friend of the family contacted him on Twitter.

"What?? First I’m hearing of this! Who’s turning 100? Beautiful age! What do you need," Johnson wrote in response and, since then, forged a beautiful friendship.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Saturday Night Live' hilariously spoofs dueling Biden-Trump Town Halls

Photo by: Will Heath/NBC(NEW YORK) -- It was a hilarious tale of two competing town halls as Saturday Night Live's cold open took aim at Thursday's drastically different events featuring Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.

The two events were a topic of discussion even before the two contenders took their respective stages, with NBC facing a backlash for scheduling its town hall with President Trump opposite Biden's previously planned town hall, moderated by George Stephanopoulos -- played by Mikey Day.

Kate McKinnon, playing Today anchor and "surprise bad**s" Savannah Guthrie, who moderated the NBC event, declaring, "If you are angry at NBC for doing this town hall, just let me get a few questions in, and I think you will thank me.”

The bit poked fun at the candidates' contrasting styles: a long-winded Biden -- played once again by Jim Carrey -- singing "Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," the theme from Fred Rogers' long-running PBS kids show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and even donning a sweater, as Rogers was famous for doing.

Alec Baldwin's Trump, meanwhile, repeatedly mispronouncing Guthries name, while hurling a barrage of accusations aimed at Biden and former president Barack Obama.

Recalling a viral moment from Trump's town hall, McKinnon's Guthrie chastises Baldwin's Trump over his penchant for re-tweeting conspiracy theories, saying, “You can’t just do things like that. You are not just someone’s crazy uncle.”

Baldwin responds with “Right now is a preview of Thanksgiving dinner, and a lot of American households have crazy uncles.  Stand back and stand by.”

Maya Rudolph also made an appearance as Senator Kamala Harris.

Saturday's show was hosted by Issa Rae with musical guest Justin Bieber.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

 


'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' season premiere to salute Regis Philbin

ABC/Richard Cartwright(LOS ANGELES) -- When Who Wants to Be a Millionaire returns to ABC Sunday for its second-season premiere, it'll pay tribute to its former host: the late TV legend Regis Philbin.

Philbin hosted the primetime version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire from its 1999 debut and for all of its primetime run and limited returns and specials through 2009. ABC will remember Regis with a nearly two-minute video retrospective of his time on the show, that includes current host Jimmy Kimmel remembering having Regis on the set of the current Millionaire incarnation, which debuted last year.

"It was exciting to just have him there," Kimmel says.  "Because I'm hosting this show, but this is his show."

Later in the video, Kimmel tells Philbin during a visit to the new Who Wants to Be a Millionaire set: "No one will ever be better at doing this than you.  No one.  Never.  And I'm not just being false humble by saying that.  It's true.  You're the best."

"And that's why people love this game," Kimmel goes on.  "It's a great game, but Regis is the reason."

Philbin died of natural causes July 25, one month shy of his 89th birthday.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire returns Sunday, October 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT on ABC.

By Christopher Watson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Star Trek: Discovery' renewed for a fourth season

CBS(NEW YORK) -- Well, that certainly didn't take long.  Just one day after the third season premiered, Star Trek: Discovery has been renewed for a fourth season.

Debuting September of 2017 on CBS All Access after nearly a year of production delays, the seventh live-action spinoff of the 54-year-old Star Trek franchise has become the anchor show for CBS' fast-expanding Star Trek universe, which has since grown to include the Patrick Stewart-fronted Star Trek: Picard and the recently-launched animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Still to come is Section 31, a promised darker take on the Star Trek universe starring Michelle Yeoh, as well as Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, with Anson Mount reprising his fan-favorite role as Christopher Pike, captain of the USS Enterprise just before James T. Kirk assumed command.

Production on season four of Star Trek: Discovery, starring Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones, will reportedly begin November 2 for a likely late 2021 debut.

By Christopher Watson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Feeling the COVID-19 blues? Watch Gordon Ramsay hilariously take TikTok's "chefs" down a peg

FOX(NEW YORK) -- With more people stuck at home due to COVID-19, many are flexing their culinary muscles by getting creative in the kitchen.  A few have since began uploading their "masterpieces" to TikTok to share their recipes... that is, until Gordon Ramsay joined the video-sharing site.

The cantankerous British chef has begun weighing in on the do-it-yourself cooking videos that have flooded the website -- allowing fans to know once and for all if a recipe is actually delicious, or just a plate of hot rubbish.

While some recipes earned words of praise from the Hell's Kitchen star, such as a delicious BBQ brisket recipe that made his mouth visibly water, others simply succeeded in giving him a heart attack.

One recipe that made the celebrity chef see red was the steak wedding cake, which is exactly as it sounds -- a three-tier cake made up of three steaks that were frosted with mashed potatoes and decorated with bacon shaped like roses.

"That’s not a wedding cake that’s a divorce cake," the Kitchen Nightmares alum groaned in the caption.  

The video reactions also serve as a valuable PSA to Ramsay's fans about what not to do in the kitchen, from over-salting a ribeye steak to over-working scrambled eggs.

In addition, TikTokers who have royally disappointed the chef have since been branded with clever nicknames, such as "idiot sandwich" and "donut."

Fans are more than welcome to seek out Ramsay's advice by posting their recipe under the hashtag #RamsayReacts.  Here's hoping your culinary masterpiece won't give the Master Chef a Kitchen Nightmare.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Lovecraft Country' star Wunmi Mosaku says fans are going to be "blown away" by the season finale

Photograph by Eli Joshua Ade/HBO (NEW YORK) -- Like the rest of the world, Lovecraft Country star Wunmi Mosaku will have to wait till Sunday night to watch the season finale of her hit HBO sci-fi series. 

Mosaku, who plays Leti's sister Ruby, a woman who uses magic to make her fantasies come true, admits she hasn't seen episode 10 of the wildly popular series, but already knows that fans are going to be "blown away."

"I really hope that people feel satisfied by the season finale," Mosaku tells ABC Audio, before giving her stamp of approval. "It just takes you on a wild ride again. Like, you can never know what to expect with Lovecraft Country."

So seems to be the case for her unpredictable character Ruby, who Mosaku admits doesn't often make the best decisions.

"I was kind of shocked by her last episode," Mosaku reveals. "I was like, 'When is she going to stop all of this nonsense? ... Why is she doing this?' From the moment she opens her mouth with William at the bar, I'm like, 'Who is this man that you're telling all your business to?'"

But Mosaku does gives her character some credit, noting that magic can be "addictive" and Ruby does eventually evolve.

"So I don't know where she's gonna go, but she definitely grows and changes," she says. "I think you'll see a lot of her evolution even in this last episode..."

With that in mind, Mosaku applauds the series creator Misha Green, noting that it's Green's hard work that has kept fans invested in the show.

"She's not playing," Mosaku says. "She's coming for us in all aspects, like emotionally, intellectually, socially, [and] politically. So I hope that people feel satisfied and like satiated by [this] episode for sure.

The season finale of Lovecraft Country airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Aaron Sorkin explains why 'The Trial of the Chicago 7' became more relevant "in the most chilling ways"

Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX © 2020(NEW YORK) -- Aaron Sorkin is breathing a sigh of relief now that his 2007 pet project, The Trial of the Chicago 7, will finally see the light of day.

The film, which follows a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters who are put on trial for allegedly inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, took 14 years for Sorkin to get released. Sorkin tells ABC Audio that even though his historical drama centers on a specific time of civil unrest, it's still just as timely for today.

"We thought the film was relevant while we were making it last winter," he says. "We didn't need it to get more relevant, but in the most chilling ways it has. When I watch CNN or ABC's coverage of the clashes between protesters and the police, I think if you just degraded the color on that a little bit, it would look exactly like the news footage we are using from '68."

Besides retelling an important story, Sorkin believes his film also sheds light on the injustice that Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale endured when he was initially charged with the group before his case was later separated. 

"You can't tell the story of the Chicago 7 without telling Bobby's story," he says. "This man who just would not allow himself to be bulldozed by this judge and this system."

"Would not -- until his last moment in the courtroom -- shut up when the judge tells him to shut up until he's finally in an American courtroom bound and gagged," Sorkin continues, sharing some of the harrowing events that actually took place in court. "And you can't not tell this story without telling that story."

The Trial of The Chicago 7, starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, is now available on Netflix.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kristen Bell reveals the one thing that got her through quarantining with her family

Jim Spellman/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Kristen Bell admits that quarantining with two young children was not an easy task, which is why she revealed what kept her from losing her mind while staying under the same roof when the nation was on pause. 

The Good Place alum recently released her new CBD skincare line and, during its virtual launch, dished about the importance of sneaking in some precious me time every day.

"One thing I’ve learned during this pandemic is that I really like and need to take baths," admitted Bell. "The only time I am allowed to lock the door in my house is when I’m taking a bath."

The Golden Globe nominee made the case for all moms -- or any stressed parent -- to make an effort to carve out a portion of their day and put themselves first.

"Self-care is not something to be 'event-ized,'" explained the 40-year-old mom of two via Page Six. "It’s something I need daily to keep my sanity intact."

The Frozen 2 star added that, "Self-care isn’t leaving the house for a manicure with your girlfriends once a month.  That’s just leaving the house for a manicure with your girlfriends once a month."

Bell says people need to make an effort to focus on themselves every day, even if it's something as simple as taking a bath and closing the door so no one barges in with an interruption.   

She and husband Dax Shepard share two daughters, five-year-old Delta and seven-year-old Lincoln.

Bell's CBD Skincare line Happy Dance -- of which she teamed up with Lord Jones to create --  is available now and one percent of all sales benefit the A New Way of Life Reentry Project. 

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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