Entertainment News

Gabrielle Union to host an all-Black cast reading of 'Friends' starring Sterling K. Brown, Uzo Aduba and more

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Gabrielle Union is helping to reimagine the popular sitcom Friends for a more diverse generation.

On Monday it was announced that Union will host an all-Black cast reading of Friends featuring Sterling K. Brown, Ryan Bathe, Uzo Aduba, Aisha Hinds, Kendrick Sampson, and Jeremy Pope. The virtual event will take place on Tuesday, September 22 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET at Zoom Where It Happens.

Directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield, the table read will create awareness for When We All Vote, a non-partisan voter registration organization. It comes on the heels of the popular Golden Girls all-Black table read on September 8, which starred Regina King, Tracee Ellis Ross, Alfre Woodard, and Sanaa Lathan.

It has not yet been revealed which actor will play which cast member or the episode the group will be reading.

This is not the first time an all-Black Friends casting has been done. In 2017, Jay-Z reimagined an all-Black Friends cast in his “Moonlight” music video which starred Jerrod Carmichael, Issa Rae, Tiffany Haddish, Tessa Thompson, LaKeith Stanfield and Lil Rel Howery. Instead of using the show’s memorable theme song, The Rembrandt’s “I’ll Be There For You,” Jay-Z used Whodini’s classic 1984 track “Friends.”

To RSVP and watch the reading, go to mobilize.us.

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

Emmy ratings sink to all-time low

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- The 72nd Annual Emmy Awards pulled off a virtual ceremony pretty much without a hitch last night, but it failed to bring in the ratings.

According to Deadline, viewership fell to an all-time low, with 6.1 million viewers and a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49 in time adjusted results. This year’s Emmys were down 25 percent in the key demo and 12 percent in total audience from last year’s host-less Emmys.

Last year was the first time the Emmys ever went below 7 million viewers, and marked a historic low for the awards show.

Sunday night’s ceremony was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Schitt’s Creek swept all the major comedy categories and HBO’s Succession won Best Drama.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Zach Braff says Emmys "passed" on including Nick Cordero in In Memoriam tribute

Walter McBride/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Zach Braff is disappointed that the Emmys In Memoriam tribute left out his good friend, actor Nick Cordero, who passed away from COVID-19 complications in July.

"For those wondering: The Emmys chose to leave Nick Cordero out of the memorial montage," Braff tweeted on Monday. "I had no idea one had to campaign to get their loved one in. We did. They passed."

He then posted a note he reportedly received from Emmys staffers, informing him that they were aware of Cordero’s sad passing but could not guarantee him a spot in the tribute.

Cordero was primarily a Broadway actor, but he also had a recurring role in CBS' Blue Bloods and made appearances on shows including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Queer as Folk and Lillyhammer.

Braff also noted that his former Scrubs co-star, Sam Lloyd, was left out of the tribute, as well.

"I should mention too, that they also left out Sam Lloyd," he tweeted. "I would have never even considered 'campaigning' for Sam because he had more TV credits than most actors I know."

Lloyd passed away in May of lung cancer complications at age 56.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Regina King makes a statement with her Emmy win in honor of Breonna Taylor

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- Regina King made a statement with her fashion choice during the 2020 virtual Emmys Awards Sunday night, wearing a shirt that featured the "likeness" of Breonna Taylor, the emergency medical technician who was shot to death by Louisville Police in her home in March.

The shirt read "Say Her Name," and served as a reminder that none of the three police officers involved in Taylor's shooting have been arrested — a cause King has rallied for over the last few months onsocial media

"Wearing Breonna's likeness, representing her and her family," said King during a backstage press conference after her Emmy win for Best Actress in a Limited Series for her role in HBO's Watchmen. "The stories that we were exploring, that we were presenting, that we were holding a mirror up to in Watchmen, it felt appropriate to represent with Breonna Taylor."

King said she got "confirmation" from her wardrobe choice when she saw Mrs. America's Uzo Aduba virtually appear wearing a shirt with Breonna's name on it.

After winning her third Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a limited series for her role in the FX miniseries, Uzo praised King for standing in her "strength and power."

"Regina is who she says she is, which is my favorite thing about her...she's a doer," Uzo said during the press conference. "And I loved when I saw her shirt, standing in it with such strength and power that we all know she has. She's a born leader, and it made me so happy to see her wear it and to know that we are saying her name."

It's been nearly six months since Taylor's fatal shooting. Last week, the city of Louisville, Kentucky, reached a record $12 million settlement suit with Breonna's family.

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

Watch the first trailer to Steve McQueen's 'Small Axe' starring Letitia Wright and John Boyega

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The trailer for Oscar winner Steve McQueen's Amazon anthology series, Small Axe, has officially been released.

The new series, which consists of five powerful films, all center on London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s through the mid 1980s. John Boyega, who stars in one of the films, also shared the trailer on his socials, adding additional information on the forthcoming anthology.

"@SmallAxeAmazon is a collection of five films by Steve McQueen inspired by real-life events about ordinary people showing courage, belief, and resilience to overcome injustice and achieve something transformative in their West Indian community," he captioned the trailer. 

"So if you are the big tree, we are the small axe," he added, quoting the Jamaican proverb from which the series' title is derived.

Small Axe's first film, Mangrove, starring Letitia Wright and Shaun Parkes, is set to premiere on Friday, November 20. It will then be followed with a new film every Friday, including Lovers Rock on November 27 starring Micheal Ward and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn; Education on December 4, featuring Kenyah Sandy;  Alex Wheatle on December 11 with newcomer Sheyi Cole; and then finallyRed, White and Blue on December 18 starring John Boyega. 

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

Zendaya makes history with her first Emmy Award for HBO's 'Euphoria'

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- Who knew, that in 2015, actress Viola Davis would have paved the way for young Zendaya to become the second Black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series and the youngest winner in that category overall.

At the 72nd annual Emmy Awards Sunday night, the 24-year-old actress won an Emmy for her role in HBO's highly acclaimed drama, Euphoria.

Zendaya plays Rue, a teenage drug addict navigating high school, relationships, and social media among other issues in the series, which also won outstanding contemporary makeup. 

After a passionate and tearful acceptance speech, Zendaya explained why she connected so much to Rue's "layered and complicated" character during a backstage press conference.

"Rue, to me, what's so special about her character is that she is a full, whole human being, and she's layered, and she's complicated," she shared. "And I think as the show goes on, you know, we're also able to empathize with addiction and what that looks like and what that does to a family and be able to understand and still root for Rue."

Aside from winning, Zendaya said landing her first Emmy nomination was such a huge "honor" itself. 

"It means so much to me. I think every single woman in that category I obviously admire immensely and, you know, their work and everything they continue to do," she said. "So...just to be mentioned within a category at all was something and then just to have their support, and having them smile and wave to me meant a lot to me."

Other nominees in the category included Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Colman, Ozark's Laura Linney, and Killing Eve's Jodie Comer and Sandra Ohwho all virtually appeared in applause for Zendaya. 

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

John Oliver says fifth Emmy win is nice, but being named after a sewage plant is way better

ABC/Frank Ockenfels(LOS ANGELES) -- In the ongoing tit-for-tat between late night host John Oliver and the city of Danbury, Connecticut -- the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver star couldn't help but shout out the city he loves to hate while celebrating his fifth Emmy win.

Oliver took home the Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Talk Series.

During his backstage interview, Oliver was asked about whether or not he'd dedicate his Emmy win to the city of Danbury and remarked, "As nice as [this Emmy] is, and it is very very nice, my dream this year is having a sewage plant named after me."

The city threatened to name its sewage facility after the late night host following Oliver's August 16 show when he suddenly went off the rails and began shouting obscenities at Danbury, CT when discussing potential rigging in the national jury system and how prejudice affects jury summoning.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton [BOW-ton] on August 22 unveiled plans on Facebook to rename the treatment facility the "John Oliver Memorial Sewage Plant" -- because "it’s full of cr** just like you, John."

Oliver remarked on Sunday that he's glad to be "so close" to seeing his dream become a reality.

The 43-year-old was also pressed about whether or not he believes the Emmys will embrace the all-virtual platform going forward due to the COVID-19 crisis.

"If the pandemic continues, yes, this has to be the way ahead cause it's not safe to do it any other way," he answered before wondering aloud if people enjoy the socially distanced format. "It's a little confusing why the Emmys are happening this year."

Still, Oliver knows the Emmys were in the best possible hands, praising, "Jimmy Kimmel is the best -- the best possible host" adding "he's doing a fantastic job!"

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

Ellen DeGeneres addresses toxic workplace claims during show's season 18 premiere: "I take responsibility"

Doug Inglish/ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.(LOS ANGELES) -- As she promised, Ellen DeGeneres took time during the season 18 premiere of her talk show Monday to address the allegations of toxic workplace culture and her own allegedly unkind behavior that have dogged her all summer.

“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened," she told the virtual audience.

"I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show: I am Ellen DeGeneres."

She added that over the last few weeks, she’s had many conversations with staff to make the “necessary changes” to begin a “new chapter.”

DeGeneres also addressed claims that she is not the “kind” person she appears to be on TV.

"The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things,” she explained. “Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient, and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress."

DeGeneres added that, with everything going on the world, her hope is that her show can still bring happiness and joy to people.

“I still want to be the one hour a day where people can go to escape and laugh," she said, promising, "I'm committed to making this the best season that we have ever had."

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

First trailer for Disney+ series 'WandaVision' debuts during Emmys

Disney (LOS ANGELES) -- The first trailer for the Disney series WandaVision debuted during the Emmys broadcast Sunday night.

The show stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprising their roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision from Marvel’s Avengers series.

The trailer begins with Wanda and Vision living in a black-and-white ‘50s sitcom-type world and subsequently follows them as they jump through different realities and time periods. The official description for the show describes Wanda and Vision as “two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives,” who “begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.”

WandaVision marks the first series from Marvel Studios streaming exclusively on Disney . No word on a release date.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

The Rock vs. The Gate: Dwayne Johnson tears out front gate with his bare hands

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- It was The Rock vs. The Gate, and The Rock won.

Dwayne Johnson ripped his front gate off with his bare hands on Friday after a power outage kept it from opening and almost made him late for work. He shared the feat of strength on his Instagram page, along with a photo of the dismantled gate.

"Not my finest hour, but a man’s gotta go to work," the 48-year-old wrote. "We experienced a power outage due to severe storms, causing my front gate not to open. I tried to override the hydraulic system to open the gates, which usually works when power goes out - but this time it wouldn’t."

When he realized technicians wouldn’t get there in time, he took matters into his own hands -- literally.

"I pushed, pulled and ripped the gate completely off myself. Tore it out of the brick wall, severed the steel hydraulics and threw it on the grass," he explained. "My security team was able to meet the gate technician and welders about an hour later — and they were apparently, 'in disbelief and equally scared.’"

He thanked the technicians and welders for their help and joked, "maybe next time I’ll just hop the gates and call an Uber." But then added, "Actually, no I won’t. There’s no fun in that.”

Ryan Reynolds took to the comments to tease him, writing, “The gate opened the OTHER way.”

Johnson is currently filming Netflix’s Red Notice. He returned to work last week after recovering from COVID-19.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Will 'Schitt's Creek''s historic night at the Emmys lead to a movie? Dan Levy weighs in

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- Schitt's Creek started the Emmys off with a bang with an unprecedented and history-making sweep. The show, which ended its six-season run this year, became the first comedy series to sweep the entire comedy category. 

With the series nabbing the Emmys for outstanding comedy, best actor, best actress, outstanding writing for a comedy series, outstanding directing for a comedy series, best supporting actor and best supporting actress -- it led to fans wondering, if not outright hoping, if the wins would inspire a Schitt's Creek movie.

Speaking backstage to reporters, co-creator Dan Levy weighed in on whether or not he'd be up for it. 

"This was the best way we ever could have ended the show," he said in regards to their Emmy wins.  "So, if there is an idea that pops into my head that's worthy of these wonderful people it really has to be freaking good at this point."

"This is a real nice way of saying goodbye," Levy joked, promising fans that if an idea comes around that's better than winning nine Emmys, only then will the cast reunite.

He understood why fans want to see their favorite characters again, adding that the show resonated with the audience because of how it approached and told authentic LGBTQ storylines.

"I don't often get to see those kinds of relationships depicted on TV," the Canadian actor noted. "I felt like it was an incredible responsibility to be given that opportunity and to try to tell it as authentically as I possibly could."

Levy added that "by projecting a sweeter, gentler world" where homophobia wasn't even mentioned, "I feel like that was in a way a political statement."

Overall, by sweeping the Emmys with nine wins, Levy declared, "What an absolutely unbelievable way to end our series."

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

Felicity Jones and Kate McKinnon pay tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg

NBC(LOS ANGELES) -- As the country mourns Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg who passed away at age 87 on Friday, two actresses who played Ginsberg on screen reacted to her passing this weekend.

Felicity Jones, who portrayed Justice Ginsberg in the 2018 biopic On the Basis of Sex, said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave us hope, a public figure who stood for integrity and justice - a responsibility she did not wear lightly.”

“She will be missed not only as a beacon of light in these difficult times but for her razor-sharp wit and extraordinary humanity,” Jones added. “She taught us all so much. I will miss her deeply."

Kate McKinnon, who impersonated the women’s rights activist on SNL, said in a statement to multiple news outlets, "For so many of us, Justice Ginsburg was a real-life superhero: a beacon of hope, a warrior for justice, a robed crusader who saved the day time and again.”

She continued, “Playing her on SNL was a profound joy because I could always feel the overwhelming love and gratitude that the audience had for her. It was one of the great honors of my life to meet Justice Ginsburg, to shake her hand, and to thank her for her lifetime of service to this country."

Ginsberg died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Her death prompted an outpouring of tributes from celebrities and politicians alike, including former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chris Evans, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Aniston, Viola Davis, Oprah, Mark Ruffalo and more.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Emmys 2020 recap: 'Schitt's Creek' sweeps all comedy categories, Zendaya makes history

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Like everything else in 2020, the Emmy Awards was like no other year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jimmy Kimmel hosted to an empty audience at the Staples Center in Los Angeles while nominees watched from home.

The Emmys started off with a bang with an unprecedented sweep by Schitt's Creek. The show, which ended its six-season run this year, made history by becoming the first comedy series to sweep all the major comedy categories.

And the Emmys made history again when, toward the end of the show, 24-year-old Zendaya became the youngest person to win outstanding actress in a drama series for her role in Euphoria.

In between those historical moments, many stars took a moment to use their platform to deliver impassioned messages to viewers. 

Among those was Mark Ruffalo, who gave a powerful speech during his win for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie, urging viewers to fight for diversity and get out and vote.  

"If you have privilege, you have to fight for those who are less fortunate and more vulnerable. And that's what's great about America -- our diversity," he said. 

Regina King, who won for lead actress in a limited series or movie and wore a shirt honoring slain Black woman Breonna Taylor, ended her speech with a similar message. 

"Have a voting plan,"she said. "Go to Ballotpedia.com, vote up the ballot."

Anthony Anderson, who was nominated for lead actor in Black-ish, appeared in-person from the Staples Center and told Kimmel, "I'm still rooting for everybody Black because Black stories, Black performances and Black lives matter."

He then led the Emmys host in a chant of "Black lives matter," telling him to say it loud enough so Vice President "Mike Pence can hear it."

Jennifer Aniston, up for lead actress in a drama for The Morning Show, had some old Friends over on her big night -- her Friends co-stars Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow. Cox and Aniston joked about being roommates since 1994. 

And, movie and TV mogul Tyler Perry, the recipient of this year's Governors Award, accepted his Emmy with a story-turned-metaphor about a homemade quilt his grandmother once gave him.

Perry later saw a similar quilt in an antique store. The salesman told him the quilt was made by a former slave who added each patch of the quilt to represent a part of her life. Perry said the story made him so "embarrassed" that he had initially brushed off the significance of his grandmother's gift.

"Here I was a person who prides myself on celebrating our heritage, our culture, and I didn't even recognize the value in my grandmother's quilt," Perry said. "I dismissed her work and her story because it didn't look like what I thought it should."

"We are all sewing our own quilts with our thoughts, our behavior, our experiences and our memories," he said. 

Perry noted how he now owns land that once was a Confederate Army base. Now, "on that very land, Black people, white people, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, ex-cons, Latin, Asian, all of us come together working," he said, "to add patches to a quilt that is as diverse as it can be."

You can find the complete list of winners at Emmys.com.

By Emily Shapiro and Danielle Long 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Primetime Emmys 2020 -- The winners

ABC/Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) -- Here's the complete list of winners from the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted live by Jimmy Kimmel from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as nominees appeared virtually from their homes:

Lead actress in a comedy series
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek (CBC, POP)

Lead actor in a comedy series
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek (CBC, POP)

Writing for a comedy series
Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek (CBC, POP)

Directing for a comedy series
Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek (CBC, POP)

Supporting actor in a comedy series
Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek (CBC, POP)

Supporting actress in a comedy series
Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek (CBC, POP)

Outstanding Comedy series
Schitt’s Creek (CBC, POP)

Outstanding Variety talk series
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)

Lead actress in a limited series or movie
Regina King, Watchmen (HBO)

Lead actor in limited series or movie
Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True (HBO)

Writing for a limited series, movie or dramatic special
Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, Watchmen (HBO)

Directing for a limited series, movie or dramatic special
Maria Schrader, Unorthodox (Netflix)

Supporting actor in limited series or movie
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen (HBO)

Supporting actress in limited series or movie
Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America (FX)

Limited series
Watchmen (HBO)

Competition program
RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1, Logo TV)

Lead actor in a drama series
Jeremy Strong, Succession (HBO)

Lead actress in a drama series
Zendaya, Euphoria (HBO)

Writing for a drama series
Jesse Armstrong, Succession (HBO)

Directing for a drama series
Andrij Parekh, Succession (HBO)

Supporting actor in a drama series
Billy Crudup, The Morning Show (Apple TV )

Supporting actress in a drama series
Julia Garner, Ozark (Netflix)

Drama series
Succession (HBO)

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, powerhouse Supreme Court Justice, dies at 87

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the powerhouse Supreme Court justice and champion for women's rights, has died at the age of 87.

"Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer," Court Spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

Her death while still serving on the Court, a scenario long-dreaded by liberals, creates a rare election-year opportunity for President Donald Trump to nominate a conservative replacement, triggering a pitched political battle.

Ginsburg had become the standard bearer for the court's liberal wing, writing landmark opinions that advanced gender equality and rights for disabled Americans and immigrants in her more than quarter century on the bench.

She was equally known for impassioned dissents on major social issues -- from affirmative action to equal pay -- which earned her a sort of rock-star status among progressives and inspired lawmakers on how to legislate social change.

Ginsburg was the second woman to sit on the high court, joining Sandra Day O'Connor in 1993, and went on to become its longest-serving woman in history. She was the first female Jewish justice.

She survived four battles with cancer over her Supreme Court career, never having to recuse herself from casework because of illness.

In December 2018, she was absent from oral arguments for the first time in 26 years after undergoing lung cancer surgery, but she participated in the cases remotely. During the coronavirus pandemic, she joined oral arguments by phone from a Maryland hospital where she was being treated for a gallbladder infection.

Ginsberg's life was the subject of a 2018 Oscar-nominated documentary -- RBG -- and a Hollywood biopic -- On the Basis of Sex -- starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer.

By Devin Dwyer
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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