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►  Film academy invites Leslie Jones, Dwayne Johnson, Riz Ahmed

The film academy is inviting 774 new members to join its ranks, including actors Leslie Jones, Dwayne Johnson, Riz Ahmed, Chris Pratt and Anna Faris.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed its latest invitees on Wednesday.

Other actors invited to join the group include Priyanka Chopra, Janelle Monae, Elle Fanning, Donald Glover, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Betty White, Terry Crews, John Cho, Zoe Kravitz and “Wonder Woman” herself, Gal Gadot. Several “Saturday Night Live” alumnae also received invites: Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph and current star Kate McKinnon.

“Moonlight” writer-director Barry Jenkins was invited to join both branches, as was “Get Out” writer-director Jordan Peele. “Hidden Figures” director Theodore Melfi and documentarian Ezra Edelman, who won an Oscar for “O.J.: Made in America,” also received invitations.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Justin Timberlake, Nick Cave, Terry Lewis, Jimmy Jam and “La La Land” composers Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Justin Hurwitz were invited to the music branch.

The film academy reports the new class of potential members is 39 percent female and 30 percent non-white. The organization has been diversifying its ranks after two years of #OscarsSoWhite and criticism of its overwhelmingly white and male voting body.


►  White House reporter says he’s tired of being bullied

The reporter who accused White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders of inflaming the public against the media at a press briefing says he did it because he’s tired of being bullied by the administration.

Brian Karem, an editor at the Washington-area Sentinel newspapers, became an instant symbol in the tense relationship between the president and journalists when he interrupted Sanders on Tuesday. Given the nation’s wide political divide, it took little searching to find depictions of him as either a hero or crying baby on social media.

“There’s a time and a place for everything and the time has come to stand up and be counted,” Karem told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I’m tired of taking it. I want friendly relationships, but those who want respect, show respect. We have shown that man and shown the administration respect for six months, and all we’re getting in return is a lack of respect, derision and bullying.”

Karem, 56, is not a representative of the large national media organizations repeatedly described as “fake news” by the president. Besides his editing, he writes for Playboy, where his first-person account of the confrontation was posted late Tuesday. He was jailed as a Texas television reporter in 1990 for refusing to identify sources in a crime story.

The administration’s own anger with the media is close to the surface, with the president tweeting Tuesday about a CNN story on Russian connections that was retracted last week, and on Wednesday about The New York Times’ coverage of the stalled health bill. Sanders opened Tuesday’s briefing by calling on a reporter from the conservative Breitbart News, who asked about the CNN story, and she expressed frustration with media coverage.

“If we make the slightest mistake, the slightest word is off, it is just an absolute tirade from a lot of people in this room,” Sanders said. “But news outlets get to go on, day after day, and cite unnamed sources, use stories without sources.”

That’s where Karem broke in.

“Come on!” he said. “You’re inflaming everybody right here, right now with those words.” He said that Sanders is there to answer questions “and what you did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, ‘See, once again, the president’s right and everybody else out here is fake media.’ And everybody in this room is only trying to do their job.”

Sanders said that “if anything has been inflamed, it’s the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media and I think it is outrageous for you to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was simply trying to respond to his question.”

The White House has been holding fewer on-camera briefings lately, and the press has been pushing for more. With that backdrop, it felt like the chief purpose of Tuesday’s on-camera session was to browbeat the press, Karem said.

Karem, who was not at the White House on Wednesday, said he hasn’t heard from the administration about the exchange and doesn’t know if there will be repercussions. Sanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While Karem said he’d received expressions of support from some fellow reporters, not all sympathetic observers like to see frustration boil over. Liberal former talk show host Phil Donahue, on MSNBC Wednesday, said reporters should stay above the fray.

“I don’t think the press should get in the mosh pit,” he said. “I think they have to be big boys and girls and take the hits.

“The best way to handle this is to just keep working,” Donahue said. “Don’t be so sensitive. Don’t look like you have a glass jaw ... I think the press has to be above that.”

Karem said he always taught his children that the best way to handle bullies is to try and make friends with them and, failing that, punch back so they know you won’t take their guff. Since it’s a potent issue for Trump’s supporters, he doesn’t expect the administration’s attitude toward the media will change.

“You think it’s going to go away?” he said. “It’s not. But I’m not going gently into the good night. I’m not going to sit there and be told that I’m the enemy of the people and that I’m fake news.”


►  TV, films turning to young girls for their new action stars

From the murderous Laura in “Logan” to the mysterious Eleven in “Stranger Things” to the audacious determination of Mija in “Okja,” opening Wednesday, powerful young girls are starring in mainstream action fare like never before.

Though Nancy Drew was solving mysteries in the 1930s and Buffy slayed vampires all through high school in the late 1990s, young girls are rarely shown as heroes in programs aimed at general audiences, said Mary Celeste Kearney, director of gender studies and a professor of film, television and theater at University of Notre Dame.

“Girls have seen these figures… but when they’ve looked to mainstream stuff and what their brothers and their dads and boys are watching, those girls are never there,” Kearney said. “And now they are, and that’s huge.”

It means girls don’t have to look to grown up heroes like Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” or Rey in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Like 10-year-old Elliot on the flying bicycle in “E.T. the Extraterrestrial,” now girls are having awesome genre adventures as powerful young kids onscreen.

The Duffer Brothers said gender was never a question when it came to creating the super-powered star character in their Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Eleven, played by 13-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, can move things with her mind and is the fascinating secret friend of a group of pre-teen boys in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.

“Eleven was always a girl. I don’t even remember when or why we made that decision except that was always the case,” Matt Duffer said in a recent interview. “Eleven was the centerpiece of the show for us always and was always going to be this girl who escaped the lab… I think we liked the idea because it wasn’t something we had seen before.”

A second little girl is joining the cast for the show’s second season, which premieres October 31.

Writer-director Bong Joon Ho intentionally made his central human character a girl in “Okja,” an international adventure film named for the genetically engineered six-ton “super pig” at its heart.

“In cartoons or movies, young girls are often portrayed as characters that need to be protected or rescued. I wanted to do the opposite,” the filmmaker said in an email. “I liked that a young female character was the unstoppable guardian of a creature, and that she had to charge and break through all obstacles that stood in her way. I liked this feeling.”

Played by 13-year-old An Seo Hyun, Mija has grown up with Okja, and risks everything to protect the massive creature when the corporation that sponsored the super-pig program comes to claim its product.

One thing that’s missing from “Okja” and the other projects is a stereotypical little girl who needs saving.

“Logan” writer-director James Mangold can’t take credit for creating the young female mutant Laura — he mined the character from “X-Men” history. But Mangold cast an exceptional actress, 11-year-old Dafne Keen, and successfully brought a killer female character to the ultra-male world of big-screen superheroes.

He chose to make Laura a child rather than the teenager she is in the comics because of the bond it would allow with Hugh Jackman’s character and the shock it might elicit when Laura draws her claws.

Like Hit-Girl in 2010′s “Kick-###,” Laura is a character created in her father’s image. She’s Wolverine’s daughter and has just as much flesh-shredding power as her dad.

“I did think the shocking nature of Laura’s ability to kill savagely would be all the more shocking, in a really wonderful way, that it was a girl and not a boy, that that lethalness would be exhibited by this little girl,” Mangold said. “I wondered whether we could pull it off, whether the audience would truly believe this level of violence and intensity trapped inside an 11-year-old body. To me that made it even more exciting to put it on the screen.”

Mangold said he took care with Laura’s character, who’s mute for the first half of the film and speaks only Spanish in the second, to “undermine the kind of cute factor of what this young woman would be and allow her to exist as her own unique character.”

It’s notable, too, that these young heroines are not all embodied by white actresses.

Kearney says it’s more than just the “Wonder Woman” effect inspiring these empowered characters: “History has everything to do with this and the gender politics of different historical moments.”

The powerful women and girls onscreen reflect more progressive gender attitudes, she said, adding that some writers and producers may have been inspired to create such heroes out of a desire to see more real-life female leaders.

She noted the recent crop of characters all exist in “fantasy narratives,” where people can have super powers.

“It’s not in our reality; it’s in some other reality, and that’s really disheartening if you think about it in that way,” she said. “Like girls are great as action heroes, but not as president of the United States, not in real life.”

Consider that “Billy Elliott,” the charming, realistic 2000 independent film about an 11-year-old boy who learns about gender and identity through dance, became a sleeper hit that was adapted for the stage. “The Fits,” a similarly realistic, 2016 indie film about an 11-year-old girl who does the same, didn’t get the same reception.

Girl action heroes are a start, though, especially ones with mass-market appeal.

“They have a powerful, powerful cultural impact,” Kearney said, “which is girls seeing these things and boys seeing girls do these things…. A boy can’t go and see ‘Logan’ and not see a girl as powerful as Logan.”

The Duffer Brothers note that Eleven is the show’s most popular character and best-selling action figure. Mangold said that when his pre-teen sons visited the set during the making of “Logan,” they were more interested in Laura than Wolverine himself.

“They were completely mesmerized by her,” he said. “It’s really refreshing for everyone to see a kid, especially a young girl, who’s not a kewpie doll first or a dimpled smile first, you know? That what’s really going on there is someone in conflict, someone who’s searching for something, someone who’s capable — someone also, by the way, in my film who ends up offering pretty intense advice and wisdom and stability.”


►  Disney: Animatronic Trump will speak at Disney World show

Disney has confirmed that an animatronic version of Donald Trump will have a speaking role at its Hall of Presidents attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The company is pushing back against reports that Trump’s figure wouldn’t have a speaking part in the show, which features figures of all U.S. presidents.

Disney Parks editorial content director Thomas Smith writes in a blog post that Disney is working closely with the White House on Trump’s words and a recording session with the president has been scheduled.

The attraction closed in January so Trump’s figure could be added. Smith says it will reopen late this year with a new show and upgraded theater.

An online petition was launched in January to push Disney to keep its animatronic Trump silent.

In Arts & Entertainment….

The Free Press WV

►  Film Review: Fall in love with ‘The Big Sick’

That two people could overcome centuries-old cultural obstacles, the perils of modern dating and a critical illness and end up together is a great story. That those two people also managed to adapt their own great story into a great movie is a miracle.

It’s the wonder of “The Big Sick ,“ the must-see romantic comedy of the year. Sweet-natured, funny and genuine, you’re not likely to have a more pleasant time at the cinema this summer.

At the center is Kumail Nanjiani, the deft comedian who audiences might know from HBO’s “Silicon Valley.“ He actually uses his full, real name in the film, which he co-wrote with his wife, Emily Gordon and based on their wild courtship. Emily has ceded her part to an actress, Zoe Kazan, who continues her very persuasive campaign to be the rom-com dream girl for those who fancy themselves better than rom-coms.

Kumail is a struggling stand-up comedian who pays the rent for his awful Chicago apartment by driving for Uber. When he’s not on the stage, or in the car, he’s at home with his family in the suburbs. They’re Pakistani and Muslim and have all had arranged marriages and expect Kumail to do the same. He’s managed to live a bit of a double life for a while — dating who he wants while also holding up the pretense of being a good Pakistani son. But everything changes when he meets Emily, the white grad student who he falls for and then loses when she realizes that he’s been hiding her from his family.

To be fair, they would literally disown him if he chose Emily over the scores of Pakistani ladies that “just drop by” their family dinners like clockwork, headshot and bio in hand. So Emily and Kumail break up. They have to. It’s a standard rom-com beat and obstacle. But then something happens: Kumail gets the call that Emily has been hospitalized, and the movie pivots into something entirely different and infinitely richer than most in the genre.

Suddenly he’s the one making the call to put her in a medically induced coma while also informing her parents, Terry and Beth (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter) of their daughter’s health turn. Beth is none too happy to have her daughter’s ex-boyfriend lurking around during their family crisis, either. Hunter plays Beth, at first, with that scary and all too recognizable indifference of a mother who doesn’t care to humor the man who hurt her daughter. But, like everything, that evolves.

One of the really wonderful and telling things about “The Big Sick” is how fleshed out the world is around Kumail and Emily — from Kumail’s comedy friends (Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant and Kurt Braunohler), to his family (Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar and Shenaz Treasury) and Emily’s parents, no supporting character is made into a caricature. Even the potential wives are given distinct and memorable personalities. Their presence is mined for comedy, but the women aren’t punchlines. It’s a delicate balance that “The Big Sick” gets just right.

If there is anything to pick on, it’s that we never get to know Emily as well as Kumail. It’s not her fault, she’s in a coma for most of the film, and we get a fair amount of color at the beginning, but her arc leaves a bit to be desired.

Michael Showalter’s direction isn’t flashy or stylish, either. His camera is there in service of the story and the characters and it doesn’t get in the way.

Some stories are too good to be true, and some true stories are too good for the movies. Luckily for us, “The Big Sick” is neither.

“The Big Sick,“ an Amazon Studios and Lionsgate release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “language including some sexual references.“ Running time: 119 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.


►  New Netflix Shows Are Like ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’

Netflix is introducing something that will likely appeal to fans of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books—interactive TV shows. So far, the shows are for kids (Puss in Boots and Buddy Thunderstruck will both feature interactive episodes this year; Stretch Armstrong is getting one next year, per Polygon), but if they prove to be a hit with subscribers, Netflix says it could expand the interactive format to its more popular series—or create a series in which every episode is interactive. The interactive episodes will also only be available, to start, on certain devices including game consoles, iOS devices, Roku devices, and some modern smart TVs. They won’t yet be available on Android devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, or the web.

“Kids are already talking to the screen,“ Netflix’s director of product innovation explains to the Verge. “They’re touching every screen. They think everything is interactive.“ The device controller will be used to make a series of choices (13 in Puss, eight in Buddy), although if too much time passes, Netflix will make the choice automatically. The shortest path through the choices is 12 minutes; the longest in Puss is 39 minutes. In Buddy, there’s an “infinitely looping narrative” created by one of the choices. Kids can go back and rewatch the episodes to make different choices and ultimately experience all the possible endings. The interactive Puss episode launched Wednesday; the Buddy episode is out July 14, per Digital Trends.


►  Involvement With Arms Dealer Gets Top WSJ Reporter Fired

A Wall Street Journal reporter was fired Wednesday over potential business dealings with an Iranian-born arms dealer. The Washington Post reports Jay Solomon, chief foreign affairs correspondent for the Journal, had received Pulitzer consideration and was well-liked by the paper’s editor in chief. His shocking termination springs from an AP investigation into Farhad Azima, who Solomon used as a source for stories. Azima, who has dealt weapons to multiple nations and was tied to the Iran-contra affair, offered Solomon a 10% stake in a company called Denx. While it’s unclear if Solomon ever accepted that stake, the AP uncovered 18 months of emails and texts between Solomon and Azima discussing business together.

In 2014, Solomon texted Azima: “Our business opportunities are so promising.“ The following year, Azima wished Solomon luck “on his first defense sale” in regards to delivering a proposal to UAE representatives. Also in 2015, there was talk of Denx being involved in an effort to bring down the government of Kuwait, though Solomon denies any knowledge of that. “Mr. Solomon violated his ethical obligations as a reporter, as well as our standards,“ Politico quotes a statement from the Journal as saying. The newspaper says it was “dismayed” by Solomon’s actions and “poor judgement.“ Solomon, while denying ever getting into business with Azima, says he understands “why the emails and the conversations I had with Mr. Azima may look like I was involved in some seriously troubling activities.“

In Arts & Entertainment….

The Free Press WV

►  Alec Baldwin: I Thought Lyme Disease Was Going to Kill Me

Alec Baldwin had a busy weekend: Fresh off his latest turn as Trump on Saturday Night Live, the actor was in California on Sunday at a Lyme disease benefit and talking about his own struggle with Lyme. After first getting bitten 17 years ago, he was bitten again a few years later. “I got the classic Lyme disease (symptoms) for each successive summer, for five years, every August, like this black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed,“ Baldwin said at LymeAid, per People. “The first time was the worst of all. And I really thought this is it, I’m not going to live. I was alone. ... I was lying in bed saying, ‘I’m going to die of Lyme disease’ in my bed and ‘I hope someone finds me and I’m not here for too long.‘“ The talk wasn’t all serious, however, with Baldwin joshing that “they had me hiding in the bushes over there at a Lyme disease benefit,“ and “I have ticks all over me. I’m joking.“


►  Trump Is Getting Historically Bad Press: Report

If it seems Trump gets almost nothing but bad press, you’re not imagining things: A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy finds that the media coverage of Trump’s first 100 days in office is historically negative. The report analyzed print editions of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; the main newscasts from CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC; plus the UK’s Financial Times and BBC and Germany’s public service broadcaster ARD. Interestingly, the report points out, during his presidential campaign, “Trump received far more coverage, and far more positive coverage, than did his Republican rivals.“ That changed when he got the nomination. Key findings from his first 100 days in office:

  • On national TV, 41% of all news stories were about Trump; that’s three times higher than previous presidents experienced.
  • In TV broadcasts about him, Trump himself accounted for 65% of the sound bites. Overall, Republicans accounted for 80% of the sound bites, with the rest coming from Democrats (6%), protesters (3%), the FBI (1%), and “other” (10%).
  • A whopping 80% of media coverage of Trump with a “clear tone” during his first 100 days was negative; compare that to 57% for George W. Bush. During the worst week for Trump, 90% of coverage was negative. The percentage of negative coverage never dropped below 70%.
  • Even on Fox News, 52% of coverage of Trump that was clearly skewed was negative. All other outlets analyzed were 70% negative or higher.
  • There was no one major topic for which coverage of Trump was more positive than negative, which the report says sets “a new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president.“
  • While just 3% of US news reports about Trump directly questioned whether he’s fit for office, European news reports were much more likely to raise the question. ARD, for example, devoted 20% of its Trump coverage in January to the question. And 98% of the time the question was raised by ARD, the answer was no.

Click for the FULL REPORT.


►  Campus Flap Emerges Over Lou Reed’s Iconic Song

Lou Reed’s seminal 1972 hit “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” is stirring up a little controversy on the campus of a Canadian college. As the Media Research Center reports, the student association at Guelph University apologized online because it included the song in a public playlist. The problem? “We now know the lyrics to this song are hurtful to our friends in the trans community and we’d like to unreservedly apologize for this error in judgement,“ the group wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. It added that a person unfamiliar with the lyrics included the “transphobic” song out of “ignorance.“ All of which has left friends and fans of the late Reed saying: What?! “I don’t know if Lou would be cracking up about this or crying because it’s just too stupid,“ his producer, Hal Willner, tells the Guardian.

“The song was a love song to all the people he knew and to New York City by a man who supported the community and the city his whole life,“ he says. At one point in the song, Reed sings about “Holly,“ based on friend Holly Woodlawn from Andy Warhol’s studio. “Hitchhiked her way across the USA,“ goes the lyric. “Plucked her eyebrows on the way, shaved her legs and then he was a she. She said, ‘Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.‘“ The MRC notes that someone argued to the student group that the song was celebrating such choices, not condemning them, and that Reed’s was one of the first public voices to do so, but the group still felt it was demeaning because it equates being trans with being “on the wild side.“


►  Rebel Wilson Breaks Down in Court in Defamation Suit

Rebel Wilson told a courtroom Wednesday that she’s not a “glamorous actress” like other Australian exports such as Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett, and thus had to work harder to make her name in Hollywood. She’s now alleging that all her hard work was nearly thrown away when a magazine falsely suggested she’d invented much of her life story, reports 9News. During the third day of a defamation trial in a Melbourne court, Wilson said the publisher of Women’s Day, Bauer Media, printed stories in 2015 suggesting she’d lied about everything from her real name to a malaria diagnosis. Wilson, 37, says she lost a role in Kung Fu Panda 3 and had her role reduced in 2016’s How to Be Single after the magazine printed easily disprovable lies told by a “jealous” and “obsessed” former classmate, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Wilson broke into sobs at times, though she declined the judge’s offer of a break to compose herself. Emails between the anonymous source and magazine writer Shari Nementzik were read in court, including some in which Nementzik expresses doubts about her source’s claims. The magazine opted not to go with the story in 2013 on the advice of lawyers, but ran it in 2015 as Wilson’s Pitch Perfect 2 was being released. Wilson said she developed a stress sore on her face that meant several of her scenes had to be cut from How to Be Single. Stress related to the articles—discussed on shows like Entertainment Tonight, per the Guardian—led to other health problems as well, she told the court. Bauer Media contends the articles were not defamatory. The trial is expected to last three weeks. (Check out Wilson’s April Fool’s prank on set.)


►  Ariana Grande planning benefit concert in Manchester

Ariana Grande has vowed to return to Manchester, England, to give a concert to raise money for the victims of Monday’s deadly bombing at her show there.

In a statement both defiant and heavy with emotion, the pop star on Friday wrote to her fans, saying “we won’t let hate win” and “we won’t let this divide us.“ She apologized for any pain and offered to “extend my hand and heart and everything I possibly can give to you and yours.“

“Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before,“ she wrote.

She did not announce a date for the concert.

Grande suspended her Dangerous Woman world tour and canceled several European shows, including two London shows, after the bombing, which left 22 dead. The tour will restart June 7 in Paris.

“From the day I started putting the Dangerous Woman Tour together, I said that this show, more than anything else, was intended to be a safe space for my fans. A place for them to escape, to celebrate. To heal, to feel safe and to be themselves,“ she wrote. “This will not change that.“

In attacking the concert, the bomber targeted an audience full of teenagers and ‘tweens — Grande fans who call themselves “Arianators.“ Some wore kitten ears, like the star of the show.

“They will be on my mind and in my heart everyday and I will think of them with everything I do for the rest of my life,“ Grande wrote.

Some bands — including Blondie, Kiss and Take That — have canceled shows after the blast but representatives for several music acts — including Aerosmith, Celine Dion, Shawn Mendes, Guns N’ Roses and Phil Collins — said they will honor their European dates this summer.

In Arts & Entertainment….

The Free Press WV

►  Soundgarden Singer Chris Cornell Dead at 52

Rocker Chris Cornell, who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and later Audioslave, has died at age 52, according to his representative. Cornell, who had been on tour, died Wednesday night in Detroit, Brian Bumbery said in a statement to the AP. Bumbery called the death “sudden and unexpected” and said the singer’s wife and family were shocked by it. The statement said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause and asked for privacy. With his powerful, nearly four-octave vocal range, Cornell was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement with Soundgarden, which emerged as one of the biggest bands out of Seattle’s music scene.

Formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden’s third studio album, Badmotorfinger, in 1991 spawned enormously popular singles “Jesus Christ Pose,“ ‘’Rusty Cage,“ and “Outshined.“ Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 due to tensions in the band, and Cornell pursued a solo career. In 2001, he joined Audioslave, a supergroup that included former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford. Audioslave disbanded in 2007, but Cornell and Soundgarden reunited in 2012 and released the band’s sixth studio album, King Animal, the same year. At the time of his death, Soundgarden was on an 18-date US tour.


►  Chris Cornell’s Last Song Was One About Death

The death of Chris Cornell, frontman of legendary ‘90s grunge band Soundgarden and later Audioslave, has been ruled “hanging by suicide,“ reports the Detroit News. The 52-year-old was found in his hotel room hours after a sold-out performance in Detroit when his wife, Vicky Karayiannis, asked a friend to check on him. He was discovered on the bathroom floor in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit, “with a band around his neck,“ a police department employee tells the Detroit Free Press. The medical examiner issued the suicide determination Thursday afternoon. More coverage related to his death:

  • Final song: According to CNN, the last song Cornell played was about death, a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.“ Opening line: “In my time of dying, I want nobody to mourn.“ Meanwhile, fans are posting clips from Cornell’s last show, including a full rendition of Soundgarden’s hit, “Spoonman.“ Check out People for more footage.
  • Last tweet: Cornell wasn’t an especially active Twitter user, mostly retweeting posts to his 1.9 million followers. But Gizmodo notes that he posted an enthusiastic tweet ahead of show. “Finally back to Rock City!!!!“ it read, with a photo of Detroit’s Fox Theatre’s marquee.
  • Cornell’s legacy: “He was a rock god in every sense.” The Daily Beast’s tribute to Cornell remembers the musician for his powerful voice and pioneering role in Seattle’s grunge movement.
  • Musicians react: “A shining voice in music has left us in the midnight. He was a complex and gentle soul #ChrisCornell has flown into the black hole sun,“ wrote Perry Farrell on Twitter. Billboard has a rundown of tweets from artists paying their respects, from Gavin Rossdale to Jimmy Page and Billy Joel.
  • 15 ‘essential’ songs: Rolling Stone has a rundown of Cornell’s 15 greatest moments in music throughout his career, including songs from Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, and Audioslave.
  • Lyrical mystery: Among Cornell’s top songs is “Black Hole Sun,“ the runaway hit that won Soundgarden an MTV Music Award in 1994. While it was widely covered, with over 50 versions on Spotify, the BBC reports that Cornell didn’t quite know what the song was about: “I was just sucked in by the music and I was painting a picture with the lyrics. There was no real idea to get across.“
  • Interview in his heyday: Check out a 1994 interview in Rolling Stone in which Cornell talks about being a “daily drug user” at age 13—before quitting at age 14.
  • Cornell and his wife had two kids, per Heavy.com.


►  CW to reboot ‘Dynasty,’ ’80s prime-time soap opera, in fall

“Dynasty” is returning to TV, nearly 30 years after the prime-time soap opera aired its last hair-pulling fight.

The rebooted drama will be one of four new series joining the CW’s schedule in the 2017-18 season, the network said Thursday.

The “Dynasty” remake will put a fresh twist on the show for a new generation of viewers and has the blessing of the original drama’s creators, Esther and Richard Alan Shapiro, said CW President Mark Pedowitz.

“To us it was a no-brainer,“ he told a teleconference. The network is open to including cast members from the 1980s ABC series but it’s up to the new show’s producers, Pedowitz said.

Joan Collins and Linda Evans starred as dueling and fabulously wealthy divas. Other original co-stars included Diahann Carroll and Heather Locklear.

CW’s “Dynasty” will debut in the fall, along with the freshman military drama “Valor.“ Midseason additions to the CW lineup will include the comedy “Life Sentence” and the DC Comics-based “Black Lightning.“

Two freshman shows from last season, “No Tomorrow” and “Frequency,“ were canceled. It was previously announced that “The Vampire Diaries” and “Reign” were wrapping their runs this season.

In a schedule change, “Jane the Virgin” will move to 9 p.m. EDT on Friday, following “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.“

The CW touted its mix of dramas, action shows and comedies as offering something for everyone, but the schedule is heavy on superhero series, including returning shows “The Flash,“ ‘'DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” and “Supergirl.“

With other networks getting into the comic book-based series, including ABC’s new “Marvel’s Inhumans,“ Pedowitz was asked if TV is overdoing it with the genre.

“This programming will last as long as people want to watch it,“ he said. “It’s lasted my whole lifetime, so it will keep going.“

CW’s presentation concluded the broadcasting networks’ presentations to advertisers this week of their upcoming schedules. They included several “Dynasty”-type reboots, among them a new “Roseanne” and “S.W.A.T.“


►  Netflix announces 5th season of ‘Arrested Development’

Netflix says the cast of “Arrested Development” has signed on for a fifth season of the comedy that will return to the streaming service next year.

Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Will Arnett and the rest of the series regulars will reprise their roles in the show that follows the Bluth family. Series creator Mitchell Hurwitz is also on board.

Hurwitz says he’s “grateful” to Netflix and Fox “for making this dream of mine come true.“

“Arrested Development” ran on Fox for three seasons from 2003 to 2006 before being canceled. Netflix brought the show back for a fourth season in 2013.


►  Bobby Moynihan leaving ‘Saturday Night Live’ for CBS sitcom

Bobby Moynihan will leave “Saturday Night Live” following this weekend’s season finale after nine seasons on the NBC show.

Deadline.com reports Moynihan is bowing out after CBS picked up the pilot for “Me, Myself & I,“ a sitcom starring Moynihan and John Larroquette.

Moynihan is the second-longest tenured member of the “SNL” cast behind Keenan Thompson. His best known recurring character is Drunk Uncle, who shows up to tell stories on the show’s “Weekend Update” segment.

Moynihan has also voiced characters in the animated films “The Secret Life of Pets,“ ‘'Inside Out” and “Monsters University.“


►  Reporter: I Approached FCC Official, Was Pinned to Wall

A veteran reporter says he was “manhandled” by two security guards at an FCC public hearing Thursday in DC after he attempted to ask a follow-up question. CQ Roll Call senior writer John Donnelly says that plainclothes security detail pinned him against the wall with their backs after he approached FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly to ask him a question, reports Time. The National Press Club issued a statement on the incident, saying Donnelly was shadowed by security throughout the event, even posting outside a bathroom he entered. After cornering Donnelly, the guards inquired why he didn’t ask his question during the press conference while O’Rielly was at the podium. Donnelly was then made to leave the building “under implied threat of force.“

“I could not have been less threatening or more polite,“ Donnelly says. “There is no justification for using force in such a situation.“ The NPC statement notes that while officials don’t have to answer, “reporters can ask questions in any area of a public building that is not marked off as restricted to them.“ The Washington Post adds it’s “standard practice” to approach officials after a news conference. The FCC issued an apology to Donnelly, stating the agency was under high alert due to unspecified threats at the time; the meeting covered contentious topics like net neutrality regulations. O’Rielly responded apologetically to tweets from Donnelly about the incident, saying he didn’t recognize him in the hallway or see the guards touch him, and that he was “freezing and starving” at the time and was happy to answer Donnelly’s questions.


►  What Killed Roger Ailes, per O’Reilly: ‘Hatred’

To ex-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the late Roger Ailes was a “force of nature with an agenda,“ he writes in a tribute to his former boss in USA Today. O’Reilly explains Ailes’ ultimate goal—to “infuse America with traditional philosophy and see to it that conservatives like him were heard loud and clear”—and his achievement of it, most notably by founding Fox News. O’Reilly paints the channel as an underdog startup that was derided by the liberal establishment, especially CNN’s Ted Turner, only to find quick success. O’Reilly recalls his own early days on the network, where he was given free rein to be “fair and tough,“ with Ailes always publicly defending him “when stuff hit the fan”—even if in private Ailes razzed him. “He was genuine, charismatic, profane, generous, and sincere in his beliefs,“ O’Reilly writes.

Ailes was also fiercely protective of those who were honest with him, with O’Reilly noting he saw his boss “literally save people from destruction” at Fox. He says a “vast majority” of people at the network were sad when Ailes left last summer in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, adding Ailes himself was “stunned and never really recovered.“ In fact, the vitriol against Ailes, even on the day of his death, is a product of what O’Reilly deems “a rough age,“ where technology is threatening to “[turn] us into a nation where hatred is almost celebrated in some quarters.“ And that’s what he think did his mentor in. “Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him,“ O’Reilly writes. “That is the truth.“ His full piece is HERE .


►  Chris Cornell’s Wife Points to Prescription Drug

Despite a preliminary autopsy report claiming “suicide by hanging,“ Chris Cornell’s wife says the rocker’s death may have been accidental. Vicky Cornell says the Soundgarden frontman had a prescription for anti-anxiety medication Ativan, and told her “he may have taken an extra Ativan or two” when she spoke to him Wednesday after a sold-out concert at Detroit’s Fox Theater. He “was slurring his words; he was different,“ she says, per Variety. The family’s lawyer, Kirk Pasich, adds a higher than usual dose of Ativan, which is also used as a sleep aid and to treat drug withdrawal, could have led to slurred speech, impaired judgment, and paranoid or suicidal thoughts.

It was Vicky who asked security to check on Cornell after she spoke with him; he was found dead in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit at 12:05am. Police say he was discovered with “a band around his neck.“ But “I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life,“ says Vicky. Adds Pasich, “The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing,“ per People. “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris—or if any substances contributed to his demise.“ The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office said Thursday that “a full autopsy report has not yet been completed,“ per the AP.


►  Anderson Cooper Is Sorry for That Trump Poop Joke

More like Anderson Pooper. Variety reports Anderson Cooper has apologized for using a bit of bathroom humor while interviewing Jeffrey Lord Friday on CNN. Lord, a CNN contributor and Trump supporter, was defending the president calling former FBI director James Comey a “nut job.“ Anderson, arguing there wasn’t anything Trump could do that Lord wouldn’t defend, said: “If [Trump] took a dump on his desk, you would defend it.“ He then went on to commend Lord for his loyalty.

While Lord initially laughed at the line, Cooper later apologized on Twitter, USA Today reports. The CNN anchor tweeted he’s “genuinely sorry” about the joke, calling it “unprofessional.“ For those interested, Lord drew Cooper’s ire when he suggested it was “perfectly within” Trump’s rights to call Comey a nut job because “he’s the president of the United States; he can say what he wants,“ according to the Washington Post. This isn’t the first time Cooper has been in the news instead of reporting it. His recent eye roll at Kellyanne Conway earned him accusations of sexism from conservatives.


►  ‘Roadkill’ cookbook author publishes again 25 years later

After a quarter-century absence, a West Virginia author has published another tongue-in-cheek book on roadkill cooking.

Jeff Eberbaugh of Elizabeth self-published “Volume III Hillbilly Style Roadkill Cooking - ‘It’s Not for Breakfast Anymore’” in April.

Much of the book includes humorous poems written by Eberbaugh, who doesn’t eat roadkill and doesn’t suggest anyone does. The book does include more than two dozen wild game recipes.

His first roadkill book was published in 1991. He released a second book a year later. He says more than 275,000 copies of his books have been sold.

Eberbaugh says his schedule as a registered nurse allows him time to distribute and market the book. He says he’s attended outdoor shows and other venues across the country.

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