Review Category : Entertainment

Maksim Chmerkovskiy Returning to “Dancing with the Stars” — with Ryan Lochte?

Taylor Hill/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — Maskim Chmerkovskiy, considered the bad boy of the Dancing with the Stars ballroom, will rejoin the cast as a pro dancer on the new season — and he won’t be alone: disgraced Olympian Ryan Lochtehas reportedly agreed to join the cast.

USA Today reports Lochte, who was dropped by several of his sponsors following that well-publicized intoxicated incident during the Rio Games, will be one of 13 celebrity partners who will be announced Aug. 30 on Good Morning America.

Chmerkovskiy, 36, made his announcement live on GMA Thursday. Coming off his successful Maks and Val tour over the summer — in which he starred with his little brother and fellow DWTS vet, Valentin– Chmerkovskiy said he, “wanted this to continue, this feeling, the positivity” from the fans. “There’s so much love out there.”

After winning the Mirror Ball trophy in 2014, Maks vowed not to compete again, though he has since appeared as a guest judge. This time, ’round, however, he’s not necessarily in it to win it, he told GMA‘sGeorge Stephanopoulos and Amy Robach.

“I’m not running after multiple Mirror Balls…I feel absolutely no pressure to win again…” said Maks.

One other big change for Maks this season? He’s expecting his first child, with fellow DWTS pro dancer Peta Murgatroyd. “She’s doing amazing, and getting bigger, and the baby’s kicking…I can’t express it,” he beamed.

Joining Chmerkovskiy on the pro dancer side are Witney Carson, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Lindsay Arnold, Allison Holker, Sasha Farber, Gleb Savchenko and Chmerkovskiy’s younger brother Valentin.

The new season of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Department of Homeland Security Investigating Leslie Jones Hack

Heidi Gutman/NBC(NEW YORK) — The hack on Ghostbusters and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones’ website,, is now a federal case.

According to Deadline, the Department of Homeland Security is reportedly investigating the cyber crime that saw Jones’ private pictures, including nude photos, and other material swiped from her iCloud account and posted on her personal website. As of Thursday afternoon, her website remains offline.

Jones recently quit Twitter for a brief time after finding herself the target of online bullying and racists comments stemming from her participation in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters.

An ABC News Radio request for comment to the Department of Homeland Security was not immediately answered.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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After Price Surge, Sarah Jessica Parker Stops Plugging EpiPen

Dana Edelson/NBC(NEW YORK) — Sarah Jessica Parker is ending her relationship with Mylan, the company that makes the life-saving allergy medication-injecting EpiPen, after the company raised the price of its product to more than 500 bucks.

The price hike represents a 450-percent increase since the company began selling the product in 2007 — turning it into a “billion-dollar business,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Parker had taken part in a promotional campaign touting the medicine’s use in counteracting the severe allergic reaction known as anaphlyaxis. Calling the EpiPen a “lifesaving necessity” for people like James Wilkie, her peanut-allergic son with Matthew Broderick, Parker blasted Mylan.

“I’m left disappointed, saddened and deeply concerned by Mylan’s actions,” Parker posted on her Instagram. “I do not condone this decision and I have ended my relationship with Mylan as a direct result of it.”

“I hope they will seriously consider the outpouring of voices of those millions of people who are dependent on the device, and take swift action to lower the cost to be more affordable for whom it is a life-saving necessity,” Parker continued.

Marketing like Mylan’s “Anaphylaxis: For Reel” Initiative in which Parker took part helped make the injector pens seem like must-have accessories for schools and offices all over the country, Bloomberg notes — and in doing so boosted Mylan’s bottom line.

Mylan is currently under congressional scrutiny for the price hike. The company announced Thursday morning they’ll offer a “savings card” to help customers better afford the EpiPen, but stopped short of saying they’d lower the price.

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Terminally Ill “Star Wars” Fan Dies After Getting Wish to See “Rogue One”

Lucasfillm/Disney(NEW YORK) — A 36-year-old terminally ill British Star Wars fan who started a successful Internet push to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story early, has died.

The hashtag #RogueOneWish — retweeted by fans including Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill — led Lucasfilm’s and ABC News’ parent company, Disney, to grant Neil Hanvey’s final wish. Hanvey’s wife Andrea shared on Facebook that her husband saw the film Saturday, and died Monday.

Andrea Hanvey’s now started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the hospice where Hanvey died.

One year ago, 32-year-old terminally ill cancer patient Daniel Fleetwood of Texas successfully lobbied to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens early. Disney arranged a screening in his home November 4, ahead of the scheduled December 18, 2015 world premiere. Fleetwood died November 10, 2015.

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actor, Says “Forbes”

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is rock-solid at the box office, enough to make him Hollywood’s highest-paid actor.

The star of the forthcoming Fast 8 earned an estimated $64.8 million in the last 12 months, according to Forbes, more than double what he made last year. Matt Damon, who placed third with $55 million, saw a 120% increase over last year’s earnings, thanks in large part to his starring role in the box office hit The Martian.

Jackie Chan came in second, with $61 million. Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp round out the top five.

Robert Downey, Jr. topped last year’s list of top earners for the third consecutive year, with $80 million. This year, he drops to eighth with less than half those earnings.

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence earlier this week topped the Forbes list of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses, with $46 million.

Earnings are estimated based on paydays, endorsement deals and the like. Here are the top ten highest-earning actresses, according to Forbes:

1) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, $64.5 million
2) Jackie Chan, $61m
3) Matt Damon, $55m
4) Tom Cruise, $53
5) Johnny Depp, $48
6) Ben Affleck, $43m
7) Vin Diesel, $35m
8) Shan Rukh Khan, Bollywood star, $33m (tie)
8) Robert Downey, Jr., $33m (tie)
10) Akshay Kumar, Bollywood star, $31.5m (tie)
10) Brad Pitt, $31.5m (tie)

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Martin Lawrence Returning to Television in New Showtime Comedy Special

Studio 71/SHOWTIME(NEW YORK) — Martin Lawrence is returning to the stand-up stage in a new comedy special on Showtime that will air in September.

The special, called Martin Lawrence Doin’ Time: Uncut, will be the actor/comedian’s first stand-up special in 14 years, and will feature signature Lawrence impressions that cover everything from “sex and relationships to President Obama, Bill Cosby and Hollywood.”

“I look forward to having my third concert film premiere on Showtime,” said Martin in a statement to Variety . “Fourteen years is a long time between concert specials and I am excited to know that my TV audience will be able to enjoy this show as if they came to see me live.”

Martin Lawrence Doin’ Time: Uncut was filmed live at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles and airs Friday, September 9 at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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Michelle Obama Calls for More Diversity in Entertainment; Says TV, Movies Can Influence Perceptions

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Michelle Obama is adding her voice to those calling for more diversity in television and film.

While admitting to Variety that she’s a product of pop culture and uses the medium to promote things that matter to her, the first lady finds fault with the entertainment industry for its lack of diversity.

“For so many people, television and movies may be the only way they understand people who aren’t like them,” she says.

Mrs. Obama believes the industry can influence perceptions in the way it did in the ’70s, when TV viewers “developed a love for Archie Bunker, and empathy for George Jefferson.”

Archie Bunker, a white bigot, was the main character in the groundbreaking sitcom All in the Family. George Jefferson, an African-American bigot, was the main character in the All in the Family spinoff, The Jeffersons.

“There are folks who now know black families — like the Johnsons on black-ish or the folks on Modern Family,” said Mrs. Obama. “They make you laugh, and they change how you see the world. And that is particularly true in a country where there are still millions of people who live in communities where they can live their whole lives not having contact or exposure with people who aren’t like them, whether that is race or religion or simply lifestyle.”

“The only way that millions of people get to know other folks and the way they live,” Mrs. Obama says, “is through the power of television and movies.”

The new issue of Variety is available now.

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“America’s Got Talent”: Michael Phelps Co-Hosts as Magic and Music Dominate

“America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon with Olympian Michael Phelps; Vivian Zink/NBC(LOS ANGELES) — Wednesday night’s installment of NBC’s America’s Got Talent saw seven of the 12 acts that performed on Tuesday’s show learn that they had been chosen to advance to the semifinals. The other five acts were sent home.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 23 gold medals, including five at the recent 2016 Rio Olympics, appeared as a guest co-host on Wednesday’s show.

Judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Simon Cowell, along with host Nick Cannon, were on hand for the live event airing from Hollywood’s Dolby Theater to learn which acts America had selected to advance for a chance at the $1 million top prize.

Also back for season 11 is the “Dunkin’ Save,” which allowed viewers to vote live to save an act in danger of elimination. They were instructed to search “Dunkin’ Save” on Google and select one of the three acts with the lowest vote totals that they wanted to see in the finals.

Magicians Kadan Bart Rockett and Blake Vogt, singers Grace VanderWaal and Brian Justin Crum, family musical group Edgar, Argentine dance troupe Malevo and a cappella group Linkin’ Bridge all advanced to the finals.

Dancers Alla and Daniel, transgender comedian Julia Scotti, contortionist Velo Vaher, jugglers The Passing Zone and singer Ronee Martin were sent home.

Here’s a rundown of Wednesday’s action:

Dancers Alla and Daniel and magician Kadan Bart Rockett were the first two acts to learn their fates. Rockett advances to the semifinals. Rockett, 10, and his eight-year-old sister/assistant, Brooklyn, tearfully thanked America.

Next, singers Grace VanderWaal and Brian Justin Crum were called to the front of the stage. Both acts advance in the competition. Howie called the two “a higher level of talent,” declaring the vote a “win-win.”

Cannon then called transgender comedian Julia Scotti, contortionist Velo Vaher and family musical group Edgar to the front of the stage. Edgar moved on to the semifinals.

Jugglers The Passing Zone and magician Blake Vogt were the final two acts to learn their fates. Vogt advances to the next round of competition. Heidi noted that Blake – who is allergic to just about everything — showed his allergies “who’s boss.”

Earlier in the show, Cannon revealed that a cappella group Linkin’ Bridge, Argentine dance troupe Malevo and singer Ronee Martin were the acts with the three lowest vote totals, and gave viewers a chance to save one of them with the “Dunkin’ Save.” America picked Malevo to advance to the semifinals.

The judges then got to decide which of the remaining two acts would advance. Heidi picked Ronee, but Mel B, Howie and Simon chose Linkin’ Bridge, sending the group to the semifinals.

The evening also included a performance by season-seven finalists Recycled Percussion.

America’s Got Talent returns next Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Is the “Beef” Between Vin Diesel and The Rock Part of a WWE Promo?

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) — As many wrestling fans had been speculating, the purported beef between Fast & Furious stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel is all part of a calculated lead-up to a WWE wrestling match between the pair to promote their upcoming Fast 8 — at least, according to Life and Style magazine.

The tabloid says the widely reported on-set static that led Rock to put certain “candy a**” co-stars on blast on Instagram is in fact, “a publicity stunt to amp up drama for a WWE wrestling match and to help promote the April 2017 release of Fast 8.”

Diesel quickly outed himself as said candy-canned co-worker, and teased fans he’d someday reveal “Everything.”

An unnamed “insider” says the beef is about as real as the stuff in a Slim Jim. It’s “a huge prank, and it’s all for publicity,” the source claims.

Incidentally, it was Johnson’s use of that particular diss that led wrestling fans to believe the put-down was a put-on: it’s an insult he frequently threw at adversaries in the ring when he was a full-time wrestler.

Fast 8 is slated for an April 14, 2017 release.

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Nude Photos Posted After Leslie Jones’ Website Hacked

Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC(NEW YORK) — Ghostbusters and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones has a new headache online: somebody hacked her personal website and reportedly posted nude photos of her.

The Hollywood Reporter notes the cyber attacker — or attackers — grabbed personal pictures and other information from Jones’ iCloud account and posted them on her website,, after control of it was illegally seized.

Her site was taken down around noon Eastern time.

The comic and actress recently quit Twitter, albeit briefly, amid cyberbulling at the hands of online trolls that targeted her over her participation in the all-female Ghostbusters remake.

Jones soon reactivated her account and, in happier online news, scored a chance to cover the Olympics for NBC thanks to her lively live tweets of the Rio Games.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, outspoken gay conservative columnist Milo Yiannopoulos — who was banned for life from Twitter in the wake of Jones’ online harassment — said he took no pleasure from the news.

“I’m distressed to hear that Leslie Jones has been hacked and naked pictures of her have been posted online,” he noted in a statement to the trade. “I know we had our differences after my review of Ghostbusters but I wish her all the best at what must be a deeply upsetting time.”

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