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Tuesday
May312016

"Game of Thrones" Recap: "Blood of My Blood"

Image courtesy HBO(NEW YORK) -- (SPOILERS AHEAD!) Sunday night's episode of Game of Thrones skipped all over the map, and packed a lot of plot into an hour.  Plus: dragons!  Well, one dragon, anyway. Here's what happened:

Between Vaes Dothrak and Mereen
Dany and Daario are leading her khalasar of Dothraki back to Mereen.  Dany asks Daario how many ships she'll need to transport all her armies across the sea to Westeros to claim the throne.  At least a thousand, he says, but nobody has that many.  Dany tells Daario to wait for her and rides off.  She returns riding on the back of one of her dragons and rallies the troops, asking them if they'll stand with her, and "ride the wooden horses across the black salt sea," to kill her "enemies in their iron suits," "tear down their stone houses" and give her the kingdom that Khal Drogo promised her.  They enthusiastically agree.

King's Landing
The High Sparrow allows King Tommen to visit Queen Margaery, who tells him that she's seen the error of her ways, and has now turned to the gods.  Right before she's about to make her "walk of atonement" -- the naked march through the streets -- Jaime, Margaery's dad and her grandmother show up at the Sept with a huge army and demand that the High Sparrow release both Margaery and her brother Loras. But the Sparrow says that Margaery doesn't have to make the walk after all, because she's managed to convert someone: Tommen.  He emerges from the Sept, takes Margaery's hand, and announces a new alliance between the Crown and the Faith, while Jaime and company watch helplessly.  Jamie is then ordered by Tommen to leave King's Landing and help evil old Walder Frey take back Riverrun from the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark's uncle.

Braavos
Arya is determined to make the most of her second chance as an assassin and poisons Lady Crane's rum, but after the actress is kind to her, she slaps it out of her hand at the last minute, and reveals to Lady Crane that another actress in the company wants her dead.  The Waif, who is spying on Arya, reports back to Jaqen H'ghar that Arya blew it, and reminds Jaqen that he promised she could kill Arya.  Arya, meanwhile, retrieves her sword from its hiding place and starts sleeping with it.

In the North
After Hodor sacrifices himself to allow Meera and Bran to escape, the two are pursued into the forest by White Walkers, where they are rescued by a mysterious rider.  He's revealed to be Uncle Benjen, long-lost brother of Bran's dad, Ned Stark.  Benjen, a member of the Night's Watch, was rumored to have been lost North of the Wall. He tells Bran and Meera that after being stabbed by a White Walker, the Children of the Forest, who created the Walkers in the first place, healed him.  He tells Bran that since he, Bran, is the new Three-Eyed Raven, he must learn to control his powers so when the Night King comes for him, he'll be ready.

Horn Hill
En route to Oldtown to enter the Citadel, Sam, Gilly and Little Sam stop at Sam's ancestral home, Horn Hill, where he's warmly greeted by his mother and sister, who believe his story that Little Sam is his son.  But his horrible father, Randyll Tarly, degrades Sam in front of his family.  When Gilly defends Sam, she inadvertently lets slip that she comes from North of the Wall, and Lord Tarly, who really, really hates wildlings, gets even angrier.  He says he'll raise Sam's "bastard" and that Gilly can stay and work in the kitchens, but orders Sam to leave and never come back.  Sam's about to, but then decides he'll take Gilly and the baby with him.  Before he leaves, he steals his father's precious heirloom sword off the wall.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
May312016

"X-Men: Apocalypse" Wins Memorial Day Weekend Box Office 

Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse; Marvel Studios/Twentieth Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- X-Men: Apocalypse is now the number-one movie in the country.

The latest sequel in the superhero franchise earned an estimated 80 million dollars over the four-day Memorial Day weekend to debut atop the box office. It's a steep drop from the $110.6 million the previous film in the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past, made during the same holiday weekend two years ago.

Another sequel, Alice Through The Looking Glass, pulled in 34.17 million dollars over the four-day weekend. It opened nationwide on Friday, the same day Amber Heard was granted a restraining order against Alice Through The Looking Glass star and her estranged husband, Johnny Depp, over abuse allegations.

The previous box office champ, The Angry Birds Movie, fell to third place, with 24.6 million.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Monday, with estimated ticket sales, according to comScore:

1. X-Men: Apocalypse, $80 million.
2. Alice Through The Looking Glass, $34.17 million.
3. The Angry Birds Movie, $24.6 million.
4. Captain America: Civil War, $19.72 million.
5. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, $11.44 million.
6. The Jungle Book, $9.24 million.
7. The Nice Guys, $8.15 million.
8. Money Monster, $5.55 million.
9. Love & Friendship, $3.12 million.
10. Zootopia, $1.13 million.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
May302016

Original "Roots" Star LeVar Burton Says Miniseries Needed to Be Updated

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for HISTORY(NEW YORK) -- The new version of  Roots is set to premiere tonight at 9:00 and will air over four consecutive nights on History Channel, A & E and Lifetime.  LeVar Burton -- who starred in the 1977 landmark ABC miniseries -- is an executive producer on the new series -- even though he confesses he was skeptical about the remake at first.

“I did not know that we needed," he tells ABC Radio, until Mark Wolper, the new series' producer and son of the man who produced the original, tried to show the old series to his children.

"They watched it but they said, 'You know what dad, it's dated and it's old and the makeup is terrible,' and they were right," Burton says. "And they said, 'You know it's kind of like your generation’s music.  I get why it's important and important to you but it really doesn't speak to me.'"

Burton became a household name with his starring role as Kunta Kinte in the original miniseries, based on Alex Haley’s novel about a family’s journey from Africa to American slavery.

The new version features a star-studded cast, including Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin.  Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, T.I., Mekhi Phifer and Emayatzy Corinealdi will also appear, as will British newcomers Rege-Jean Page and Malachi Kirby.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
May302016

Original "Roots" Star Leslie Uggams Has Mixed Emotions About Reboot

Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Leslie Uggams became a household named when she starred as Kizzy Kinte Reynolds in the landmark ABC miniseries Roots in 1977.

With the new version of Alex Haley’s novelized story of a family’s journey from Africa to American slavery set to premiere tonight, the showbiz legend weighed in on the reboot.

“I have mixed emotions because Kizzy is such a part of me. So you're very protective and that doesn't mean that it can’t be done again,” Uggams tells ABC Radio.

In the new series, Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose, whom Uggams calls “a fabulous actress,” takes on the tough role of Kunta Kinte’s daughter, who faces her own set of brutal atrocities in America.

To this day, people still call Uggams Kizzy, which she doesn’t mind.

“Not at all. I mean that's one of my pride and joy roles of all time," Uggams says. "It was a privilege to play such a strong woman.”

Uggams is looking forward to watching the new version, which is co-executive produced by original Roots star Levar Burton.

“I'm sure it's going to be wonderful so you'll have two versions,” Uggams says, adding, “I'm sure they are to have some wonderful actors and actresses but we are the senior ones.”

Roots is set to premiere tonight at 9:00 ET and will air over four consecutive nights on History Channel, A & E and Lifetime.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
May292016

Jennifer Lopez Says She Helped “Break the Mold” for Curvy Women in Film

Denise Truscello/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Earlier this week, Jennifer Lopez released a limited edition T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Lucky to have these curves.” And indeed she knows how lucky she is. In The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, J. Lo discusses her famous figure and how it wasn’t always so famous.

"In traditional movies, that wasn't the figure unless you were playing, like, the femme fatale or the bombshell or something like that,” she says. “You couldn't be the serious lead. We kind of broke that mold."

Still, there were times when being the lead role in a movie didn’t exactly work out. Gigli, for instance, was an infamous failure -- but Jennifer says she never took it that hard.

"I never thought of it as, 'Oh, this is terrible! My career's over!' I just never thought that,” she says. “I just knew that that movie didn't work and that's all it was, or that relationship didn't work and that's all it was. It wasn't going to end me, personally or professionally."

She adds that even when she got married and had kids and her career slowed down a bit, she always knew she'd bounce back. “I realized, 'Yeah, you're gonna be even better than you were before. Watch,'” she says. “Those are the kind of talks that I had with myself."

Now, though, she acknowledges that fame bothers her more as she gets older. "When you're young it's like a shock at first, and you kind of have anxiety about it, but then you get used to that life and it just becomes your normal life,” she says. “And now? I think when I had kids and stuff, I was like -- I wanted a little more freedom to go outside and not have them have to deal with that part of it."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
May282016

Bill Cosby: What's Next for His Sexual Assault Trial

Bill Cosby in a Dec. 30, 2015 booking photo released by the Cheltenham Township, PA Police DepartmentEarlier this week, Bill Cosby was ordered to stand trial in a sexual assault case brought against him last December.  Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee, has accused the comedian of drugging and assaulting her at his home in 2004.

Cosby, 78, who’s had similar claims made against him by some 50 other women, for which his legal team has issued a number of denials, insists he and Constand had consensual sexual relations and that the only drug he gave her was Benadryl. His legal team say that he will be vindicated.

In time, a jury will hear evidence from both the prosecution and defense teams, but according to Sunny Hostin, ABC News senior legal correspondent and analyst, it could be an uphill battle for Cosby's legal team.

"If his [unsealed] deposition [from 2005] comes in, which I believe it will, and if other women get on the witness stand, I think it’s going to be very difficult for Bill Cosby to defend himself," she said in an interview. "In my view, if there is a guilty verdict, no judge would sentence him to no time given the [alleged] pattern of behavior."

Constand first went to the police in 2005, one year after the alleged assault took place. That same year, Cosby was deposed in connection to the incident, and he admitted in recently unsealed testimony that in the past, he had given Quaaludes to a woman with whom he wanted to have sex. The prosecution will likely push to use that deposition in court, Hostin said.

"It’s going to be extremely damaging. You have Bill Cosby in his own words admitting to the same behavior that he’s being accused of by over 50 women," she said. "The issue will be for this jury [will be to determine] consent."

Cosby's legal team has already taken swipes at Constand's past statements, calling them "riddled with numerous corrections and inconsistencies," and Hostin believes they will continue to do so.

"The defense's strategy will be to say that she willingly took the drugs because she wanted to engage in sexual activity with Cosby," she said. "I think the defense will be that she targeted him for his money and that she didn't behave like a victim of sexual assault, because after this alleged [incident], she saw him again."

The fact that Constand didn't report the alleged incident to police for a year will likely be a factor, too. Though Hostin, who has prosecuted sex crimes herself, said that it's not uncommon for a victim to take time to process what happened before talking to law enforcement, some jurors might find it to be problematic.

To that end, "Andrea Constand's testimony by itself will not be enough to convict Bill Cosby," she said.

"The prosecutors are likely preparing the best stories for presentation and that means they want to find the victims whose [alleged] testimonies, character and life stories are almost unassailable," she continued. "[They need to find] women who have nothing to gain by getting on the witness stand and calling Bill Cosby a sexual abuser. Getting those voices on the witness stand is going to be crucial to this prosecution. It is going to be, in my view, the most important decision of this trial."

Ultimately, Cosby's fate will rest in the hands of a jury that has yet to be selected. Hostin said that contrary to popular belief, the lawyers don't need to find potential jurors who haven't heard of the allegations. What's more important, she said, is that they have yet to form an opinion about Cosby's guilt or innocence.

"In a high profile case, you don't want a juror who has never heard of the case because that's a juror who's not well-informed. Your ideal juror in a celebrity criminal case is a juror who has heard of this, but has an open mind and can put aside everything he or she has heard, sit in that courtroom day in and day out, listen to evidence as it comes in and then make a decision," she said. "There are jurors that can do that, and that's why you never know what a jury is going to decide. Some of the decisions [in past celebrity criminal cases] have been surprising for everyone who had been watching."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin Reach Divorce Settlement 

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay singer Chris Martin have moved one step closer to finalizing their divorce.

The two stars have reached a settlement in their divorce proceedings, under which they've agreed to terms for child support and the distribution of property, People magazine reports. Both agreed not to ask for spousal support.

Paltrow and Martin married in 2003. They famously announced their "conscious uncoupling" in March of 2014, filing for divorce a year later.

They have two kids: Apple, 11, and Moses, 9.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Former "Glee" Star Mark Salling Indicted on Federal Child Pornography Charges

JB Lacroix/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Former Glee star Mark Salling has been indicted on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

According to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Salling was named in a two-count indictment returned Friday by a federal grand jury.  He was accused of possessing video and images of child pornography and using the internet to receive them.

If found guilty, Salling faces up to 20 years in jail on each count.

Salling, who played bad-boy Noah “Puck” Puckerman on Glee for its six-year run on Fox, initially was arrested in December by the Los Angeles Police Department, which seized a laptop, a hard drive and a USB flash drive. Investigators allege that the devices contained thousands of images and videos of child porn. Local prosecutors then referred the matter to federal authorities.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Amber Heard Granted Restraining Order Against Johnny Depp

Barry King/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A judge in Los Angeles has granted Amber Heard a restraining order against her estranged husband, Johnny Depp.

Heard requested the restraining order in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday saying in a sworn statement that Depp threw a cellphone at her on Saturday night hitting her in the face.  She also submitted a picture of herself showing bruises around her right eye.  She also alleged that Depp  pulled her hair and hit her repeatedly.

Under the order Depp must stay 100 yards from Heard and can't try to contact her before a hearing on June 17. Attorneys for Heard and Depp had no comment.  Heard filed for divorce earlier this week.

Depp, 52, and Heard, 30, first met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 and married in February 2015. Almost immediately, the couple was dogged by tabloid rumors that their relationship was on the skids. Heard, however, shot down such reports late last year. "I try not to react to the horrible misrepresentation of our lives," she told Marie Claire, "but it is strange, and hard."

After she filed to end the marriage, citing irreconcilable differences, Depp's rep issued a statement to People. "Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother [recently], Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life. Hopefully the dissolution of this short marriage will be resolved quickly," his rep told the magazine.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Johnny Depp on Breakup: Hopefully the Divorce "Will Be Resolved Quickly" 

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Johnny Depp is addressing his split from his wife Amber Heard.

In a statement obtained by People magazine, a rep for the Alice Through the Looking Glass star said, "Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life. Hopefully the dissolution of this short marriage will be resolved quickly."

Heard, 30, reportedly filed for divorce on Monday, citing irreconcilable differences. Depp reportedly has requested the court reject her claim for spousal support.

She met Depp, 52, on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009 and married him in February of 2015.

As Depp's rep referenced in the statement, the actor lost his mother three days before the divorce filing.

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