NBC EXTENDS MATT LAUER’S CONTRACT WITH ‘TODAY’: Matt Lauer is staying on the Today show, with the New York Times reporting early this morning (June 13th) that NBC is extending his contract with the morning show by several years. The extension comes despite the speculation that Lauer might be leaving once his contract expires later this year, after the backlash against him over the circumstances of Ann Curry‘s departure as co-host and ABC’s Good Morning America taking over as ratings leader. Lauer said in a statement: “I consider this the best job in broadcasting. I love people I work with every day and I have such respect and gratitude for the people I work for. I couldn’t be happier to be staying.”
KRISTEN WIIG TO FILL THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR: Variety is reporting that Kristen Wiig will be making her directorial debut for a new buddy comedy she is writing with Bridesmaids partner Annie Mumolo. The SNL vet and Mumolo will also star as best friends in the project. Kristen said in a statement, “We’re very excited to be writing. We will be going into a cave for months to finish. An actual cave. We found one that’s nice and big. We’re putting a couch in there.”
IS ‘TRUE DETECTIVE’ ENDING ALREADY?: True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto has teased that the third season of the show might be its last. He told The Calgary Herald at the Banff World Media Festival, “Every season, I’m essentially creating a brand new TV show. It can’t have any growing pains like a regular first season. If it works it has to work right out of the box. That’s incredibly exhausting. I mean, the job is exhausting to begin with, but it’s doubly exhausting and I’m writing every episode. I can’t imagine I would do this more than three years. I mean, I’d like to have a regular TV show. We’ll have some fixed sets, regular actors and I could bring in people to help and I don’ t have to be there every second. It’d be great.” Nic is currently working on the second season and says that every casting rumor that has been written about the new batch of episodes is totally untrue.
LUCY LAWLESS TEASES THE RETURN OF ‘XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS’: Lucy Lawless may wind up doing her famous Xena yell again sometime soon. The actress, who has previously tweeted about a rebooted version of the cult series, guest edits Friday’s (June 13th) New Zealand Herald where she provides an update on the project. She said of husband and co-creator Rob Tapert, “It goes thru many incarnations. Sometimes I’m in it, sometimes I’m not! Truthfully, I don’t know where it’s at. Rob is incommunicado so I can’t ask the latest.” Xena was actually killed off before the end of the original series which ran from 1995 to 2001.
FOX PULLS TWO NEW SUMMER SHOWS: Fox has pulled I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’ and Riot from the summer TV schedule. Riot was the lead-in for Harry on Tuesday nights but neither show succeeded in attracting viewers. Beginning next week, the timeslots will be filled with reruns of Family Guy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, and The Mindy Project. Unaired episodes of I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’ will be posted on Fox.com.
ABC FAMILY ORDERS ‘FREAK OUT’ PRANK SHOW: ABC Family has given a 14-episode order to a new hidden-camera prank show called Freak Out. It will debut during the network’s “13 Nights of Halloween” in October. Each 30-minute episode will feature a new “mark” who is selected by family and friends to face what they are most afraid of. The show will use “elaborate special effects, intricate makeup, twisted actors, and multiple cameras” to make it all come to life.
HARRISON FORD INJURED ON ‘STAR WARS’ SET: An accident on the set of Star Wars on Thursday (June 12th) caused an injury to Harrison Ford’s ankle. Disney released a statement on the matter saying, “Harrison Ford sustained an ankle injury during filming today on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII. He was taken to a local hospital and is receiving care. Shooting will continue as planned while he recuperates.” Sources tell Hollywood Reporter that the 71-year-old actor was hurt by the door of the Millennium Falcon — the ship that his character, Han Solo, is the pilot of.
IS LINDSAY LOHAN REMOVING HER FRECKLES?: Insiders are telling Radar Online that Lindsay Lohan is allegedly undergoing treatments to get rid of her freckles. One source told the website, “Lindsay is known for trying new things, but she’s shocked friends and family members by suddenly getting irate over her freckles. She’s always loved her freckles — well, pretended to, anyway — but now she’s decided it’s time to get rid of them and she’s looking into having them either bleached or lasered away.” There has been previous speculation that Lindsay has undergone other cosmetic treatments including lip injections and face fillers.
PIPPA MIDDLETON TO RIDE ACROSS THE U.S.: Kate Middleton’s sister, Pippa Middleton, has signed up cycle across the United States. She is part of an eight-person team — including their brother James — who will ride from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland for the “Race Across America” fundraiser. Their 3,000 mile trip will raise money for a charity in the name of Michael Matthews — the youngest UK native to climb Mt. Everest but died during his descent.
CHELSEA HANDLER REVEALS HER REASON FOR QUITTING HER TALK SHOW: Chelsea Handler says annoying celebrities are the reason she decided to end her E! talk show, Chelsea Lately. The comedian told UK’s Daily Mail, “To be quite honest I don’t really care about Justin Bieber and I don’t want to talk about him anymore. In order to make that happen I had to just stop doing my show. You can sit around and complain about all that shit and the Kardashians all day but if you’re participating in it then what can you do? It really didn’t feel great doing the show and the only way to sort things out was to extricate myself from the entire situation.” The show will be wrapping up in August.
CAMILLE GRAMMER’S EX SPEAKS OUT: Dimitri Charalambopoulos, the ex-boyfriend who allegedly attacked Camille Grammer in a hotel room, claims to have proof that she is lying about the whole ordeal. He told Radar Online, “This has been a traumatizing nightmare. I hired an attorney to file a lawsuit because I felt that was the best way to clear my name and move on with my life.” Dimitri shared text messages reportedly showing that all of the jealousy and fighting that supposedly led up to their encounter were completely fabricated and that they were in a good place that very morning. Charalambopoulos has filed his own lawsuit claiming that the former reality star has been spreading false and defamatory stories about him and that his reputation has been ruined.
Rhimes Wants Bill Clinton On Scandal
Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes has some pretty high hopes when it comes to dream casting for guest spots on the hit drama series. According to E! News, she revealed at the Women In Film’s Crystal + Lucy Awards on Wednesday night (June 11th) that even though she isn’t into the idea of political stunt casting for the show, Bill Clinton would be the exception.
Shonda said, “That’s not really our thing, but I will say, ‘Bill Clinton, if you’re out there, we would love to have you…We would always love to have you.” She added, “There are always interesting politicians out there who would be interesting to have on the show, but our show is a very heightened, very dark view of Washington. I don’t think really Bill Clinton or any of those people belong in our Washington.”
- The TV mogul recently told Entertainment Weekly, “Bill Clinton was another person where I was like, ‘What?! You watch Scandal?!’ I feel like it happens at least once a week — that I am totally floored by somebody who watches the show.”
- E! News also points out that the real life inspiration for Olivia Pope has a client list that included Monica Lewinsky.
Ruby Dee Passes
Legendary actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee has died. She was 91. According to CNN, Dee‘s rep Michael Livingston confirmed that she died peacefully at her home in New Rochelle, New York on Wednesday (June 11th) surrounded by friends and family. Livingston said that she died of “age related causes.”
It is unclear if Dee will be buried next to her husband Ossie Davis, who passed in 2005.
Dee’s daughter Nora Davis Day told The Associated Press on Thursday (June 12th), “We have had her for so long and we loved her so much. She took her final bow last night at home surrounded by her children and grandchildren.” She added, “We gave her our permission to set sail. She opened her eyes, closed her eyes and away she went.”
- Ruby Dee’s career spanned seven decades. She is known for her roles in A Raisin In The Sun, Roots and Do The Right Thing. In 2008, at age 85, she scored an Oscar nomination for her role in American Gangster. In addition, Ruby was the recipient of a Grammy, an Emmy, and National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors
- Dee was also known for her breaking down doors for black actors in the film world and for her work as a civil rights activist. She and Ossie were involved in the civil rights movements and were good friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
- Ruby leaves behind three kids and seven grandchildren.
Ruby Dee was born Ruby Ann Wallace on October 27, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. She and her family later moved to Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. She discovered her love of theater while attending Hunter College. She also studied at the American Negro Theatre — where she met future husband Ossie Davis. Before marrying Ossie in 1948, Ruby married blues singer Frankie Dee in 1941. Ruby and Ossie were married for almost 57 years. Ossie died in 2005.
Dee was the first African-American woman to have lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival. She won several awards for her stage work, including the Obie Award for her role in Athol Fugard’s Boesman and Lena.
Dee has appeared in over 50 films, including, The Jackie Robinson Story, A Raisin in the Sun, Uptight, Buck and the Preacher and Do the Right Thing. She also appeared in such TV productions as Roots: The Next Generations. She was nominated seven times for an Emmy, eventually winning in 1991 for her performance in Decoration Day. She was also the recipient of a Grammy, a National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors
In 2008, at age 85, she received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress for her role in American Gangster.
- Dee was also a part of the civil rights movement. She was a member of the NAACP, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Council. Dee and Davis served as masters of ceremonies for the historic 1963 March on Washington and she spoke at both the funerals for Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. Dee and Davis also traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, as goodwill ambassadors.
- The couple were both honored for their achievements, including National Medal of Arts in 1995 and the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award in 2000. They were inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame in 1989.
Ruby Dee and Ossie on having an open marriage:
- Ossie Davis: “It occurred to us, from observation and reasoning, that extramarital sex was not what really destroyed marriages, but rather the lies and deception that invariably accompanied it — that was the culprit. So we decided to give ourselves permission to sleep with other partners if we wished — as long as what we did was honest as well as private, and that neither of us exposed the family to scandal or disease. We had to be discreet and, if the word can be apt, honorable in our behavior, both to ourselves, to whomever else might be involved, and most of all, to the family. And for the most part, we were.”
- Ossie added: “But looking back, I’d say no matter what did or did not happen, we freed each other. And in doing that, we also freed ourselves…Sex is fine, but love is better. That’s the most important part of being free. In light of what we learned, is extramarital sex something we recommend as a regular part of marriage? Not now…not anymore. Not since AIDS has entered the equation, and genital herpes, syphilis, and other venereal diseases…”
- Ruby: “But, we both came to realize that we were very fortunate that, in all of the deep profound, fundamental ways, we really, really only wanted each other. It was like a rediscovery of something from the beginning. It’s not something that you’d recommend to everybody. But often Ossie has said – and I’ve though too – the best way to have somebody is to let it go. If it doesn’t come back you are free in another kind of sense – in that you find the strength to let go and wish somebody well. So, we thought an open marriage was appropriate for us but it turned out not to be. But then that’s what we’re all about, we are moving from one position to another in the process of trying to unravel this thing call life.”
- Ruby on fear: “God, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear.”
- Ruby on life lessons: “The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.”
- Ruby on making it happen: “Get up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, make the time.”
- Ruby on beauty: “The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within: strength, courage, dignity.”
- Michelle Obama: “Deeply saddened to hear of Ruby Dee’s passing. I’ll never forget seeing her in ‘Do the Right Thing’ on my first date with Barack.”
- Debbie Allen: “OMG what a treasure. What a loss. My heart hurts. Rube Dee we will forever speak your name.”
- Reverend Al Sharpton: “Rube Dee, a legendary actress, artist, and activist has passed. I knew her and admired her greatly. A jewel of a woman.”
- Omar Epps: #RIP Ruby Dee! A true legend!”
- Mike Epps: RIP to the Legendary Actress Ruby Dee!!!!!”
- Spike Lee: “I’m Crushed By This Bad News And I Know Ruby Has Already Been Embraced In A Warm Loving Hug From Her Life Partner Of 57 Years-Mr. Ossie Davis.It Has Been One Of My Great Blessings In Life To Work With Two Of The Finest ArtistAnd Activist-Ruby And Ossie Were In The Battlefields a With Paul Robeson,Malcolm X And Dr. Martin Luther King. Ruby And Ossie Served As A Living Example That One Could Be An Artist And A Activist Too,That One Could Be An Artist And Still Deal With What It Means To Be A Black Woman And A Black Man In These United States. God Bless You Ruby Dee..”
- Samuel L. Jackson: “We Lost A Jewel Today, Mrs Ruby Dee, So Great, So Loved! R.I.P.All sympathy to her family.”
- Sanaa Lathan: “Love you Ruby.”
- Mariah Carey: “Rest in peace to the legendary Ruby Dee. thank you for changing our world for the better, you will be missed. #RubyDee.”
- Bobby Brown: Rest in Paradise Mrs. Ruby Dee and DR. Maya Angelou… Paradise has gotten prettier lately…”
- Tyler Perry: “Rest Ms. Ruby Dee.”
- Kerry Washington: “I’m overwhelmed with both grief and gratitude. Ruby Dee has been a role model and an inspiration for me in so many ways. On camera & off.”
- Tika Sumpter: “Ruby Dee: Actress. Activist. Goddess. #RIPRubyDee.”
- Whoopi Goldberg: “A Spectacular woman, spectacular actor & activist has passed today….Ruby Dee. She & her husband Ossie Davis.. Re-United at last.”
- Amber Patrice Riley: “RIP Ruby Dee, I’m sure you and Ossie are slow dancing in heaven right now