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"Ugh! Don’t do that!" 'Sopranos' creator David Chase on how his crew hated series finale set to "Don't Stop Believin'"

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(NOTE LANGUAGE) In a chat with Marc Maron on his WTF with Marc Maron podcast, Sopranos creator David Chase revealed a bit about the iconic show's finale -- and how Journey ended up in it.

As you may remember, James Gandolfini's Tony Soprano and his family members sit down for dinner at a diner, and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" cranks out of a jukebox. 

While Chase wasn't re-litigating what the vague ending means -- spoiler alert, he apparently once accidentally called it Tony's "death scene" -- Chase did talk about what went into choosing that song. 

In speaking with members of his crew at the time, Chase said he was left with three choices -- one of which he couldn't remember, and the other was Al Green's "Love and Happiness."

When he mentioned "Don't Stop Believin'," Chase recalled, "[T]hey went, 'Oh, Jesus Christ, no. Don't do that! Ugh. F***.' And I said, 'Well, that's it. That’s the one.'"

Chase explained, "I wasn't saying that just to throw it in their face. That was kind of my favorite, and it got a reaction of some kind. So I can make this song lovable, which it had been."

The Emmy winner also detailed that other endings were shot to throw off potential spoilers -- but wouldn't reveal to Maron what those alternate takes were.

The Sopranos prequel, Chase's The Many Saints of Newark, starring Gandolfini's son Michael as a young Tony Soprano, hits theaters and HBO Max on October 1.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ben Affleck says he's "in awe" of girlfriend Jennifer Lopez

ABC

Ben Affleck heaped on the praise for his on-again squeeze Jennifer Lopez -- but this was about her business acumen and her role as a role model for entrepreneurs of color. 

Affleck told the trade Adweek that he's "in awe" of Ms. From the Block, who was named the magazine's 2021 Brand Visionary. The cover feature on Lopez features testimonials about her from colleagues and friends, including Affleck.

"I am in awe of what Jennifer's effect on the world is," Affleck enthused. "At most, as an artist, I can make movies that move people. Jennifer has inspired a massive group of people to feel they have a seat at the table in this country. That is an effect few people throughout history have had, one...I can only stand by and admire with respect," Ben said. 

The feature details not only Lopez's cosmetics and fashion empire, but also her charity effort, Limitless Labs, which, along with Goldman Sachs, is boosting efforts of Latinx entrepreneurs.

"All I can tell you is that I have seen firsthand the difference representation makes because I have seen, over and over and over...women of color approach Jennifer and tell her what her example as a strong woman, and a woman succeeding and demanding her fair share in the business world means to them," Affleck said. 

Elsewhere in the feature, Lopez's Hustlers co-producer and Nuyorican Productions partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas said, "Jennifer’s brand has always been about...not allowing anyone or anything to trivialize or marginalize or stop you."

She added, "We try to pick projects with characters who are...empowered, and people are cast and our crews with as much diversity as possible, giving women and people of color an opportunity they did not have a few years ago."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Could Jason Sudeikis return to 'SNL' as the first host of the new season?

Francis Specker/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Emmy-winning producer Lorne Michaels was officially mum about it backstage at the awards show, but he strongly hinted that Ted Lasso winner Jason Sudeikis might return as Saturday Night Live's first host of its upcoming 47th season. 

"I'm so happy for Jason," Michaels said, adding, "He'll be coming back soon, which is sort of an answer to the [first host of the season] question," he laughed. "In no particular order."

Sudeikis left SNL in 2013 after 10 years, and went on to big-screen projects like the Horrible Bosses films and We're the Millers. That said, he's returned to the Studio 8H stage a few times, notably playing Joe Biden in 2019 and 2020.

Perhaps lending some weight to the theory that Sudeikis will be the new season's first -- or failing that, the second -- host, is that Saturday Night Live returns on Oct. 2, and Ted Lasso's second season finale streams Oct. 8 on Apple TV+. So the hosting gig would be a nice promotional boost for Sudeikis' show.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ice Cube mourns the loss of 'Friday' co-star Anthony Johnson; BET sets return date for 'Twenties'

Scott Kowalchyk/CBS ©2017CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ice Cube is one of the many fans mourning the loss of Friday star Anthony "AJ" Johnson. The comedian and actor died on Monday at the age of 55, a rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. A cause of death has not been reported.

“Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away," Cube tweeted. "Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday…”

Best known for his breakout role of Ezal in the 1995 comedy Friday, Johnson first emerged on the scene as E.Z.E. in the 1990 Kid’n Play film House Party. He returned for the third installment, House Party 3 in 1994, and also made a mark in other films and TV shows including B.A.P.S., Menace II Society, Lethal Weapon 3, The Players Club, I Got the Hook Up, The Jamie Foxx Show, and Martin. Johnson is survived by his wife, Lexis, and his three children.

In other in news, ICYMI, BET has announced a season two return date for Twenties: Wednesday, October 13 at 10 p.m ET. According to the show's creator, Lena Waithe, season two will include a Twenties After-Show hosted by media personality B. Scott. As previously reported, Twenties follows Hattie, a "queer black girl" who dreams of becoming a major screenwriter. She's joined by her heterosexual best friends, Nia and Marie, who are also trying to succeed in their careers as they navigate life.  Twenties stars Jonica "JoJo" T. Gibbs, Gabrielle Graham and Christina Elmore, among others.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Emmys snag best ratings since 2018

CBS/Television Academy

While other awards shows have been tanking in the ratings of late, it seems people were ready to see their first Zoom-free Emmys in a year. 

Sunday night's awards show managed to snag a viewership of 7.4 million, but when streaming viewership is tallied, Variety reports that number could rise to 7.9 million. The broadcast also dominated social media, though some of that was with the trending topic #EmmysSoWhite, reflecting outrage about the lack of Black and non-white winners.

Last year's 72nd Annual Emmy Awards was the worst-performing in the telecast's history, with around 6.36 million viewers; The 2019 host-free ceremony managed to do better than that on Fox, but barely. 2018's ceremony on NBC remains the highwater mark in recent history, with a viewership of around 10.8 million. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"You're kidding me!" Stunned Ashley Graham confirms she's having twin boys in sweet video

Freeform/Tony Rivetti

Ashley Graham's upcoming bundle of joy is actually two -- she's confirmed she's pregnant with twin boys.

The model took to Instagram on Monday to share a video that starts out with her and her husband, Justin Erving, watching two at-home pregnancy tests develop.

"I guess two confirmed tests means that I'm pregnant," says Graham at the beginning of the clip.

As the video goes on, Graham is shown getting an ultrasound while asking if there were twins on the screen. She nearly jumps out of bed once it's confirmed that she, indeed, is having twin boys.

The video ends with Erving saying, "You're kidding me!"

Less than an hour after posting, Graham's twin reveal video had been viewed over a million times and liked over 392,000 times, with many people congratulating the couple.

Graham revealed her pregnancy in July on social media, saying, "The past year has been full of tiny surprises, big griefs, familiar beginnings and new stories."

"I'm just beginning to process and celebrate what this next chapter means for us," she continued.

Graham and Erving gave birth to their first son, Isaac Menelik Giovanni Ervin, in 2020.

Since announcing their second pregnancy, Graham has posted several photos documenting her journey, including a recent radiant photo of herself wearing a green two-piece ensemble revealing her growing stomach.

"Sun's out, bumps out," she captioned the pic.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Congrats! Jeannie Mai reveals she's expecting first child with Jeezy

ABC/Christopher Willard

The Real's Jeannie Mai is going to be a first-time mom. After previously saying she didn't want to have kids, Mai reveals to Women's Health magazine that she and husband, Jeezy, actually started trying for a family nearly a year ago.

"It was not easy," Mai admits, noting that she and Jeezy opted for in-vitro fertilization. "We both needed a bit of assistance, especially with me being 41 at the time," she explains. Unfortunately, after receiving positive results from IVF just a month before her March 2021 wedding, Jeannie says she miscarried soon after.

"I wondered if I was being punished. I wondered if I’d jinxed myself or cursed myself," Jeannie recalls, referring to her previous decision to never be a parent. "My entire life, I never wanted children. When I say never, I’m talking a hard-stop never."

So what eventually changed her mind? The fashion expert says "falling in love with Jeezy made [her] see life differently..."

"Our love is honest, pure, and safe…something I hadn’t felt as a child," Mai shares.

Thankfully, the couple was given a second chance. A week after their wedding, Jeannie says she discovered she was pregnant again. "It was the most beautiful sign that anything’s possible, that you’re not in control, and God has a plan," she says.

The talk show host is now looking forward to officially becoming a mother, which she describes as "hands down the hardest role in the entire world."

"Now that we’re bringing another Jenkins into the picture. I have no idea what to expect," Mai admits. However, she thanks Jeezy -- who is already father of two -- for being her main support.

"He’s an amazing dad," Mai says, adding it "overwhelms me with even more love."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Cynthia Erivo salutes Michaela Coel on her historic Emmy win: "Proud is an understatement"

Photo: Terrell Mullin

Cynthia Erivo had a special message for fellow Brit and I May Destroy You creator Michaela Coel following her historic Emmy win for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.

"Michaela Coel. A sister. A friend. An Emmy Winner," Erivo wrote in a touching Instagram post. "Tonight she shone. Proud is an understatement. Flowers and love for this goddess, I WILL ALWAYS HOLD YOU UP!"

Coel's win makes her the first Black woman to take home the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, and only the third Black writer to win in the Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie category. In 2000, David Mills became the first Black person to win the award, with The Corner, and in 2020, Cord Jefferson became the second when he took home the award for Watchmen.

Additionally, Coel made Emmy history as the first Black woman to be nominated for best series, acting, writing, and directing.

Congrats!

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Gillian Anderson's Emmy night: Yes, she's American; no, she hasn't spoken with long-dead Margaret Thatcher

NETFLIX/Des Willie

The Crown's Gillian Anderson first came to fame in her 20s with The X-Files and won her first Emmy Award in 1997 -- but this was apparently news to some fans.

Believe it or not, when Anderson picked up her second trophy last night -- for playing former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Crown -- there were those online who were stunned she doesn't have a British accent.

Anderson is American, but spent much of her early life in the UK, where she's lived as an adult for years.

"GILLIAN ANDERSON IS AMERICAN WTF?!?!," one clueless fan tweeted, noting their mind was "so blown RN... I thought she was British this whole time omg."

"It's very weird hearing Gillian Anderson with an American accent, I was very thrown," another posted

For the record, for every clueless Crown fan out there, there were plenty of snarkers to set them straight. "So you didn't watch Xfiles," one huffed.

However, the cluelessness continued even among the professional TV watchers out there. Backstage, a journalist asked Anderson if she's spoken with Margaret Thatcher about the actress' portrayal of her on the Emmy-magnet drama. Interesting question, considering the fact that the former PM has been dead since 2013.

"Uh, I have not spoken to Margaret," Anderson answered graciously.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Emmy celebs rock the rare red carpet with scene-stealing looks

L-R: Porter, Rodriguez -- Cliff Lipson/CBS 2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

While Sunday night's Emmys had some surprises for nominees and fans, it wasn't a surprise that the stars wouldn't squander the rare red carpet spotlight for the non-Zoom event, showcasing everything from showstopping couture looks to jaw-dropping "wow" moments.

Here's a round-up of some of the more memorable looks:

Anya Taylor-Joy saw The Queen's Gambit rack up 11 awards, a high score matched by The Crown, and to boot, her dress was a checkmate: she wore an extraordinary canary yellow Christian Dior Haute Couture gown with a long train.

black-ish and grown-ish star, and Emmys presenter, Yara Shahidi was gorgeous in a green Christian Dior dress styled by Jason Bolden. Her black-ish mom, nominee Tracee Ellis Ross, shined in a sparkling red ensemble from Valentino's Fall/Winter 2021 Couture collection.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose husband, Michael Douglas, went home empty-handed for The Kominsky Method, wowed in a magnificent maroon strapless gown by Cristina Ottaviano.

Billy Porter's ensemble was from Ashi; it featured raven-winged, ruffled sleeve details. His stylist Ty Hunter, complimented the look with dazzling jewels from Lorraine Schwartz.

Emmy-nominated I May Destroy You creator and actress Michaela Coel was styled by Zerina Akers, and lit up the red carpet in a custom Christopher John Rogers yellow neon-toned look.

Seth Rogen, actor and executive producer of The Boys, saw the series leave without any trophies, but as a presenter, he turned heads in an bright orange tuxedo jacket and brown trousers.

Dan Levy already has a mantle full of Emmys from last year's big winner, Schitt's Creek, so as a presenter he was free to stun with a vibrant monochromatic blue-suited look from Valentino's Fall/Winter 2021 Couture collection.

Aidy Bryant didn't win any Emmys last night for her Hulu show Shrill, but showcased a stylish floral printed green dress custom-designed by Simone Rocha styled by Rebecca Grice.

As host, Cedric the Entertainer had several costume changes, and set the stage for some of the night's leading men rocking bright suits: His red carpet look was turquoise, with a wide angled blue stripe.

Kaley Cuoco didn't win any trophies for The Flight Attendant, but won praise for her custom yellow Vera Wang gown featuring beautiful ruching.

The Handmaid's Tale star Samira Wiley chose a statement Genny suit, complimented with a black satin tie, and and half-shaved hairstyle with an updo.

Previous Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner Cynthia Erivo wore a dramatic white custom Louis Vuitton gown that included a vibrant blue and green feathered train.

Elizabeth Olsen saw her series WandaVision, one of the most-nominated shows of the night, leave empty-handed, but won acclaim for her cream-toned gown designed by her actress-turned designer sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley.

Jason Sudeikis took home the Outstanding Actor award in the comedy category for his big winner, Ted Lasso, and also scored with critics for his single-button blue velvet suit by Tom Ford.

Angela Bassett wore an alluring black Greta Constantine gown that featured a pop of pink detailing throughout.

Kerry Washington was a presenter for the evening, and her look was a show-stopper: Celebrity stylist Law Roach dressed Washington in a custom Etro gown featuring a stylish corset.

This Is Us nominee Mandy Moore didn't win, but won praise for her candy apple red gown straight from Carolina Herrera's Spring/Summer 2022 ready-to-wear collection.

Pose nominee and presenter MJ Rodriguez rocked a vintage Atelier Versace look accented with a high slit.

Sarah Paulson wasn't nominated this year, but the previous winner did the presenter podium and the carpet proud with a ravishing red Carolina Herrera look styled by Karla Welch.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' three-peats at #1 with $21 million weekend

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continued its box office domination by grabbing another $21 million in theaters -- good enough to retain the #1 spot for the third consecutive week. 

To date, the movie, which features a virtually all-Asian cast, has made $176.9 million stateside and $320,593,555 worldwide. What's more, the movie is poised to overtake another Marvel movie, Black Widow, as the highest-grossing movie of 2021 so far.

Ryan Reynolds' Free Guy continued its winning ways. The movie bounced back up to second place in theaters with a $5.2 million take and is teetering on the $300 million earnings mark globally. 

In third place this week was one of two new under-performers: Clint Eastwood's latest film, Cry Macho, which opened with $4.5 million. Targeted to an older demographic, the 91-year-old Oscar winner's latest film is also available on HBO Max, which could have cut into its performance in theaters. 

Another new release couldn't use streaming as an excuse: the Gerard Butler-led COPSHOP earned just $2.3 million in its debut, placing sixth. 

Rounding out the top five this week are the horror reboot Candyman in fourth place, with $3.5 million, and Warner Bros.' thriller Malignant, another title available on HBO Max. That film earned a fifth-place finish, with $2.6 million. 

Marvel and 20th Century Studios are owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kelly Clarkson explains what keeps her coming back to 'The Voice'

Trae Patton/NBC

The Voice returns tonight on NBC, and Kelly Clarkson's back in the big red chairs alongside veteran coaches Blake Shelton and John Legend, and new coach Ariana Grande. While Kelly's extremely busy hosting her Emmy-winning talk show and recording new music, she says she still makes time for The Voice because of one particular aspect of the show.

"My favorite thing is the Blind [Auditions]," she says, explaining, "Sometimes it's nice just to...listen and just be moved. And that's a definite reason why I keep coming back."

Another reason she looks forward to doing The Voice is that it gives her the opportunity to pal around with people who truly understand what it's like to be her.

"It is a different thing to be in the public eye and to have so many eyes on you all the time, and it's a different thing to explain or try to describe to friends that might not know that," Kelly notes. "So it's really cool to have people to have conversations with, or lean on...commonalities that you can't have with everyone else."

"So, yeah, I just get really stoked about hanging out with the guys and talking about what everybody's watching or listening to or what's happening with their families," Kelly adds.

Ariana's the new kid on the block this season, but Kelly thinks she'll be a formidable opponent.

"She has this amazing ability to really bring the best out of a song, I think, and so I think that's going to make her an amazing coach," Kelly admits. "Because a lot of these people don't know really where they want to go or how to craft a song like that. So I think she's going to be really good in that sense. But also...pick me!"

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Emmys 2021: Criticism mounts over winners' lack of diversity

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

The 2021 Emmy Awards found itself in hot water on Sunday when not a single Black, Brown or Asian actor won an acting award -- despite heading into the night with the most diverse nomination field in the show's history, with 49 people of color up for acting and reality competition awards.

The only people of color who took home a statuette during the ceremony were RuPaul for Outstanding Competition Program and Michaela Coel for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.  

One of the biggest upsets of the night was the late Michael K. Williams, whose performance on Lovecraft Country was overlooked in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, as some predicted.  Instead, the honor went to The Crown's Tobias Menzies for his portrayal of Prince Philip. Kerry Washington accepted Menzies' award on his behalf.

Critics pointed out that this marks the second time in a year that a late Black actor lost to a British actor who was a no-show.  During the 2021 Oscar Awards, Chadwick Boseman was favored to win Best Actor but lost to Anthony Hopkins, who had the Academy accept his honor on his behalf.

Another upset came during the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, where four of the six nominees were actors of color -- Sterling K. Brown, Regé-Jean Page, Jonathan Majors and Billy Porter.  The Crown's Josh O'Connor collected the award.

Reaction to the night's ceremony was fierce, with actress Yvette Nicole Brown tweeting during the show, "Every chance they had to make history in a meaningful way, they passed on it. Just said, 'Naw, son.' Mmkay. Got it."

The controversy has renewed calls for the Emmy Awards to reevaluate its voting base, in addition to boycotts. The hashtag #EmmysSoWhite also began trending on Twitter.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'The Crown,' 'The Queen's Gambit,' 'Ted Lasso' win big at the 73rd Emmy Awards

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

The Crown and The Queen's Gambit were the big winners at the 73rd Emmy Awards, with each series earning 11 awards. Saturday Night Live followed behind with eight Emmys, and Ted Lasso and The Mandalorian won seven a piece.

During Sunday's telecast, The Crown won the outstanding drama series award, Ted Lasso took home the outstanding comedy award and The Queen’s Gambit received the Emmy for outstanding limited or anthology series.

Cedric the Entertainer hosted the in-person ceremony at The Event Deck at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles.

Here are the winners in the major categories:

Supporting actress in a comedy series
Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso

Supporting actor in a comedy series
Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso

Supporting actress in a limited or anthology series or movie
Julianne Nicholson, Mare of Easttown

Supporting actor in a limited or anthology series or movie
Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown

Supporting actor in a drama series
Tobias Menzies, The Crown

Supporting actress in a drama series
Gillian Anderson, The Crown

Variety talk series
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Competition program
RuPaul's Drag Race

Lead actress in a comedy series
Jean Smart, Hacks

Lead actor in a comedy series
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Lead actor in limited series or movie
Ewan McGregor, Halston

Lead actress in a limited series or movie
Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

Lead actress in a drama series
Olivia Colman, The Crown

Lead actor in a drama series
Josh O'Connor, The Crown

Comedy series
Ted Lasso

Drama series
The Crown

Limited series
The Queen’s Gambit

Governors Award
Debbie Allen

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Emmys 2021: 'The Queen's Gambit' wins Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series

Cliff Lipson/CBS 2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Netflix's The Queen's Gambit proved to be a hit at the 2021 Emmy Awards, collecting one of the highest honors of the night: Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series.

This also marks the first time a streaming service has won in that category. 

Creator Scott Frank shouted out Netflix during his acceptance speech, saying, "You guys did the rarest thing of all these days. You took a chance on risky material and you trusted the filmmakers."

He also praised the show for inspiring "a whole generation of girls and young women to realize that patriarchy simply has no defense against our queens."

In all, he expressed how thrilled he is that Gambit "brought sexy back to chess!"

The seven-episode series, which follows a chess prodigy played by Anya Taylor-Joy, went into the award show with buzz that it would be the show to beat in its respective category -- but not without strong competition from its competitors I May Destroy YouMare of EasttownWandaVision and The Underground Railroad.

The Queen's Gambit was nominated for 18 statuettes total and took home 11 of them.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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