Here's everything that's been happening in the world of Pop Culture this past week... in case you missed it! Feel free to comment on any of the stories and info shared here, add any news bits that you caught going on that may have been missed, or at least show us some love if you read the post but have nothing to comment on by clicking on that little heart icon at the bottom of the post...
GENERAL POP CULTURE NEWS:
- Say goodbye to the thimble! The classic board game Monopoly is retiring the thimble as of its game pieces after 82 years. Hasbro, the company that makes Monopoly, ran a contest last month to determine what their 8 player pieces should be for a new revamp of the game and while they have yet to confirm which 8 options were ultimately the top picks of those who voted in their online poll of over 50 choices including their current classic pieces, they did confirm that the thimble will not be a player piece in new editions of the game.
- Bao Bao, the 3 year-old giant panda who gained fame growing up on live video at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC, has left the zoo for a new home in China. Bao Bao’s move was due to a long-standing breeding and research program created as a means to help bolster the depleted giant panda population in China.
-THIS WEEK IN SPORTS-
- Former NBA player MAGIC JOHNSON has been named the new President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers after the team fired their general manager.
- American Olympic Ice Dancing pair CHARLIE WHITE and MERYL DAVIS, who won gold in their second Olympic ice dancing appearance in 2014, announced they will not compete in the next Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea next February. The pair have been competing together for nearly 20 years but decided they’re more motivated by other things at this point that to try to win another gold. They both insist this does not mean they are retiring and stated they would still be performing in the “Stars on Ice” tour in the spring.
- AWARDS UPDATE -
- Late rock legend DAVID BOWIE was named the Best British Male Solo Artist and also won British Album of the Year at the 2017 Brits. New artist RAG-N-BONE MAN picked up two Brits - Critic’s Choice and British Breakthrough Act while former “X-Factor” acts LITTLE MIX and ONE DIRECTION won British Single of the Year for "Shout Out To My Ex" and British Artist Video of the Year for "History", respectively. Among the specialty awards, pop star ADELE received the Global Success Award while fellow pop star ROBBIE WILLIAMS received the Brits Icon Award. For a complete list of 2017 Brit Award winners, check out the following link: http://www.digitalspy.com/music/brit-awards/news/a821402/brit-awards-2017-winners-list-in-full/
- Singer SARA BAREILLES will perform during the “In Memoriam” segment at the Oscars.
- POLITICS-R-US -
- Searches on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary website for the word “anti-Semitism” spiked following President DONALD TRUMP’s press conference last week after he was asked about an “uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it.” The question was posed by an Ami Magazine reporter about a rise in bomb threats to Jewish community centers. Trump’s response: “Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican… But let me just tell you something, that I hate the charge, I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me and you heard the [Israel] prime minister, you heard BEN NETANYAHU yesterday, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time and then he said, forget it.” It is the second time in Trump’s presidency that he has caused a word to trend on the Merriam-Webster website – after his inauguration, the word “carnage” rose in lookups after he used it in his speech. Other currently trending words on the site include “ruse”, “corroborate, dossier & salacious”, “l’etat c’est moi”, and “tergiversation”.
- Actor SHIA LABEOUF and his performance art collaborators have relaunched their art installation HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US at the El Rey Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The planned 4 year performance art piece, which allows anyone to say the phrase “He will not divide us” into a camera that goes to an internet live feed was shut down by their previous venue, the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, due to safety concerns. It did not take long for the new location to also create trouble. Just days after LaBeouf’s anti-Trump exhibit set up in New Mexico, a vandal defaced the camera, spraying it with red spray paint. The masked miscreant is still at large.
- Breitbart senior editor and alt-right firebrand MILO YIANNOPOLOUS has lost his book deal with Simon & Schuster and has had several speaking engagements including a high profile one at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) after several controversial comments made by Yiannopolous in the past surfaced. Simon & Schuster were set to release Yiannopolous’ book “Dangerous” next month until a video became public in which Yiannopolous said some relationships between and adults and 13 year-olds are consensual and also joked that being molested when he was younger made him good at oral sex. Yiannopolous took to Facebook to defend himself amid backlash, stating, “I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim… I would like to restate my utter disgust as adults who sexually abuse minors,” adding that he was “horrified by pedophilia” and that he’s “outed three of them, in fact – three more than most of my critics.” Yiannopolous resigned from his position with Breitbart News shortly after Fox Business News revealed there was internal talk about whether the website would fire him over the video comments.
- THE BOOK NOOK -
- Actor TOM HANKS is set to publish his debut collection of short stories, called “Uncommon Type: Some Stories”. The collection will consist of 17 short stories. Hanks is also set to narrate the audiobook.
- New comedy/horror film release “Get Out”, the directorial debut of actor/writer JORDAN PEELE, is receiving raving reviews from critics, currently scoring a rare 100% on the film review site Rotten Tomatoes. According to some of the reviews, “’Get Out’ feels fresh and sharp in a way that studio horror movies almost never do” and it “very much has its fingers on the pulse of our current insane zeitgeist.”
- MATT REEVES will direct “The Batman” starring BEN AFFLECK. Affleck was originally planning to also direct the film but decided for the sake of the film it was best he not do both after “Live By Night”, the last film he both directed and starred in, did poorly at the box office.
- TOP 5 LAST WEEKEND AT THE U.S. BOX OFFICE (NEW RELEASES IN BOLD) -
1. “The LEGO Batman Movie” – $42.7M
2. “Fifty Shades Darker” - $22.7M
3. “The Great Wall” - $21.5M
4. “John Wick: Chapter 2” - $19.0M
5. “Fist Fight” - $14.1M
- FILMS OPENING THIS WEEKEND (US Releases) -
* Comedy/Horror/Mystery “Get Out” starring ALLISON WILLIAMS and DANIEL KALUUYA
* Action/Thriller “Collide” starring NICHOLAS HOULT and FELICITY JONES
* Animated Family Comedy “Rock Dog” starring LUKE WILSON and EDDIE IZZARD
- MOVIE CASTING UPDATE -
- Actress ANGELA LANSBURY has been added to the cast of “Mary Poppins Returns”. She will play the Balloon Lady, a character from P.L. TRAVERS’ series of Mary Poppins children’s books.
- Actor DONALD GLOVER has been cast to star as Simba in a live action version of “The Lion King”. Actor JAMES EARL JONES will play Mufasa, who he also voiced in the animated film. JON FAVREAU, who also directed the live action version of “The Jungle Book”, is set to direct.
- Actors RACHEL BLOOM and ADAM PALLY will lead the comedy “Most Likely to Murder” for Lionsgate.
- Actors CHARLIZE THERON and SETH ROGEN are set to star in the romantic comedy “Flarsky”.
- CBS announced that STEPHEN COLBERT will host a live edition of his late night talk show “The Late Show” on February 28th following President DONALD TRUMP’s first address to Congress. It will be the 14th time “The Late Show” has aired live (as opposed to pre-taped earlier in the day) since Colbert took the series over in September 2015.
- The BBC and BBC America have greenlit the documentary series “Blue Planet II”. DAIVD ATTENBOROUGH will narrate the series.
- ABC announced that “black-ish” star ANTHONY ANDERSON will host a live post-Oscars special for the network on Sunday. For the past decade the post-Oscars special has been a live-edition of weekly late night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, but with its host JIMMY KIMMEL hosting the Oscars, ABC opted to ask Anderson to host a similar styled post-show program.
- WHAT’S ON TAP (CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR TIME AND STATION NUMBER) –
* “The 2017 Academy Awards” hosted by JIMMY KIMMEL, ABC, Sunday, February 25th, 8:30pm ET (**note: most regular programming from other broadcast networks will be replaced with repeats or movies)
* Presidential Address to Congress, ABC,CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, The CW, and all 24-hour news networks, Tuesday, February 28th, 9pm ET (**note: most regular primetime programming from broadcast networks will be pre-empted, so those in other countries will see repeats of regular Tuesday programs instead of new episodes)
- TV CASTING UPDATE -
- Actors KIT HARRINGTON, LIV TYLER, and MARK GATISS will star in the BBC miniseries “Gunpowder” about Guy Fawkes and co.’s failed Gunpowder plot of 1605.
- Professional dancers MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY and PETA MURGATROYD announced on “Good Morning America” they will be back on ABC reality competition series “Dancing with the Stars” for the new spring season. Both were not expected to compete this season after Murgatroyd gave birth to the real-life couple’s first child in January. In related news, ‘80s tv icon MR. T and Olympic gymnast SIMONE BILES are reportedly set to compete on “Dancing with the Stars” in the upcoming spring season.
- Actor C THOMAS HOWELL is joining the cast of Showtime drama series “Ray Donovan” in a recurring role.
- Actress DEMI MOORE is joining the cast of Fox drama series “Empire” in a recurring role.
- Actresses OCTAVIA SPENCER and SCARLETT JOHANNSON are set to host NBC sketch comedy series “Saturday Night Live” next month.
- Actor MATTHEW BRODERICK has been cast in FX anthology series “Katrina: American Crime Story” as FEMA’s MICHAEL D. BROWN.
- TV RENEWALS* AND PICKUPS** -
* “Days of Our Lives” NBC, renewed for season 52
* “Star”, FOX, renewed for season 2
* “Lethal Weapon”, FOX, renewed for season 2
* “Six”, History Chanel, renewed for season 2
- Pop star LADY GAGA’s Halftime Show at this year’s Super Bowl has officially become the most-watched musical event and most-watched Super Bowl Halftime performance of all time. Approximately 118 million viewers watched the live broadcast on Fox on February 5th and an estimated 150 million unique views have accrued across the NFL’s digital platforms including NFL.com, Twitter, and YouTube. Gaga’s sales have also risen drastically following the 13-minute performance – her current studio album “Joanne”, which was released three months ago, jumped from #66 to #2 on the Billboard Top 200; Gaga’s 2008 album “The Fame” also moved back into the top 10, reaching #6; 2011’s “Born This Way” reached #25 and 2013’s “Artpop” was at #174. Her single “Million Reasons”, from the “Joanne” album, tied a Billboard Hot 100 record for the chart’s highest-ever re-entry reaching #4 this past week after she included the song in her set. The single Gaga’s first top 10 hit since “Applause” was released as her first single from the “Artpop” album almost three years ago.
- Late pop/r&b singer/musician PRINCE’s full back catalog was played over 17 million times in its first week of availability across all streaming platforms.
- Pop/r&b star BEYONCE will no longer be a headlining act at this year’s Coachella festival. The singer, who is pregnant with twins, is reportedly due to give birth early this summer around the time the festival is held and has been told by her doctor she should not perform the previously scheduled set. Beyonce’s reps stated will headline the festival next year to make up for her need to pull out of this year.
- MUSIC CHARTS – LAST WEEK’S #1 SINGLES AND ALBUMS AROUND THE WORLD -
Australia: Song – “Shape of You” by ED SHEERAN; Album – “Fifty Shades Darker Soundtrack” by VARIOUS ARTISTS
Canada: Song – “Shape of You” by ED SHEERAN; Album – “I Decided.” by BIG SEAN
Germany: Song – “Shape of You” by ED SHEERAN; Album – “(sic!)” by BROILERS
Ireland: Song – “Shape of You” by ED SHEERAN; Album – “Human” by RAG’N’BONE MAN
US: Song – “Shape of You” by ED SHEERAN; Album – “I Decided.” by BIG SEAN
UK: Song – “Shape of You” by ED SHEERAN; Album – “Human” by RAG’N’BONE MAN