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Bleiberg Entertainment(NEW YORK) -- Former Blue Bloods cop Jennifer Esposito shows a different side of the criminal underworld in the new drama Mob Town, which debuts in theaters and video-on-demand today.

The actress is from New York, but even the Brooklyn native was surprised to learn the plot of the period piece was based on actual events: the meeting of every Mafia "family" in the U.S. in Apalachin, New York.

The summit of the crime families took place at the vacation home of mobster Joseph "Joe the Barber" Barbara, on November 14, 1957.

In the film, David Arquette plays a policeman in the sleepy town who gets wind something big is about to go down, but it seems only his lifelong friend, played by Esposito, is actually willing to listen to him. 

"I had never heard about this before, and it's really a great story," she tells ABC Audio. "[Y]ou know, all these mobsters going up to Apalachin and and this one lone police officer figuring this out, that there was something more to this."

The actress and author explains, "I love true stories...It was such an interesting story, I couldn't believe no one had done it before."

The movie also stars Robert Davi as Barbara, and The Sopranos alum Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

Esposito also stars on Amazon Prime's acclaimed superhero show The Boys, and while she wouldn't give any spoilers about it, she noted that fans will be "wonderfully surprised" at where her character goes in season 2 -- the teaser for which recently debuted

The sneak peek, pardon pun, pulls no punches -- seeing as it features at least one head being punched into oblivion, and a brain being torn apart. "No," Esposito laughs. "There's nothing subtle about the show." 

There's no release date yet for the second season.



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"Christmas Vacation" cast reunion/Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The Griswolds are hitting the road again, and this time, they're headed to HBO Max. 

The streamer is developing a half-hour comedy series from The Big Bang Theory alum -- and Vacation series veteran -- Johnny Galecki titled The Griswolds, based on National Lampoon’s Vacation films, according to Deadline.

Galecki will develop the series with The Middle writer Tim Hobert

Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo starred in the five-film series which ran from 1983-2015 that followed the misadventures of the Griswold family, where their numerous attempts at family getaways and holidays were met with disasters and embarrassing predicaments.

Years before he became one of the highest paid sitcom actors in history with Big Bang, Galecki played Rusty Griswold in 1989's National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

The cast, which also included Juliette Lewis and Diane Ladd, reunited Thursday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 30th anniversary screening of the film, held at the Samuel Goldwyn theatre in Beverly Hills.

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Nathan Congleton/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Bombshell opens in limited release today and John Lithgow, who plays disgraced former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, cannot wait for people to experience it.

Speaking with ABC Audio, Lithgow says that while the film isn't overly political, it also can't help but be political. "The dramatic denouement of this film is the fall of Roger at the very moment of the rise of President Trump," he explains, "And, you know, you can't watch the film and not feel a sort of political kick, whether you're for or against its politics."

The movie explores the fall of Ailes when Fox News is hit by an explosive scandal when Gretchen Carlson -- played by Nicole Kidman -- drops the proverbial bombshell by accusing Ailes of sexually harassing her and files a lawsuit.  She is then joined by other women in the media empire, including Megyn Kelly, played by Charlize Theron, with similar claims.

Ailes was forced to resign in 2016 and died a year later.

Lithgow said he had no hesitations in taking the controversial role, "I am the villain. If it were a fairy tale, I would be the troll under the bridge and I, call me weird, but I love that," he gushed before elaborating, "Listen, you're talking to the Trinity killer and to the villain in three, not one, not two, but three Brian DePalma gore-drenched suspenseful psychological suspense thriller. So I love that!"

However, a big question is, once the lights go up and the audience rises from their theater seats, if they will feel any differently about the controversial CEO.  When asked if he thought the film would change support's minds, said Lithgow, "I don't think so. I mean, one can always hope." 

Bombshell is out in limited release now and hits theaters country-wide December 20.

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Mike Smith/NBC(LOS ANGELES) -- Richard Jewell is out in theaters now, but it was making headlines long before its theatrical release due to a controversial scene that had journalists crying foul.

The Clint Eastwood-directed film tells the true story of the 1996 Centennial Park bombing where security guard Richard Jewell discovers a backpack containing bombs and evacuates the park -- saving countless lives.  However, his hero status is revoked when the FBI considers him a prime suspect.

A trial by media is then kick-started by the late Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist Kathy Scruggs, who is played by Olivia Wilde.  The movie seemingly took liberties with Scruggs' character by alleging she traded sex to obtain the tip regarding the FBI's investigation into Jewell. 

AJC lambasted the creative decision and wrote a letter to Eastwood demanding the movie include a disclaimer about the inaccurate portrayal of their former employee.

Late Thursday, Wilde broke her silence on the growing controversy and tweeted, "I was asked to play the supporting role of Kathy Scruggs, who was, by all accounts, bold, smart, and fearlessly undeterred by the challenge of being a female reporter in the south in the 1990s." 

Wilde then states she is the child of journalists and has a "deep respect" for their field of work before agreeing that "I do not believe that Kathy “traded sex for tips.” Nothing in my research suggested she did so, and it was never my intention to suggest she had."

The 35-year-old actress then explains she believed "Kathy, and the FBI agent who leaked false information to her, were in a pre-existing romantic relationship" and says she cannot speak for the creative decisions that went into making Richard Jewell.

Wilde concludes by expressing sympathy for Jewell before saying she wanted to make "my own position clear."

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Frank Masi(NEW YORK) -- Opening nationwide on Friday:

Jumanji: The Next Level -- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black return in this follow-up to 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, this time to rescue the grandfathers of two original players who accidentally get sucked into the video game.  Danny DeVito transports into The Rock’s body, while Danny Glover becomes Kevin Hart’s character, thus making the jungle adventure a whole lot more complicated.  Nick Jonas and Awkwafina also star.  Rated PG-13.

Richard Jewell -- Clint Eastwood directed this true crime drama that follows the titular character -- played by Paul Walter Hauser -- a security guard who saves thousands of lives after finding a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta bombing, but quickly becomes the FBI's main suspect.  Jewell then teams up with an anti-establishment lawyer to clear his name.  Also starring Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Wilde.  Rated R.

* Black Christmas -- This remake of the 1974 slasher film of the same name follows a group of sorority sisters being targeted by an unknown stalker.  Rather than be helpless victims, however, these young women mount a fight to the finish.  Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O'Grady, Caleb Eberhardt, Simon Mead and Cary Elwes star.  Rated PG-13.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

Bombshell -- John Lithgow stars as the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, in this drama about several women at the network who set out to expose the alleged culture of sexual harassment there.  Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie co-star, along with Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell and Allison Janney.  Rated R.

Uncut Gems -- Funnyman Adam Sandler is generating Oscar buzz for his serious turn in this film that follows his character Howard Ratner, a charismatic jeweler in New York City's diamond district who's always in pursuit of his next big score.  However, after making a series of high-stakes bets, he finds himself trying to balance business, family and his enemies, who are closing in.  Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox and Eric Bogosian also star.  Rated R.

Seberg -- This political thriller follows the true story of Jean Seberg -- played by Kristen Stewart -- a woman who was harassed by the FBI for sympathizing with and vocally supporting the Black Panther Party.   Also starring Jack O'Connell, Margaret Qualley, Zazie Beetz, Anthony Mackie and Vince Vaughn.  Rated R.

(“Black Christmas” and “Uncut Gems” trailers contains uncensored profanity.)

 

 

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ABC/Heidi Gutman(LOS ANGELES) -- The first trailer for the highly anticipated In The Heights film musical has officially dropped and features a slew of Broadway favorites and rising stars.

The movie is 12 years in the making, but creator Lin-Manuel Miranda says it couldn't have come at a better time.

"I started writing this show when I was 19 years old, six blocks away from where we are now, at my parents house," Miranda, best known for the smash hit, Hamilton, told the audience at an event for the trailer in the namesake Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.

In the Heights focuses on the largely Hispanic neighborhood in Manhattan and the characters who live there as they chase the modern-day American dream.

Miranda originally starred in In the Heights when the show debuted on Broadway in 2008, where it took home four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. For the movie adaption, Miranda hands off the lead role of Usnavi to his former Hamilton co-star, Anthony Ramos.

However, Miranda is responsible for all the music and lyrics of the movie -- and he even makes a cameo as the Piragua Guy.

To stay honest to the core of the story, the film, which is directed by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu, was shot on location in Washington Heights.  Chu said he loved filming the movie so much, he even named his newborn son Heights.

Fans of the original In the Heights music will appreciate Olga Merediz reprising her Tony-nominated role as Abuela Claudia in the film version.

The movie also stars Dascha Polanco from Orange Is the New Black, Stephanie Beatriz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Broadway legend Daphne Rubin-Vega, and The West Wing's Jimmy Smits.

In The Heights opens June 2020.

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Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- At the end of every year, Google crunches the numbers to see what we've been searching for in the past 12 months -- yes, they keep track, duh -- and celebrities were on our minds.

The company has compiled search results for this year, and it's likely no surprise that the biggest movie of all time, Avengers: Endgame, spiked the biggest surge of searches in the movies category. While that film famously bested Avatar, with a take of more than $2.79 billion bucks, the rest of the top five on the trending searches list were no slouches: They include billion-dollar box office smashes Captain Marvel, Joker, Toy Story 4, and Jon Favreau's The Lion King film. 

In the actor category, disgraced Empire star Jussie Smollett ranked number one in searches, likey due to the fact that he claim he'd been the victim of a racial attack, which was subsequently declared to be a hoax by the Chicago PD.

Kevin Hart was second on that list, likely driven by his near-fatal car accident, in addition to his viral back-and-forth with his Jumanji pal Dwayne Johnson.

Lori Loughlin ranked third, undoubtedly  for her arrest in the Varsity Blues college cheating scandal -- which would also explain why Felicity Huffman, who served time behind bars for her part in the scandal, was ranked #4. 

At five, it was Keanu Reeves, who had quite a year. There was that hysterical appearance in the Netflix movie Always Be My Maybe, an E3 appearance that rocked the electronics expo, the filming of a third Bill & Ted movie, the announcement of new Matrix adventure, and John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum earning a series-high $326 million worldwide.

Here are Google's top trending entertainment-related searches for 2019:

Actors
1. Jussie Smollett
2. Kevin Hart
3. Lori Loughlin
4. Felicity Huffman
5. Keanu Reeves
6. Rami Malek
7. Joaquin Phoenix
8. Kate Beckinsale
9. Halle Bailey
10. Maisie Williams

Movies
1. Avengers Endgame
2. Captain Marvel
3. Joker
4. Toy Story 4
5. Lion King
6. It Chapter Two
7. Frozen 2
8. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
9. Midsommar
10. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Weddings
1. Miranda Lambert wedding
2. Jennifer Lawrence wedding
3. Justin Bieber wedding
4. Miley Cyrus wedding
5. Chiquis Rivera wedding
6. Chris Pratt wedding
7. Joe Jonas wedding
8. Elvis Duran wedding
9. Zoë Kravitz wedding
10. Jake Paul Tana Mongeau wedding

TV Shows
1. Game of Thrones
2. Stranger Things
3. When They See Us
4. Chernobyl
5. The Mandalorian
6. The Umbrella Academy
7. Euphoria
8. Dead to Me
9. Surviving R. Kelly
10. The Boys

People of the Red Carpet
1. billy porter red carpet
2. cardi b red carpet
3. lady gaga red carpet
4. amy schumer husband red carpet
5. jenny mccarthy red carpet
6. bts grammy red carpet
7. caitlyn jenner red carpet
8. richard madden golden globes red carpet
9. brie larson red carpet
10. brienne of tarth red carpet

Passing
1. Cameron Boyce
2. Nipsey Hussle
3. Luke Perry
4. Jeffrey Epstein
5. Tyler Skaggs
6. Beth Chapman
7. John Witherspoon
8. John Singleton
9. Eddie Money
10. Elijah Cummings  

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ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) -- The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition heats up for a brand-new season tonight on ABC. Once again, hosts Emma Bunton and Anthony "Spice" Adams guide 10 bakers as they run a gastronomic gauntlet, showing their skills to expert judges Sherri Yard and Paul Hollywood.

"My job is usually easy on the show," Spice tells ABC Audio. "I try to lighten the mood and I'll tell [contestants] what they can do and can't do. But the judges, they have the hard job. They have to eat it. And then they dissect it." 

He adds, "The eating part...it's kind of easy. But to dissect it...'Were there eggs used in this? How, what was the temperature? Like that stuff? I do not care. Is there sugar in it? Is there butter in it?' -- you got me."  

For Sherri, the show's holiday edition is particularly fun: "[T]his is the time to bake!' So for us to be here, it's just a dream come true."

She explains the show's challenge, which has hopefuls baking in a tented outdoor facility in the U.K.

"Baking is a science, and that's what's fun about it," says Yard.  "[J]ust like a good hair day, you can have a great baking day...So you can come into the tent and could be very well versed and then your timing is just off, which...one thing leads to another and then it becomes a tidal wave and you're behind literally the eight ball and you're not finishing on time. So that's what makes so much fun!"

She teases about this season: "I'll just say that there's lots and lots of surprises and the challenges were over the top!"

Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition airs at 9 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.(LOS ANGELES) -- Viewers who tuned into Survivor: Island of the Idols on Wednesday night spotted an on-screen message informing them that controversial contestant Dan Spilo had been ejected.

Spilo, a TV producer and talent manager, had previously been accused of inappropriately touching two female contestants on the show. He had apologized on air for making them feel uncomfortable, but remained on the island.

However, his time on the reality show abruptly came to an end, as evidenced by Wednesday's message, which read, "Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player."

At the end of the Wednesday night's installment, host Jeff Probst told the remaining contestants the morning after tribal council that Spilo had been removed from the show.

As for what specifically happened off-camera that resulted in Spilo's ejection, Probst told Entertainment Weekly, "...out of respect for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t say anymore," giving the same answer when asked why producers elected not to inform the remaining contestants about the exact reason Spilo was ejected.

Probst also said that "conversations both internally and with outside organizations will continue" regarding how to handle any future incidents of inappropriate behavior.

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Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Warner Bros. has announced the release dates for a couple of its highly anticipated films  The studio has set May 21, 2021 for its still untitled Matrix film, while the long-awaited Flash movie is set for July 1, 2022 debut, according to The Hollywood Reporter

The former will reunite Keanu Reeves, Carrie Ann Moss, and Jada Pinkett Smith with director Lana Wachowski; new additions to the cast include Mindhunter and Frozen's Jonathan Groff; Aquaman and Watchmen actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; Game of Thrones and Iron Fist's Jessica Henwick, and Neil Patrick Harris.

The latter film -- starring Ezra Miller as the titular speedster introduced in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice -- was set for a 2018 release, but suffered numerous creative challenges.

It filmmaker Andy Muschietti is currently on board to helm, following departures of a series of directors including Rick Famuyiwa, who left after creative differences, and who went on to work on The Mandalorian among other projects.

In related studio shuffling news, Warner Bros. has moved the release of its Mortal Kombat reboot up six weeks to Jan. 15, 2021.

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David Dee Delgado / Stringer(NEW YORK) --Harvey Weinstein and his former company on Wednesday agreed to settle civil claims with his accusers, a person briefed on the deal tells ABC News.  The total settlement is worth about $47 million, with two-thirds of that -- roughly $31 million -- going to the accusers and the remainder going to the lawyers.

Weinstein and his attorneys declined to comment, citing confidentiality requirements.

The settlement comes less than a month before jury selection in his criminal trial is due to start on January 6.

The civil settlement was expected and will have no impact on the criminal case.

In a statement, Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, attorneys for two of the accusers, rejected the deal, saying, "It is shameful that $12 million of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein and it is even more outrageous that the proposed settlement will seek to bind non participating members by providing a release to the insurance companies and the directors of the Weinstein Company itself."

Wigdor and Mintzer add they "plan to vigorously object to any provision that tries to bind victims who want to proceed with holding Harvey Weinstein accountable for his actions which is exactly what we intend to do."

In a statement obtained by The New York Times, Rebecca Goldman, Chief Operating Officer of TIME’S UP Foundation expressed frustration, saying in part, “This settlement is more than a math problem -- it’s a symptom of a problematic, broken system that privileges powerful abusers at the expense of survivors."

“While this settlement is flawed, we know it represents the hard work of several survivors of Harvey Weinstein," she continued. "We hope it brings them, and perhaps others, some small measure of justice and relief that is long overdue."

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ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) -- The all-star cast of ABC's Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family, which aired back in May, are set to return for the next installment, the network announced on Wednesday.

Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Ellie Kemper and Ike Barinholtz will be reprising their respective roles as Archie and Edith Bunker and Mike and Gloria Stivik.  They'll be joined this time around by Kevin Bacon, Jesse Eisenberg and Justina Machado.

The first special also included a classic episode of The Jeffersons, with Kerry Washington and Will Ferrell portraying Helen and Tom Willis and Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson. Machado was originally lined up to play the Jefferson's maid, Florence Johnston, but was replaced by Marla Gibbs, who played Florence in the original series.

The upcoming installment will also tackle another classic Norman Lear sitcom, Good Times, although a cast has yet to be announced.

The first Live in Front of a Studio Audience scored big ratings and took home the Emmy for best live variety special.

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: "All in the Family" and "Good Times" airs December 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Amanda Edwards/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hayden Panettiere, who stopped posting to her social media last February, made an unexpected return to Twitter by showing off a shocking new look.

The Nashville actress traded her long blonde locks for a silvery buzzcut.  "Channeling my inner #Kirby #Scream4," the 30-year-old wrote.  Kirby is the character she played in the 2011 horror flick.  

She also thanked "my boys" at AnthonyLeonard Salon in NYC for completing her transformation.

Panettiere's social media accounts had been radio silent over the past 10 months.  Her last post was on February 7 of her five-year-old daughter, Kaya, whom she shares with ex-fiance, pro boxer Wladimir Klitschko.

The unannounced Twitter break coincided with the actress' personal struggles regarding her current boyfriend Brian Hickerson.

In May, Hickerson was charged with domestic violence and was later ordered by a judge to stay away from Hayden.  The case was ultimately dismissed in September and, soon after, the two started dating again.

Most recently, the pair spent Thanksgiving together as seen in photos posted to Hickerson's Instagram.

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L-R: John Boyega and Oscar Isaac in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"; Lucasfilm/Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- While Star Wars is one of the biggest fandoms in pop culture, it also can be the most divided.  For example, fans either loved or completely despised Marie Tran's character, Rose, in The Last Jedi.

Tran was famously bullied off Instagram by angry fans after the film hit theaters.  

In an interview with Variety, John Boyega didn't hold back on how he feels about all the intense debates raging within the Star Wars community. He called those who intentionally bring their negativity into the fandom, as they did with Tran, as "not mentally strong."

"You are weak to believe in every single thing that you read. That’s, you know, it is what it is. I don’t know, for me anyway, when I see that [backlash], I’m like, well, that’s actually not true," He stated before he was asked about another majorly divisive part in the Star Wars community: shipping, or, which character fans want to see become romantically involved.

When asked about all the characters Boyega's Finn is shipped with, he huffed, "What I don’t like is the conflict between ‘ships. I think it’s the most stupid thing in the world. This is “Star Wars.” It’s a big universe."  He adds, "Let’s all have fun! The conflict is when I’m like, all right, 'Let’s all calm down.'"

Boyega also joked that the fandom is called Star Wars and not "Tribal Wars."

John will make his next and perhaps final appearance as Finn in The Rise of Skywalker when it arrives in theaters December 20.  The film also stars Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Tran, and a posthumous Carrie Fisher.

Lucasfilm is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC.

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ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Good news: Charlize Theron has been nominated for a SAG Award for her work in Bombshell.  Bad news: she found out while she was wearing just a bathrobe.

While that doesn't sound that particularly bad, the issue is that her reaction was caught entirely on camera.  A friend of hers was recording as the list of nominees was announced on Wednesday.

When the 44-year-old learned Bombshell is up for the Outstanding Performance by a Cast award, she couldn't hold back her excitement.  Theron started jumping excitedly on her bed, only to flash everyone in the room.

The video, which she posted to Instagram, does censor out that particular part of her victory dance.  The video then picks back up as the actress sheepishly adjusts her robe while her friends laugh hysterically.

"Whoops. Got a bit too excited about the #SAGAwards nomination for our #BombshellMovie cast," Wrote Theron.  "CONGRATS ALL YOU BEAUTIFUL HUMANS!!! So grateful to have gone on this journey with you all."

Theron's friends and fellow cast members were quick to joke about her mishap in the comment section. Co-star Nicole Kidman laughed "The best reaction ever! Love you," while Aaron Paul wrote, "Yeah girl!!!" and included three bomb emojis.

Bombshell, which is about the Fox News scandal involving disgraced founder Roger Alias, arrives in theaters December 13.

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