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Former E! News anchor Catt Sadler said she left the network over unequal pay.
Former E! News anchor Catt Sadler said she left the network over unequal pay. (Dimai/Rex Shutterstock)

Former E! News anchor Catt Sadler has become a symbol for gender pay inequality since she left the cable network after determining her male counterpart Jason Kennedy earned twice as much as she did.

Sadler’s move even became a topic on the red carpet for the 75th Golden Globe Awards. “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing told E! correspondent Giuliana Rancic that she was “shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male co-hosts.”

But Frances Berwick, who oversees E! as president of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s lifestyle networks, took to the stage at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena on Tuesday to dispute Sadler’s account.

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Darren Criss, left, Edgar Ramírez, Ryan Murphy, Penélope Cruz and Ricky Martin appear at the premiere of their new FX series Monday.
Darren Criss, left, Edgar Ramírez, Ryan Murphy, Penélope Cruz and Ricky Martin appear at the premiere of their new FX series Monday. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Producer Ryan Murphy has fired back at the Versace family for accusing him of creating a work of fiction in his forthcoming anthology, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”

It’s the latest pushback from the real-life subjects of Murphy’s growing portfolio of docudramas — the showrunner’s namesake production company and  FX Networks already are embroiled in a legal battle with veteran actress Olivia de Havilland over her portrayal in 2017’s “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

Though the Versace family has not taken or threatened legal action about its representation in “The Assassination,” its recent statement on the series wholly summarized it as an unauthorized project that the Italian design house had no involvement in. 

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  • Late-night

Oprah Winfrey’s speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes on Sunday night was so powerful that many people believe she should now consider running for president. But on Monday night Stephen Colbert offered a note of caution.

Colbert kicked off his “Late Show” monologue by admitting that “her speech was so moving, even for Oprah.”

“People were immediately calling that speech ‘presidential.’ And a year ago, I would have agreed,” said Colbert. “These days, it played a little coherent.”

Katy Perry talks about ABC's upcoming reboot of "American Idol" at the 2018 Television Critics Assn. winter press tour.
Katy Perry talks about ABC's upcoming reboot of "American Idol" at the 2018 Television Critics Assn. winter press tour. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

For anyone wondering how ABC plans to put a new twist on “American Idol,”  a show that has been off the airwaves for less than two years, a panel Monday at the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour cleared things up… a little. 

Returning host Ryan Seacrest was joined by the show’s new trio of judges — pop star Katy Perry, country singer Luke Bryan and R&B legend Lionel Richie — and a team of producers to discuss the revival, which premieres in March.

Details about the show were scant, while talk of “dreams coming true” and “inspiration” was plentiful. But here’s the information we were able to glean: 

  1. None of the judges could name the winners of the last three seasons of “American Idol” — Perry dodged the question from a reporter, who was making the point that in its later seasons, the Fox version of “American Idol” was no longer churning out actual American idols, with the declaration that “literally, we are wasting our time if we do not find a star.” Her fellow judges were similarly evasive. (For the record, the winners in question were Trent Harmon, Nick Fradiani and Caleb Johnson.) 
  2. No one is really the new Simon Cowell, but Perry comes closest — When the panel was asked who would be the “bad cop” of the revival, Perry replied, “I’m blunt, but I can’t be mean because I’m a woman.” Showrunner Trish Kinane  said they weren’t looking to replicate the success of the original by finding another Cowell or a Randy Jackson type. That said, Perry is “brutally honest,” according to Kinane. “If she doesn’t think they’ve got what it takes, she will try and steer them somewhere else.”
  3. Don’t expect another William Hung —  Kinane told reporters that the show wouldn’t feature so many bloopers of people who can’t sing. “It doesn’t feel comfortable to put borderline unstable people up and laugh at them,” she said, sounding very unlike a reality television producer. “We want the humor, but we don’t want the exploitation.”
  4. But also don’t expect the show to be all that different from the original — “There’s been a lot of talk about how is this show different. You’ve got three different faces. You have different contestants. But to change the show drastically in terms of format, I think, would be a mistake,” Seacrest said, emphasizing that, at its core, “American Idol” is basically the same as ever. “We go out. We look for young, talented people. They see the judges. They come back to Hollywood and then they’ll have to step up.”
  5. Seacrest wears Uggs on the plane — The host spends a lot of time flying back and forth from Los Angeles to New York, where he hosts “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” and he likes to be comfortable. This information is not necessarily that relevant to “American Idol,” but we felt the need to share it anyway. 
  • Celebrity
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

“Girls” star and creator Lena Dunham and longtime beau Jack Antonoff have called it quits.

Dunham’s rep confirmed to The Times on Tuesday that the outspoken actress and the Grammy-nominated musician’s “breakup was amicable,” but gave no word on when the couple parted ways.

The pair originally met in 2012 on a blind date set up by Antonoff’s sister and comic Mike Birbiglia. They instantly hit it off, soon moved into her Brooklyn home together and adopted a dog.

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“CBS This Morning” co-host and longtime Oprah Winfrey best buddy Gayle King found herself in the hot seat Tuesday morning, as her colleagues voiced the question that America has been asking for days: “Will Oprah run?”

The answer was a definitive probably not (but maybe).

King suggested that Winfrey’s beau, Stedman Graham, had “misinterpreted” the question when a Los Angeles Times reporter asked him at Sunday night’s Golden Globes if he thought Winfrey would run for president.

  • Birthdays
(Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times)

I would make a lousy rock star. I don’t have the right voice for it. I don’t have the ‘sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll’ spirit. But the greatest flattery in the last couple of years is being called a ‘badass’ by young singers.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Joan Baez, rock star? Believe it

  • Music
James Taylor will team up with Bonnie Raitt at the Hollywood Bowl later this year.
James Taylor will team up with Bonnie Raitt at the Hollywood Bowl later this year. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

James Taylor will return to the Hollywood Bowl in May for a pair of headlining shows with fellow perennial hit-maker Bonnie Raitt.

Backed by his band of all-star players, Taylor will hit the Bowl on May 31 and June 1, with tickets going on sale Jan. 19 through Ticketmaster. The performances are part of a joint tour by the two legends, with dates kicking off in early May.

The tour comes on the heels of Taylor’s 2015 comeback album, “Before This World,” his first No. 1 record (and first in 13 years). Raitt has also revved up in recent years, releasing a pair of well-received albums, 2012’s “Slipstream” and 2016’s “Dig in Deep.”

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PaleyFest LA 2018 will feature an evening celebrating Barbra Streisand.
PaleyFest LA 2018 will feature an evening celebrating Barbra Streisand. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

From queens to handmaids, doctors to dorks, PaleyFest LA 2018 has a little something for everyone.

The Paley Center for Media announced Tuesday the lineup for its 35th-anniversary festival celebrating television, including panels with the casts and crews of some of the most acclaimed shows on the air. 

“Queen Sugar,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Good Doctor” and “Silicon Valley” will all be featured during the event, which will take place March 16-25 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. 

Freddie Highmore and Dylan Kingwell in a scene from the ABC series “The Good Doctor.”
Freddie Highmore and Dylan Kingwell in a scene from the ABC series “The Good Doctor.” (Jack Rowand/ABC)

ABC will take some advice from “The Good Doctor” when developing new shows for next season.

“I do want to focus on shows that are lighter, brighter, more emotional, shows that give the audience a chance to connect and to feel,” ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said Monday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena.

Dungey believes the success of “The Good Doctor” is a signal that viewers are looking for emotional uplift. The series starring Freddie Highmore as a surgeon with autism and Savant syndrome is the biggest new drama of the season.