With the Oscars around the corner and much of Hollywood still focused on the twists and turns of the presidency of Donald Trump, here's what's new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:

Movies Politics TV

If there's a 'Meryl Streep kind of moment' at the Oscars, will President Trump be too busy to respond?

Donald Trump at the Freedom Ball celebrating his inauguration in January. (Mark Tenally / Associated Press)
Donald Trump at the Freedom Ball celebrating his inauguration in January. (Mark Tenally / Associated Press)

In an awards season already rife with politically charged acceptance speeches, Sunday's Oscars ceremony could offer the most prominent platform of all.

And will President Trump, the target of most critiques so far, be tuned in?

That's what Debra Saunders, White House correspondent for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, wanted to know at Wednesday's briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

"The Oscars are Sunday night. Will the president be watching?" Saunders asked Spicer. "If there's a Meryl Streep kind of moment , how do you think he'll react? This has happened at other awards ceremonies. Why do you think this happens?"

The press corps chuckled at the question, and Spicer answered with a smile: "I have no idea. It's a free country. I think Hollywood is known for being rather far to the left in its opinions."

Spicer cast doubt on whether Trump would watch the Oscars, explaining that the president and first lady will already be busy Sunday.

"I think the president will be hosting the Governors Ball that night. Mrs. Trump looks forward to putting on a phenomenal event ... and I have a feeling that's where the president and first lady are going to be focused on on Sunday night," Spicer said.

Spicer was referring to an invitation-only evening with the president and first lady held at the White House during the National Governors Assn. winter meeting.

However, the NGA event begins at 6 p.m. Eastern and the Oscars don't begin until 8:30 p.m. Eastern, leaving plenty of time for the commander in chief to catch (or not catch) some of the show.

Check out the Times' complete Oscars coverage .

For the record: A previous version of this story misidentified the NGA event held Sunday night. The Reception for Governors will be held Feb. 27.


Watch Jimmy Fallon launch the Trump News Network

Jimmy Fallon appears as President Trump on "The Tonight Show." (Andrew Lipovsky / NBC)
Jimmy Fallon appears as President Trump on "The Tonight Show." (Andrew Lipovsky / NBC)

Comedy never takes a holiday, Jimmy Fallon.

"The Tonight Show" host featured a sketch Tuesday night all about President Trump launching his own (fictional) news network, TNN, to help combat the insidious threat of " fake news ."

In full Trump regalia, Fallon lampooned Trump's continued obsession with fake news, as well as his inaccurate implication that some violent episode transpired in Sweden .

The one problem with Fallon's sketch was that Presidents Day meant that "The Tonight Show" didn't air until Tuesday, so jokes that felt fresh Monday on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" and "Late Night With Seth Meyers" were now stale and, worse, outdated.

Zingers about Trump's Swedish confusion that were funny the day before were less so Tuesday, as news broke of rioting in a predominantly immigrant Stockholm suburb.

But Fallon's sketch still had plenty to laugh at, including Jo Firestone's stellar send-up of Betsy DeVos as a clueless weatherman, and a news ticker that simply said the president's name over and over.

See all the jokes, timely and otherwise, below.

Politics TV

Bill Maher takes credit for, but not glee in, the downfall of Milo Yiannopoulos

Bill Maher, left, listens to Milo Yiannopoulos on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher." (Janet Van Ham / HBO)
Bill Maher, left, listens to Milo Yiannopoulos on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher." (Janet Van Ham / HBO)

Bill Maher weighed in Tuesday on the swift downfall of Milo Yiannopoulos days after the controversial pundit had appeared on his HBO show, " Real Time ," last week.

"By the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, [Yiannopoulos is] dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through," Maher told the New York Times.

"As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant," added Maher. "You’re welcome."

Maher’s philosophy on exposure runs counter to the tack many late-night hosts took during the 2016 election. Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert faced criticism for their kid-glove treatment of Donald Trump during interviews, opting not to push the then-candidate on difficult issues.

When he appeared on "Real Time," Yiannopoulos was still a senior editor at Breitbart News, a self-styled provocateur who had been accused of espousing misogynistic, racist and anti-Muslim rhetoric while touting the protections of the 1st Amendment.

While his televised time with Maher was fairly anodyne — to the dismay of viewers who thought Maher should have challenged his guest — Yiannopoulos quickly fell from grace when a viral video surfaced revealing the pundit seeming to defend pedophilia.

Yiannopoulos denounced pedophilia on Tuesday, claiming the video was taken out of context, but in the meantime lost a speaking invitation at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a six-figure book deal with Simon & Schuster and resigned from his position at Breitbart .

Maher, however, wasn't joyous at the turn of events.

"I wasn’t trying to get him removed from society," Maher said, noting that some had tried to do exactly that to him many times over the years. "It just rubs me the wrong way when somebody says, 'I don’t like what this person is saying — he should go away.'"


Kaitlin Olson and 'The Mick' get second season renewal at Fox

Kaitlin Olson in Fox's "The Mick." (Fox)
Kaitlin Olson in Fox's "The Mick." (Fox)

It's always sunny for "The Mick."

The freshman Fox comedy starring Kaitlin Olson ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") scored a Season 2 renewal Tuesday.

“From the earliest stages of development, all of us at Fox had enormous faith in 'The Mick' and it hasn’t disappointed,” Fox president of entertainment David Madden said in a statement. “Kaitlin is a fearless comedic force, and the rest of the cast has just proven to be phenomenal. John and Dave Chernin have a very clear vision of what this show is, and they execute on that vision each week to perfection."

Olson stars as Mickey Murphy, who suddenly finds herself overseeing her sister's children, even though she can barely take care of herself.

Through its first nine episodes, “The Mick” has averaged a 1.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 3.61 million viewers the night it airs.

"The Mick" airs at 8:30 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday nights on Fox.


First cast photo from the 'Star Wars' Han Solo spinoff shows the early days aboard the Millennium Falcon

A portion of the cast from the upcoming "Star Wars" spinoff featuring the adventures of Han Solo. (Lucasfilm)
A portion of the cast from the upcoming "Star Wars" spinoff featuring the adventures of Han Solo. (Lucasfilm)

Principal photography has begun on the untitled Han Solo "Star Wars" spinoff film featuring the adventures of the space pirate and friends.

Lucasfilm released a photograph from the set of the film, currently in production at Pinewood Studios in London, featuring much of the cast posed around the flight console of the Millennium Falcon.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ("The Lego Movie") co-directors of the film, were photographed with cast members Woody Harrelson ("Zombieland"), Phoebe Waller-Bridge ("Fleabag"), Alden Ehrenreich ("Hail, Caesar!"), Emilia Clarke ("Game of Thrones") and Donald Glover ("Atlanta"). Thandie Newton ("Westworld") also stars in the film but was not featured in the photo. Chewbacca, portrayed by Joonas Suotamo, was, however.

Shooting for the film began Monday, but beyond the cast, which boasts Ehrenreich (pictured center, with leather jacket and a scruffy-looking nerf-herder hairstyle) as Solo and Glover (pictured right, who is beautiful, as always) as Lando Calrissian, little is known about the script penned by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan.

The film is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 25, 2018.


Josh Gad continues interrogating Daisy Ridley for 'Star Wars' spoilers

"Frozen” actor Josh Gad ’s longtime trolling for “Star Wars” spoilers from Daisy Ridley has reached peak nerdiness with some surprising celebrity “Star Wars” fanatics.

Ridley, who plays main character Rey in the new episodic “Star Wars” franchise, has been hounded for weeks for “Star Wars” information by her “Murder on the Orient Express” castmate Gad on the set of their film. Thankfully, for us, each surprise interrogation has been diligently recorded by Gad for the public’s viewing pleasure.

Movies Politics TV

SAG-AFTRA blasts Trump without ever saying his name

SAG-AFTRA released a statement Tuesday defending a free and unencumbered press, apparently as a response to President Trump's open disdain for the media. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)
SAG-AFTRA released a statement Tuesday defending a free and unencumbered press, apparently as a response to President Trump's open disdain for the media. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

SAG-AFTRA, the labor union representing approximately 160,000 film and television workers, released a statement Tuesday stating its unequivocal support of a free and unencumbered press and the protection of the 1st Amendment.

The statement comes after President Trump's first month in office, during which the commander in chief expressed open disdain for the news media.

Though the union makes no direct reference to the president's positions on journalistic outlets, the timing of its statement seems an unquestionable response to President Trump's position.

The full SAG-AFTRA statement is below.

As a union whose membership includes broadcast and online journalists, SAG-AFTRA champions the rights of a free press, whose primary role is to provide citizens with the information they need to effectively govern a democracy. These rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which establishes that the press shall be free from government interference in the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions.

SAG-AFTRA, journalists and non-journalists alike, supports a free and unencumbered press and stands with any journalist who might find his or her ability to report on our government challenged or compromised.

SAG-AFTRA believes first and foremost that citizens in a democracy need the truth. Furthermore, SAG-AFTRA believes that journalists have an obligation to monitor and question those in power, pointing out wrongdoing when they find it, noting when facts asserted are not supported by evidence, and reporting inconsistencies in the positions of public figures.

As working professionals, members of the news media have an obligation to verify the accuracy of what they report, with loyalty only to their readers, listeners and viewers and not to any political party, affiliation, or ideology.

As a proud labor union representing more than 160,000 broadcasters, actors and entertainers SAG-AFTRA stands with all of its members in ensuring that the basic rights of a free and independent press continue to be upheld.

Politics TV

Another month, another mockery: Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert harpoon Trump's Sweden gaffe

President Donald Trump gestures during his "Make America Great Again Rally" at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Fla. (AP Photo / Chris O'Meara)
President Donald Trump gestures during his "Make America Great Again Rally" at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Fla. (AP Photo / Chris O'Meara)

One month down, 47 (or 95) months to go.

As President Trump celebrated his first month in office Monday, late-night hosts lined up to take on his latest round of headlines.

Seth Meyers found plenty of reasons to break out his keenly honed Trump impression on Monday's "Late Night," opening the show with: "Today is Presidents' Day, and you just know Trump was up at the crack of dawn, ready to open presents."

Meyers mentioned Trump's comments from the weekend in which the President compared his war on the media to that of Abraham Lincoln, whom he claimed "fought with the media and called them out."

"Yep," Meyers deadpanned, "that's who Abraham Lincoln was most famous for warring with: The media."

But wait, there's more!

Meyers also dedicated his 10-minute segment "A Closer Look" to the latest weirdness from the White House, including Chris Christie's anecdote about Trump forcing him to order meatloaf on a recent visit.

"Of course, the meatloaf was actually a second course for Christie, after Trump made him swallow his pride," Meyers quipped, before taking aim at the president's recent Sweden gaffe.

The host of the NBC late-night series pointed out Trump's continued war on the free press, referencing a recent tweet in which the president called the media "the enemy of the American people" before talking about Trump's reference to a nonexistent "incident" in Sweden.

For its part, Sweden was mystified.

"That's how bad things have gotten under Trump," Meyers said, "We're getting roasted by Swedes now."

Trump's Swedish confusion came from a Tucker Carlson segment on Fox News on Friday night claiming an uptick in violent crime in the country that some attribute to immigration.

Over on "The Late Show," Stephen Colbert was similarly stymied by Trump's reference to "what's happening in Sweden."

"You look at what's happening last night in Sweden," the president said at his Florida rally. "Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden!"

"No one," responded Colbert, "would believe that."

"Not no one," he added, "but maybe someone who skips their intelligence briefings."

Colbert then pointed out that former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt had some choice words about Trump's comments on Twitter.

Check out all of Colbert's tribute to the nonexistent victims of the nonexistent attack on Sweden below. (#NeverFjorget)


'Oh, boy!' Zoe Saldana welcomes third child

Zoe Saldana and husband Marco Perego (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)
Zoe Saldana and husband Marco Perego (Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

It's children Vol. 3 for Zoe Saldana, who is now a mother of three boys.

The "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" star and husband Marco Perego welcomed their third child, and she announced his arrival over the weekend.

"Marco and I are elated to share the news of the the birth of our son Zen," she wrote Saturday on Instagram, posting a snapshot of her twins and her newborn as he was on tummy time. "We couldn’t feel more blessed with the new addition to our family. #threeboys... oh boy!"

As for his name, Zen, we bet that household is anything but these days.

The notoriously private star, 38, who often obscures her children's faces in social media posts, didn't offer up additional details about Zen. However, several of the "Avatar" and "Star Trek" actress' followers were flummoxed by the baby news and asked if she adopted Zen or used a surrogate since she showed no signs that she was pregnant at recent public appearances.

Saldana and Perego were spotted leaving Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles on Monday with the newborn, Us Weekly reported.

More details about the little guy will likely surface as Saldana embarks on the press tour for "Guardians Vol. 2" this spring. She was markedly pregnant with her twins during the previous film's publicity rounds.

Saldana and Perego, an Italian artist, wed in June 2013 and she gave birth to Cy Aridio and Bowie Ezio in November 2014.

Gossip TV

Special delivery: It's a girl for new mom Hoda Kotb

Surprise! Hoda Kotb is a new mom. The "Today" co-host has adopted a baby girl.

The wine-sipping TV personality, who's been absent from the her NBC morning show post and sharing all kinds of inspirational quotes on social media over the last week, announced on Tuesday that her daughter, Haley Joy Kotb, was born on Feb. 14.

“She’s a Valentine’s baby, so she’s a little nugget,” Kotb said while calling into the show and sharing a snapshot of her little girl. “She is the love of my life.”

The 52-year-old is getting a helping hand from her own mother, who arrived a few days ago to be with her daughter and granddaughter. Kotb said she is "among the strongest, most optimistic people I’ve ever met, because she believes anything is possible."

The "Today" family promptly shared their well wishes during the show and on social media.

Carson Daly told her she would be an "incredible mother," teasing: "You thought you drank a lot of wine before? You just wait."

Kotb's partner in wine, Kathy Lee Gifford, said she knew about the baby for some time but was tight-lipped.

"I’ve got the biggest mouth in the world and I’ve said zilch," she said. "Hoda, we are thrilled for you, sweetheart. You were made to be a mom."

Matt Lauer said Haley is "the luckiest girl on the planet," Jenna Bush Hager said she couldn't stop crying and Savannah Guthrie said she was "overjoyed."

Kotb is dating Joel Schiffman and moved in with him last year. She was previously married to tennis coach Burzis Kanga for two years before they divorced in 2007.


Donald Glover will play Simba in Jon Favreau's live-action 'Lion King' movie

Donald Glover continues his reign as Hollywood's hottest hire, as it appears he will soon become the King of the Jungle, Simba, in Disney's latest live-action adaptation.

Director Jon Favreau, who successfully brought "The Jungle Book" to life with voice actors such as Bill Murray, Idris Elba, and Scarlett Johansson, has moved onto his next big Disney project, "The Lion King." And it looks like he has found his lead Simba.

Tweeting from his personal account , Favreau released an image of Glover with the caption "I just can't wait to be king. #Simba." While we can't be sure if this means Glover will be voicing the character or participating in a motion capture type performance, we do know this. Donald Glover is so hot right now.

The actor took home multiple Golden Globes for the "Atlanta" series (on which he is an executive producer, writer and actor), he has been cast in the "Star Wars" origin movie about Han Solo as Lando Calrissian, and now he's going to star in a big-budget Disney flick.

There is currently no release date set for "The Lion King."

Update: And the Disney news just keeps coming. Shortly after this tweet Favreau announced yet another cast member for his "Lion King" and this one already has experience playing a king. James Earl Jones, will reprise his role as the voice of Mufasa. Truly, could anyone else fill that part?

Politics TV

Watch six late-night TV shows turn Trump news conference into one big joke

Late-night talk shows had a field day with President Trump's news conference. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Late-night talk shows had a field day with President Trump's news conference. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

If you, like so many Americans, were unable to spare the 77 minutes necessary to watch President Trump's Thursday news conference , late-night television has you covered.

So thoroughly covered, in fact, that it might take you just as long to watch all of the jokes as it would to sit through the conference itself.

Leading the charge against Trump's accusations of "fake news" was "Late Night With Seth Meyers," which opened with Meyers' shredding the original script for the evening's episode as he said, "Bye, dead jokes!"

Trevor Noah had a similar sentiment on "The Daily Show," explaining his team had a perfectly nice show planned out before Trump called his last-minute conference.

On "The Tonight Show," host Jimmy Fallon went full Trump and performed his own version of Trump's tangle with the media, settling at one point for breaking out a "Magic Trump 8 Ball" and reciting Trump catchphrases for an interminably long time.

Over on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," Kimmel seemed slightly dumbstruck by the events of the day, describing the president's attitude this way: "like if your dad found a pack of cigarettes under your mattress."

Kimmel then aired a super-cut of some of the most cringe-worthy moments, including the president's asking April Ryan, a black journalist with American Urban Radio Networks, if she could set up a meeting between him and the Congressional Black Caucus.

For his part, James Corden on "The Late Late Show" was gobsmacked that the president mentioned Hillary Clinton 11 times, "Even lovesick teenage boys are like, 'Move on, man. Let her go. She's gone .' "

Finally, Stephen Colbert and "The Late Show" spent a good 11 minutes examining the conference, at one point failing to find the words for what he saw.

Colbert then looked to how news networks themselves reacted to Trump's words, with Jake Tapper at CNN saying, "It was unhinged," and a Fox News correspondent who appeared shellshocked at what she'd witnessed stating, "Wow. Alrighty then."

For more extensive examinations of the Trump presidency from late-night shows, stay tuned for the next four years.


Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna split again

 (Greg Doherty / Getty Images)
(Greg Doherty / Getty Images)

Reality TV stars Rob Kardashian and fiancée Blac Chyna have reportedly ended their volatile relationship -- like, for real this time.

The "Rob & Chyna" stars, who have been romantically linked since January 2016 and who welcomed daughter Dream Renée in November, called it quits a while ago and their wedding plans are off, according to People .

“They are both trying to be mature about it. It was less dramatic this time," a Kardashian source told the mag.

Us Weekly reported that Kardashian thinks "it's the right decision," with sources noting that Chyna "has disappeared for days at a time without communicating or providing any updates."

Kardashian, 29, and Chyna, 28, real name Angela Renée White, first split in March 2016 then again just before Christmas following a public he-said-she-said that played out on their social media accounts. Chyna moved out of their home, along with their newborn daughter.

“Chyna is super fed up with Rob and thinks he is way too emotional and depressed. She thinks he has terrible issues,” an insider who knows the couple told Us of the latest split. “He is always battling his own insecurities and is unstable. It’s a major turn-off to her, and she thinks it’s incredibly unhealthy for the baby and their family.”

Chyna, a former stripper who shares a son with the boyfriend of Kardashian's half-sister Kylie Jenner, had been credited with bringing the recluse back into the spotlight by helping him work on his physical and mental health. The pair opened up about their history and showcased their heated arguments in their E! docu-series .

According to RadarOnline , Chyna was mainly going back to Kardashian because of business.

“Every time she tries to leave him, either he or his people come back with business reasons why they should keep the charade going for image or business purposes,” an insider told the site. “But she’s done with pretending and just wants out now.”

News of their coupling — soon followed by their engagement and pregnancy — solidified Chyna’s infiltration of the female-heavy reality TV dynasty. It also brought into question Chyna’s true motives, including whether she actually cared for Kardashian or was just making a strategic business move.

PewDiePie apologizes for anti-Semitic jokes but says the media took them out of context

Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg (Ray Tamarra / Getty Images)
Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg (Ray Tamarra / Getty Images)

PewDiePie is sorry that he made a joke in "not the best way" when trying to show " how crazy the modern world is ."

The Internet star, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, was dropped by Disney's Maker Studios earlier this week following scrutiny concerning anti-Semitic jokes and imagery in his videos.

YouTube also distanced itself from its top star amid the backlash , announcing the cancelation of the second season of Kjellberg's reality show, "Scare PewDiePie."

Following a Tumblr post on Sunday responding to the backlash to his Jan. 11 video (which included two Indian men holding up a sign with an anti-Semitic message), PewDiePie returned to YouTube on Wednesday to apologize and once again address the controversy.

"I'm sorry for the words that I used as I know they offended people," said PewDiePie. "I admit that the joke itself went too far. I do strongly believe that you can joke about everything, but I also believe that there's a right way and not the best way to joke about things."

He also took the occasion to attack mainstream media outlets, including Variety and the Wall Street Journal, which he accuses of misrepresenting him and taking his jokes out of context. He even called out J.K. Rowling.

"Old-school media does not like Internet personalities because they're scared of us," he said. "We have so much influence and such a large voice and I don't think they understand it and that's why they keep this approach to us."

He characterized the Journal story about the situation with Maker as a "personal attack," and said the publication cornered the biggest brands he worked with to force them to sever ties with him.

"If there's anything I've learned about the media from being a public figure is how they blatantly misrepresent people for their own personal gain," he said. "[They] even viciously attack people just to further themselves."

You can watch the full video here. (Warning: It contains profanity.)


After finally getting a wide release, Prince's streaming figures skyrocket

Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood on Feb. 18, 1985. (Liu Heung Shing / Associated Press)
Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood on Feb. 18, 1985. (Liu Heung Shing / Associated Press)

In life, Prince was one of streaming’s great holdouts. Now, less than a year after his death, his music has finally hit Spotify , Apple Music and the other major streaming services. And fans have stormed the gates to revisit his hit-heavy catalog.

Nielsen Music reported Thursday that after finally getting a wide release on Sunday, Prince’s streams have surged by a massive magnitude.

Those figures were no doubt boosted by the Grammys, where Bruno Mars and Prince collaborators the Time paid tribute in a medley performance on Sunday.


Mel Gibson in talks to direct 'Suicide Squad' sequel

Mel Gibson is in talks to direct the sequel of "Suicide Squad." (Andy Kropa / Invision)
Mel Gibson is in talks to direct the sequel of "Suicide Squad." (Andy Kropa / Invision)

F. Scott Fitzgerald said there were no second acts in American lives, but he never said anything about Hollywood careers.

Mel Gibson is in talks to direct the sequel of "Suicide Squad," the critically panned Warner Bros. supervillain film that nevertheless brought in more than $745 million at the box office.

Originally reported by the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, Gibson confirmed the rumors during a Q&A; after a "Hacksaw Ridge" screening Wednesday night at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

When asked by the moderator if his talks with the studio were more akin to a deal or a first date, Gibson replied, "It’s kind of a first date."

The news is the latest development in the career resurrection of the "Passion of the Christ" director.

Gibson had been a Hollywood pariah for nearly 10 years, following anti-Semitic remarks coupled with a drunken-driving arrest in 2006. But the "Lethal Weapon" actor finds himself back in the industry's good graces with "Hacksaw Ridge," his film about a conscientious objector fighting during World War II.

The acclaimed film is up for best picture at the Oscars next weekend, and Gibson scored a nomination for director, his first since he won both picture and director for "Braveheart" in 1996.

Despite Gibson's buzz, the director might make something of a strange pairing for a "Suicide" sequel, given his well-publicized opinions about superhero films.

"I’m not interested in the stuff," Gibson told Deadline in a September interview, after deriding " Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice ."

"Do you know what the difference between real superheroes and comic-book superheroes is? Real superheroes didn’t wear spandex," he added. "So I don’t know. Spandex must cost a lot."

Arts Music

Sara Bareilles to brave Broadway and star in 'Waitress'

Sara Bareilles will do a 10-week run on Broadway in "Waitress." (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Sara Bareilles will do a 10-week run on Broadway in "Waitress." (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

It's a role tailor made for Sara Bareilles to play.

The singer-songwriter announced Thursday that she will be joining the Broadway cast of " Waitress ," the Tony-nominated musical for which she wrote the music and lyrics, for a 10-week run beginning March 31.

Bareilles will take over the lead role of Jenna, a waitress and pie maker trapped in an unfulfilling life. Jessie Mueller, who originated the role, is departing at the end of March.

The musical is an adaptation of Adrienne Shelly's 2007 independent film of the same name.

"Waitress" scored four Tony Award nominations in 2016 -- for musical, lead actress, featured actor, and Bareilles' score. The cast and Bareilles were also nominated at the 2017 Grammy Awards for musical theater album.

Bareilles’ limited engagement in “Waitress” runs March 31-June 11.

Los Angeles theater fans not heading to New York can catch a Bareilles-less “Waitress” when it debuts at the Hollywood Pantages in August.


Ryan Murphy reveals the next 'American Horror Story': The 2016 election (seriously)

In its six seasons so far, Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story" series has centered around a haunted house, an asylum for the criminally insane, a touring freak show, an isolated farmhouse, a supernatural hotel and the hometown of a coven of witches.

So it makes perfect sense that the seventh season of the horror-themed show will look at the 2016 presidential contest.

Wait, what?!? Even chatty host Andy Cohen was rendered briefly speechless when showrunner Murphy dropped that news Wednesday night on "Watch What Happens Live."

"I don't have a title," Murphy said, "but the season we start shooting in June will be about the election that we just went through. So I think that will be interesting for a lot of people."

Music TV

You can exhale: Mariah Carey redeemed herself on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' last night

After a rough New Year's Eve gig left people wondering, Mariah Carey reminded the world Wednesday night that she can indeed pull off a live performance.

The pop princess redeemed herself on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" after difficulties ( technical and otherwise ) foiled her performance on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest."

And we're going to be generous and assume she was singing live on Kimmel, although it's hard to tell at times, and clearly she was getting an assist from a backing track.

Donning a slinky red dress, Carey sang her new song "I Don't," an anthem inspired by the chanteuse's high-profile broken engagement with Australian billionaire James Packer.

In the song's music video , Carey sets fire to a wedding dress as she asserts, "Probably think I’m coming back, but I don’t."

Rapper YG, the featured artist on "I Don't," joined Carey for her "Kimmel" performance, which was likely great practice for Carey, who launches a North American tour in March.

'Everybody's awake': Watch Susan Sarandon defend her Bernie Sanders vote and scold MSNBC's Chris Hayes

Susan Sarandon last month. (Richard Shotwell / Invision)
Susan Sarandon last month. (Richard Shotwell / Invision)

During the 2016 presidential campaign, actress and staunch Bernie Sanders supporter Susan Sarandon drew heat for telling MSNBC's Chris Hayes that she couldn't bring herself to vote for Hillary Clinton, even if it meant that Donald Trump would win the election.

"Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately," she said at the time.

On Wednesday evening, MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes" aired a new interview with Sarandon, who appeared with "Gasland" director Josh Fox.

"Do you feel that you properly appreciated what a Donald Trump presidency would be?" Hayes asked.

"I think that ... analyzing and spending time and energy talking about blaming people who made mistakes or what should have happened is really wasting your time and energy," Sarandon said. "Because what we have now is a populace that is awake."

Discussing Trump, she said, "He's so clumsy and so bad at putting these things through that everybody's awake and saying, 'Oh, my god, what's happening to the EPA?'"

"Which in some ways," Hayes responded, "you could see as a vindication of what you said.... Is it bringing the revolution?"

"I really am not a proponent for trying to have a revolution when we could have had peaceful change.... We could have had a revolution that was a legal revolution. I would much rather have seen it with a leader like Bernie Sanders."

Looking forward, she said, "What we have to do now is spend our time and energy focusing on how to fight what's going on. And so when people are attacking me or trying to say this could have happened.... Really? That's where we want to spend our time and energy?"

She next turned her attention to Hayes. "You're a journalist," she said. "How many hours did you spend on Standing Rock?... What we need from you is to allow people to understand what's happening."

She and Fox then got into a discussion of pipeline protests, which they predicted will spread across the country in reaction to the new administration.

"The good thing about this horrible thing of having Trump is that people are awake and they're participating and they're having town meetings," Sarandon said. "This guy is so fumbling that he's given a whole lesson in how things work, or don't work."

She concluded, "As Leonard Cohen said, 'The cracks are [how] the light comes in.' And so now we have to be the light."

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