Today in Entertainment: Oprah Winfrey to join ’60 Minutes’ as contributor; AFI voices support for Asghar Farhadi

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Major award shows such as the Grammys and the Oscars are right around the corner, but much of the arts and entertainment world is spending more time reacting to the new presidency of Donald Trump and his recent executive order on immigration. Here’s what’s new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:

    Trump protest to hit the stage Tuesday night in North Hollywood

    Artists' responses to President Trump have included this 40-page tabloid comic drawn by women. On Tuesday night, the artistic resistance moves to the stage.
    (Carolina Miranda / Los Angeles Times)

    Another artistic protest over Donald Trump takes center stage in North Hollywood on Tuesday night as a group called Artists Rise Up Los Angeles presents work critical of the new president’s temperament and policies.

    Organizers of the show, “E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One,” say their group consists of more than 100 actors, performance artists, filmmakers, directors, writers, singers, dancers, photographers and others. It was formed following the presidential election in conjunction with similar Artists Rise Up groups across the country.

    Tuesday’s show, which starts at 7 p.m. at the El Portal Theatre, is expected to follow Trump’s announcement of his nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

    The Artists Rise Up program will include short plays and scenes, music, dance, spoken word, art installations and multimedia presentations related to the election. Participants include “Hamilton” Broadway cast members Karla Garcia and David Guzman, Arab American actor and writer Peter Sabri and photographer Rollence Patugan.

    You can read about other artists’ protests in Carolina Miranda’s roundup.

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    Ellen DeGeneres uses ‘Finding Dory’ to critique Trump’s travel ban

    Ellen DeGeneres took a moment Tuesday to register her disapproval of President Trump’s travel ban by way of her hit film “Finding Dory.”

    On Saturday, Trump held a screening of the film at the White House, just a day after signing the executive order restricting travel for refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

    After clarifying that she doesn’t like to get political, DeGeneres launched into an explanation of the plot of “Finding Dory” and what message she hopes viewers take from it.

    “Dory arrives in America with her friends Marlin and Nemo. She ends up at the Marine Life Institute behind a large wall. They all have to get over the wall and you won’t believe it, but that wall has almost no effect in keeping them out,” DeGeneres joked, to audience approval, a clear reference to the president’s plans to build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border.

    “Even though Dory gets into America, she ends up separated from her family, but the other animals help Dory. Animals that don’t even need her. Animals that don’t have anything in common with her,” DeGeneres explained.

    “They help her, even though they’re completely different colors. Because that’s what you do when you see someone in need -- you help them,” DeGeneres concluded.

    The host of “The Ellen Show” was not alone in speaking out about the travel ban. The topic proved popular in many late-night shows Monday night.

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    AFI voices support for Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi

    Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi in Los Angeles in early 2017.
    Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi in Los Angeles in early 2017.
    (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

    The American Film Institute issued a statement Tuesday in support of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who recently announced that he would be boycotting this year’s Academy Awards ceremony in protest of President Trump’s executive order blocking refugees and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

    Farhadi, whose “The Salesman” is Oscar-nominated for foreign language film, has served as artist-in-residence at the AFI Conservatory — where students can earn a master of fine arts degree in cinematography, directing, editing, producing, production design and screenwriting — for the last two years.

    Here’s AFI’s full statement:

    Asghar Farhadi has served as Artist-in-Residence for the past two years at the AFI Conservatory, and his classes had a profound impact upon the 250 young men and women who attend AFI from around the world.

    The AFI Conservatory stands with artists and filmmakers who find the power of creation through freedom of expression and freedom of movement. We believe any form of censorship — including the restriction of travel — to be against all values we cherish as a community of storytellers.

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    Pedro Almodovar to head 2017 Cannes Film Festival jury

    Pedro Almodovar
    (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

    Pedro Almodovar is set to head the jury of the Cannes Film Festival when the prestige gathering kicks off May 17.

    The Spanish auteur, who has brought five films to competition, will return to a group he first served with a quarter-century ago. In 1992, Almodovar was a part of a jury headed by Gerard Depardieu; the group selected Bille August’s “My Best Intentions” for the top prize, the Palme d’Or.

    In a statement, Almodovar said he was “aware of the responsibility that entails being the president of the jury and I hope to be up to the job.” Festival organizers called the director a “unique and hugely popular artist.”

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    In the final ‘Beauty and the Beast’ trailer, everything as old as time is brand new again

    Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans star in the live-action movie “Beauty and the Beast.”

    The final trailer for Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” has been released and it’s full of familiar scenes and sounds.

    The upcoming film will see Emma Watson as Belle, a girl “so ahead of [her] time.” As the trailer reveals, Belle goes to live with the Beast, played by Dan Stevens, in order to save her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline).

    The trailer also features the pair in various iconic scenes familiar to fans of the original 1991 film, from the ballroom dance to the way they eat their soup.

    “Beauty and the Beast” also includes Luke Evans as Gaston; Josh Gad as Lefou; and Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson as Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts, respectively.

    While it has been touted that the film will feature the original music as well as some brand-new songs, the latest trailer sticks to the classic title track of the soundtrack, this time sung by Ariana Grande and John Legend.

    “Beauty and the Beast” is set for a March 17 release. Watch the trailer above.

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    James Corden protests Trump’s travel ban by showing how easy it is for ‘white and Christian’ immigrants

    “The Late Late Show” host James Corden is the latest Hollywood personality to speak out against President Trump’s executive order blocking refugees and nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.

    The British comedian released a video on Monday showing how easy it is for him at LAX as he makes his way through the airport from check-in to boarding. The only early hint that the simple video may be political is the brief glimpse of protesters as he enters his terminal.

    The video ends with a simple yet poignant message: “Freedom of movement should be this easy for all legal immigrants. Not just the white and Christian ones.”

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    Taraji P. Henson, Sterling K. Brown among 48th NAACP Image Awards presenters

    Octavia Spencer, left, Janelle Monáe and Taraji P. Henson will present at the 48th NAACP Image Awards.
    (Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images)

    The 48th NAACP Image Awards will have a slew of Oscar, Emmy and SAG award nominees and winners handing out trophies at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Feb. 11.

    Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe of “Hidden Figures,” Sterling K. Brown of “This Is Us,” “Insecure” producer-actress Issa Rae and Mykelti Williamson of “Fences” are among the first group of presenters revealed, as are Image Awards nominees Mike “Lucas Cage” Colter and Trevor Noah, host of “The Daily Show.”

    Anthony Anderson, star of “black-ish,” will host the live two-hour broadcast, which airs at 9 p.m. on TV One, and a red carpet pre-show featuring host Nischelle Turner kicks off live at 7:30 p.m. Both shows are tape-delayed on the West Coast.

    The NAACP Image Awards celebrate the accomplishments of people of color in TV, music, literature and film and also honor individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

    LeBron James and Harvard Law professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. already have been announced as recipients of the Jackie Robinson Sports Award and the Chairman’s Award, respectively.

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    Oprah Winfrey to join ’60 Minutes’ as the first contributor in the program’s history

    Oprah Winfrey in Los Angeles on Oct. 17.
    Oprah Winfrey in Los Angeles on Oct. 17.
    (John Salangsang / Associated Press)

    Oprah Winfrey is joining the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” as a contributor.

    The talk show host, actress, cable network owner and producer will appear in several segments a year on the program starting this fall, CBS News announced Tuesday.

    “I’ve been a big admirer of ‘60 Minutes’ since my days as a young reporter,” Winfrey said in a statement. “I’m so excited and proud to join forces with this historic news program, which for me represents the bastion of journalistic storytelling.”

    It’s the first time in the program’s history that “60 Minutes” has had a contributor.

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    NBC’s critically acclaimed ‘The Good Place’ scores a second season

    NBC is looking to prove that “The Good Place” is all around us.

    The network announced Monday a 13-episode second season renewal for the Mike Schur (“Parks and Recreation”) series, featuring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson mired in an afterlife where things are not always as straightforward as they appear.

    “The Good Place” ended its first 13-episode season with a deliciously twisty finale on Jan. 19.

    “Mike Schur has always had one of the most fertile and imaginative minds in comedy, but what he brought us with the first season of ‘The Good Place’ was just extraordinary,” Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. “We absolutely can’t wait to see where these characters go, literally, in season two. A big thank you to Mike, the writers and cast for delivering a series in which we all take such enormous pride.”

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    Celebrities join LAX protest of travel ban

    Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony showed that the current U.S. political upheaval, particularly in light of Friday’s executive order blocking refugees and nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the country, is not far from Hollywood’s mind.

    But some celebrities took their political activism a step further and joined public protests at Los Angeles International Airport to voice their displeasure at what they view as a divisive and hateful policy.

    A wide array of Hollywood talents made their way to Tom Bradley International Terminal, including Joss Whedon, Alia Shawkat, Ellen Page, Chloë Grace Moretz, Kumail Nanjiani, Tim Robbins.

    Check out their social media coverage of the LAX protest below.

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    Sony takes nearly $1-billion write down on struggling movie business

    Sony Corp. has announced a nearly $1-billion write down on its movie business, an extraordinary step for the struggling studio.

    The Tokyo-based tech and entertainment giant said Monday that it took the impairment charge against its pictures segment after evaluating the future profitability of the movie business, which has lagged its competitors in recent years as it tried to recover from a massive 2014 cyberattack.

    Sony Pictures ranked fifth out of the six major studios last year in terms of box office market share, with disappointments including “Ghostbusters” and “Passengers.” Its slate of upcoming movies for this year includes “Smurfs: The Lost Village” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

    Read MoreMORE: With Michael Lynton’s exit, what’s next for Sony Pictures?

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    ‘This is not a joke’: Samantha Bee to host ‘Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner’

    Samantha Bee, host of "Full Frontal With Samantha Bee," is hosting "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" in April.
    Samantha Bee, host of “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” is hosting “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” in April.
    (Evan Agostini / Invision )

    Sorry, President Trump. Samantha Bee will be unavailable to host the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

    “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” announced Monday that it would be hosting “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” on April 29 in Washington, D.C., the same night as this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner is scheduled to take place.

    “Executives at TBS offered their full support of the gala by nodding politely and then muttering under their breath as we turned around,” Bee quipped in a statement released Monday. “The evening is sure to bring plenty of surprises, music, food, and laughter — and if you’re not careful, you just might learn something. Specifically, you’ll learn how screwed we’d be without a free press.”

    The correspondents’ dinner is traditionally attended by the president and vice president and often includes a roast of the commander in chief and his administration.

    Given President Trump’s distrust of the media, which he’s described as “the opposition party,” “very dishonest people” and “fake news,” it’s unclear how much roasting will take place.

    Or, as the statement from “Full Frontal” put it: “We suspect some members of the press may find themselves unexpectedly free that night, and we want to feed them and give them hugs.”

    The proceeds from the Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    “We’re really doing this,” said Bee. “This is not a joke.”

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    2017 SAG Awards live updates

    Bryce Dallas Howard, left, a nominee for "Black Mirror," and Viola Davis, a nominee for "Fences," arrive at the 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium.
    (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

    The 23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards have turned into a political affair with stars on the red carpet and on the podium directly addressing the political climate. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, William H. Macy and the cast of “Orange Is the New Black” all mentioned President Donald Trump and his policies in accepting their awards. “Manchester by the Sea” leads the field among the film nominees with four nominations, with “Fences” and “Moonlight” also in the running for three awards each.

    LIVE UPDATES: 2017 SAG Awards

    Complete list of 2017 SAG Awards winners and nominees

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    Writers Guild of America calls travel ban ‘un-American’; stands behind Asghar Farhadi

    Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, whose film "The Salesman" is nominated for an Oscar.
    (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

    The Writers Guild of America released a statement Sunday calling President Trump’s travel ban both “unconstitutional” and “deeply wrong” as well as voicing support for Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who has declined his invitation to the Oscar ceremony, despite his film “The Salesman” being nominated for foreign language film.

    “It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into,” said Michael Winship, president of Writers Guild of America East and Howard A. Rodman, president of Writers Guild of America, in a joint statement.

    “The Writers Guilds of America, East and West condemn Donald Trump’s profoundly un-American ‘Muslim ban,’ and applaud the federal court’s decision to grant a stay that will keep those being held at American airports from being forcibly returned to their countries. Human rights – including the freedoms of speech and religion – are essential to all Americans and to all who come here to build better lives,” said Winship and Rodman.

    Trump signed an executive order Friday suspending refugee arrivals and banning entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran and Syria.

    In response to the ban, Farhadi stated Sunday that he would not be attending the Academy Awards ceremony as “condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots.”

    “We are especially troubled by reports that Asghar Farhadi, director of ‘The Salesman,’ which won Best Screenplay at Cannes and is now nominated for an Oscar, may together with his cast and crew be prevented from entering our country,” Winship and Rodman stated. “From its early days, the entertainment industry has been built by the imagination of immigrants. Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from other nations, and of varying beliefs, who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful to them, we stand with them, we will fight for them.”

    The travel ban also means that the Syrian Civil Defense volunteers who served as the subjects of Academy Award-nominated documentary short “The White Helmets” will also be unable to attend the ceremony.

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    French actress Emmanuelle Riva dies at 89

    Emmanuelle Riva, whose unflinching portrayal of an elderly woman in the 2012 end-of-life drama “Amour” earned her international acclaim and the distinction of being the oldest nominee for a lead actress Oscar, has died. She was 89.

    Riva, a star of early French New Wave cinema whose career spanned more than 50 years, died Friday afternoon in a Paris clinic after a long illness, her agent, Anne Alvares Correa, told the Associated Press.

    As Anne Laurent in “Amour,” Riva depicted the slow decline of a proud woman as the ravages of age beset her, a performance film critics lauded both for its power and lack of sentimentality. Alongside French screen giant Jean Louis Trintignant, who played her doting but frustrated husband, the French-language film was a stark portrait of a couple’s love in the last days of life.

    “I was ripe. It was the perfect time for me to become this character,” Riva, then 85, told The Times in December 2012. “I wasn’t playing the part … I was being.”

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    PETA protests ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ at Hollywood theater

    (Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

    Lisa Lange said her dog’s purpose is to sleep on rainy days and play with toys.

    It’s not, she said, to be a prop in a film so “Hollywood producers can make a buck.”

    Lange, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was among dozens of demonstrators who gathered outside the Arclight theater in Hollywood on Friday asking people to boycott the film “A Dog’s Purpose,” which on its opening night was already at the center of an animal abuse controversy.

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    PETA’s ‘Dog’s Purpose’ protest set for Friday night at ArcLight Hollywood

    Family-friendly film “A Dog’s Purpose” remains at the center of a maelstrom of controversy after video of a frightened German shepherd being forced into rushing water during filming went viral last week.

    Though distributor Universal Pictures canceled the film’s red carpet premiere and promotional press junket, PETA announced Thursday plans to protest the opening night of “A Dog’s Purpose” at ArcLight Hollywood.

    “No amount of spin from Hollywood will change the fact that being forced to do a terrifying stunt is not a dog’s purpose,” said PETA’s senior vice president, Lisa Lange, in Thursday’s statement. “PETA is calling on kind people to boycott this film and send the message that animals should be treated humanely, not exploited and abused as movie props.”

    PETA’s protest is scheduled to take place at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles at 5:45 p.m. Friday.

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    President Trump calls Madonna ‘disgusting’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’ ‘a failing show’

    President Trump commemorated his first week in office with a sit-down interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity at the White House on Thursday night. He weighed in on a variety of topics, from the media (“dishonest and disgusting”) to waterboarding (“really wasn’t torture”) to the border wall (“necessary”).

    Trump also took aim at Madonna’s controversial speech at the Women’s March on Washington.

    “Honestly, she’s disgusting. I think she hurt herself very badly. I think she hurt that whole cause,” Trump said.

    In her speech Saturday, Madonna told the crowd, “Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.”

    The singer continued, “But I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair.”

    Madonna later took to Instagram to clarify her remarks.

    “I am not a violent person,” she wrote. “I do not promote violence, and it’s important people hear and understand my speech in its entirety rather than one phrase taken wildly out of context.”

    “I thought what she said was disgraceful to our country,” Trump said of the speech.

    Trump also addressed his latest flap with “Saturday Night Live.” Katie Rich, one of the show’s writers, was suspended indefinitely after making a joke on Twitter suggesting that Barron Trump would become “this country’s first homeschool shooter.”

    “It’s a failing show, and Alec Baldwin’s a disaster,” Trump said. “But for NBC to attack my 10-year-old son is a disgrace.”

    Barron Trump is not the first presidential offspring to draw criticism from the late-night comedy show. In 1992, a “Wayne’s World” sketch featuring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey dissecting the looks of then-12-year-old Chelsea Clinton.

    “Adolescence has been thus far unkind,” the men stated, before tacking on that “she could turn into a babe in waiting.”

    After criticism levied by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, “SNL” opted to exclude the sketch from future airings. Executive producer Lorne Michaels explained the decision by saying, “We felt, upon reflection, that if it was in any way hurtful, it wasn’t worth it. She’s a kid, a kid who didn’t choose to be in public life.”

    Watch Madonna’s speech here (warning: graphic language).

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    Watch Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik trash their posh hotel rooms in new ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ video

    Your Friday just got a little more angsty. Pop stars Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik just dropped a new video for their slow jam “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack.

    “I’ve been looking sad in all the nicest places,” Swift sings on the slinky R&B song.

    The video shows the “Bad Blood” and “Pillowtalk” singers wandering around a luxury hotel alone and trashing their rooms.

    Shot in shades of red, green, and blue (get it?) at London’s St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, they’re in the same space but do not interact until the very end. The video is a nod to the “Fifty Shades” franchise — the back and forth, the opulence, and the lingerie.

    “Fifty Shades Darker” will be in theaters Feb. 10.

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    ‘Mannix’ star Mike Connors dies at 91

    Mike Connors, who played a hard-hitting private eye on the long-running TV series “Mannix,” has died. He was 91.

    His son-in-law, Mike Condon, says the actor died Thursday afternoon at a Los Angeles hospital from recently diagnosed leukemia. His death comes a day after another late ‘60s/early ‘70s TV star — Mary Tyler Moore — passed away.

    “Mannix” debuted on CBS in 1967 and ran for eight years.

    Viewers were intrigued by the smartly dressed, well-spoken Los Angeles detective who could still mix it up with thugs. Episodes normally climaxed with a brawl.

    Connors once said that until “Mannix,” TV private investigators were hard-nosed and cynical, while Mannix “got emotionally involved” in his cases.

    Connors also starred in the short-lived TV shows “Tightrope” and “Today’s FBI.” His movie roles included “Sudden Fear” with Joan Crawford, “Island in the Sky,” ’’The Ten Commandments,” and a remake of “Stagecoach.”

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    Cast members of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ remember MTM

    As indelible as Mary Tyler Moore’s mark on American culture was, her influence was even more powerful on those lucky enough to work with her, particularly on the iconic “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

    Ed Asner, who played Mary Richards’ (Moore) cantankerous boss Lou Grant, said of Moore’s passing, “I lost a great friend, teacher, a great benefactor all of whom l loved.”

    “A line from our theme song was ‘Love is all around,’ and that’s what it was for five days a week for seven years straight on the ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ set,” Gavin MacLeod told The Times in a statement Wednesday.

    “It was all because of Mary! She was professional; she was extremely creative with a terrific sense of humor and a gifted actress. She set a pace for all of us to follow,” said MacLeod, who co-starred in the series as scriptwriter Murray Slaughter.

    MacLeod called Moore a wonderful, loving and caring person, who was rightfully considered America’s sweetheart, adding, “Today, ‘sadness is all around’ for all of us and I will miss Mary, deeply.”

    John Amos, who played weatherman Gordon “Gordy” Howard on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” from 1970 to 1973, when he left the show to star in Norman Lear’s “Good Times,” had nothing but fond things to say about his former castmate.

    “When I think of Mary, I think of comedy at its finest. She was an inspiration to so many of us,” Amos told The Times. “I would say that the best opportunity that I could have to enter into serious television was ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show.’ She was a star of the first magnitude and a truly gracious lady. She was a joy to work with.”

    Georgia Engel, who played the lovably kooky Georgette, wife to anchor Ted Baxter (the late Ted Knight), said, “She was my beloved friend, I loved her very much. She helped launch my career. She will be missed greatly.”

    Cloris Leachman, who played Richards’ frenemy Phyllis Lindstrom for five years, before landing her own eponymous spinoff, tweeted Wednesday afternoon, confirming what fans had long suspected: that public perception of Moore was as accurate as it seemed.

    Moore died Wednesday in Greenwich, Conn., from cardiopulmonary arrest after being hospitalized with pneumonia. She was 80.

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    In honor of its 29th anniversary, watch five timeless ‘Phantom of the Opera’ performances

    “The Phantom of the Opera” is heerrre ... celebrating its 29th anniversary Thursday. Making its Broadway debut on Jan. 26, 1988, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical about a disfigured former singer who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls in love with a young singer, is Broadway’s longest-running musical.

    To celebrate that milestone, we give you five standout renditions of the musical’s titular track. It’s a song that soars — perfectly encapsulating the drama and passion, and the impossibly high notes of the show.

    Original cast members Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman were the first to take the stage as the Phantom and Christine. They performed at the 1988 Tonys, where the show picked up seven awards, including best musical.

    Although Crawford was the first to don that infamous mask, Ramin Karimloo, an Iranian-born Canadian, often is cited as a fan favorite. Karimloo also performed in Webber’s sequel, “Love Never Dies.” [For the record, 3:41 p.m. Jan. 26: An earlier version of this post said that Crawford performed in Webber’s sequel. Karimloo performed in it.]

    During its long run, “The Phantom of the Opera” has been performed around the world, from China and Germany to Brazil and Russia. Currently, there are seven productions of the musical playing across the globe, including in Japan.

    In 2004, Webber’s musical made its way to the silver screen in a film starring Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler. However, this isn’t the first “Phantom” film. A silent horror film in 1925 and 1943’s musical horror were based on Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel, “Le Fantôme de l’Opéra.”

    From Andrea Bocelli to Kelly Clarkson and Antonio Banderas, pop stars and actors have sung their own renditions of the production’s classic songs. There’s even a surprisingly good rendition by Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat Dolls fame.

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    Danny Elfman and LA Film Festival announce judges for ‘Rabbit and Rogue’ competition

    Danny Elfman sings at the Hollywood Bowl in 2015.
    (Michael Baker / For The Times)

    Always dreamed of having your short film scored by Grammy- and Emmy-winning — and four-time Oscar nominee — Danny Elfman? Now’s your chance.

    Elfman introduced the Rabbit and Rogue Project in June 2016 as an opportunity for up-and-coming filmmakers to use selections from his “Rabbit and Rogue” album as inspiration and a soundtrack for their short films.

    The competition, produced in partnership with the LA Film Festival and, allows filmmakers to use selections from Elfman’s “Rabbit and Rogue” and compete for the opportunity to premiere their film at the 2017 LA Film Festival.

    The festival announced Thursday the first five judges for the project: Paul Haggis (“Crash”), McG (“Charlie’s Angels”), Rob Minkoff (“The Lion King”), Sam Taylor-Johnson (“50 Shades of Grey”) and Gus Van Sant (“Good Will Hunting”).

    The competition will award six winners, one for each of Elfman’s compositions, and the deadline for filmmakers to apply is April 15.

    The LA Film Festival is June 14-22.

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    Five surprising Oscar nominations and how they happened

    “Hacksaw Ridge” features Teresa Palmer, Andrew Garfield, Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn.

    We saw “La La Land” coming. “Moonlight” too, not to mention “Hidden Figures.” All three made big splashes at the Toronto International Film Festival, showing they had what it took to go deep into the awards season.

    But there were some Oscar nominees who, for various reasons, took a bit longer to register. And one who did immediately, only to fall off the radar when her movie failed to connect as strongly as we thought it would.

    Here are the stories behind five of the season’s more surprising nominees.

    MORE: 2017 Oscar nominations

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    Alex Gibney helming new project about the downfall of Roger Ailes

    Documentary film director Alex Gibney is seen at his Manhattan headquarters on July 21, 2015.
    (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

    The professional undoing of former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, who left the network in July amid multiple high-profile accusations of sexual harassment, continues to be creative catnip to some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

    Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” “Taxi to the Dark Side”) is the latest to be drawn to the tale and is currently prepping a documentary about the Ailes saga, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

    Little is known about the project, with Gibney telling THR, “As a matter of course, I don’t talk about what I’m working on.”

    Gibney’s film joins a number of other Ailes projects in the works.

    Gabriel Sherman, national affairs editor of New York magazine and author of Ailes biography “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” announced in October that he is working on a miniseries based on his reporting, to be overseen by Oscar-winning director Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”).

    In December, Annapurna Pictures acquired a pitch from Charles Randolph, co-writer of “The Big Short,” based primarily on Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson and the other women at Fox News who levied the harassment claims at Ailes that eventually led to his removal.

    Representatives for Gibney did not immediately reply to a request for comment Thursday morning.

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    Marvel and Square Enix announce new Avengers game

    A new video game set in Marvel’s world of the Avengers is on the way.

    Marvel Entertainment and Square Enix announced Thursday that they have partnered for the Avengers project. They said the game will feature an original story set in a universe to be filled with fan-favorite characters, environments and moments.

    Developed by Crystal Dynamics (“Tomb Raider”) and Eidos-Montréal (“Deus Ex”), the Avengers project is the first game from Marvel and Square Enix’s announced “multi-year, multi-game partnership.”

    The announcement trailer does not reveal much about the game, and more details are not expected until 2018.

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    Actor Shia LaBeouf arrested outside New York City museum

    Actor Shia LaBeouf was arrested early Thursday after he allegedly got into an altercation with another man outside a New York City museum, where he has been chanting “He will not divide us” in front of a live camera since Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    Police said LaBeouf pulled the scarf of an unidentified 25-year-old man outside the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, scratching his face in the process. They said he also pushed the man, who refused medical attention.

    LaBeouf has spent the first few days of Trump’s presidency swaying, dancing and repeating the phrase “He will not divide us” in front of a live camera outside the museum. The livestream is for a participatory public art project LaBeouf and two collaborators intend to have running 24 hours a day for the next four years.

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    Mary Tyler Moore tribute specials to air on CBS and PBS

    Mary Tyler Moore accepts her Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award during the 18th SAG Awards show at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in 2012.
    (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

    With a career that helped change the face of television, Mary Tyler Moore inspired a multitude of tributes on social media and elsewhere with news of her death on Wednesday at 80.

    CBS, the network home for many of Moore’s projects, including “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” will air a tribute to the actress Thursday night. “Mary Tyler Moore: Love Is All Around” will be anchored by “CBS This Morning’s” Gayle King and feature interviews with many of Moore’s admirers, including Oprah Winfrey. The special will air from 9 to 10 p.m.

    PBS has also resurfaced the 2015 documentary “Mary Tyler Moore: A Celebration,” which is streaming now at and will air on various affiliates (check local listings). The hourlong program features interviews with a variety of television personalities Moore influenced and collaborated with, including Tina Fey, Betty White and Valerie Harper.

    For a look at some deeper cuts in Mary Tyler Moore’s television history, GetTV will air the 1969 special “Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman” as well as her early career appearance in the 1960 crime drama “Johnny Staccato.” Both will air on Monday at 8 p.m.

    Then of course there’s the option of having your own tribute marathon of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which is streaming now on Hulu as well as being available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. Stumped for where to begin, other than the beginning? “Chuckles Bites the Dust,” of course (Season 6, Episode 7), which is often cited as one of the best examples of television comedy to have ever aired.

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    From ‘Oh, Rob!’ to the beret toss, Mary Tyler Moore moments have inspired multiple homages

    A single rose sits by the life-size bronze statue of Mary Tyler Moore at the Minneapolis Visitor Center, on Wednesday.
    (Jim Mone / Associated Press)

    As one might expect for an actor whose career made a broad impact on TV and pop culture, Mary Tyler Moore has inspired a long line of tributes with news of her death on Wednesday at 80 years old.

    But given the impact of her groundbreaking work on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and elsewhere, the tributes and homages have been rolling in for decades.

    One of the most indelible images attached with Moore’s career has been the hopeful opening credits of her series, which ran from 1970 to 1977.

    That one-minute sequence and song, written and performed by Sonny Curtis, featured so many indelible details: the cheerful, pantsuit-wearing determination, the mid-sidewalk spin and frozen-in-time hat flip.

    Known for noise-laden post-punk anthems, influential Minneapolis band Husker Du released their own version of “Love Is All Around” in 1984 as a B-Side.

    In addition to the theme song’s impact on musicians (Joan Jett also contributed a memorable cover in the late ‘90s), that opening sequence has also been lovingly re-created at various points on TV. In an episode from the sixth season of “The Simpsons” that aired in 1995, Homer celebrated contentment at owning his own bowling alley with a somewhat clumsier take on the “Mary Tyler Moore Theme.”

    Perhaps not surprisingly, “Family Guy” also offered its distinctive take on the show’s theme song, which was delivered as a unexpectedly effervescent piano solo and followed by a freeze-frame of its own.

    A devout “Mary Tyler Moore Show” fan, Oprah Winfrey also offered her own tribute to the show’s opening credits on her show in 1997.

    Of course, you don’t have to be famous to take on Mary Tyler Moore’s mid-sidewalk spin. Moore has become a bronze statue in the show’s home city of Minneapolis, and YouTube features a number of people offering their own homages to Mary Richards.

    A comedian calling himself Squishyman created his own take on the opening credits in 2012 to commemorate his move to the show’s home city. And you have to give credit for the inclusion of the MTM logo, which also featured Moore’s cat, Mimsie.

    Endearingly, the sequence also made an impression on young Minneapolis skate-bros in 2008, who offered their own four-wheeled interpretation to go with the video release “Boondoggle.” Of course, it’s closing shot featured something other than a beret tossed above the sidewalk.

    Of course, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was beloved for far more than its opening credits. It broke new ground in ‘70s TV for Moore’s depiction of a single woman in the workplace and left an indelible mark on the decade. But whenever final episodes are discussed, the 1977 finale of this series will always be among the most heartfelt to have ever aired.

    Even if the names Lou Grant, Ted Baxter and Mary Richards are lost on you, there’s still something immediately poignant in the final scene from this series. (And yes, I think we all need some Kleenex.)

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    NBC hit ‘This Is Us’ made reference to ‘Ordinary People’ shortly before Mary Tyler Moore’s death

    In a lovely bit of serendipity, NBC’s hit family drama “This Is Us” made reference to Mary Tyler Moore’s performance in “Ordinary People” recently, serving as a timely memorial in wake of the actress’ death.

    During the Jan. 17 episode, titled “The Big Day,” Dr. K (Gerald McRaney) is encouraged by his son and daughter-in-law to move on after his wife’s death 14 months prior.

    One scene, set in flashback in October 1980, features the doctor’s son making reference to “The Empire Strikes Back” before acknowledging his wife’s preference for “Ordinary People” and Mary Tyler Moore, an actress Dr. K notes that his wife loved.

    “It was really moving to see Mary play such a complicated mother. You don’t see that often,” his daughter-in-law says.

    The comment is notable for several reasons, the first of which being the show’s nod at unconventional motherhood displayed in its own DNA, as well as the reference to “Ordinary People” as a whole.

    In the film, Moore’s character is a mother, struggling with the grief of losing one son and the suicide attempt of another, a struggle the bereaved Dr. K knows well.

    It was a tiny moment but one that represents all the ways in which Mary Tyler Moore may be gone but will never be forgotten.

    “This Is Us” returns to NBC on Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. Pacific.

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    ‘Thank you for changing the face of TV, #MaryTylerMoore!’

    “Who didn’t love her?” actor Brett Spiner tweeted incredulously as word of Mary Tyler Moore’s death spread on Wednesday. He was only one of many famous folks speaking fondly of the beloved actress on social media.

    Ed Asner, Ellen DeGeneres, Britney Spears, Ben Stiller, Dan Rather, Newt Gingrich and many more remembered Moore as an inspiration, a trailblazer, a friend, a colleague and a role model.

    Viola Davis thanked her for “changing the face of TV” by presenting “the first real image of a woman being independent, funny & vulnerable.”

    Some, like “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, shared memories of working with her.

    Even the world’s most famous frog seemed to have a tear in his eye.

    MORE: Celebrity reactions to the passing of Mary Tyler Moore

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    Actor and director Robert Redford remembers ‘Ordinary People’ star Mary Tyler Moore

    Mary Tyler Moore appears at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2012.
    (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

    Mary’s energy, spirit and talent created a new bright spot in the television landscape and she will be very much missed. The courage she displayed in taking on a role,(‘Ordinary People’), darker than anything she had ever done, was brave and enormously powerful.

    — Robert Redford, director of 1980’s Academy Award-winning best picture “Ordinary People,” starring Mary Tyler Moore

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    Mary Tyler Moore, independent icon who changed television, dies at 80

    Mary Tyler Moore
    (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

    Mary Tyler Moore, the multiple Emmy-winning actress who first charmed TV viewers on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in the 1960s and became a beloved TV icon who could “turn the world on with her smile” on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s, has died. She was 80.

    In a career that began as Happy Hotpoint, the dancing and singing 3-inch pixie in Hotpoint appliance commercials on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” in 1955 when she was 18, Moore went on to star in television and films and on Broadway.

    In 1981, she received an Academy Award nomination for best actress for her portrayal of the emotionally cold mother in “Ordinary People,” the Robert Redford-directed drama about an upper-middle-class family dealing with the death of its eldest son in a boating accident with his brother.

    The unsympathetic, dark role was a departure for Moore, who remains best known for her light touch in two classic situation comedies that, together, earned her six Emmy Awards.

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    Review: The CW’s ‘Riverdale’ is a vital and invitingly dark take on Archie Comics

    Archie Andrews, the redheaded comic-book character whose animated band “The Archies” had a bona fide hit with “Sugar Sugar” in 1969, comes to live-action television Thursday in the new CW series “Riverdale.”

    You will have guessed by now that this is not your grandmother’s “Archie,” but the comics have spanned several parallel universes. The characters have lived in prehistoric times and in the future; Archie has married both Betty and Veronica; been shot to death; and weathered a zombie apocalypse, in a 2013 series, “Afterlife with Archie,” written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who developed “Riverdale” and is also the chief creative officer of Archie Comics; this iteration could not be more official.

    The cast of “Riverdale” talk about the new look for the “Archie.”

    Read MoreMORE: The CW sends Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang back to ‘Riverdale’ in a new twist on the classic comic

    MORE: TV Reviews >>

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    Bruno Mars to perform at Grammy Awards

    Bruno Mars performs during the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 2013.
    (Rich Polk / Getty Images for Clear Channel)

    The Recording Academy revealed Wednesday that Bruno Mars will perform for the first time at the Grammys since 2013. Mars, a four-time Grammy winner, is nominated for his work on Adele’s “25,” which is up for album of the year.

    The singer-songwriter joins a lineup that includes John Legend, Metallica, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Adele. Late-night host James Corden will anchor this year’s ceremony, replacing rapper-actor LL Cool J.

    Read MoreCOMPLETE COVERAGE: 2017 Grammy nominations, reactions and more

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    ‘La La Land’ and ‘Moonlight’ lead the 2017 Oscar nominations

    The Oscars aren’t so white any more: This year’s slate of nominees includes a diverse group across multiple categories.

    The 2017 Academy Award nominations have been revealed, with the critically acclaimed “La La Land” and “Moonlight” dominating the major categories.

    With Viola Davis, Dev Patel, Octavia Spencer, Denzel Washington, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Ruth Negga getting acting nominations, the 89th Academy Awards will definitely not be so white.

    The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and will air live at 5:30 p.m. PST.

    The 2017 Academy Award nominations live

    Complete list of nominations

    Oscar snubs and surprises

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    ‘SNL’ writer suspended indefinitely for tweet mocking Barron Trump

    Katie Rich, a “Saturday Night Live” writer who mocked Barron Trump, the youngest child of President Donald Trump, in a tweet during Friday’s inaugural festivities, has been suspended from the late-night comedy show.

    Rich was suspended immediately after the tweet, and will be suspended indefinitely, according to a source familiar with the matter but not authorized to comment publicly.

    In the original message, Rich predicted that 10-year-old Barron would become “the country’s first homeschool shooter.” The message was soon deleted by Rich, who also temporarily deactivated her personal Twitter account, but not before it drew widespread condemnation online.

    On Monday, Rich apologized for the initial tweet, calling it “insensitive.” “I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I’m so sorry,” said Rich, a veteran of Chicago’s Second City who joined the NBC comedy show in 2013.

    The Rich controversy is the latest wrinkle in “SNL’s” complicated history with Trump, who has been a regular target of ridicule on the show since the 1980s, when he was played by Phil Hartman. Trump became the first actively campaigning presidential candidate to host the show last year, amid controversy over his comments on Mexican immigrants.

    But since Alec Baldwin began playing Trump this fall, the relationship has soured. The president has repeatedly taken to Twitter in the wee hours to criticize the show’s gleefully mocking portrayals of him and his relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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    For ‘Insecure’ creator Issa Rae, South L.A. locations are a sexy part of the story

    "Insecure" creator Issa Rae walks in the View Park area of South L.A.
    (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

    When Issa Rae first pitched her show “Insecure,” one director suggested that she move it to New York. As filming got underway, she had to push to shoot in South L.A. neighborhoods. She was asked to film the fundraiser scenes in the San Fernando Valley for convenience. She refused.

    Rae’s South L.A. childhood wasn’t the bullets-and-body-count world portrayed so often by Hollywood, she told the Los Angeles Times. The daughter of an Inglewood dentist, she grew up in View Park, an area sometimes called the “black Beverly Hills.”

    But all she saw on screens big and small was a depiction of the area as “the ‘scary hood,’” she said. In her HBO series, she wanted to make her part of town “feel sexy,” as has been done with so many other L.A. locales.

    “There’s just something magical about being in the area, supporting the community and just the essence of the neighborhood that we’re bringing to life,” Rae said.

    “I don’t want to fake any parts of the show. I don’t want to fake Inglewood,” she said. “I don’t want to fake Leimert because these places exist and they really get used.”

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    Twitter rejoices in Stacey Dash’s ouster from Fox News

    (Peter Kramer / Associated Press)

    Stacey Dash’s detractors are having the last laugh over news that the actress-turned-political commentator was let go from Fox News.

    Although the vocal Trump supporter has been a pundit on Fox News since 2014, a representative told the Hollywood Reporter that she has been off the air since September, after the network declined to renew her contract.

    Dash rose to fame for her role in 1995’s “Clueless,” but it was her outspoken conservative views that brought the actress back to the spotlight years later.

    After using social media to show her support for presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, calling him “the only choice for your future,” Dash gained notoriety for using the platform to share her views on race, politics and other social issues.

    Although she is of black and Mexican heritage and even appeared on the BET series “The Game,” Dash called for getting rid of BET and Black History Month.

    Dash shared troublesome views about the transgender community and used the Pulse nightclub tragedy to show support for Trump.

    She even penned a book about her views, “There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative.”

    Shocking no one, Twitter is having a field day.

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    ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ gets an official title

    It’s official. The next installment of the main “Star Wars” saga will be called “The Last Jedi.” Lucasfilm unveiled the Episode VIII title Monday morning, but did not reveal who this last Jedi could be.

    Could the title be a reference to Luke Skywalker, the most recent Jedi the “Star Wars” films followed? Or is it a hint that Rey, who discovered she can wield the Force in “The Force Awakens,” may be the last of her kind?

    Written and directed by Rian Johnson, “The Last Jedi” will pick up close to where “The Force Awakens” ended: Rey opposite Luke after she tracked him down to learn more about the Force and the way of the Jedi.

    Daisy Ridley will return as Rey in the next “Star Wars” installment, along with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Dohmnall Gleeson (General Hux), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), and the late Carrie Fisher (General Leia).

    The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin and Tom Karnowski.

    “The Last Jedi” will hit theaters Dec. 15.

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    Presidents are expected to uplift, but Donald Trump’s musical choices may indicate an inability to dream

    President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at an inaugural ball after he was sworn in Friday.
    (Shawn Thew / EPA)

    The words felt like private thoughts found in an old diary and newly exposed to fresh air.

    “If you try acting sad, you’ll only make me glad.”

    “I ain’t got no love, I ain’t the kind to meet.”

    “Regrets, I’ve had a few — but then again too few to mention.”

    Yet this wasn’t the sour fruit of opposition research. The words are lyrics from two songs prominently featured in Donald Trump’s inaugural festivities: the Rolling Stones’ “Heart of Stone,” which played as Trump and his wife Melania entered a celebratory concert at the Lincoln Memorial, and “My Way,” the standard popularized by Frank Sinatra that accompanied the first couple’s first dance at an inaugural ball.

    Let that sink in.

    At a moment when millions of Americans were looking to the new president for signs of hope, inclusion or generosity — for anything beyond the acrid demagoguery many felt marked his campaign — Trump chose songs that proudly delivered messages of callous self-regard.

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    The true start of the Trump presidential reality show: The presidency and television ratings collide

    President Trump waves after taking the oath of office as his wife Melania, left, holds a Bible, and daughter Tiffany looks out to the crowd on Friday in Washington.
    (Jim Bourg / Associated Press)

    In his first statement as White House press secretary, Sean Spicer conveyed the top priority of his boss, America’s first reality-TV star/executive producer president. For Donald J. Trump, it was all about ratings, ratings, ratings.

    “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the world,” insisted Spicer on Saturday to a pool of reporters, despite Nielsen ratings data and aerial crowd image estimates that showed Trump on the low end of first-term inaugural viewership and attendance. Reporters who stated otherwise, said Spicer, were peddling “false narratives.”

    Instead of a message about eradicating Obamacare, defeating Islamic State or the immense responsibility of beginning a new term at the helm of the largest democracy in the world, Spicer was fighting a previously unthinkable idea — that Trump had failed to woo a crowd.

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    ‘House of Cards’ announces return date for America’s favorite presidential sociopath

    Keenly coupled with the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, Netflix released a teaser trailer for the fifth season of “House of Cards.”

    The series, which features a ruthless couple, Frank and Claire Underwood (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), manipulating their way to the top of the American political hierarchy, ended its fourth season in disarray, just two weeks before Underwood was up for re-election.

    By the looks of things in the teaser, featuring the American flag flying upside down -- a symbol of distress and/or disrespect that the show has used since its inception -- Season 5 will see the Underwoods struggling with greater obstacles than ever before.

    Also, the disembodied children’s voices reciting the Pledge of Allegiance are a nice touch.

    The next season of “House of Cards” debuts on May 30 on Netflix.

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    Solange Knowles and Esperanza Spalding perform for hope and resistance at Peace Ball

    Solange, seen performing at FYF Fest in 2015.
    (Christina House / For The Times)

    Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance, an alternative to the ongoing inauguration festivities, brought around 3,000 people to the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington., D.C., on Thursday.

    The guests, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Ashley Judd, DeRay McKesson and Melissa Harris-Perry, showed up to reflect on recent successes in healthcare, climate change and marriage equality.

    Actor Danny Glover, the event organizer, activist Andy Shallal and others also used the platform to discuss the next steps after the election.

    “We can’t just sit and lick our wounds,” Glover said. “Our work is cut out for us. We have to make some hard choices.”

    But attendees let loose with some music that was a far cry from the performances at Thursday’s inaugural celebration concerts.

    R&B firebrand Solange Knowles took the stage around midnight, introduced by iconic activist Angela Davis, who called her songs “anthems of our resistance.” Knowles performed hits from her black-power album, “A Seat at the Table.”

    Jazz musician Esperanza Spalding began one song with hand-drumming on her signature upright bass, with her background singers playing hand games in the background to keep the beat.

    Check out clips from the performances:

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    ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ singer Lee Greenwood recalls many inaugurations -- and singing for Donald Trump

    Lee Greenwood sings with the Frontmen of Country as part of Donald Trump's inaugural festivities on Thursday.
    (David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

    With the sound of helicopters hovering overhead, the country singer Lee Greenwood took a phone call on Thursday while standing backstage at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

    Greenwood, who is best known for his patriotic anthem “God Bless the U.S.A.,” was waiting in the wings for his afternoon gig an hour later as part of President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural concert.

    If Greenwood didn’t sound nervous, it’s because he’d done this a few times before. The veteran hitmaker, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in Sacramento, has now performed during the inaugurations of every Republican president since Ronald Reagan.

    “It never gets old,” he said of playing his flagship song during historic occasions.

    “Since I wrote it in 1983, there have been so many moments when the song has assisted not just me, but the country,” he said, estimating it took him a half hour to write. “The first Gulf War, the disaster with Katrina, the Sept. 11 attack on America, and each time ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ has served a role.”

    As Greenwood spoke, a bugle playing “Taps” echoed in the background.

    Greenwood added that on Wednesday he met Trump backstage at the National Portrait Gallery during a fundraising dinner in honor of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The singer and the soon-to-be president chatted for a second.

    “He said he was thankful that we were there,” Greenwood recalled, “and told me that he likes my music.”

    Greenwood and his wife took a photo with Trump, who, Greenwood added, “was also taking pictures with a lot of the military who were there, and I commended him for that. I think it’s just terrific that the president would immediately embrace the military for their sacrifices.”

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    See Stephen Colbert and ‘Stephen Colbert’ bid Barack Obama farewell

    Stephen Colbert said goodbye to the Obama administration the only way he knew how: by bringing back “Stephen Colbert.”

    Colbert’s conservative blowhard persona, created on “The Daily Show,” and host of “The Colbert Report” returned Thursday night — though for rights issues, “The Late Show” version is actually the identical cousin of “Stephen Colbert” — to bid a surprisingly fond farewell to President Obama.

    During the segment, Colbert spoke about how Obama’s administration gave conservatives a purpose.

    “That’s why I want to say, ‘Thanks, Obama,’ ” Colbert said. “You reminded guys like me what we truly stand for: the opposite of whatever you say.”

    Colbert went on to talk about all of the obstructionist tactics used to block many of Obama’s initiatives before turning serious and dropping his facade a bit.

    “I know the Constitution says you have to go, but I will miss you. You were a worthy adversary. You were a leader of vision, patience, dignity, passion and humanity,” Colbert said. “And it really felt good fighting for the opposite of all those things.”

    Finally, the mask slipped entirely, and the real Colbert took over.

    “For the last time, from me, the real Stephen Colbert, I just want to say, ‘Thanks, Obama.’ ”

    As a tidy bookend, here’s how Stephen Colbert and “The Colbert Report” covered the president’s inauguration in 2009.

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    On inauguration eve, the Actors Gang theater turns on a ‘ghostlight’ for tolerance

    Members of the Actors' Gang theater in Culver City gather before their space on the eve of the presidential inauguration to turn on a light as a symbol of tolerance.
    (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)

    Less than 12 hours before Donald Trump was scheduled to be sworn into office in Washington, about three dozen actors, writers, directors, crew members and others affiliated with the Actors’ Gang theater in Culver City gathered in the plaza outside their building to turn on a light.

    The sky was turning cobalt and the wind had picked up a chilly edge as actor Brian Finney read from a short statement.

    “When our theaters go dark at the end of the night, we turn on a ‘ghostlight’ — offering visibility and safety for all who might enter,” he stated. “Like a ghostlight, the light we create tonight will represent our commitment to safeguard — it will symbolize safe harbor for our values and for any among us who find ourselves targeted because of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, gender identity, sexual identity or dissident actions in the coming years.”

    The light switched on, and the group’s members turned on their cellphone flashlights and held them overhead.

    The Actors’ Gang was one of dozens of theaters across the country to participate in the Ghostlight Project on the eve of Trump’s inauguration — a way for members of the theater community to “create ‘light’ for dark times ahead” by proclaiming a commitment to tolerance.

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    Members of the Actors' Gang in Culver City turn on a "ghostlight" as a gesture of welcome.
    (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)