SMOLLETT’S LAWYERS SEEK RECORDS ON CHICAGO’S OUSTED TOP COP
CHICAGO (AP) – Attorneys for actor Jussie Smollett (smoh-LET’) have asked the city of Chicago to turn over documents that show former police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was “untruthful or misleading in any statement” before he was fired last month. The request, which was referenced in the city’s response Wednesday opposing it, is an apparent attempt to undermine the Johnson’s credibility. Before he was fired in December, Johnson accused Smollett of lying about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack a year ago Wednesday. The city is suing the former “Empire” actor for $130,000 that it says the police incurred investigating his attack claim. Smollett says the attack was real.
AUTHOR TOUR FOR CONTROVERSIAL ‘AMERICAN DIRT’ IS CANCELED
The publisher of Jeanine Cummins’ controversial novel “American Dirt” has canceled the remainder of her promotional tour, citing concerns for her safety. The novel about a Mexican mother and her young son fleeing to the U.S. border had been praised widely before its January 21 release and was chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. But Mexican-American writers have been among those criticizing “American Dirt” for stereotypical depictions of Mexicans. Cummins is of Irish and Puerto Rican background. In a statement Wednesday, Flatiron Books cited “concerns about safety” to stop the book tour. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Winfrey confirmed that Winfrey will meet with the author next month and that the discussion will air in March on Apple TV Plus.
‘DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ SANDS TO FLOW FOR 56TH SEASON ON NBC
LOS ANGELES (AP) – There’s more life ahead for the NBC daytime serial “Days of our Lives,” renewed for a 56th season. NBC said Wednesday the show will continue to air on NBC, despite speculation it might move to the Peacock streaming service set to arrive this year. In a statement, executive producer Ken Corday says the show’s makers are excited to keep delivering “compelling stories” to loyal fans “into this new decade.” “Days of our Lives,” NBC’s longest-running series, is set in the fictional Midwestern city of Salem and revolves around the Brady, Horton and DiMera families. The serial debuted in 1965 and has collected 57 Emmy Awards.
KEEPING ‘FRIENDS’ FOR ITSELF AT HBO MAX DINGS AT&T PROFIT
UNDATED (AP) – As entertainment companies roll out new streaming services, they’re stocking them with the goodies from their own content archives, hoping that the loss of income today will mean more money rolling in from subscribers in the future. In its fourth quarter, AT&T said that bet cost it $1.2 billion in revenue as it kept “Friends” and “Big Bang Theory” for HBO Max. AT&T isn’t alone in doing this. Comcast’s NBCUniversal took back “The Office” from Netflix for Peacock; Disney grabbed its movies for Disney Plus. AT&T is launching HBO Max in May as cord-cutting picks up.
WOMAN WHO INSPIRED “BADLANDS” FILM SEEKS PARDON FOR ROLE IN STRING OF KILLINGS IN 1950S
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – A woman who accompanied her older boyfriend during a string of killings in Nebraska and Wyoming more than 60 years ago is seeking an official pardon. Caril Anne Fugate was 14 years old at the time and says her then-19-year-old boyfriend, Charlie Starkweather, had threatened to kill her family if she didn’t obey. Fugate, who now goes by her married name of Caril Ann Clair and lives in Michigan, says the Nebraska Board of Pardons has a chance to right a historical wrong. The events inspired the 1982 Springsteen song “Nebraska” and the 1973 film “Badlands” starring Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the board is scheduled to consider the pardon request on Feb. 18. Starkweather was executed in 1959.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW GUEST FLOORED BY VALUE OF OLD ROLEX WATCH
WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) – An “Antiques Roadshow” guest in North Dakota was floored when he found out the current value of a Rolex watch he purchased while serving in the military more than four decades ago. The man, identified only as David on an episode that aired Monday, said he paid $345.97 for the watch in 1974 and tucked it away in a safe deposit box until he brought it to a show taping in West Fargo. David toppled to the ground when he learned the watch could sell for $400,000. When he regained his footing, he learned that because the watch was in pristine condition it could fetch up to $700,000.
PASTOR’S FIGHT AGAINST KKK BECOMES MOVIE THAT MAY AID BATTLE
LAURENS, S.C. (AP) – A pastor in South Carolina wants to make a shrine of reconciliation out of a store that once sold racist merchandise and had a museum to the Ku Klux Klan. The story of how the Rev. David Kennedy obtained the historic theater building that housed The Redneck Shop in Laurens is told in a movie called “Burden” starring Forest Whitaker, out Feb. 28. It tells how a former KKK leader sold the building to Kennedy after the pastor fed him and found him a place to live when he fell on hard times. Now 101 Studios, which is releasing the movie, is helping to raise money to fix the old theater.
AARON HERNANDEZ’S FIANCEE SPEAKS OUT ON DOCUMENTARY SERIES
BOSTON (AP) – The fiancee of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez spoke publicly for the first time since the release of a documentary series examining his life more than two years after he killed himself in his prison cell. Shayanna Jenkins, who’s also the mother of Hernandez’ young daughter, said in an interview with “Good Morning America” Wednesday morning that she had been unaware the late New England Patriots player was bisexual. Jenkins said she “would not have loved him differently” if he had told her. Jenkins said she was offered compensation to be interviewed by the producers of the Netflix documentary but declined and was not interviewed.