HARVEY WEINSTEIN – NEW LEGAL TEAM
NEW YORK (AP) – Harvey Weinstein has a new legal team. The disgraced Hollywood producer has four new attorneys on his defense squad as he prepares for his upcoming rape and sexual assault trial in New York. The new lawyers have experience defending high-profile clients, including Casey Anthony and ex-sports stars Aaron Hernandez and Kobe Bryant. In a bit of a twist, two of the attorneys recently defended Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan. She had Jose Baez and Ronald Sullivan rep her in a Virginia drug case that ended with a no contest plea last week.
“BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY” DIRECTOR HIT WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATION
NEW YORK (AP) – The director of Oscar-nominated “Bohemian Rhapsody” is facing allegations of sexually assaulting minors. The Atlantic has published an article about four men who say they were seduced and molested by Bryan Singer when they were underage. Three of the men spoke on condition they not be identified. The fourth, Victor Valdovinos, says he was molested by Singer on the set of the movie “Apt Pupil” when he was in the seventh grade. In a statement by his attorney, Singer denied the claims. He says the article is “conveniently timed” to take advantage of the movie’s Oscar nods this week.
ALEC BALDWIN TAKES PLEA DEAL IN ASSAULT CASE
NEW YORK (AP) – Alec Baldwin has taken a deal that, if all goes well, will clear the actor’s record in a case stemming from a spat over a parking spot. He appeared in court yesterday to agree to attend an anger management class. He also pleaded guilty to harassment, an offense that will be wiped out once he does the one-day course in controlling his temper. In return, prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor attempted assault charge. Baldwin was arrested after a fellow driver reported he struck him in the face during a beef over a parking space outside the actor’s home. Prosecutors say they moved to settle the matter after seeing video of the incident, checking out medical records – and talking with the victim and witnesses.
SAG AWARDS – PRESENTERS
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Some presenters for Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards have been named. Among them are Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Rami Malek, all Oscar nominees. Other presenters announced yesterday by the actors’ union include Chadwick Boseman, Sam Elliott, Constance Wu, John David Washington and Adam Driver – as well as Ken Jeong and Angela Bassett. The 25th SAG Awards will air on TNT and TBS. Megan Mullally will host.
ALAN ALDA TO GET LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT SAGS
NEW YORK (AP) – Alan Alda says he’s continuing to keep his life moving, despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The 82-year-old actor receives a lifetime achievement award Sunday from the Screen Actors Guild. But he says his life’s work is about to end. Alda says he’s “still working and having fun.” And he says he’s in training to stall the progress of Parkinson’s – so he can keep working. Alda says the idea of retiring is “a living hell.” The Screen Actors Guild Awards are on Sunday.
AUDRA McDONALD – BROADWAY
NEW YORK (AP) – Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald has landed a new Broadway gig. She will co-star in a revival of the Terrence McNally romance “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.” The production, which hits the boards in May, is about the love affair between a cook and a waitress who meet in a New York restaurant. McDonald’s Tony wins include one for playing Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” as well as awards for “Carousel,” “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Porgy and Bess.”
MARDI GRAS – CELEBRITIES
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – New Orleans-born actress Patricia Clarkson is among those to be in parades in The Big Easy heading up to Mardi Gras. Joining Clarkson in the events will be “Supernatural” star Jensen Ackles and “ExtraTV” host Mario Lopez. The Krewe of Muses says Clarkson is the first to serve twice as Honorary Muse, considered a role model for the city’s women and girls. The Krewe of Bacchus says Ackles will serve as the god of wine and cheer – Lopez will be monarch of the Krewe of Orpheus.
HULU RAISING SUBSCRIPTION FEES
NEW YORK (AP) – Like Hulu? Like it enough to pay more for it? That’s the question many subscribers will have to answer, now that the streaming service is raising its prices for its live-TV package. The price for that will be $5 a month more – moving up to $45 a month. The new fees go into effect next month. The Hulu Live-TV package features CNN, ESPN and a few dozen other channels over the internet. Meanwhile Hulu is cutting the cost of its traditional video-on-demand service. It will be $2 cheaper a month, going down from $8 a month to $6 a month.
NFL TV RATINGS
NEW YORK (AP) – Cold temperatures outside and hot football action inside. That combination adds up to big ratings for Sunday’s NFL conference title games. Nielsen says the New England Patriots’ overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs was seen by nearly 54 million people, a 22-percent increase over last year’s AFC championship game. The early game saw the Los Angeles Rams punch their ticket to the Super Bowl by beating the New Orleans Saints – with the help of a referee’s botched call. That game, which also went to overtime, drew just over 44 million people. That’s a 4-percent increase over last year’s NFC title game. Helping boost audiences: frigid temperatures throughout most of the country during a holiday weekend.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2