LIAM NEESON ADMITS HE WANTED TO KILL AFTER FRIEND WAS RAPED
LONDON (AP) – Liam Neeson says he’s ashamed to admit he had violent thoughts about killing a black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped. Neeson says that after being told the attacker was black, he “went up and down areas with a cosh (stick or truncheon)” hoping a black person “would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.” The Northern Ireland-born actor recounted the story in an interview published Monday in The Independent while promoting the movie “Cold Pursuit.” He said the incident happened some time ago. Neeson called his reaction “horrible,” saying it taught him a lesson about the “primal need” for revenge. Neeson’s publicist didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
SUPER BOWL REACHES 100.7 MILLION VIEWERS, DOWN FROM 2018
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – The New England Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams was seen by 100.7 million viewers, the smallest Super Bowl audience in a decade. The Nielsen company said viewership dropped 3 percent from last year’s 103.4 million. The Patriots’ 13-3 win was a defensive struggle, and a struggle for many casual fans to watch. The Super Bowl is traditionally the most-watched television event of the year in the U.S., and its audience hasn’t dipped below 100 million since 2009. The TV audience has been dwindling since its 2015 peak of 114.4 million.
FX COMEDY ‘ATLANTA’ WILL RETURN AFTER PRODUCTION DELAY
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – Donald Glover’s comedy “Atlanta” will be back. Just not as soon as expected. FX Networks CEO John Landgraf told a TV critics’ meeting on Monday that the series is behind schedule. The Georgia-based show was renewed for a third season in June and was supposed to return this year. Landgraf says the show’s writers are working on new episodes. Network spokesman John Solberg says the show won’t be back in time for Emmy Awards consideration this year. “Atlanta” has won two Emmys and two Golden Globe awards. Landgraf says Glover has been dealing with an injured foot and personal issues involving his extended family.
‘FLOWER DRUM SONG’ AUTHOR C.Y. LEE DEAD AT 102
NEW YORK (AP) – The author of the best-selling “The Flower Drum Song” has died. C.Y. Lee, whose novel was adapted into a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and Oscar-nominated movie, was 102. Lee’s son, Jay Lee, told The Associated Press on Monday that his father died Nov. 8 in Los Angeles. The family decided at the time not to make his death public.”Flower Drum Song,” the story of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco, was published in 1957. It attained widespread popularity despite criticism that it stereotyped Chinese culture. Lee would that say he wanted to reach a general audience. The Rodgers and Hammerstein show, directed by Gene Kelly, ran on Broadway from 1958-60. A 1961 movie adaptation, a rare Hollywood production with an Asian cast, was nominated for five Academy Awards.
NO DETAILS GIVEN ON DEATH OF KRISTOFF ST. JOHN
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Details on the death of “Young and the Restless” actor Kristoff St. John have not been disclosed. Los Angeles police say they were called to his home on Sunday. The cause of death was not given. He was 52. CBS and Sony Pictures say in a joint statement St. John was “a very talented actor and an even better person.” St. John had played Neil Winters on the soap opera since 1991. His 24-year-old son, Julian, had died in 2014. On Jan. 21, St. John retweeted, “Grieving the loss of a child is a process. It begins on the day your child passes, and ends the day the parent joins them.”
AWKWAFINA, TINA FEY, JENNIFER LOPEZ TO PRESENT AT OSCARS
NEW YORK (AP) – Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg and Brie Larson will be presenters at the 91st Academy Awards. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Monday announced its first slate of presenters. Also among the 13 stars are Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lopez, Amandla Stenberg and Awkwafina. Chris Evans, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson and Constance Wu will also take the Oscar stage as presenters. There has been some acrimony over exclusive rights to some presenters this year. The Screen Actors Guild earlier criticized the film academy for requiring that its potential presenters not appear at previous awards shows. ABC will broadcast the Oscars live on February 24. No host has been announced after Kevin Hart stepped down following a backlash over past homophobic tweets by the comedian.
HISTORIANS IRKED BY MUSICAL ‘HAMILTON’ ESCALATE THEIR DUEL
NEW YORK (AP) – Ever since the historical musical “Hamilton” began its march to near-universal infatuation, one group has noticeable withheld its applause – historians. Many academics argue the portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the star of our $10 bills, is a counterfeit. Now they’re escalating their fight. Renowned writer Ishmael Reed has chosen to fight fire with fire – collecting his critique of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s acclaimed show into a play. Reed’s “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda” is an uncompromising take-down of “Hamilton,” reminding viewers of the Founding Father’s complicity in slavery and his war on Native Americans. Reed is part of a wave of “Hamilton” skeptics – often solitary voices of dissent – who have written journal articles, newspaper op-eds and a 2018 collection of essays, “Historians on Hamilton.”
FX CHIEF SAYS NETFLIX EXAGGERATES VIEWERSHIP NUMBERS
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – A prominent competitor to Netflix is claiming that the streamer is deceiving the public about what is a hit and what isn’t. FX Networks chief executive John Landgraf said Monday that Netflix is using cloudy measurements to claim increasing dominance among viewers. Applying long-used industry standards to Netflix, “their true batting average would be viewed as unimpressive,” Landgraf said. The streaming service has upended the TV industry with a gusher of programming beyond that of any other outlet. This year, Netflix also realized its goal of earning a best-picture Oscar nomination, for the film “Roma.” Landgraf said a program such as “Stranger Things” is rightly cited by Netflix as an audience “home run,” but he called it an outlier.