APPEALS COURT TOSSES MOST OF MONEY AWARD FOR QUINCY JONES
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Some of Michael Jackson’s best music was made with Quincy Jones at the production board. The collaboration led to a bunch of hits – and a lawsuit. Yesterday, a California appeals court overturned a large award Jones had won from Jackson’s estate. In 2017, a jury awarded Jones $9.4 million in royalties and fees from Jackson’s estate. Jones claimed he was owed the money because the estate used some of the music that he and the late pop star made in the concert film “This Is It” and in two Cirque du Soleil shows. But the appeals court ruled the jury misinterpreted the contract between the two men. That means the final award has been pared down to $2.5 million.
FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA JOINS MAKE-UP GRADUATION EVENT
NEW YORK (AP) – That televised graduation ceremony for the high school class of 2020 has gotten some extra firepower. Former President Barack Obama will be involved. He will deliver the commencement address for the hour-long event set up by NBA star LeBron James. “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” airs May 16 at 8 p.m. eastern with all four broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC – carrying it live.
NEW YORK (AP) – Getting tired of being quarantined, sitting around looking at the same old four walls of your house or apartment? It seems a lot of us are, based on what we’re watching on TV. The ratings suggest Americans are keen on shows about how to spruce up their living space – or how to cook. Networks like HGTV and the Food Network have seen their ratings jump during the stay-at-home period ushered in by COVID-19. Nielsen reports Food Network’s ratings last month rose 25% over last April. And HGTV’s ratings are up 22%.
CELEBRITIES DOING “HARRY POTTER” READINGS
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Most “Harry Potter” fans have certainly read the first installment of J.K. Rowling’s series about the boy wizard – probably many times. Now, they will have the chance to hear the book read to them – by celebrities. All 17 chapters of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” will be read in a series of free videos and audio recordings. Among the celebrities doing the chapter-by-chapter readings is Daniel Radcliffe, who played Potter in the movies. Also reading are David Beckham, Dakota Fanning, Stephen Fry, Claudia Kim and Eddie Redmayne. The videos will be posted on the Harry Potter website, while audio-only versions will be available for free on Spotify.
DISNEY’S PROFITS HURT BY COVID-19 OUTBREAK
NEW YORK (AP) – In these days of social distancing, it should be no surprise that a company geared toward herding people into theme parks is hurting financially. Disney reports a steep decline in profits as many segments of its media and entertainment offerings have ground to a halt. The numbers tell the story: Disney’s second-quarter profits dropped 91% to $475 million, down from $5.4 billion a year earlier. Overall, Disney says costs related to COVID-19 have cut its pretax profit by $1.4 billion.
METROPOLITAN OPERA ANNOUNCES LAYOFFS
NEW YORK (AP) – The Metropolitan Opera’s business has been flat since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. And as a result, it has made sharp cuts to its workforce. The opera has laid off 41 administrative employees – nearly 20% of its full-time staff – due to the pandemic. Each furloughed employee will get two weeks’ pay – and will continue getting health coverage. The Met cut short its season in March, canceling the final 58 performances of a season that was supposed to have 217.
BOSTON MUSEUM SETS UP FUND AFTER 2019 RACIAL INCIDENT
BOSTON (AP) – Remember the incident last year when the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston came under fire after a group of black schoolkids said they were trolled by patrons and staff during a class trip? The museum is taking steps to create a better atmosphere. It has created a $500,000 diversity fund. The arts center apologized after the incident, in which students said they got grief from other museum patrons – and from a staffer who allegedly told them, “No food, no drink and no watermelon.”
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
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