Entertainment

'Friends' fans not taking a break: DVD, Blu-ray, digital sales spike in wake of Netflix departure

NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Friends may be on a break from streaming, but fans definitely aren't ready for a break from the show.

Ever since the classic NBC sitcom was removed from Netflix at the end of last year, sales of the show on DVD, Blu-ray and via digital download have “roughly tripled,” according to Rosemary Markson, senior vice president of TV marketing for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

“At the beginning of the year, it was the top-selling catalog-TV franchise in home entertainment,” Markson says, according to Variety

The sales spike is certainly a welcome one for Warner Bros. but it wasn't unexpected.  Ever since the announcement came last summer that Friends would leave Netflix ahead of its debut on WarnerMedia's HBO Max streaming service in May, sales of the show on physical media and digital began climbing.

If you're jonesing for your Friends bingeing fix, the complete series on Blu-ray runs from between $114 and $121 on Amazon, with the lower-priced option sold out as of this writing.  Downloading all ten seasons via iTunes will set you back $99.99.

And keep in mind, there's always the chance Warner Bros. will pull back on physical media and digital purchasing options once HBO Max debuts, in order to drive subscriptions.  If you're interested, better get it while you can.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


Gas leak forces evacuation on 'American Idol'

ABC/Gavin Bond(LOS ANGELES) -- In one of the most dramatic American Idol preview clips yet, it turns out a gas leak could have turned deadly had it not been for the staff and first responders' quick action.

In a preview obtained by People, Sunday's episode will introduce a new set of contestants hoping for their golden ticket to Hollywood.  However, auditions are brought to a standstill when judge Katy Perry detects that something's amiss.

"Does anybody smell gas?" She calmly asks her fellow judges, to which Luke Bryan confirms it smells like "propane."

As the scent gets stronger, Perry begins to complain of a "slight headache" and excuses herself from the judges' table because the gas smell is getting "really bad."

The alarm is then pulled and American Idol staff rush to evacuate the building, including all the Idol hopefuls who look around in confusion as they're ordered out the front doors.

A contestant was mid-interview when a staff member rushes in and ushers everyone out, causing the camera to fall to the side.

However, the most dramatic part of the preview comes as first responders rush the building as judge Lionel Richie remarks he can now smell the leak from outside.

As a paramedic begins checking over Katy, she slowly slurs that she's "not feeling good" and collapses onto the pavement.  The preview ends there.

Watch the dramatic conclusion when American Idol returns to ABC at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'The Call of the Wild' tops the weekend's new movie releases

Twentieth Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- Opening nationwide on Friday:

The Call of the Wild -- Harrison Ford plays John Thornton in the latest film adaptation of Jack London's classic book, The Call of the Wild.  It follows the story of Buck, a big-hearted Saint Bernard mix who's kidnapped from his blissful life in California and forced to live and work in the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s.  Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford and Colin Woodell also star.  Rated PG.

Brahms: The Boy II -- Katie Holmes leads the cast of this stand-alone sequel to the supernatural horror film The Boy.  It follows a family that moves into a mansion where their young son -- played by Christopher Convery -- soon befriends a life-like doll called Brahms.  Also starring Ralph Ineson and Owain Yeoman.  Rated PG-13.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

Manou the Swift -- Kate Winslett and Willem Dafoe lead the voice cast of this CGI-animated feature about the titular character -- voiced by Josh Keaton -- a swift, adopted by a seagull couple who grows up believing he’s also a seagull.  After running away from home, he meets birds of his own species and finds out who he really is.  Not rated.

True Fiction -- A young writer who lands a job assisting her favorite horror writer finds herself in the middle of an out-of-control psychological experiment.  Sara Garcia and John Cassini star.  Not rated.

Emma -- Based on Jane Austin's 1815 novel of the same name, this dramedy set in 1800s England stars Split and Glass' Anya Taylor-Joy as a well-intentioned but selfish young woman who meddles in the love lives of her friends.  Johnny Flynn, Josh O'Connor, Callum Turner, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart and Bill Nighy also star.  Rated PG.

Just One More Kiss -- Faleena Hopkins wrote, directed and stars in this “ghost love story” about a man whose ghost returns to help his lover get over his death.  But with a second chance to be together, neither wants to be apart again.  Co-starring Patrick Zeller.  Not rated.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"Better Call Saul" cast promise a wild ride for season five

Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures T 

(LOS ANGELES) -- Better Call Saul is almost back!

The AMC show, which is one of TVs most critically acclaimed dramas, returns Sunday night with the premiere of season five and it's been a while! The fourth season of Better Call Saul ended in October 2018, and fans have been anxiously waiting to find out what's going to happen next. 

Well, according to Rhea Seehorn, who portrays lawyer Kim Wexler, fans can expect a wild ride.

"Season 5 felt like right after you get over that top of that roller coaster, you're going down to, like, whipping around," she revealedto ABC Audio.

Seehorn also added that there would be "a lot of combustion, external and internal."

Although fans will no doubt be delighted at Better Call Saul's return, it is bittersweet. The popular show will end in its sixth and final season. Don't expect the cast to be able to offer up any clues as to how the series will end, though.

Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Gus Fring -- the drug lord and fried chicken king -- disclosed that he doesn't think the writers even know how it will all go down.

What he does know, however, is that this season will be the "biggest season" with "the most action ever."

Better Call Saul returns this Sunday, February 23, to AMC at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Joaquin Phoenix rescues mother cow and calf from slaughterhouse

ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) -- After convincing the Golden Globes to go vegan, Joaquin Phoenix hopes his recent tour of an American slaughterhouse will inspire more people to reconsider their diet.

The day after winning Best Actor at the Academy Awards for Joker, in which his fiery acceptance speech about saving animals broke the Internet, the actor teamed up with Los Angeles Animal Save to visit Manning Beef, a local slaughterhouse.

The outspoken vegan was personally shown around by company CEO Anthony Di Mara. The two butted head several times, mainly on semantics of saying "harvested" versus "murdered," but eventually came to respect the other.

"I never thought I’d find friendship in a slaughterhouse," Phoenix remarked, "but meeting Anthony and opening my heart to his, I realize we might have more in common than we do differences."

The Joker star also revealed that an "act of kindness" from Di Mara led him to a cow and her newborn calf -- whom he rescued and has since named Liberty and Indigo. 

Manning Beef has a policy against separating calves from their mothers, which Phoenix says "is an exception to the rule of most slaughterhouses."

The video tour documents the emotional rescue as Liberty is herded from her small pen and into a trailer as Phoenix trails behind - carrying her newborn.  The two are then taken to their new home, a ranch called Farm Sanctuary, where they quickly begin romping around the enclosure.

"My hope is, as we watch baby Indigo grow up with her mom Liberty at Farm Sanctuary, that we’ll always remember that friendships can emerge in the most unexpected places; and no matter our differences, kindness and compassion should rule everything around us," concludes Phoenix.

He also hopes his time at Manning Beef will open even more eyes and inspire meaningful change -- and new vegans.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Bethenny Frankel returns to television with new HBO Max series "The Big Shot with Bethenny"

ABC/Matt Petit(LOS ANGELES) -- It’s official! Bethenny Frankel is returning to screens with a new business competition series titled, The Big Shot with Bethenny.

"Did you miss me?" the former “Real Housewives of New York City” star tweeted on Wednesday. "I’m BACK… in my new show. It’s personal. It’s business… and EVERYTHING is my business."

Frankel teamed up with HBO Max, which is scheduled to launch in May, to bring subscribers eight half-hour-long episodes.

The Big Shot with Bethenny will follow along as aspiring moguls compete for a chance to earn a seat on Frankel’s executive team. Only one will be left standing as they are weeded out through a series of real-life tasks and challenges to ultimately become the second-in-command to the Skinnygirl founder.

Frankel is an executive producer on The Big Shot with Bethenny alongside well-known reality producer Mark Burnett and MGM Television.

The reality star, who has a 9-year-old daughter, shared her excitement for the new venture in a statement.

“Aside from motherhood, what truly defines me as a person is being a driven, passionate and hard-working woman determined to make the impossible possible," she said.

"My mantra is to come from a place of ‘yes’ and to find and create the solution. I am an executor of visions, and I share and impart that information to those who work with me. MGM has been neck-in-neck with me with ideas and their execution," Frankel continued. "I couldn’t be more thrilled to continue my longstanding relationship with Mark Burnett on this series and pay this American Dream story forward.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Gigi Hadid was told she didn’t have a “runway body”

ABC/Image Group LA(LONDON) -- As if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough, imagine adding the stress of having your body criticized by some of the world’s top designers. That’s exactly what model Gigi Hadid had to endure when she started out her career and now she’s opening up about it.

In a candid interview for i-D’s Spring issue, the 24-year-old recalled what it was like when she received her first Paris casting by French designer Jean Paul Gaultier.

"He was the first designer that let me walk on a runway in Paris," Gigi shared. "At the time I was still starting out in my career, I was coming out of high school, I still had my volleyball body. It was a body that I loved. I knew how hard I worked to have those muscles, to be curved in those places."

"I kind of miss it now," she continued. "At the time, people were hard on me and tried to say that I didn’t have a runway body."

These days, the bonafide supermodel is featured in high profile campaigns and on runways all around the world -- in sometimes very scant clothing – but she admitted that it was Gaultier who first gave her the opportunity to shine.

Gigi said, "For Jean Paul to have me at his last ready-to-wear show in 2015 – not only to have me, but also to put me in an outfit that didn’t cover a lot… like, there were still stylists or designers at that time who were putting me in their shows, but putting me something that really covered my body. And so for him to make me feel like he wanted me to shine in that way, it really meant a lot to me as a young model.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Ordinary Love's' Lesley Manville lauds film's "honest portrayal" of marriage in sickness and in health

Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville in "Ordinary Love"; Aidan Monaghan/Bleecker Street(NEW YORK) -- Oscar-nominated actress Lesley Manville stars opposite Liam Neeson in the emotional romantic drama, Ordinary Love.

The two play a long-married couple facing a new challenge when Manville’s character, Joan, gets diagnosed with breast cancer. Manville tells ABC Audio the film’s intimate portrayal of a lasting love through grief and illness has been resonating with audiences.

“I have been inundated with women who've been through this and medical people who are involved with curing people who are going through this, [and they] have said to me that they found the film completely uplifting and such an honest portrayal of what that journey is like,” she says. “And they're very grateful for that. The film doesn't sugarcoat it, doesn't sentimentalize it.”

For Manville, the role was also a way to bring to the screen the story of middle-aged marriage -- a rarity in Hollywood. The actress, who's 63, says she’s seen a slow change in the industry when it comes to interesting roles for women over 40.

“I think it has been getting better for women of my age slowly over the last decade, and that's thanks to a lot of great actresses who are 50 plus, 60 plus, even 70 plus who are still playing interesting women who are at the forefront of the story, not just the wife or the mother who's in the background and serving the man,” Manville says. “There are films now that are made where the women are up front and it's about them.”

Ordinary Love is in theaters now. Manville next appears in the Tony Kushner adaptation of the stage play The Visit at London’s Olivier Theatre.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


Drew Barrymore reveals weight struggles: "I have stood in my closet and just cried"

Rich Fury/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Like a lot of women, Drew Barrymore has obsessed over her weight.

However, in a candid Instagram post Wednesday, the former Santa Clarita Diet star revealed that after years of beating herself up over her body, she's finally found "that elusive B called BALANCE."

Admitting that she's "stood in my closet and just cried" while trying to pick out an outfit, she warned women -- particularly new mothers -- about comparing themselves to images of actresses on red carpets and magazine covers.

Looking good in public, she said, "takes so much."

"If I looked decent on anything I have done since I had my two kids, I have clawed my way there. You can too! However, it is hard to sustain and can take a lot of the joy out of life with food," she wrote. "I have to eat just right and Work my ass off! I cannot fight the fact that I have the propensity to be the Pillsbury dough boy! (Now all I can think about is crescent rolls) So DON’T Be fooled by what you see when people are thin right after baby."

Barrymore shared in her new post that becoming a mother gave her a new appreciation for her body, as the "single most important purpose for me being on this planet is for them." To stay in shape, she added, she works out with Marnie Alton, the founder of M/BODY barre studio in Los Angeles. And while her body isn't perfect, she added, "It's me."

Barrymore, 45, is the mother of two daughters with her ex-husband, Will Kopelman: Olive and Frankie, who are seven and five, respectively.  

"It is a true miracle I was able to have these two girls," Barrymore wrote. "So whatever the aftermath on my body, well bring it on!"

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


Weinstein jury ends day two with no verdict; deliberations resume today

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The 12 New Yorkers deciding the fate of Harvey Weinstein ended their second day of deliberations Wednesday without reaching a verdict, but asked to be re-read actress Rosie Perez's testimony.

"Please read us back Rosie Perez testimony, thank you. We would also like copies of all digital/written communication between the defendant and Paul Feldsher, as well as Dr. Ziv’s Powerpoint presentation -- and all written or digital communications/emails mentioning Annabella in evidence ...," read the jury's note, in part.

In January, Perez took the stand offering testimony that supported actress Annabella Sciorra's allegations against Weinstein.

Earlier in the day, the jury also requested the transcript from Weinstein accuser Miriam Haleyi, as well as all emails to Haleyi sent from any of Weinstein's email addresses.

Tuesday, the jurors asked the judge in the high-profile rape and sexual assault trial for legal clarification of the charges that could send Weinstein to prison for the rest of his life.

The jury of seven men and five women went back to work at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday after spending the first day mulling the reams of evidence and witness testimony presented to them over more than two weeks in the riveting trial in State Supreme Court in lower Manhattan.

The 67-year-old Weinstein, co-founder of the Miramax entertainment company and once considered one of Hollywood's most powerful film producers, is charged with five felony counts for allegedly raping one woman, who is unnamed, in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on another, Miriam "Mimi" Haleyi, in 2006.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and claims any sexual encounters were consensual.

Jury deliberations are scheduled to resume this morning at 9:30 ET.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Man who allegedly murdered Dr. Amie Harwick, ex-fiancée of Drew Carey, faces death penalty

bjdlzx/iStock

(LOS ANGELES) -- Following the murder of Dr. Amie Harwick, police have identified the suspect as ex-boyfriend Garth Pursehouse.   Now facing murder charges, Pursehouse possibly faces the death penalty.

Deadline reports that the 38-year-old  Harwick, who was once engaged to The Price Is Right host Drew Carey, died on February 15 after Pursehouse entered her apartment.  The cause of death, which has since been ruled a homicide, is said to be from blunt force trauma of the head and torso following a fall from a third-floor balcony.

Pursehouse was initially released on Sunday after posting two million dollars bail, but was later re-arrested by LAPD on Wednesday and will be arraigned today.

Police have since charged him with murder along with first-degree residential burglary.  If convicted, Pursehouse faces the death penalty, as capital punishment has not been outlawed in California.

However, it is more likely he faces life in prison because California’s Governor Gavin Newsrom opposes capital punishment and halted executions last  March.

As previously reported, Harwick, a family and sex therapist, "recently expressed fear about a former boyfriend" whom she had filed a restraining order against, according to police.

The restraining order had since expired against the 41-year-old Pursehouse.

On February 15, authorities responding to the victim's home found possible evidence of a struggle as well as evidence of an intruder going into Harwick's home and leaving after the crime.

Carey reacted to Harwick's murder on Monday, writing in a public statement "I am overcome with grief," and that "she was a positive force in the world."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kelly Ripa reveals the simple reason she quit drinking

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Kelly Ripa hasn’t had an alcoholic beverage in three years, but it wasn’t always her plan to stay sober.

The Live with Kelly and Ryan host shared the very simple reason why she put down the glass for good when she stopped by People Now on Wednesday.  

"You wanna know what’s so funny," she started. "I did one of those crazy, like, sober Septembers although it was like March. And I did it for a month and I felt great."

Ripa continued, "I liked the way I felt, I liked the way I sort of looked, and I was like 'I think I’m just gonna stick with it' and that was sort of it."

The 49-year-old mother of three joked that her co-host Ryan Seacrest likes to blame himself for her unintentional sobriety because it happened around the same time he joined the mid-morning talk show in 2017. However, that’s just not the case.

"I really just felt better," Ripa said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Amanda Bynes teases clothing line launch

Bauer-Griffin/GC Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Amanda Bynes sure is keeping busy these days.

Just a few days after announcing that she was engaged to the love of her life, the 33-year-old actress revealed that she’s looking forward to starting a new venture – a clothing line.

Bynes teased the news in an Instagram story on Tuesday evening while out to dinner with a student advisor from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

“Sup, Instagram. Just wanted to say hi to all of my followers. I really wanted to say I appreciate you guys so much for supporting me,” Bynes began. “I’m really looking forward to starting my clothing line and I’m hoping that in the near future it will be out online.”

The She’s the Man actress didn’t dish out any additional specifics about what type of clothing she plans to release or the name but, according to documents obtained by The Blast, back in June 2019 she filed to trademark "Vintage by Amanda Bynes" for a sea of different products, including clothing, soaps, perfumes and cosmetics.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ben Affleck says worries about drinking prompted his pass on 'The Batman'

Hector Vivas/LatinContent via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Having introduced his take on an older, battle-scarred Batman in 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and again in Justice League the following year, the plan was for Ben Affleck to not only star in, but also direct the stand-alone film The Batman.  Then in January 2019, he abruptly dropped out for reasons left largely unspecified.

Now Affleck tells The New York Times the decision was prompted by fears his drinking might do him in.

“I showed somebody The Batman script,” Affleck reveals in the feature story.  “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went though again.”

The reference to "what you just went through" includes a mostly unhappy experience shooting Justice League, at the same time Affleck was estranged from wife Jennifer Garner, from whom he's now divorced.

Affleck confesses, "I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart."

The Oscar-winning director, who describes coming from a family with a history of substance abuse, had by then already spent two stays in rehab to address his drinking, and recently completed a third.  He now candidly admits he's an alcoholic.

“You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever,” says Affleck.  “But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”

Affleck tweeted good luck wishes to The Batman director Matt Reeves after bowing out.  Robert Pattinson will play the Dark Knight when The Batman debuts June 25 of next year.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Ellen's Game of Games' renewed for a fourth season

Mike Rozman/Warner Brothers/NBC(NEW YORK) -- If you just can't get enough of bubbles, slime and blindfolded musical chairs, fear not: NBC has renewed Ellen's Game of Games for a fourth season.

Host Ellen DeGeneres announced the news on her syndicated daytime variety-talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show

“I’m so excited.  I love this show so much,” said DeGeneres. “It makes me so happy. I love games.  It combines all my favorite things: prizes and surprises.” 

Ellen's Game of Games, based on the most popular games from DeGeneres' talk show, was primetime’s number-one game show, reaching more than 66 million viewers. 

Ellen's Game of Games airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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