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Tim Gunn's new show; Joan Jett controversy
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

Lifetime is further expanding the Project Runway franchise with Under the Gunn, a 13-episode new fashion series starring Project Runway co-host Tim Gunn, according to Deadline.com. As for Gunn—who just won an Emmy with "Runway" co-host Heidi Klum—the new show, which premieres Jan. 16, does not mean a departure from the "Runway." This marks the third Project Runway offshoot on Lifetime, including Project Runway All Stars, now in its third season, and Project Accessory, which ran for one cycle.

Singer Joan Jett has been moved to a different float at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade after protests from South Dakotan ranchers, who say the rocker's a vegetarian and critic of their trade, The Hollywood Reporter noted. "I've decided to switch from South Dakota to another float because people's political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment driven event," Jett said. The float to which Jett has moved has not been announced.

Family Ties star Meredith Baxter is set to marry her longtime girlfriend, as the actress obtained a marriage license from a Beverly Hills, Calif., courthouse to wed her partner, Nancy Locke, according to a Huffington Post item. Baxter was married three times before announcing she is lesbian in 2009. The wedding date for Baxter and Locke ( who have dated for seven years ) is currently unknown.

Maulik Pancholy, an actor who co-starred on the NBC show 30 Rock, has come out of the closet, according to The Huffington Post. The 39-year-old actor made the magazine's annual "Out 100" list, and told the publication, "I just celebrated my nine-year anniversary with my partner." In 2012, Out magazine's Jerry Portwood identified Pancholy, who has played gay characters on Weeds and Whitney, as an "out actor," but the 2013 interview marks the first time he's spoken about it publicly.

In his contribution to the publication Vice—which mainly focuses on the film 12 Years a Slave, which co-stars Michael Fassbender—actor James Franco criticized another Fassbender film: Shame, according to The Huffington Post. Shame focuses on the experiences of a New York City man ( Fassbender ) who has his sexual and private life disrupted when his sister ( Carey Mulligan ) comes to live with him. Franco slammed the way the film depicts what quantifies as "sexual addiction" in the film, as well as how gay life was shown.

Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum recording artist Kelly Clarkson has released her first Christmas album, Wrapped in Red, according to a press release. Clarkson and songwriter/producer Greg Kurstin wrote the album's first single, "Underneath The Tree." Other songs on the 14-song CD include favorites such as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Blue Christmas" and "Silent Night" ( with Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood ). Clarkson has previously released five studio albums ( Thankful, Breakaway, My December, All I Ever Wanted and Stronger ) ane one greatest-hits compilation, selling more than 20 million albums worldwide.

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Also regarding Clarkson, the singer—who married husband Brandon Blackstock Oct. 20—has revealed that the couple are expecting their first child, according to Today.com. On Twitter, the "Beautiful Disaster" singer posted, "I'm pregnant!!! Brandon and I are so excited! Best early Christmas present ever : )" Blackstock's father is Clarkson's longtime manager, and his stepmother is country legend Reba McEntire, who once toured with Clarkson.

Oprah Winfrey will receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Montecito Award for her performance in Lee Daniels' The Butler and a celebration of her overall career, Deadline.com reported. The Tribute to Winfrey is set for Feb. 5 at the Arlington Theatre. Previous recipients of the award include Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Naomi Watts and Annette Bening.

FX—home to such shows as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia—is set to to premiere the show Chozen, according to Out.com. Voiced by SNL's Bobby Moynihan, Chozen is a gay white rapper who returns to the real world after getting out of prison. The show's other voice stars include Kathryn Hahn ( We're The Millers ), Michael Pena ( American Hustle ), Nick Swardson ( Reno 911! ) and Method Man. Chozen will premiere Monday, Jan. 13.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features are pushing the release date of Fifty Shades of Grey back by six months after swapping leading men ( with Jamie Dornan replacing Charlie Hunnam ), according to TheWrap.com. The S&M tinged movie, originally scheduled to be released on Aug. 1, 2014, will not debut Feb. 13, 2015. Fifty Shades of Grey will now square off against The Longest Ride, an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks romantic novel, and SpongeBob Squarepants 2.

Jennifer Hudson has been honored with the 2,512th star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of recording, according to Ace Showbiz. The singer/actress attended the unveiling ceremony Nov. 13 with fiance David Otunga and 4-year-old son David Jr. The Oscar-winning actress will next be seen in the movie Black Nativity alongside Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson and Mary J. Blige; the movie will open Nov. 27.

Legendary singer Tina Turner has given up her U.S. citizenship. Turner, a Switzerland resident, filed paperwork in Bern Oct. 24 to relinquish her United States citizenship, declaring that she "has no plans to reside in the United States in the future." Earlier this year the Grammy winner, who has resided in the European country for nearly two decades, was granted Swiss citizenship after passing a local civics test and interview.

Out gay actor Jonathan Groff recently talked about the sex scenes in HBO's new gay dramedy, Looking, according to The Huffington Post. Groff said to Out magazine, "I hope that our sex scenes are sexy—and I think that they are—but I think even more than that what we're trying to display is a reality of gay sex, as opposed to the salaciousness of gay sex. ... Some of our sex scenes are very emotional and very beautiful. Some of our sex scenes are awkward." Looking, which looks at a group of gay friends in San Francisco, premieres Jan. 19.

At the premiere of Lone Survivor at the AFI Fest, actor Mark Wahlberg shocked the audience with his candor about his role in the movie, an adaptation of Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell's account of his Navy SEALS mission in Afghanistan in July 2005, according to EW.com. When Festival Director Jacqueline Lyanga asked Wahlberg about the training he went through for the film, he went on a five-minute rant, saying in part, ""For actors to sit there and talk about 'Oh, I went to SEAL training'? I don't give a f-ck what you did. You don't do what these guys did. For somebody to sit there and say my job was as difficult as being in the military? How f-cking dare you, while you sit in a makeup chair for two hours." He finished by saying, "I'm sorry for losing my sh-t. Don't ask any more questions tonight."

Talking with Entertainment Weekly, actor Hugh Jackman discussed musicals involving ( and those that will possibly include ) him. Jackman has signed for a biographical musical about Harry Houdini that Aaron Sorkin has written; however, he might also play Latin lover Aldolpho in the adaptation of Tony-nominated The Drowsy Chaperone. However, Jackman hasn't abandoned the other genres, as he's reprising his role as Wolverine in next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past as well as the sci-fi crime drama Chappie.

Regarding her time on the show American Idol, former judge Mariah Carey told Hot 97 radio host Angie Martinez that she "hated it," according to CNN.com. Carey added, "I was led to believe—I was the first person signed on. Heaven forbid I look like I'm saying something negative, but honestly I thought it was going to be a three-person panel. ... It was like hell. It was like going to work every day in hell with Satan." Carey was paid $18 million for her season on the show, which will return Jan. 15 with Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez as judges.

Capitol Records has signed Seattle-based singer-songwriter Mary Lambert to its roster, according to a press release. Lambert has earned widespread attention for writing and singing the hook on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' marriage-equality anthem "Same Love" and performing it with them on the MTV Video Music Awards, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Colbert Report, among other events. In July, Lambert released "She Keeps Me Warm" ( an extension of "Same Love" that Lambert calls "the other side of the story" ).

Shortly after winning a court battle against a stalker, Alec Baldwin went after two paparazzi he claimed were too close to his wife and child, calling one what some said sounded like the anti-gay epithet "c**ksucking f*g," according to Fox News. ( Baldwin maintained he said "fathead." ) As a result, Baldwin issued an apology and announced the network was pulling his talk show, Up Late with Alec Baldwin, from its schedule for two weeks, GLAAD announced in a press release. GLAAD Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro said, "Alec Baldwin still needs to take real action. MSNBC has sent a message that anti-gay slurs carry consequences."

In a related development, Alec Baldwin's daughter, Ireland, has defended her father on social media, according to TheWrap.com. Ireland posted, "What my dad said was WRONG. What my dad felt WASN'T. My dad has an INFANT CHILD to protect … Boundaries have to be made." Baldwin famously insulted his daughter when she was 11, calling her a "rude, thoughtless little pig."

Jake Gyllenhaal was sent to the emergency room after punching a mirror on the Los Angeles set of his new film, Nightcrawler, People Magazine reported. "Jake flipped out," a Nightcrawler source said. "His character was looking into a mirror during the scene and punched the mirror in anger and broke it, cutting himself so bad he had to be taken to a hospital." Gyllenhaal returned to set later that day.

A controversy on the NBC show The Biggest Loser involved trainer Jillian Michaels, according to E! Online. After producers accused Michaels of breaking the rules for giving her White Team caffeine pills without permission, Michaels hinted via Twitter that she believes it was all a scheme to bring back former American Idol contestant Ruben Studdard. Studdard had been eliminated from the competition the week before, but was brought back after the prior week's results had been deemed unfair—because Michaels gave the caffeine supplements to her team.

Oprah Winfrey declared she would not be stripping off her lingerie to get "buck naked" on screen, according to an item in The Daily Mail. Winfrey was speaking about her role in the film Lee Daniels' The Butler, in which she played Gloria, the wife of the titular character. Winfrey's character has a dalliance with a neighbor played by Terrence Howard, and the actress said that Daniels wanted the scenes to go much further. She added that she and Daniels argued ferociously about how Gloria would behave.

Michael Jackson's lawyers have labeled a number of big names in the music business—including Whitney Houston, Britney Spears and George Michael—as hardcore dug users to support a lawsuit against Lloyd's of London, according to IBTimes.co.uk. The Michael Jackson Company ( MJC ) is suing insurance syndicates over their refusal to pay $17.5 million under an insurance policy that concert promoters AEG took out in the event Jackson could not perform for the "This Is It" tour. Lloyd's has rejected the claim on grounds that AEG and the singer defrauded insurers by failing to reveal that Jackson was addicted to prescription drugs.

Orange Is The New Black star Taryn Manning has said Rosie O'Donnell wants to be put behind bars on the hit show, according to Radar Online. Manning—who plays bible-thumper Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett—revealed that the comedian is vying for a small role on the breakout Netflix hit. There is no official word on if it will actually happen, but Manning is hopeful—naming O'Donnell as one of her "dream guests."

Rihanna will join TLC, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez as performers at the Nov. 24 American Music Awards ( AWAs )—and will receive the first AMA Icon Award, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The annual music awards ceremony, which Pitbull will host, will take place live at the Nokia Theatre in L.A. and will be broadcast on ABC. Winners are determined by fan votes at AMAvote.com; fans can also vote on Twitter for the first time this year.

Lady Gaga poked fun at herself when she hosted Saturday Night Live Nov. 16, according to TheWrap.com. At one point, she poked fun at her own fashion risks when she played an Apple store genius in a Kanye West-and-Kim Kardashian sketch. A nerdy Gaga said, "I think people who try too hard with their outfits are maybe hiding something." She also ribbed herself for the undeniable similarities between her "Born This Way" and Madonna's "Express Yourself" in a bad covers sketch. The show with Gaga pulled in season-high ratings for SNL.

At the fifth annual Governors Awards Nov. 16, Angelina Jolie received the Jean Hersholt Humantarian Award, while Steve Martin, Angela Lansbury and costume designer Piero Tosi, received career-honoring Oscars, according to USA Today. "You can't imagine how happy and undeserving I feel to receive this golden chap," said Lansbury. Among those in the audience were Matthew McConaughey, Tom Hanks, George Lucas, Brad Pitt ( Jolie's partner ) and Mark Wahlberg.

Rap superstar Macklemore ( "Same Love" ) released a video urging people to join the American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU ) and get its membership card, according to an organizational press release. In a 50-second spot launched on his Facebook page and promoted via his Twitter feed, the MTV Video Music Award-winning rapper encourages his fans to get the card "that lets my gay friends marry the hell out of each other." See www.ACLUCard.com .

Dating alert: Openly gay LA Galaxy soccer player Robbie Rogers is reportedly seeing Greg Berlanti, creator of Arrow and producer of Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, and Dawson's Creek, among others, according to a Towleroad item. The twosome reportedly began dating sometime around May, approximately three months after Robbie went public with his sexuality for the first time.

Bravo announced that out gay figure Andy Cohen has launched his own production company, Most Talkative ( the same title as his autobiography released earlier this year ), while striking a multi-year development deal with the network, The Huffington Post noted. Cohen, host of the nightly talk show Watch What Happens Live!, will be stepping down from his executive role at the cable channel. He will focus on "What Happens" hosting duties, but will stay close to his "Real Housewives" by executive-producing the franchise as well as hosting reunions and specials.

Mark and Donnie Wahlberg are expanding the family business with the A&E reality show Wahlburgers, about their Boston restaurant, TheWrap.com noted. It will debut in the desirable time slot after Duck Dynasty, TV's biggest reality show, on Jan. 22. They'll be joined by the Wahlberg they say is their "most talented sibling"—their older brother Paul.

The most expensive Broadway musical in history is about to turn off the lights—and move. According to USA Today, the $75-million production Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will close in January. However, a new production of the show—which features a score by U2's Bono and the Edge which Julie Taymore co-created and originally directed—is planned for Las Vegas. Spider-Man opened June 14, 2011, after a record 182 preview performances.

Tony Award winner Carol Channing will join Tony nominee Justin Vivian Bond to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jerry Herman musical Hello, Dolly! Jan. 20, 2014, in New York City's Town Hall, according to Playbill.com. The event promises footage from Channing's career as well as filmed celebrity tributes. Earlier this summer Channing and Bond were part of a special event on Fire Island entitled "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: An Intimate Evening with Carol Channing and Justin Vivian Bond."

Tom Cruise, John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston were among the celebrity Scientologists on hand for the opening of the church's new Flag Building in Clearwater, Fla., according to the New York Daily News. The celebrities joined thousands of other people for the ceremony presided over by church leader David Miscavige. The Flag Building, a multimillion-dollar project that has reportedly taken nearly 15 years to complete since its initial groundbreaking, is said to be where Scientology's "Super Power" program will be presented for the first time.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Joe and Teresa Giudice are facing additional federal fraud charges, The New York Daily News reported. They were each indicted Nov. 18 on one count of bank fraud and one count of loan-application fraud. These charges are in addition to a 39-count indictment handed down in July, charging the couple with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud. Joe Giudice also allegedly failed to file tax returns from 2004 to 2008.

A new toxicology report suggests rat poison may have killed actress Brittany Murphy, according to CBS Los Angeles. The actress—known for her roles in movies such as Clueless—died in 2009 from pneumonia. ( Her husband, Simon Monjack, also passed away from the same ailment five months later. ) In 2011, the late actress' mother claimed the two died from toxic mold and said the couple's home was to blame.

A new version of Frank Capra's 1946 classic Christmas tale It's a Wonderful Life is under way, according to a USA Today item. The sequel, titled It's A Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, is expected in theaters for the 2015 holiday season. Karolyn Grimes—who played George Bailey's daughter Zuzu in the original—will return for the sequel as an angel who shows Bailey's unlikable grandson ( also named George Bailey ) how much better off the world would have been had he never been born.

With fiancee Kim Kardashian looking on, Kanye West gave a lecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Boston, according to Ace Showbiz. The rapper showed up at the Ivy League university as a part of his design company's "DONDA Design Lecture" series, named after his mother. "Just wanted to tell you guys: I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be 'architected,' " he told the students.

Television star, actress and activist Laverne Cox will be the keynote plenary speaker at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's 26th Annual National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, in Houston, Texas, on Jan. 29—Feb. 2, according to the organization's website. Cox plays Sophia Burset, a transgender woman, in the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Four thousand LGBT-rights advocates from across the country are expected to attend the Houston conference.

Major League Baseball announced that the Houston Astros will host the 2014 Civil Rights Game and ancillary activities, a series of events developed by MLB to pay tribute to those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans, according to MLB.com. The 2014 Civil Rights Game will be played between the Astros and the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park May 30, 2014, airing nationally on MLB Network.

Helen Mirren continues to win awards for playing Queen Elizabeth II. According to the L.A. Times, Mirren collected yet another honor—Britain's prestigious Evening Standard Theatre Award for The Audience, a play in which the plot spans several decades as Queen Elizabeth II holds her ritual audiences with the current British prime minister. In 2007, Mirren won an Oscar for playing Elizabeth in The Queen; earlier this year, she collected an Olivier Award for playing the British monarch in The Audience.

Digital-entertainment curator FilmBuff will release the award-winning documentary Artifact, which chronicles the grueling struggle between Jared Leto's band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and its record label, according to TheWrap.com. The film ( which Leto directed under his longtime pseudonym, Bartholomew Cubbins ) can now be pre-ordered on iTunes in advance of its debut on all leading VOD platforms Dec. 3. Leto is garnering great reviews for his role as a trans* individual in the movie Dallas Buyers Club.

Adam Levine has been named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, and the big reveal came down on his singing-competition show The Voice, the publication reported. "Thank you," a blushing Levine, 34, mouthed on the show as host Carson Daly made the announcement. Show host Carson Daly joked with Levine's fellow coach Blake Shelton, cracking that Shelton missed out on the title this year.

Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes was hospitalized after blood clots were found in her lungs, according to the New York Daily News. An outpouring of concern began after Leakes admitted to her 1.3 million Twitter followers that she had begun feeling ill but didn't know why; she later posted a photo of her dressed in a hospital gown and lying in what looked to be a hospital bed while hooked up to IVs. She has tweeted a message saying she was "blessed to be alive."

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