First up, American Idol goes remote. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in effect, the traditional way American Idol’s competition was broadcast live in a huge theater with a huge audience is no longer an option at this time. So what’s to be done? Everyone will do their part from home. The contestants will sing from their homes and each of the judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry will remotely serve in their roles. This Plan B is especially good for Perry as she announced her pregnancy to the public only a few weeks ago, so social distancing would mean quite bit now. American Idol airs Sundays at 8pm on ABC.
DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeffrey Townes) reunited with The Fresh Prince (Will Smith)….sorta of. Smith doesn’t a Snapchat series and featured his musical partner and fellow West Philly native Townes. Townes talked about his battle with coronavirus. He says he doesn’t remember about 10 days of his life because of it. Townes, 55, told Smith he had a 103 temperature, chills, lost his sense of smell and lost his sense of taste. During his time in the hospital, a flu test revealed pneumonia in both Townes’ lungs. Everything from Townes getting checked out by doctors to his current recovery he says he owes to his wife, Lynette Townes. Meanwhile, as for Smith, his new Snapchat series is called Will From Home and along with Townes he had his former Fresh Prince leading lady Tyra Banks on as well.
Jussie Smollett and the alleged hate crime hoax has civil and criminal cases attached, but is a possible revelation the key to all of these legal matters. Police called that the racial and homophobic attack that Smollett reported in Chicago in 2019 was a hoax. They had charged him with false reporting and disorderly conduct. Police also alleged that Smollett paid brothers Ambimbola “Abel” Osundario and Ola Osundario to help him stage the attack. The brothers, professional trainers, cooperated with authorities and aren’t facing charges. The Osundario brothers sued two of Smollett’s criminal defense attorneys for defamation. The brothers allege Smollett’s lawyers insinuated there was an affair between Smollett, whom is openly gay, and one of the brothers. The Osundarios were born here, but are of Nigerian dissent and feared for their family because homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria. The bulk of the suit was dismissed but not all of it. Allegations that are leaking out as a result of the preliminary depositions and investigation alleged not only did Smollett and “Abel” Osundario have an affair but even visited upscale Chicago gay bath houses. The Osundario brothers’ lawyer issued a statement that Ola and Abel are focused only in revealing relevant information the right way under oath and in a court of law. No comment from Smollett at presstime, and he still faces felony charges in Chicago after they were dismissed by the State’s Attorney but reinstated by a special prosecutor appointed by a judge. Look for more to come out as Smollett tries to clear his name.
Meanwhile Smollett’s former show Empire went out with no fanfare, no big shockers and, of course, no Jussie Smollett. Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Trai Byers and Bryshere Y. Gray, a.k.a. Yazz The Greatest, unexpectedly closed the book on The Lyon Family… at least for now. Because of the coronavirus shutdown, production was halted before the series finale could shot. Producers took two completed unaired episodes and combined them into the finale. There’s always a ton of footage from any season from a show that’s left on the cutting room floor anyway. So, Cookie And Lucious take back control of their company. Andre, instead of leaving for a church mission in South America, stays to make relationship with his son. Brother Hakeem encouraged Andre’s decision and Hakeem decides to stick with his own marriage. Because this wasn’t a big showy finale, could a TV reunion movie happen?
The Rock and Issa Rae teaming up? Yes! The two are partnering as producers for a new HBO project. Dwayne The Rock Johnson already starred in and produced five seasons of the drama Ballers for HBO. Rae currently produces and stars in her hit series Insecure. Now the two are producing Backyard Wrestling. Johnson, of course, made his name as a pro-wrestler following in the footsteps of his father, the late Rocky Johnson. Backyard Wresting follows the story of a young man who suddenly comes into some insurance money and uses it to create a hip hop themed wresting promotion from his grandfather’s backyard. Besides Rae and Johnson, Johnson’s ex-wife TV & Film Producer/Manager Dany Garcia, who continues to produce projects with her ex and share a daughter with him, is one of the executive producers as well. At presstime, no premiere date for Backyard Wrestling has been confirmed.
Meanwhile, Issa Rae’s new romantic comedy Lovebirds will go straight to Netflix because of coronavirus concerns in movie theaters. Lovebirds stars Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as a couple accidentally swept up in a murder mystery while trying to figure out their future as a couple. Lovebirds begins streaming on Netflix May 22nd.
A-Rod and J-Lo may become True Ballers because they want to by baseball’s New York Mets. Baseball Legend Alex Rodriguez and Actress/Singer/Producer/Dancer Jennifer Lopez are assembling an investment group they will head. The couple is now being called J-Rod, and published reports say Billionaire and Rodriguez friend Jorge Mas might be the key to help close the deal. The last reported deal the Mets were looking at was in February when a deal worth $2.6 billion to own 80% of the team fell apart. With no one playing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the price could be going down and make for better deal for J-Rod. At presstime, neither Lopez nor Rodriguez is commenting publicly.
Singer Case has a bad case….of babymomma drama. The singer/songwriter had back to back gold selling albums Personal Conversation and Open Letter in the 90’s. Twenty years ago, he topped the charts with the singles Touch Me, Tease Me with Foxy Brown & Mary J. Blige, Missing You, Faded Pictures with Joe and Happily Ever After featuring a then Destiny’s Child front-woman Beyonce in the music video. Now, Growing Up Hip Hop Star and Singer Madina Milana has taken to social media and aired dirty laundry….Case’s that is. Milana and Case share a son, and Milana claims he owes her over $500,000 in child support. Milana’s social media post got deleted from her pages, but copies are still making the rounds. On the video, Milana says she’s tired of his good guy image when he’s the biggest deadbeat on the planet. Case hasn’t commented yet on any of this.
If you would like more info please email me at PattyJackson@iHeartMedia.com or check me out with my midday reports at 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm during the day.