VIACOMCBS DROPS NICK CANNON, CITES ‘ANTI-SEMITIC’ COMMENTS
LOS ANGELES (AP) —ViacomCBS says it’s cutting ties with Nick Cannon because of what the media giant called his ‘hateful speech” and anti-Semitic theories. The company’s move came in response to remarks made by Cannon on a podcast in which he discussed racial bias with a former Public Enemy member, Richard Griffin. Cannon produced “Wild ’n Out,” a comedy improv series for VH1, the ViacomCBS-owned cable channel. He accused the company in a lengthy Facebook post of trying to silence an “outspoken black man” and said he wants full ownership of the “Wild ’n Out” brand. Cannon is also the host of Fox’s “The Masked Singer.”
TYRA BANKS WALTZING IN AS NEW ‘DANCING WITH THE STARS’ HOST
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Tyra Banks will be showing off her moves as solo host of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” ABC says that Banks will replace longtime host Tom Bergeron and take on the role of executive producer for the celebrity dance contest. Banks started out as a supermodel and co-created “America’s Next Top Model.” ABC says “Dancing With the Stars” is getting a “creative refresh” that honors what viewers love about it. Co-host Erin Andrews is also leaving the series and is not expected to be replaced. When the show will get to unveil its new approach remains clouded by the pandemic-caused production halt affecting the return of most TV series.
EX-EMPLOYEE SAYS AMBER HEARD ‘TWISTED’ SEXUAL ASSAULT STORY
LONDON (AP) - Amber Heard’s former personal assistant has said in a British court she told the model-actress about a violent sexual assault she had endured, only for Heard to “twist” the story for her own use. Kate James gave dramatic testimony at Johnny Depp’s libel trial against a British tabloid newspaper. Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the paper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that accused him of assaulting Heard during their relationship. He strongly denies abusing Heard. Kate James said she had confided in Heard about being raped at machete-point about 25 years ago. She said she was shocked to learn that in a witness statement, Heard “twisted it into her own story.”
‘VANITY FAIR’ COVER SHOT BY BLACK PHOTOGRAPHER FOR 1ST TIME
For the first time in the history of “Vanity Fair,” the magazine’s cover art was taken by a Black photographer. The cover features a powerful image of Oscar-winning actor Viola Davis and was taken by photographer Dario Calmese. The photo, showing the 54-year-old Davis in profile with her back facing the camera, is meant to be a re-creation of slave portraits. But instead of showing welts and scars, the portrait shows grace, elegance and beauty. In her interview with “Vanity Fair,” Davis discusses the recent racial justice protests, her upcoming role as Michelle Obama and her impoverished upbringing in Rhode Island, and the challenges of being a Black woman in Hollywood.
87 PROTESTERS ARRESTED AT KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL’S HOME
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police say 87 demonstrators who gathered at the home of Kentucky’s attorney general to demand justice for Breonna Taylor have been arrested. News outlets report protesters with the social justice organization Until Freedom gathered Tuesday for a sit-in at the home of Daniel Cameron. Police say they were charged with the felony crime of “intimidating a participant in a legal process”; disorderly conduct, and trespassing. Taylor was fatally shot by police on March 13 during a narcotics investigation. Her death set off weeks of protests and calls for the officers to be charged. Among those arrested were Kenny Stills, a wide receiver for the Houston Texans, and Porsha Williams of “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
CBS, NAACP REACH MULTI-YEAR AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP CONTENT
LOS ANGELES (AP) - CBS Television and the NAACP have reached an agreement to develop content that tells stories of the African American experience. The television studio and civil rights organization announced the multi-year agreement in a joint statement Wednesday. The partnership will focus on creating and producing scripted, unscripted and documentary content for the studio’s broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. CBS will work with the NAACP to form a team to acquire, develop and produce programming to detail inclusive stories.
DESPITE CORONAVIRUS, 1 MUSICAL IS HOLDING AUDITIONS, ONLINE
NEW YORK (AP) - Most theaters in America may be closed, but one musical isn’t letting the virus pandemic stop it from getting prepared to put on a show. “KPOP,” a musical exploring the world of Korean pop, is conducting a video-based global casting call in hopes of being ready whenever live performances resume. Producers are looking for Korean, Korean American and Asian American men and women in their 20s. They “must be excellent singers with a strong, pop belt” and “dance at an advanced level.” Familiarity with K-Pop is, of course, a plus. The show represents a rarity — a stage production with a nearly all-Asian cast.
MICHAEL JACKSON CHANNEL LAUNCHING ON SIRIUSXM
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A month-long Michael Jackson channel is launching Wednesday on SiriusXM radio. The Jackson estate is announcing that The Michael Jackson Channel will start its around-the-clock King-of-Pop programming at noon eastern time. The channel will feature music from Jackson’s albums and from live performances, including his 1988 concerts at London’s Wembley Stadium on his Bad Tour. Playlists will be featured that were created by singer Akon and Jackson’s brothers and fellow Jackson 5 members Jackie, Marlon and Tito. Journalist and author Steven Ivory will act as the voice of the channel, sharing stories of Jackson, his life and career.