Stephen Furst Passes Away At 63

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Stephen Furst, best known for getting his start in “Animal House,” has passed away due to complications with diabetes, Variety can confirm. He was 63 years old.

Furst died in his Moorpark, Calif. home on Friday. His sons Nathan and Griff Furst confirmed their father’s death on Facebook Saturday evening.

“Steve has a long list of earthly accomplishments,” began his boys. “He was known to the world as a brilliant and prolific actor and filmmaker, but to his family and many dear friends he was also a beloved husband, father, and kind friend whose memory will always be a blessing.”

Those other accomplishments include the National Lampoon spinoff “Delta House,” as well as starring roles on “Babylon 5” and “St. Elsewhere,” to name a few. In 2016, the actor made headlines for protesting the Academy’s rule change. Furst was also a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association.

“To truly honor him, do not cry for the loss of Stephen Furst,” requested Furst’s sons. “Rather, enjoy memories of all the times he made you snicker, laugh, or even snort to your own embarrassment. He intensely believed that laugher is the best therapy, and he would want us to practice that now.”

Furst’s wife Lorraine Wright also died in 2017.

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Bruce Springsteen On Broadway

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Bruce Springsteen will reportedly swap stadiums for Broadway theaters this fall.

The Boss will bring a “pared-down version” of his energetic and massive concerts to New York City for eight weeks, likely starting in November, according to The New York Post. The 67-year-old rocker is expected to set up shop five nights per week at the Walter Kerr Theatre, which seats less 1,000 people. The theater recently housed “Amélie,” which shut down in May.

Sources tell the paper that Springsteen might use the residency as a means to stage a bigger Broadway production ― like turning his 2016 memoir, Born to Run, into a musical about his life.

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Celebrating The Age Of Paul McCartney

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When Paul McCartney was 16, he wrote “When I’m 64.” The song eventually turned up on the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” a landmark album released 17 days before his 25th birthday.

Early next month, McCartney heads out on a U.S. tour that begins a day after the 60th anniversary of 15-year-old Paul’s first meeting 16-year-old John Lennon at a church fair in Liverpool.

McCartney turns 75 Sunday – the latest milestone for a music great who once seemed too young to pen a sentimental tune about aging and now might seem too old to play rocking three-hour shows, night after night.

But McCartney’s made a storied career out of defying age and expectations.

The arrival of the Beatles and the mania that ensued displayed the power and possibility of youth in pop culture and beyond. The band’s endurance – evidenced recently by record-setting Spotify streams and the re-ascension of “Sgt. Pepper” on the charts – underscores the timelessness of their work and appeal.

That McCartney and Ringo Starr, who turns 77 next month, keep touring and making new albums when they could easily retire to the Isle of Wight, or wherever they want, speaks to the life force that surges through great music.

McCartney and Starr likely get as much out of their performances as their intergenerational legions of fans do. The surviving Beatles also are playing for Lennon and George Harrison, both lost before their time.

Even with the “many years from now” cited in “When I’m 64” long past, McCartney appears destined to keep performing his songs, new and old.

The Beatles exist on a plane where past and present merge in real time, with every discovery and rediscovery of their catalog. Anniversaries and birthdays offer a fine excuse not only to listen, but to celebrate the never-ending age the Beatles and Paul McCartney.

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Rachel Maddow: The Rolling Stone Interview

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Rachel Maddow sprints onto the set of The Rachel Maddow Show, brain on fire, and slides into her chair. It’s two minutes before airtime at MSNBC’s cavernous New York studio in Rockefeller Center and Maddow, dressed in her standard on-air black blazer and black tank top, Levi’s and blue suede Adidas Gazelles stealthily hidden by her giant desk, hunches over her keyboard, pounding out last-minute revisions to her script with the speed of a court reporter. On the agenda this Friday evening in May: the ever-evolving Trump-Russia scandal and the controversial termination of FBI director James Comey, a story that might as well have been concocted to suit Maddow’s brand of scathing, methodical deconstruction. She begins the hour on a note of quietly seething moral outrage, opening her monologue with a breakdown of the Comey firing, before moving through all the players in the Trump saga: Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Russian oligarchs, New York’s former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara – and ending with a note about a series of investigations taking place in various inspectors-general offices regarding the Trump-Russia matter. They could have a devastating impact on the administration – provided the president lets them continue, Maddow notes: “He’s already fired the FBI director. He’s already fired Preet Bharara and the other U.S. attorneys. He fired the deputy attorney general. Who do you think he’s going to fire next?”

Launched nearly a decade ago, The Rachel Maddow Show, hosted by an openly-gay Rhodes scholar who came to TV news by way of progressive Air America Radio, is now the number-one prime-time news program on cable television. It’s a significant though not totally improbable achievement for a show whose mantra, “Increase the amount of useful information in the world,” has taken on new resonance in the Trump era, when a single presidential tweet can receive breathless coverage by the mainstream press, and journalism itself is denounced as “fake news.” Though Trump’s so-far chaotic presidency has helped boost cable ratings across the board, no program has benefited as much as Maddow’s, whose audience has almost tripled, from 849,000 nightly viewers in 2014 to more than 2.3 million today, and growing. In mid-May, The Rachel Maddow Show was second only to the NBA playoffs as the most-watched program on cable, period.

In person, Maddow is taller than she appears on TV – a lanky five feet eleven – and also less feminine, her contact lenses replaced by chunky black glasses, mascara wiped off. Maddow’s one concession to the female norms of TV news is agreeing to wear makeup, which she does for precisely one hour and 15 minutes per day. Off camera, she dresses in grungy attire, which on an afternoon before Memorial Day means Levi’s, a beige T-shirt, a hole-ridden thrift-shop denim shirt, and camouflage Adidas Shell Toes. “They’re invisible,” she says about her sneakers, though she could be talking about herself. At 44, Maddow is naturally, neutrally pretty, which is a positive if one’s aim is to let the words, not the image, make the point. “I have no visual-presentation goals for myself,” she says in her office at 30 Rock. A long rack of near-identical dark suit jackets hangs on one wall. “It’s on purpose. You line me up with Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Hayes and Brian Williams, and we’ve all got a very similar shade of the same haircut.”

As is true for many journalists, Maddow’s office is sort of a mess, with manila file folders stacked on the floor, and printouts of various stories she’s keeping track of piled on her desk and along the windowsill. “This is how I’m going to die one day – crushed under a pile of paper,” she says, giving me a quickie tour of her various tchotchkes: the Trout of North America wall calendar that she quickly flips to May (it was still on March); her Vladimir Putin nesting dolls; a G.I. Joe, still in its box; a metal Tabasco tub housing her Emmy, which is lying sideways, a tiny bit of gold orb emerging from the top. On the whiteboard behind Maddow’s desk is a running, if haphazardly diagrammed, list of the stories she’s thinking about, with the most important circled in blue marker. Perpetual favorites like Flynn and Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort hold a prominent place. Another name floating in its own blue circle: Viktor Medvedchuk, “a superclose-to-Putin oligarch” whose name recently turned up in intercepts for having had contact with the Trump campaign. “But we haven’t talked about the fact that he was [also] one of the first individuals sanctioned by the U.S. government after the Crimea thing,” says Maddow. “And so what is that guy doing talking to the Trump campaign during the campaign when he is one of the sanctioned individuals?”

Maddow goes on like this, describing the other stories she finds fascinating, or more specifically, pinpointing the most under-reported, yet possibly important, facet of the stories that interest her, and then drilling down, which can be riveting, as well as exhausting. But that’s just how Maddow’s brain works. “What’s remarkable about Rachel is that she actually is that brilliant,” says her senior producer Laura Conaway, who has worked for Maddow since 2009. “The thing about this show is it starts with digesting an enormous amount of information every day, and then basically throwing it all out and saying, ‘OK, that’s what everybody already knows.’ It requires attention, and Rachel is supremely gifted at paying attention.”

Maddow’s friend and fellow MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who considers her a mentor, compares her to LeBron James. “No one can do what she does,” he says. “She is a master of the medium in a way that is just unparalleled – she can figure out how to tell a story and do things she cares about in ways that grab people’s attention, without just going to where the attention is. And she does that every night. To produce what she produces every day is kind of incomprehensible to me, actually.”

Maddow came to journalism almost by accident. Raised east of San Francisco in suburban Castro Valley, she learned to read using the newspaper – her parents, an attorney and a school administrator, have said she was reading before kindergarten – but grew up in the Bay Area as more of a participant than an observer, playing high school sports and, by her teens, becoming heavily involved in AIDS activism. At Stanford, where Maddow enrolled in 1990, she studied public policy, and then went on to earn her doctorate in politics at the University of Oxford in England. After returning from England in 1998, Maddow moved to western Massachusetts to work on her dissertation, crashing with friends and working any odd job she could find: bucket washer at a local coffee-roasting factory, delivery girl, yard worker, minimum-wage news reader at the local Holyoke radio station. The station held a contest to find a new sidekick for the host of its morning show. Maddow, who’d never worked in media, entered and won. “I stumbled into that job, but it just really clicked,” Maddow says. “I liked being in charge of the news. I found I really liked explaining things.”

TRMS is nothing if not a lengthy explanation of the news that Maddow is most interested in, particularly the opening segment, or “A Block,” which she usually writes herself, sometimes with help from Conaway or other producers. The show’s format of deep-dive analysis and investigative reporting is not easy to produce, and a typical day can last anywhere from 12 to 14 hours. Maddow, who lives with her longtime partner, photographer Susan Mikula, in western Massachusetts, maintains an apartment in Manhattan where she lives during the week, making the three-hour-plus drive back and forth to Massachusetts every weekend. Her workday begins at around 11 a.m., when she arrives at her office, reads through every bit of news she can get her hands on, and then spends a few hours researching or reporting what interests her the most. At around 2 p.m., Maddow convenes her staff in the newsroom to plan the evening’s show, though, given the volatility of the current news cycle, what seems relevant at 3 p.m. might be sidelined by six.

One afternoon, I sit in on a production meeting with Maddow and about 20 staffers. The news of the day pertains to the president’s latest pre-dawn tweet storm, in which Trump mused about canceling White House press briefings, and later hinted that he “might” have secretly recorded his meetings with Comey. Maddow, wearing a brown hoodie, stands in front of a large whiteboard, marker in hand, studying a long list of potential story ideas. She considers the taping issue, which White House spokesman Sean Spicer refuses to comment on: “If Trump says there are tapes and there actually is a taping system, then it’s relevant that Spicer has no comment.” She looks at her staff. “Who thinks he has a taping system?” Everyone raises a hand.

Why Trump would admit to this is puzzling. Quite possibly, he’s just being Trump; on the other hand, as Maddow points out, with the potential obstruction-of-justice issues that secretly taping your FBI director might raise, his comments are worrisome. “It does seem like the president is melting down, like there’s something . . . degenerating in his statements,” she says. “But it’s not our business.”

“When is it our business?” asks Maddow’s executive producer, Cory Gnazzo.

“When they invoke the 25th Amendment,” says Conaway.

A short debate ensues over when, if ever, the show could broach the president’s mental fitness. Maddow quickly dis-misses it. “Trump has mastered the political media by causing you to lose focus and then re-center on whatever it is he’s just said,” she tells me later. “But I’m not interested in what the president has to say.”

What’s your rule about how to cover this administration? We have a mantra when it comes to this administration: “Don’t pay attention to what they say, focus on what they do.” And that is very helpful, because it’s easier to cover a fast-moving story when you’re not distracted by whatever the White House denials are. It’s fascinating that H.R. McMaster and Dina Powell and Rex Tillerson, these very impressive people, all came out and denied that the president gave the Russians secret intelligence in the Oval Office. But, then, the next morning the president was like, “Yeah, I did tell the Russians!” So that’s a sign to not get too hung up on what the White House is saying at any moment, because even their most credible people are being put forward to lie, bluntly, regularly . . . and it’s OK!

Do you marvel at the degree to which the administration just blatantly lies? I think it’s more helpful to take that information, the fact that the White House is putting out nonfactual information on a regular basis, and internalize it. What it means is there is a whole area of information coming from “White House sources” that has no meaningful impact on what I understand to be true about the world. For me, that’s helpful in an organizational way.

How do you decide what to cover? First, you need to be able to synthesize a lot of information, and then exclude from your field of consideration the stuff that isn’t important so you can find the salient, new thing. And that is very rarely something overt.

Let’s talk about the Russia story. You got on that very early, and stuck with it. Well, I mean, I’m not keeping it alive for its own sake. There’s a lot of scandal associated with this new administration. Some of it is like normal political scandal – like Tom Price trading health stocks while he was in a public position to regulate those stocks. That’s a bad scandal, but it’s kind of normal political corruption. It’s almost quaint. Then, there are Trump-specific scandals, like we now have a ruling family where there’s a crowned prince who’s an adviser without remit, and we’ve got unqualified nepotistic appointments and conflicts of interest and Trump not disclosing his taxes. And then there is this third scandal, which is about the existence of this presidency. That’s an existential scandal. If this presidency is knowingly the product of a foreign-intelligence operation, that’s not Tom Price trading stocks that he was also affecting the price of as a public official, you know? That is a full-stop national crisis. Does that mean Russia makes the air every day, even if nothing appears new? No. But when there is something to say about it, I’m going to report it insistently. And I’m willing to do that even if it bothers people.

Do you care if you have haters? Sean Hannity called you one of the “worst examples” of the “propaganda press.” Sean Hannity said that? That’s nice. I don’t play requests. I get to decide what we cover. From the very beginning, I’ve had a deal with MSNBC that they don’t tell me what to cover, what not to cover or how to cover what I cover. I’m not trying to make people happy. I’m trying to do an excellent job telling the stories that I think are important. That’s all I can do.

Does it matter to you to be first on a story? No. I want to matter. When something important is happening, I want people to feel like they should come to me. Sometimes news will break during our hour, and whether or not we’re first, we’ve got to absorb it, figure out that it’s important, fact-check it, turn it around, present it to the viewers, and we nail it, and that can be a real source of pride.

Do you think it’s possible the Trump campaign had no knowledge of the Russian hacking? I absolutely believe it’s possible. I mean, Russia clearly did this attack, and there’s lots of circumstantial evidence that points at lots of unexplained and surreptitious contact between Trump people and Russian people at the time that was happening. But circumstantial evidence is circumstantial evidence. This is a serious thing that needs to be chased down to the end.

It’s hard to chase Trump down – he’s like an escaped electron. Exactly – irradiating everything he bumps into. That’s a pretty good analogy.

How did you manage the shock of election night? It’s funny – if you look at right-wing social media there’s this whole thing about how I had a meltdown on election night and cried. And they found tape of me talking about a totally unrelated story months earlier and said that that was me on election night. But I was actually pretty calm that night, and the reason I was pretty calm is because there’s a lot to do. I’m not a good ad-libber, and anchoring election night is five, six, seven, eight hours of ad-libbing, which for me is like juggling seven tennis balls while merging onto the freeway at night in the rain with no wipers and no lights. So, no, I had no feelings on election night.

What about the morning after? I had the same shock as everybody, but we had to get back on the air. And that’s a very constructive place to be, because my job is to explain what’s going on, what’s important and whether there are factual and historically analogous things that might help you connect and understand the import of what’s happening. If I’m waylaid by being upset or angry, that doesn’t help me explain what’s happening.

Do you have to work hard to contain those emotions? I’m not having an emotional reaction to the news. I’m really not. It’s like if you’re a surgeon who’s removing brain tumors. While you’re doing the surgery, do you feel sad for the person having gotten the tumor? No, you’re working on taking care of the tumor and fixing it.

Because tumors can be deadly if you don’t get rid of them, which is not unlike how some people see the state of our country right now. . .  People feel overwhelmed when they feel like they can’t do anything about it. I can do something about it! While we’re having this incredibly scandalous presidency, and the result of this foreign attack that had this big effect on our country, I get to come to work every day and make sense of it and explain it and find out new information about it, and put that out in the world. I feel like I’m doing work that’s needed. That feels good.

How collaborative is your process? It takes a village. I mean, there are individual segments, and particularly A Blocks, that I will just go into the silo and produce on my own, but you can’t do that for the whole show. You can’t write 8,000 words a day on your own. There are definitely segments that are almost wholly born from producers, and I really count on them.

Do you see yourself as the captain of the ship? Oh, I’m not a captain – I mean, if I was a parent, the children would starve, you know? Like, I can’t really deal with hirings and firings and vacations and birthdays and keeping people happy. I’m blessed with producers who are really good with humans. . . . I’m not great at that. I focus entirely on editorial content.

Do you ever find it frustrating that Trump’s supporters just don’t seem to care about any of these scandals? I don’t think much about how the news is received, or whether or not it is moving people. The news is the news, whether or not people are feeling it. The scandals of the Trump administration, I’d argue, are the most serious scandals that any president has ever faced, not even just since Nixon.

In the early days of Watergate, about half the country didn’t pay much attention – it was only when people started going to jail that it resonated. If the Trump scandals prove to be as bad as they might be and what the FBI is investigating turns out to be worst-case scenario – guilty, did it – then I think the American people as a whole will respond to that appropriately, by recognizing this as an unprecedented, and remarkably successful, foreign attack on the foundations of our country. Will there be outliers? Yes. But I think, in general, if this thing proves out – and it might not – the country will react the way you would hope we would.

That is a very optimistic way to look at the seemingly intractable partisan divisions in our country. The American people are more patriotic than partisan when it gets to the end of the day. It’s true that we’re tribal and partisan and petty and all of those things, but there is also a pride and awareness of what it means to be the kind of country we are, which is unlike any other country on Earth, and I think that will bear out.

I was surprised to hear you don’t see yourself as partisan when a lot of people would disagree. How do you defend that? Oh, I’m a liberal for sure. I’m just not a candidate person. And I’m not a huge fan of the Democratic Party. I’m also less interested in the Democratic Party as a topic – the Republican Party is more fascinating to me.

What about the Republican Party fascinates you? I’m like a sociological student of the Republican Party – even absent Trump. There is a robust, well-funded, decades-old, superorganized, focused, competent conservative movement that exists outside the Republican Party that yanks the party’s chain whenever they want to. The Republican Party is like an old burned-out husk of a Ford Pinto that blew up ’cause its gas tank was in the wrong place, but it’s attached to a giant jet engine. The Democratic Party is like a Honda Civic. It putters through the world in a predictable way, and you like it or not depending on if you find small, unpowerful things cute. But the Republican Party has this incredible propulsion and no way to steer it.

You had a collegial relationship with Roger Ailes, who helped create this toxic political environment we’re in. What made you seek him out? I wasn’t seeking help from him on how to “create a toxic political environment,” I was looking for help on my camera angles! But I don’t want to talk about the technical advice he gave me, because I consider it to be both a gift and also proprietary – like, I use it, I don’t want anybody else to use it. It was a nice thing that he did for me, and it’s been very valuable – it helped me get an advantage over my competitors.

Was it hard for you to reconcile the Ailes you knew with the Ailes who was accused of serial sexual harassment? It was just never my experience of him. I knew him in a very specific context. I’ve never been in his office. I’ve never seen him interact with his staff. I only ever saw him in public. We’d meet and have breakfast. I’m horrified by the allegations against him, and I am appreciative of how serious Fox must have found them to be in order to fire him. But I didn’t know anything about it. I was never in touch with Roger after those allegations became public.

Did you ever try? It’s funny, the last time that we had any communication was within 48 hours of that story breaking with the allegations. I’d sent him a note saying that I wanted to see him. Nothing urgent, just let’s put a date on the calendar. After the story broke, I remember thinking, “I wonder if he’ll ask me to vouch for him or something.” But I never heard from him again.

Your not having any idea is a bit hard to swallow, when there were stories for years about how he dealt with women. Unless he treated you more like a guy? Yeah, I’m not that female. I’ve been an out lesbian since I was a teenager. I look like a dude. I’m totally comfortable with that. I am not trying to be on TV because I like the way I look on TV or because I love the glamour.

Though I vaguely remember seeing you on Tucker Carlson’s show with longer hair and a pink jacket. That wasn’t me, dude. That was them. When I first started at MSNBC, they had this poor person whose job it was to dress the talent, and she tried to turn me into a person who looks the way they’re supposed to look on television. Can you imagine?

Still, I’m curious if being a woman in this business resonates for you. Look, this business is very, very, very male. It’s great that one outcome of the Fox turmoil is that they’ve apparently got a woman who’s taken [some part of] Bill Shine’s job – the top executive job there. You don’t see that here. You don’t see that at CNN.

Why do you think some Americans hate and distrust the media so much? It’s a convenient foil. I don’t really care. I am a cheerleader for the American media and I feel like the free press is going to be what saves us from the political crisis that we are in. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing.

What do you think we could do better? I think the media needs to be protective in terms of its business model. There needs to be a remunerative vocation, which is called reporter, which is called editor, which is called publisher…. We need to do what we can to make sure that we defend people that are attacked for doing that work, and [also] that there are journalism jobs that pay above minimum wage so we get good people doing this work.

Amen. Right? I mean, news doesn’t just happen – people need to appreciate that news comes from people digging it up and that journalism is a noble thing, and we’ve got to cheer for it when it succeeds.

A lot of people criticized the way you reported on Trump’s tax return [summary pages of which were first uncovered by David Cay Johnston of]. Do you think that’s fair? I had two pages of Donald Trump’s tax returns from 2005. For me, it was very important that I made sure they were real and I wasn’t getting punked, and then that I put them out there in the world in a way that I felt explained their importance. That’s what I do with the news every day. I find something, figure out if it’s true, figure out what I think is important about it and then explain what I think is important about it. And I try to be accurate and insightful.

But what people latched onto was that it was promoted on Twitter in a way that led people to believe it was going to be a bigger deal than it was. There were two tweets. I can’t even quote it directly, but it’s like, “Breaking: We have Trump tax returns. Seriously.” Then I followed that up with, “We have the 1040 form from 2005.” And then I got on the air and said, “We’ve got these two pages. This is the 1040 form from 2005. This is how we got them. This is why we believe they are real. I’ve got the reporter here who got them and here’s why it’s important that the first-ever known authenticated Donald Trump federal tax returns are now in the public domain.”

Do you feel like you oversold it, though? I felt like I did exactly what I wanted to do. You can’t really do any worthwhile work if you’re hoping for a specific response from people. This is what I do and some people like it and some people don’t, and some days you’re up and some days you’re down in terms of whether people think you’re a good person or a bad person.

Are you generally happy with your performance? Oh, I’m rarely satisfied – I mostly would grade myself below a C for any particular show, as our average.

Below a C? Well, I mean, we have technical failures. Sometimes we have boring guests. Sometimes I do a lousy job in an interview. Just sloppiness, in writing, bad editing, typos sometimes screw shit up. But occasionally, we do shows that I think are really good – I’m not blind to when we do a good job.

What’s your metric for doing a good job? Whether I got it right and whether or not I’ve advanced the story. And every once in a while you see your influence in the world. You see people grasp a story that you’ve broken or a point that you have been able to introduce into the dialogue around something. But again, you can’t aim at it. All you can try to do is get the work right.

What would you say is your biggest deficit on TV? I don’t think I’m a very good interviewer. In general, that’s not my skill. Sometimes we’ve brought on a person because they really have a thing to add, and then I just don’t ask them the thing that elucidates the thing that we brought them on the air for. That makes me crazy.

Who do you see as a great interviewer? You know who I think is amazing? Chris Matthews. And I know that sounds weird, because he’s famous for interrupting people. But he interrupts people because he’s listening so hard to them. He knows where people are going and he jumps in to get more out of them. The times I’ve seen Chris interview Trump were the most illuminating interviews with him I’ve ever seen, because he was able to draw more stuff out of Trump than anyone else.

I don’t see you as someone who is even interested in that method – people come on your show to have a conversation. Right! I have a tacit contract with my viewers that if I invite somebody onto my show it’s because I believe they have something you ought to hear. But that genteel kind of kid-glove handling of my guests isn’t as extractive as it could be. I’m glad there are a lot of different types of people who do this job. The way I do it is not for everybody.

Have you found the whole fake-news and “alternative facts” stuff to be a distraction? I mean, who cares? It’s like sticks and stones. I am interested in the president denigrating the press – and the judiciary and the intelligence community and law enforcement – because that is important in terms of his behavior as an increasingly authoritarian-style leader, the type of which we have never had before at this level of American politics, period. I am not interested in it because it offends me. When speech becomes behavior, then it is relevant. I don’t watch the press briefing. I don’t read the president’s tweets. In general, “The president has tweeted X” is an overblown story.

What was the thing that surprised you most about working in TV? Just how much smoke-blowing there is – a lot of people saying, “Wow! That was so awesome,” when you’re like, “Are you sure?”

You also get a lot of people who believe that they’re great, when they kind of suck. I’m always aware of all the ways that failure can creep into everything I’m doing. I’m constantly battling in order to achieve something that I’m not embarrassed by, which people think is self-deprecating, but it’s fucking motivating.

And also tiring? It’s really tiring. I have the best staff in news, but it’s hard to keep people for the long haul. Our work tempo is so exhausting. It’s just hard.

Can you ever unplug? I threw my back out, so I unplug less than I used to. There are three things I do to stay sane: I exercise, I sleep – I’m a good sleeper – and I fish. I cannot do any of those things with this back injury.

Even fishing? I mean, like, I can – I went out last weekend with a friend of mine who blew out her knee the day after I hurt my back. Usually, we’re, like, out there in the river and rappelling down gorges and doing crazy stuff. Now, there’s the two of us in folding chairs, fishing for shad in the Connecticut River. It was so sad.

Aside from your passion for fishing, is there a side to you that we don’t see on TV? What do you think?

I think you’re essentially a private person who prefers to reveal a part of yourself. Yeah. I’m not pretending to be somebody that I’m not on television. But there’s a slice of me that I put on television.

How big of a slice? Do any of us know the extent of who we are?

Onscreen, you seem pretty authentic. I try to at least give some cue that I’m giving you my own personal take on this now. But I don’t yell. I’m not gonna pound the table and wave my fist in the air. That’s not going to help.

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Mike Myers Returns In The Weirdest Way Possible

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For the last several years, Mike Myers has been hiding in plain sight. The beloved comedian—who spent the 90s and early aughts pelting viewers with hits like Austin Powers and Wayne’s World—has slowed down his output, favoring documentaries over features. The last proper movie he did was 2010’s Shrek Forever After; since then, he’s appeared in a handful of documentaries, such as Being Canadian (an inscrutable title), and even directed one, titled Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, about the titular talent agent. Seven years later, though, Myers is finally ready to step back into the limelight. Well, sort of. It’s time to meet Tommy Maitland, Myers’s latest comedic alter-ego.

On June 22, ABC is premiering a strange new incarnation of the classic talent contest The Gong Show, hosted by legendary British comedian “Tommy Maitland” . . . who is actually Mike Myers, with loads of transformative makeup, an accent, and a detailed fake backstory. Myers will stay in character as Maitland throughout his tenure on the show. Maitland’s got his own Twitter and everything, tweeting out charming Britishisms like “cheeky monkey,” which seems to be his catchphrase.

Viewers were first introduced to Maitland in May, when Will Arnett (who executive produces the rebooted Gong Show) guest-hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live and brought out Maitland as a guest. ABC released a new trailer for the show on Wednesday, and is also all-in on the fake host fantasy, referring to the personality as Maitland instead of Myers in all the show’s promotional material.

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Adam West Passes Away At 88

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The actor struggled to find work after the campy superhero series was canceled, but he rebounded with voiceover gigs, including one as the mayor of Quahog on ‘Family Guy.’

Adam West, the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series Batman, has died. He was 88.

West, who was at the pinnacle of pop culture after Batman debuted in January 1966, only to see his career fall victim to typecasting after the ABC show flamed out, died Friday night in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said.

West died peacefully surrounded by his family and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement.

After struggling for years without a steady job, the good-natured actor reached a new level of fame when he accepted an offer to voice the mayor of Quahog — named Adam West; how’s that for a coincidence! — on Seth MacFarlane’s long-running Fox animated hit Family Guy.

On the big screen, West played a wealthy Main Line husband who meets an early end in Paul Newman’s The Young Philadelphians (1959), was one of the first two humans on the Red Planet in Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and contributed his velvety voice to the animated Redux Riding Hood (1997), which received an Oscar nomination for best short film.

Raised on a ranch outside Walla Walla, Wash., West caught the attention of Batman producer William Dozier when he played Captain Quik, a James Bond-type character with a sailor’s cap, in commercials for Nestle’s Quik.

West, who had appeared in many Warner Bros. television series as a studio contract player, was filming the spaghetti Western The Relentless Four (1965) in Europe at the time. He returned to the States to meet with Dozier, “read the pilot script and knew after 20 pages that it was the kind of comedy I wanted to do,” he said in a 2006 interview with the Archive of American Television.

He signed a contract on the spot, only asking that he be given the chance to approve who would play his sidekick, Robin, the Boy Wonder. (He would OK the casting of Burt Ward, who had a brown belt in karate but zero acting experience).

“The tone of our first show, by Lorenzo Semple Jr., was one of absurdity and tongue in cheek to the point that I found it irresistible,” West said. “I think they recognized that in me from what they’d seen me do before. I understood the material and brought something to it.

“You can’t play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way without giving the audience the sense that there’s something behind that mask waiting to get out, that he’s a little crazed, he’s strange.”

The hunky Lyle Waggoner (later of The Carol Burnett Show) and Peter Deyell also tested to play the Gotham City crime fighters, but West and Ward clearly were superior, and Batman debuted at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 1966, a Wednesday.

The cliffhanger episode would be resolved the very next night — Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel! The show was originally intended to last an hour, but ABC split it up when it had two time slots available on its primetime schedule.

West said that he played Batman “for laughs, but in order to do [that], one had to never think it was funny. You just had to pull on that cowl and believe that no one would recognize you.”

The series, filmed in eye-popping bright colors in an era of black-and-white and featuring a revolving set of villains like the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), Joker (Cesar Romero), Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and Catwoman (Julie Newmar), was an immediate hit; the Thursday installment was No. 5 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1965-66 season, and the Wednesday edition was No. 10.

“Stellar, exemplar, a king to the end,” Newmar said in a statement: “He was bright, witty and fun to work with. I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity. He meant so much to people.”

Batman was nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding comedy series in its first year, losing out to CBS’ The Dick Van Dyke Show. A 20th Century Fox movie was rushed into production and played in theaters in the summer before season two kicked off in September 1966.

However, the popularity of the show soon plummeted, and Batman — despite the addition of Yvonne Craig as Batgirl — was canceled in March 1968 after its third season.

West quickly struggled to find work, forced to make appearances in his cape and cowl at car shows and carnivals and in such obscure films as The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971), written by Semple, and The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980). He and his family downsized, leaving their home in the tony Pacific Palisades for Ketchum, Idaho.

“The people who were hiring, the people who were running the studios, running the shows, were dinosaurs,” the actor said in the 2013 documentary Starring Adam West. “They thought Batman was a big accident, that there was no real creative thought, expertise or art behind it. They were wrong.”

He returned to voice his iconic character in such cartoons as The New Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Simpsons, and Warner Bros.’ long-awaited DVD release of ABC’s Batman in 2014 brought him back into the Bat Signal’s spotlight.

He was born William West Anderson in Seattle on Sept. 19, 1928, the second of two sons. His father, Otto, was a wheat farmer; his mother, Audrey, was a pianist and opera singer.

West attended an all-boys high school, then graduated with a major in English literature from Whitman College. During his senior year, he worked for a local radio station, doing everything from Sunday morning religion shows to the news.

He also starred in a couple of plays at the local theater. “I found that I could move an audience and I was appreciated,” he said.

In the Army, West served as an announcer on American Forces Network television, then worked as the station manager at Stanford while he was a graduate student.

He got a job at a McClatchy station in Sacramento, Calif., then moved to Hawaii, where he hosted a two-hour weekday show in the late 1950s with a diaper-wearing chimp named Peaches. (West said he once interviewed William Holden as the actor was passing through.)

West got a contract at Warner Bros. at $150 a week and was placed in one of the studio’s TV series — Colt .45, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, Cheyenne, etc. — pretty much every week.

He got his first regular TV role when he played Det. Sgt. Steve Nelson under the command of Robert Taylor on the 1959-62 ABC/NBC series The Detectives, coming aboard when that show expanded to one hour in color.

After he split with Warner Bros., West showed up in such forgettable films as Geronimo (1962) starring Chuck Connors, Tammy and the Doctor (1963) with Sandra Dee and in The Three Stooges film The Outlaws Is Coming (1965) before Batman changed his life forever.

He later starred in a rejected 1991 NBC pilot episode called Lookwell — written by Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel — in which he portrayed a once-famous TV detective who thinks he can solve crimes in real life.

Then came the gig on MacFarlane’s Family Guy.

“I had done a pilot with Seth that he had written for me. It turned out we had the same kind of comic sensibilities and got along well,” he said in a 2012 interview. “When Family Guy came around and Seth became brilliantly successful, he decided to call me and see what I was doing. He asked if I would like to come aboard as the mayor, and I thought it would be neat to do something sort of absurd and fun.”

The documentary Starring Adam West culminates with him receiving a star on The Hollywood Hall of Fame in 2012.

He married Marcelle in 1970; they met when she was the wife of the Lear Jet founder and they posed for a publicity photo at Santa Monica Airport, with him in his Batman costume. (They each had two children from their previous marriages, then added a couple of their own.)

When Batman was canceled, “The only thing I thought is that it would be the end of me, and it was for a bit,” he told an audience at Comic-Con in 2014. “But then I realized that what we created in the show … we created this zany, lovable world.

“I look around and I see the adults — I see you grew up with me, and you believe in the adventure. I never believed this would happen, that I would be up here with illustrious people like yourselves. I’m so grateful! I’m the luckiest actor in the world, folks, to have you still hanging around.”

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Woody Allen Makes  Appearance At Diane Keaton AFI Event

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The Oscar-winning director surprised the crowd when he emerged onstage to introduce the woman of the evening to a standing ovation.

Woody Allen was greeted with a standing ovation as he made a surprise appearance tonight to present his old friend and costar Diane Keaton with the 45th annual AFI Life Achievement award.

Allen, in a rare visit to Hollywood, appeared at the end of the evening to celebrate Keaton, who won her best-actress Oscar for her starring role as the blithe title character in 1977’s Annie Hall. “We go back a long way, Diane and I,” Allen began before launching into a comedic monologue.

Jokingly likening the young Keaton to the fictional character Eve Harrington in All About Eve, he joked that he didn’t mean to suggest that she was “ruthlessly ambitious,” but that when she meant to refer to him as a talented young director she made a Freudian slip and “instead she called me a stepping stone.”

He recalled how he was fascinated when he first met Keaton because she came from right-wing Orange County, having grown up in a town where “if you helped a blind person across the street, they accused you of Socialism.”

Continuing to draw laughs from the audience, and especially from Keaton who sat at the main dais, Allen observed, “Her beauty is not conventional — by conventional I mean pleasing to the eye.”

The two met when Keaton, an aspiring actor from California living in New York, auditioned for and won the female lead in Allen’s 1969 play Play It Again, Sam, and then went on to make the movie version together. In a video interview earlier in the evening, Keaton testified that the eight films they made together were “fun to do because I played idiots,” but she also praised Allen for “writing for women better than anyone. His female roles are extraordinary.”

An apologetic New Yorker, who’s often expressed disdain for Los Angeles — in Annie Hall, he famously cracked, “I don’t want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light” — Allen has to be seriously motivated to venture to the West Coast. He appeared at the 2002 Oscars, for example, only because he was asked to introduce a tribute to New York City in the wake of 9/11.

But, clearly, his professional and personal relationship with Keaton exerted a strong draw, for he concluded his remarks by becoming serious for a moment, saying, “From the minute I met her, she was a great, great inspiration to me. Much of what I have accomplished in my life I owe for sure to her.”

Making her way to the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Keaton embraced Allen and turning to the microphone, said, “Oh, God, I just want to cry.” She added, “Tonight has been an astonishing experience for me.” So, instead of launching into a speech, she instead chose to sing an a capella version of “Seems Like Old Times,” the song she memorably sang in Annie Hall.

As the 45th recipient of the honor, presented annually by the American Film Institute, Keaton, 71, became the ninth woman to be singled out, following in the footsteps of Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Barbara Stanwyck, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine and Jane Fonda. And Streep and Fonda were both on hand to welcome her to the club.

They both chose to pay homage to Keaton’s idiosyncratic sense of style — for the occasion, Keaton herself wore a black-belted white coatdress along with one of her signature oversized hats.

Appearing in black blazer, skinny pants and black-and-white striped tie, Streep observed, “Diane Keaton, arguably one of the most covered-up persons in the history of clothes, is also a transparent woman, even though she is famously the only member of the original cast of Hair on Broadway who would not take off her clothes at the end of the show.” As for Keaton’s winning performance in Annie Hall, Streep added, “She had the stream of consciousness of a hummingbird.”

Dressed in an all-white pants suit, Fonda said, “She absolutely owns the color white. So tonight, in her honor, I’m wearing white. It’s not just the color of Donald Trump’s cabinet. It’s a special white, suffragette white. Women wear white as a symbol of strength.”

And that wasn’t the evening’s only Trump reference. A clip from The First Wives Club got some of the biggest laughs of the night when Ivana Trump, in a cameo appearance, popped up and advised the first wives played by Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler, “Don’t get mad! Get everything!”

Among those offering praise for the mutli-talented Keaton as an actress, director, photographer, home designer and philanthropist, Sarah Silverman noted, “She’s one of the few women in Hollywood who has always been defined by her work and her character and not the men she’s been associated with — and by the way those men are nothing to sneeze at.

A number of those men whom Keaton was involved with both on-screen and off acknowledged the enduring friendships they forged with her. In addition to Allen, both her Godfather costar Al Pacino and her Reds director and costar Warren Beatty visited the podium.

Pacino recalled how Keaton once advised him, as he was headed off to an interview, “Whatever you do, don’t say you’re an artist!” But he turned the tables on her by offering a heartfelt, “Forgive me — you’re an artist, Diane. You’re a great artist.”

Acknowledged Beatty of their work together on Reds, “You were completely indispensable in bringing to life a movie about the challenges that a couple of young, left-wing revolutionaries faced in that eternal conflict between art and politics. You made the movie work.” He went on to say, “I want to thank you for your artistry, I want to thank you for your inspiration, and I want to thank you for your friendship.”

Steve Martin and Martin Short, who became friends with Keaton on the 1991 film version of Father of the Bride, amid a lot of comic ribbing, also joined in the praise.

In many ways, though, the tone of the night was set by the younger women who cited Keaton as a role model. Reese Witherspoon, who as a 15-year-old auditioned for the 1991 TV movie Wildflower that Keaton directed, Rachel McAdams, who appeared alongside Keaton in The Family Stone, Lisa Kudrow, who was directed by Keaton in Hanging Up (and who also delivered the best Diane Keaton impersonation of the night), and Emma Stone all thanked Keaton for the example she’s set for them.

The tribute, which will air on TNT on June 15 and then on Turner Classic Movies on July 31, began with AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale noting that the AFI is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of its creation in a White House rose garden ceremony by President Lyndon Johnson. “The AFI has stood the test of time,” he said, as he welcomed to the stage AFI founding director George Stevens, Jr. and founding vice chairman Sidney Poitier.

As he briefly recounted the AFI’s history, Gazzale gave a special shout-out to the AFI’s latest success story, AFI Conservatory alumna and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, who received a big round of applause. The AFI’s Franklin J. Schaffner Award, recognizing another of the school’s grads, was presented to cinematographer Frederick Elmes.

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Bill Cosby’s Desperate Plea Deal NIXED

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Just hours before his trial was set to begin, a desperate Bill Cosby sought an eleventh hour plea deal, can exclusively reveal.

According to insiders, the disgraced comic begged for a deal that would include no jail time and no admission of guilt.

Meanwhile, prosecutors want the 79-year-old to face the music.

A source inside the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office said D.A. Kevin Steele demanded “significant” jail time, a large fine and community service.

“Bill Cosby wants Steele to agree to a deal in which an announcement would be made basically saying that the prosecution couldn’t prove its case and that the defense had nothing to prove so it’s a win for him,” the insider said.

“He’s desperate, his defense is desperate because [what he’s accused of is] indefensible,” the source continued. “It should be mentioned that they [the defense] came to [prosecutors] because the day of reckoning has arrived and maybe he’s opened his eyes and realized that he’s about to go to prison maybe for the rest of his life.”

Cosby, who turns 80 next month, faces 10 years in prison if convicted of the three counts of sexual assault which he’s accused of. Those charges include the drugging and raping former Temple University athlete Andrea Constand.

Dozens of women have come forward claiming they were drugged and raped by the comedian once known as America’s Dad.

“They haven’t discussed anything feasible for Bill Cosby,” a source connected to the comedian said of the plea negotiations. “It’s a witch hunt and they are making sure to try and bury him. It’s unfortunate.”

This isn’t the first time the alleged serial rapist has sought a deal with prosecutors.

After a judge ruled to admit Cosby’s shocking civil deposition, in which he cops to plying women with Quaaludes before having sex with them while their zonked out, as evidence, the comedian sought a deal.

In the bombshell 2006 deposition, Cosby admitted to giving Constand Quaaludes.

“When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?” Constand’s former lawyer Dolores Troiani, asked Cosby during that deposition.

“Yes,” Cosby answered.

Later in the deposition, the comic described putting his hands down Constand’s pants: “I don’t hear her say anything, anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so, I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.”

Cosby, perhaps sensing his possible doom, is now seeking a deal for leniency.

“He and his family are convinced this trial will end badly,” a source close to the comedian said.

In December, an insider told the New York Post that “Cosby and his family believes he’ll be eligible for a sentence of just probation. . .and remove the threat of him dying in prison.”

Now, Cosby has tried another Hail Mary by attempting to butter up hard-nosed prosecutor Steele, implying that a plea deal would give the DA a major victory over a celebrity.

Cosby also tried to “play the sympathy card,” the prosecution source said.

“They want Steele to take into consideration that he’s old and he’s blind. But, he had to be reminded that this is the Justice System and the Justice System doesn’t play favors because of someone’s celebrity or because they’ve grown a bit old. With age, sometimes comes health”

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Run For The Hills, Bill Maher Used The ‘N’ Word

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Bill Maher apologized and HBO scolded him publicly. But will that be enough to quiet the storm over Maher’s use of a racial slur during Friday’s edition of “Real Time with Bill Maher”?

Public outrage swelled following Friday’s 10 p.m. live airing of “Real Time with Bill Maher.” HBO issued a statement Saturday calling the host’s use of the phrase “I’m a house nigger” during an interview with Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse “completely inexcusable and tasteless.” HBO said the remark would be edited out of subsequent airings of the episode. Maher made the comment in jest after Sasse invited Maher to spend a day working in the fields of Nebraska’s farms.

Maher acknowledged that the N-word was “offensive” and said he regretted using it. “Friday nights are always my worst night of sleep because I’m up reflecting on the things I should or shouldn’t have said on my live show. Last night was a particularly long night as I regret the word I used in the banter of a live moment,” he said in a statement issued Saturday.

By multiple accounts, HBO has no plans to take any action against Maher, who has been a mainstay at the network since 2003. A source noted that Maher has rarely offered any kind of mea culpa for provocative comments. Most recently, he stood firm in the face of harsh criticism for his decision to have the controversial blogger Milo Yiannopoulos, known for his racially charged online postings, as a guest on his show. The formal apology for using the N-word indicates that he recognizes that a line was crossed, something that was important to HBO.

But the fury voiced on social media after Friday’s airing stirred up examples of past statements from Maher about Muslims and the LGBTQ community that were widely deemed offensive. ThinkProgress, the editorial arm of the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund, posted an article declaring “Bill Maher has been a public racist for a long time” with links to past clips from “Real Time.”

The anger is an echo of the groundswell that led to the ouster in April of Bill O’Reilly, after the New York Times published an expose on sexual harassment allegations leveled at the Fox News host. It also has a parallel in Maher’s past. Maher’s ABC late-night show “Politically Incorrect” was axed after five years in June 2002 following Maher’s observation that the U.S.’s post-9/11 bombing campaigns against terrorist targets were cowardly acts. The comment sparked advertiser defections from the show — a pressure point that can’t be used in the commercial-free environment of HBO.

But at a moment of great political and cultural strife in the country, inflammatory statements and actions have been the undoing of numerous public figures. Just this past week, Kathy Griffin was forced to apologize amid a tidal wave of criticism from both the right and the left when she posed for a photo with a prop depicting President Trump’s bloodied, severed head. Despite her apology, that stunt quickly cost Griffin her gig co-hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage with Anderson Cooper.

For Maher, another damaging video clip making the rounds on Saturday is an interview with comedian Wayne Brady from HuffPost Live in 2012, after Brady and Maher tangled over the latter’s assertion that Brady was a “non-threatening black man.” Brady said the comment indicates that Maher has a stereotypical view of black men as menacing.

“When I talk to you again, I’ll give you that black dude and I will beat your ass in public,” Brady said of Maher in 2012.

Maher and “Real Time” have long been highly regarded in industry circles for the host’s willingness to confront thorny issues. The show earned consecutive Emmy noms for best talk-variety show from 2005 through 2014, and was nommed again in 2016.

Reaction from viewers and industry insiders via social media to Maher’s comment was, not surprisingly, fast and furious, and overwhelmingly negative. But Maher does have prominent supporters, such as author and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson.

Dyson condemned Maher’s use of the N-word but defended his record of offering a platform to an array of African-American perspectives on politics and culture. “Given the Bill Maher I know, he will use this opportunity to strengthen his role as an ally to black people,” Dyson wrote.

Spike Lee, meanwhile, had mixed feelings about the comedian.

“Oh, him using the n-word? I think it’s problematic. I’ll leave it at that,” he told Variety at a Brooklyn event on Saturday. “I like Bill Maher, but I don’t know if he should have used the n-word.”

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The President can destroy the Earth, grab Pussy and do whatever the fuck he wants but Bill Maher can’t say a word in context? #spareme

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Leah Remini Joins CBS’ ‘Kevin Can Wait’ As Series Regular

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The King of Queens reunion on Kevin Can Wait is becoming permanent. Leah Remini, who guest starred in the two-part season finale of Kevin James’ freshman comedy, is joining the cast of the CBS sitcom as a series regular for its second season.

She will reprise her role as the tough, wise-cracking undercover police woman Vanessa Cellucci when Kevin Can Wait returns in the fall.

James and Remini starred together for nine seasons on the popular CBS comedy series The King of Queens, which aired in the same time slot where Kevin Can Wait is for most of the season, Monday 8 PM.

Kevin Can Wait ranked as this past season’s No. 1 new comedy in total viewers (9.19 million) and adults 18-49 (2.1 rating).

Remini recently starred in the NBC comedy pilot What About Barb? and has been making headlines with her documentary series Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E

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