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Ashley Tisdale reveals the special meaning behind daughter's unique name

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Ashley Tisdale celebrated her first Mother's Day as a mom this weekend and celebrated the milestone with fans by sharing a first look at baby Jupiter.

"This little lady made me a momma," the 35-year-old actress gushed. "I knew [husband Christopher French] and I would have a cute baby but I wasn’t expecting how beautiful she would be."

And while fans can finally put a sweet face to Jupiter's name, the High School Musical alum spoke with ABC Audio about the old memory that inspired her little one's unique name.

"I remembered my mom used to sing me a song when I was little. When she put my tights on," Ashley smiled. "It's like 'Hands up! Reach for the stars, there goes Jupiter, there goes Mars.'" And I thought, 'Jupiter is such a great name!'"

The actress, who recently partnered with Enfamil, adds she wanted to name her child something "gender neutral" because she has a habit of picking out names way in advance of needing one.

"She was named before I was even pregnant," Ashley admitted with a laugh. "Basically, I just came up with her name a year and a half before I got pregnant.  I am someone who, like, even with my animals -- my dogs -- I name them before I get them."

With her mind made up, the Phineas and Ferb star explains she then went to her husband to pick his brain about the potential moniker.

"I said to my husband, 'Do you to like it?' and he was like, 'Yeah, that is so cool,' especially because he's got such a great last name," Ashley recalled. "So... Jupiter French. And then once we found out she was a girl, Chris named her middle name Iris."  

Jupiter was born March 23.

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'Legends of the Hidden Temple' getting a grown-up reboot for the CW Network

Get ready for another 1990s throwback: the beloved kid game show Legends of the Hidden Temple is reportedly getting a grown-up overhaul for the CW network.

Incidentally, the now-defunct streaming service Quibi was to initially host an adult-starring reboot, which would have been set in an actual jungle instead of a jungle-like set. It's not known if the location switch will still be in effect for the CW iteration, which is being described as a "supersized and reimagined adult version," which retains fan-favorite elements of the original.

Repeats of Nickelodeon's original Indiana Jones-like obstacle course series, which ran from 1993-1995 can currently be found streaming on Paramount+. 

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Scarlett Johansson to receive the Generation Award at the upcoming MTV Movie and TV Awards

ABC/Kelsey McNeal

MTV has announced that Black Widow star and Jojo Rabbit Oscar nominee Scarlett Johansson will receive the Generation Award at this year's MTV Movie and TV Awards.

The honor, "celebrates beloved actors whose diverse contributions to both film and television have turned them into household names," according to the network. 

MTV points out that ScarJo has been previously nominated for six of MTV's Golden Popcorn trophies, taking home one for Best Fight in 2013 for her work in The Avengers.

Johansson is in good company for the Generation Award: previous winners include Tom Cruise, her fellow Marvel movie stars Robert Downey Jr. and Chris PrattDwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and other A-listers. 

Leslie Jones hosts the network's salute to movies and TV, which airs Sunday, May 16 at 9 p.m.

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Stacey Abrams' legal thriller 'While Justice Sleeps' set for TV adaptation; Tasha Smith tapped to direct 'Our Kind of People'; and more

Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, the woman credited with helping Joe Biden win the Presidential election by boosting the voting turnout in Georgia, will have her latest novel turned into a TV series.

According to Deadline, NBCU's Working Title Television has acquired the rights to Abrams' legal thriller While Justice Sleeps. The book follows Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk who is given legal guardianship and power of attorney over a controversial Supreme Court justice. Details on the series have yet to be revealed.

In other news, actress-director Tasha Smith will direct the pilot and second episode of Lee Daniel's upcoming FOX drama Our Kind of People. As previously reported, the series follows Angela Vaughn, a single mother who "risks it all" by moving her family to Martha’s Vineyard with the hopes of taking her natural hair-care line to the next level. While she attempts to infiltrate the African-American elite on the Vineyard, Vaughn's plans are halted when she "discovers a secret." A release date for the series has not been announced.

Finally, Reading Rainbow alum Levar Burton is staying booked and busy. According to Deadline, Burton will be featured on an upcoming episode of the CW's Nancy Drew. He is set to voice Barclay, Tom Swift’s "steadfast AI companion and tough-love mentor."  Burton's episode will serve as a backdoor pilot for a potential spinoff series, which is now in development at the network. Additionally, the actor has launched the LeVar Burton Book Club via the "social reading app" Fable. Burton's first three selections include: James Baldwin's semi-autobiographical novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, Octavia Butler's modern sci-fi classic Parable of the Sower, and the essay and poetry collection The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward. New titles will be revealed every three months.

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With 'Grey's Anatomy' returning for season 18, will we see Addison return? Kate Walsh weighs in

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Season 17 of Grey's Anatomy saw the return of several fan favorite characters, such as Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepherd.  With ABC green-lighting season 18, fans beg to wonder if other familiar faces will make an appearance next year.

Kate Walsh, who played Addison Montgomery -- Derek's ex-wife -- for several seasons before starring in her own spinoff Private Practice, weighed in on the possibility of her return to the medical drama. 

While she "honestly would" come back to the franchise if asked, Kate reveals to ABC Audio, "There was talk a long time ago of me going back... But it was conflicted with the shooting of Umbrella Academy, so I couldn't do it."

The 53-year-old actress adds she "doesn't know" if the character she nearly spent a decade bringing to life could make a grand return, confessing, "No one's reached out."

Still, she was overjoyed to see her old co-stars reprise their roles in the latest season, gushing, "I was super thrilled with how they brought back Patrick and T.R. [Knight] and I just thought it was so cool!" 

"It was very moving too," adds Kate, who is currently living in Australia after partnering with Sheba brand to work on the world's largest coral restoration project.

And while the actress is holding the door open should showrunner Krista Vernoff give her a call, Kate confirmed the fate of another beloved character that she plays -- Umbrella Academy villain The Handler.

"I can tell you unequivocally she's not [returning,]" says Kate of the character known to escape death, noting The Handler survived being shot between the eyes because "I had that tricky metal plate in my head."

But, the coral reef activist asserts the villain's good fortune has run out, confirming, "She's not coming back for season three."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'The Underground Railroad': Barry Jenkins and star Thuso Mbedu discuss how they carefully approached their "triggering" series

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Barry Jenkins knew he signed up for a massive undertaking to produce and direct an adaptation of Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Underground Railroad.

"There was a hesitation in taking the project on because of the images itself," Jenkins tells ABC Audio. "I was very, very cautious because I knew I had to be very respectful of how to translate those images because they can be very triggering."

Those "triggering" images, which depict the harsh realities of slavery, are embedded throughout Barry's series. Jenkins believes the best way to tell this harrowing story -- which follows Cora, an enslaved teenage girl who escapes a Georgia plantation by boarding a literal train to freedom -- was to create an authentic original drama.

"That's why I wanted to do a television show and not... a feature film," he explains. "Those images are going to be triggering no matter what...[but] in the feature film, they might overwhelm the other images that are to come. [So I was] always being aware of what the moral and ethical line was [for us]... and for the audience receiving them."

Thuso Mbedu, who plays Cora, agrees, noting that although she did "a whole lot of preparation,"  she didn't want to "be bogged down by the material."

"[I had to] throw it away and trust what comes in the moment. Trust that Barry is here to guide you," she says. "Trust that the people that you're working with will catch you."

Thuso says Jenkins' also brought a guidance counselor on set, which made her "feel safe" and "helped [her] mentally, emotionally, [and] spiritually."

"But also on weekends, I forced myself to completely separate from the character as a means of taking care of my mental and emotional health," she adds.

The Underground Railroad premieres Friday on Amazon.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Hamilton', 'Wicked' and 'The Lion King' returning to Broadway in September

Original cast of "Hamilton"/Disney+

More than a year since the lights dimmed on Broadway, the curtains are finally going up at three beloved shows.

On Tuesday, Disney on Broadway star L. Steven Taylor of The Lion KingKrystal Joy Brown of Hamilton, and Alexandra Billings of Wicked, announced live on ABC's Good Morning America that their shows will return Sept. 14 -- and tickets are on sale now.

"It's kind of indescribable," Taylor said of what it will be like when the curtain is raised for the first time since the pandemic shut down the Great White Way last year.

"That moment already in 'Circle of Life' is an iconic moment and from Pride Rock, I have a different special viewpoint," says Taylor, who plays Rafiki in the musical. "My favorite thing to do is stand on Pride Rock and watch all the grown men cry."

"From Rafiki's opening call [in the play], it's really a call for the community to come together," he adds. "And I feel like that's what this is symbolic of: Broadway coming back is...really a community coming back and making New York really start to go."

Billings said she's telling herself, "I'm so grateful and I'm so honored to be a part of telling this story."

In March 2020, 31 Broadway productions closed when the coronavirus pandemic began. Many were hopeful that it would reopen within months of closing, but the date kept being pushed back as more restrictions went into effect.

As a result, theaters offered refunds and exchanges for tickets that had been purchased. Nearly 97,000 Broadway workers also had to pivot to other jobs to stay financially afloat over the past year.

Now, performers like Taylor, Brown and Billings say they're thrilled to safely welcome audiences back to theaters this fall in accordance with local and federal COVID-19 guidelines.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"I hope it's true": Matt Damon weighs in on rumors that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are together again

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While he was initially hesitant to talk about it -- to say the least -- Matt Damon now says he wouldn't mind seeing his childhood pal Ben Affleck and Affleck's former fiancee Jennifer Lopez give love another chance. 

The famous exes were reportedly spotted together in Montana, following a meet-up at the taping of the Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World special in Los Angeles. 

When asked about the situation on NBC's Today, Damon, who was live via remote at a pub in Australia, jokingly said, "There’s not enough liquor in the world for you to get me to say something about that."

The Good Will Hunting Oscar winner added sarcastically, "It's a fascinating story," before allowing, "I love them both. I hope it's true. That would be awesome."

While being protective of his friend, Damon was actually promoting his new movie Stillwater, in which he plays a dad fighting to protect his daughter after she is jailed overseas. The trailer for the film, which hits theaters  July 30, just debuted.


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Melissa McCarthy shares empowering note she wrote to herself years ago

ABC

Good advice can stand the test of time, just ask Melissa McCarthy

On Monday, the actress shared a picture of a letter brimming with words of wisdom that she penned to herself in the past. 

"Found this note I wrote to myself years ago... still stands," she captioned the post

McCarthy, 50, continued with some advice for herself, starting with "In 10 years you will NOT remember his name," and "For the love of God – buy both pairs of shoes."

The letter continued with bullet points, "Please listen to that little voice inside your head," "A walk of shame can be character building," "Call mom," and "Just eat the damn cookie."

And for the final note, the Thunder Force star wrote, "GO ALL IN. You'll never get back today."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rob Lowe marks his 31st anniversary of being "drug and alcohol free"

FOX/Ray Mickshaw

Actor Rob Lowe celebrated a meaningful milestone in his life on Monday -- he is officially 31 years sober.

The Parks and Recreation alum shared an image of him riding his bicycle on the beach and shared in the caption, "Today I [am] 31 years drug and alcohol free."

Lowe, 57, acknowledged recovering addicts in his message, adding, "I want to give thanks to everyone walking this path with me, and welcome anyone thinking about joining us; the free and the happy."

The producer also shouted out his family "for putting up with me" in the celebratory post.

Lowe recently opened up about his sobriety journey in a tell-all with Variety, where he discussed his first interaction with drugs and how he developed an addiction.

The West Wing star noted drugs were somewhat of a staple in Hollywood, noting, "This was just how the business was back then. Cocaine was the thing that successful people did."

He also revealed how he came to learn "which department was selling the coke on the set" and abused that knowledge.

Lowe then detailed what made him realize he needed help, explaining, "One day back in the days of answering machines my mother called me and I could hear her voice on the answering machine. I didn’t want to pick up because I was really, really hungover and I didn’t want her to know."

"She was telling me that my grandfather, who I loved, was in critical condition in the hospital and she needed my help. And I didn’t pick up," he confessed, saying his mind was more fixated on taking a drink than worrying about his family.  He says that moment was his wake up call.

While he says staying sober "doesn't get any easier" over the years, Lowe attested, "It does get more fulfilling."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rob Lowe (@roblowe)

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Michael B. Jordan explains why he is "breaking the cycle" by not naming his future son after him

NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Michael B. Jordan says he is not following through with a family tradition started by his father -- Michael A. Jordan.  The Black Panther star explains why he thinks it is "too much" to name his future son after him.

Jordan, 34, who is currently dating Lori Harvey, explains that starting a family is not in his immediate future plans during his Monday appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  However, that hasn't stopped him from thinking about it.

"Legacy is big for me.  We're on this earth for a short amount of time," the actor admits, which he says is defined by "who you help" and not by who is named after you.

"I am breaking that cycle right there," Jordan confirmed. "It's too much!  It's like the pressure I had to live up to my dad's name... I'm not going to put that on my kid."

The Creed star says naming his future child something else will "give him his own identity."  

Jordan adds that also will give his son the ability to "walk his own shoes" -- and not the shoes he leaves behind.

The Emmy nominee also shouted out his one-year-old nephew, Lennox, joking with Ellen that his sister's baby helped divert the pressure he was under to start having kids of his own.

"He bought me some time," smiled Jordan. "Lennox definitely gave me a break right there."

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John Mulaney and Anna Marie Tendler divorcing after six years of marriage

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Following his stint in rehab, John Mulaney and his wife of six years, Anna Marie Tendler, are calling it quits, a spokesperson for the comedian has confirmed to the New York Post.

“John will not have any further comment as he continues to focus on his recovery and getting back to work,” added the spokesperson.

“I am heartbroken that John has decided to end our marriage," Tendler, a makeup artist, added through her spokesperson.

The newspaper reported back in December that Mulaney, 38, had checked himself into rehab for 60 days due to struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, including cocaine.

The former Saturday Night Live writer, who had been open about his struggle with addiction, "has struggled again during the pandemic," a source told the Post back in December.

An insider told the Post back in February that the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse star was out of rehab and "doing well" in outpatient sober care.

"John has completed 60 days in rehab and now he’s in outpatient sober care," said the source.  "He is doing well, although he is still not ready to return to work.”

Earlier this month, Mulaney announced his first set of tour dates since leaving rehab. The comedian kicked off a five-day residency called “John Mulaney: From Scratch” at New York’s City Winery on Monday. It runs through Friday.

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"Excited" Laverne Cox to replace Giuliana Rancic Rancic as E!'s red carpet host

Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for ESSENCE

Laverne Cox is replacing Giuliana Rancic as host of E!'s Live from the Red Carpet beginning with the 2022 award season, the network announced on Monday.

“I'm so excited and deeply humbled to be hosting E!'s iconic red carpet coverage. For many years I would wake up early on awards show days, get my snacks in place and watch E!'s coverage all day long,” Cox said in a statement.

“I dreamed of walking red carpets. Now, not only have I had several fun and amazing personal red carpet moments, I also get to be a red carpet guide for E!'s discerning audience and chat with my colleagues and folks I deeply admire for these very special events in their lives," the 48-year-old actress continued.  "I can't wait to get started while hopefully serving up fashion fantasies for the ages honey."

Additionally, the Orange Is the New Black alum will host a series of celebrity-based interview specials spotlighting "trendsetters, tastemakers and those making an impact in the Hollywood community and airing throughout next year."

Rancic announced on Friday that she is stepping down from the role after two decades.

"After 20 fabulous years hosting E!'s red carpet, I have decided to step out of my red carpet heels into a new pair of shoes," Rancic shared on Instagram.

"One of my passions is great storytelling and I am thrilled to announce a new development deal with E!'s parent company NBCUniversal where I will be producing and bringing stories to life," she continued. "To my E! family, thank you for allowing me to make my red carpet dreams come true for the past two decades. It has truly been a highlight of my career and life."

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After NBC refuses to carry 2022 Golden Globes, HFPA responds, promising "transformational changes...quickly"

HFPA

The embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has issued a statement in response to NBC's decision not to carry the Golden Globe Awards in 2022.

The organization has been under fire both in the press and from Hollywood celebrities who have brought to light accusations of sexism and racism.

Just today, Tom Cruise returned his three trophies in protest.

"Regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes, implementing transformational changes as quickly – and as thoughtfully – as possible remains the top priority for our organization," an HFPA statement reads in part. 

"We invite our partners in the industry to the table to work with us on the systemic reform that is long overdue, both in our organization as well as within the industry at large."

The group outlined what it called its "Reform Milestones," which included a schedule of when they'll be implemented; these strategies seek to boost minority membership and representation, and increase transparency into the organization and its inner workings, which have long been shrouded in mystery. 

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'Grey's Anatomy' renewed for season 18, spinoff 'Station 19' returning for season 5

ABC/Mike Rosenthal

Grey's Anatomy lives on! The ABC series, already the longest-running medical drama in primetime television, has been renewed for season 18.

Its spinoff, Station 19, has also been renewed for season 5. Krista Vernoff will remain showrunner and executive producer for both shows.

"The writers, directors, casts and crews...worked so hard to bring these shows to life this past season," Vernoff said in a statement. "Keeping each other safe on set while paying tribute to the front-line heroes and first responders has been a challenge and a privilege."

"I've been truly blown away -- particularly by our tireless crews -- as they reinvented the TV-making wheel," she added. "We are so grateful for the opportunity to tell more stories."

This season Grey's Anatomy has tackled the COVID-19 pandemic, putting the life of Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey in danger as she battled the virus.

Characters from Meredith's past -- including her late half-sister Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), late husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) and late friend George O'Malley (T. R. Knight) -- returned to ensure she survived.

In a statement, Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, said, "Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy have done an incredible job of honoring real-life heroes by giving audiences an unflinching look at one of the biggest medical stories of our time."

Erwich added, "Krista and her team of writers have continued to deliver the compelling and compassionate storytelling that is hallmark of these shows, and created some of the year's most-talked-about moments in television."

The 17th season finale of Grey's airs May 20. There has been no word on the future of Grey's Anatomy beyond season 18.

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