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Ryker Drumm
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Entertainment News Archives for 2016-01


BURBANK, Calif. (AP) -- "Grease," the 1950s-set musical romp that was a stage and screen smash in the 1970s, is rebooting as a Broadway-meets-Hollywood hybrid for its 21st-century television close up.


Grease Live


Fox's "Grease: Live" (7-10 p.m. EST Sunday) aims to revisit the puppy-love story of Sandy and Danny, played by Julianne Hough and theater veteran Aaron Tveit, with a supercharged blend that weds theater's immediacy and cinematic flair.


Instead of one stage, the broadcast is using several indoor sets and outdoor studio locations to create Rydell High School, including its gym and exterior, along with teen hangouts including the Frosty Palace soda shop. A small army of camera operators will be deployed to capture the action in close-up and longer shots.


Some of the 20 cameras will be taken offline - almost unprecedented in live TV - and shifted among nearly four-dozen positions in the production, which is being shot at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. Cast members will be on the move too, relying on golf carts to rush them from one scene to another during commercial breaks.


Rain was predicted Sunday, but umbrellas are at hand and the show will go on, producer Paramount Television said.


"Grease: Live" is building on the current small-screen fascination with musicals, which started with NBC's live telecasts including "The Sound of Music" and "The Wiz" and may include "Hairspray," also from NBC, and, from ABC, a possible movie update of "Dirty Dancing."


In a Friday night dress rehearsal performed before an eager friends-and-family audience, the intricate puzzle came together precisely, starting with an elaborate, continuous-shot opening with Jessie J singing "Grease (is the word)" as she roamed the studio and ending with an outdoor carnival scene.


"We'll do it straight through, like we'll do it Sunday for 143 million of our closest friends," director Thomas Kail ("Hamilton") told the audience at the start. He is overseeing the stage direction, with Alex Rudzinski serving as the live television director.


(Kail was indulging in a flourish of ratings hyperbole - "The Sound of Music," NBC's biggest live-musical draw, was seen by 19 million viewers.)


After the rehearsal wrapped on time, a beaming Hough flashed a thumbs-up sign to the crowd.


In that three-hour window, cast members and an ensemble of dancers and singers frantically switched costumes and sometimes hairstyles and makeup as they pivoted from one scene to the next in real time. The TV musical includes Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo, Carly Rae Jepsen as Frenchy, Keke Palmer as Marty, Ana Gasteyer as Principal McGee and Mario Lopez as slick DJ Vince Fontaine.


Original "Grease" stars Didi Conn, who played Frenchy, and Barry Pearl, who co-starred as Doody, are back in cameos.


A smiling Conn, decked out in a waitress outfit, drew applause and shouts from the audience when she dropped by the gym set pre-rehearsal.


Other crowd-pleasing moments included a performance by guest stars Boys II Men of "Beauty School Dropout"; a cheerleader challenge between Hough's Sandy and Elle McLemore's Patty, and a cleverly-staged sequence that moves a Palmer solo of "Freddy My Love" from a girls' sleepover to a USO stage show and back again.


And no surprise here: Big cheers greeted the high-energy dance contest scene in which Hough, Tveit and the entire cast got to show off their moves and the audience rocked out to "Born to Hand Jive."


Hart, Del Toro, Goldberg Among Diverse Oscar Presenters

NEW YORK (AP) - The Academy Awards has unveiled a distinctly diverse slate of presenters and performers for the Feb. 28 Oscars including Kevin Hart, Benicio Del Toro and Whoopi Goldberg. 
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Thursday announced the names of 11 people taking part in the show. The makeup of presenters this year has been keenly watched after a handful of black entertainers vowed they wouldn't attend the ceremony, including Will Smith and Spike Lee. 
Other presenters are: Ryan Gosling, Tina Fey, Charlize Theron, Pharrell Williams and Jacob Tremblay, the young "Room" star. 
Also announced were three performers: Lady Gaga, the Weeknd and Sam Smith. All are among the best song nominees. 


AP Newsbreak: Film Academy Announced Reforms to Diversify

AP - The film academy is pledging to double the number of female and minority members by 2020, and will immediately diversify its leadership by adding three new seats to its board of governors.


Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the changes Friday, following a weeklong storm of criticism and calls for an Oscar boycott after academy members nominated an all-white slate of actors for the second year in a row.




"The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up," she said in a statement.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 51-member board of governors unanimously approved a series of reforms late Thursday to "begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition," Isaacs said. The number of minorities currently serving as members of the academy has not been revealed.


Other changes include limiting members' voting status to a period of 10 years, to be extended only if the individual remains active in film during that decade.

Lifetime voting rights will be granted only to Academy Award nominees and winners, and to members after three ten-year voting terms. Previously, all active members received lifetime voting rights.


The organization also plans to diversify its leadership beyond the board of governors by adding new members to key decision-making committees, and further diversify its membership with a global campaign to identify and recruit diverse talent.



LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "The X-Files" creator Chris Carter is pleased to update the original template with his 21st-century unease. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are glad to be playing opposite each other again as Scully and Mulder.


And admirers likely will do a happy dance to the Fox TV drama's eerie theme music as it returns with a six-episode limited run.




The two-part opener airs at 10 p.m. on Sunday, immediately after the NFL's NFC championship game, and at 8 p.m. Monday. Subsequent episodes also air at 8 p.m. Monday (all times EST).


Will the reboot retain the dark magic of the original TV series, which in its 1993-2002 lifespan offered a wildly entertaining blend of government conspiracies, otherworldly suspense and black comedy that was placed in the hands of two unknown but charismatic actors?


Creator and executive producer Carter offers assurances, but with the caveat that he insisted on more than an exercise in nostalgia for the franchise that included two big-screen movies.


"Someone said to me, 'Great, a victory lap,'" when the new project was announced, he said. "That's the opposite of why we came back. We didn't want to do something that reworked old material or was just a sequel to what we'd done before. I wanted to make something fresh and original."


Current events and figures proved helpful, Carter said, citing National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and eroding personal privacy as examples.


"These are interesting and heady times, and perfect for telling 'X-Files' tales," he said, promising a series more directly topical than the original. "We deal with fear in a lot of different ways. ... The fact that we're being spied on and don't seem to be raising any protest is a frightening prospect for me."


One tricky aspect is balancing the interests of "X-Files" devotees and potential newcomers.


"We have to be respectful of people who are familiar with the show so we don't beat them over the head with things they know," Carter said. "I think our approach is artful in what it gives fans and what it will provide non-fans."


He's joined in the cause by members of the creative team that helped make the first series a sensation, with Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan and James Wong splitting writing and directing duties with Carter on the new episodes.


Also back are Mitch Pileggi, who played FBI assistant director Walter Skinner in the original series, along with William B. Davis as the shadowy Smoking Man and - despite their deaths - the beloved conspiracy-theory geeks known collectively as the Lone Gunmen.

"No one is every truly dead on 'The X-Files,'" Carter said, drolly.


Newcomer Joel McHale is onboard as Tad O'Malley, a news anchor.


In the first go-round, FBI agent Fox Mulder was driven to prove the government was hiding evidence of aliens on Earth. Fellow agent Dana Scully was his initially skeptical colleague.


In the reboot, new evidence reunites them in the quest to uncover the truth. It's personal as well, Anderson said.


"There's something that's missing in Scully's life, and that thing is clearly Mulder. Both of them feel disconnected from the world and themselves because they're missing a limb," she said.


She and Duchovny have moved on to a variety of on-screen and other projects, including writing (both have published novels), and, in Duchovny's case, music. But they said returning to the "X-Files" fold, with Carter again in charge, felt right.


"Chris is a serious person and an artist. And if he says he's got a way to make it work, I trust that," Duchovny said.


Said Anderson: "There were aspects of it that felt ridiculously familiar and kind of felt we never left. Some elements were much more challenging - running in heels," she added, laughing.


Last summer's taping in Vancouver, Canada, was arranged around her London-based family life. But she brought part of it with her: daughter Piper, who is studying production design, was on the set to gain work experience and ended up contributing to the series, Anderson said.


Whatever work-related tension that existed between the stars, the by-product of churning out some two-dozen episodes a season and becoming instant stars, is long gone, Duchovny said.


"Put any human being in that situation, working the amount that we worked and going through the ride from obscurity to global (fame), it's just crazy-making," he said. "It's a natural human emotion to have enough of one another in that situation. Now it's quite the opposite, it's respect and love and gratitude."


The Next Star Wars Release Date Has Been Pushed Back

NEW YORK (AP) -- There is a disturbance in the force.


The release of "Star Wars: Episode VIII" has been delayed from May 2017 to Dec. 15, 2017, the Walt Disney Co. announced Wednesday. The date change postpones the anticipated next "Star Wars" set installment to follow the box-office hit "The Force Awakens."


Star Wars


Though "Star Wars" was once synonymous with the summer blockbuster, the date change means that the franchise will again look to dominate movie theaters in the holiday season. It has proven a lucrative match for "The Force Awakens," which has made a record $861 million domestically and $1.88 billion globally in five weeks of release.


Disney offered no reason for the delay, but rumors have recently swirled that writer-director Rian Johnson ("Looper") is rewriting the script. Production is set to begin next month in London.


In the interim, the "Star Wars" spin-off "Rogue One" is due out Dec. 16 this year. Directed by Gareth Edwards ("Godzilla"), it stars a cast including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Riz Ahmed.


With prominent release dates now staked out by studios years in advance for their largest franchises, the impact of the switch immediately caused ripples. Disney moved one of its other billion-dollar franchises, "Pirates of the Caribbean," to May 26, 2017. The Johnny Depp series returns with "Dead Men Tell No Tales."


At the same time, Sony Pictures moved two of its biggest movies into summer 2017. The next "Spider-Man," starring Tom Holland and directed by Jon Watts, shifted up three weeks to July 28, 2017. Jake Kasdan's "Jumanji" remake shifted from Christmas 2016 to July 28, 2017.




NEW YORK (AP) -- Calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards are growing over the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' second straight year of mostly white nominees, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith each said Monday that they will not attend this year's ceremony.


In a lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he "cannot support" the "lily white" Oscars. Noting that he was writing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lee - who in November was given an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards - said he was fed up: "Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all," he wrote. "We can't act?!"


In a video message on Facebook, Pinkett Smith also said she wouldn't attend or watch the Oscars in February. Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith wasn't nominated for his performance in the NFL head trauma drama "Concussion," said it was time for people of color to disregard the Academy Awards.


"Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power," she said. "And we are a dignified people and we are powerful."

She added: "Let's let the academy do them, with all grace and love. And let's do us differently."


Last year's all-white acting nominees also drew calls for a boycott, though not from such prominent individuals as Lee and Pinkett Smith. Whether it had any impact or not, the audience for the broadcast, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, was down 16 percent from the year prior, a six-year low.


This year, academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has made a point of presenting a more inclusive show. The Feb. 28 broadcast will be hosted by Chris Rock and produced by "Django Unchained" producer Reginald Hudlin and David Hill. On Saturday, Rock, unveiling a new promotion for the broadcast, called the ceremony "The White BET Awards."


The academy didn't immediately respond to messages left Monday.


When Oscar nominations were announced Thursday, Isaacs acknowledged she was "disappointed" that all acting nominees were again white. Though there were few performers favored for nominees, many awards handicappers expected nominations for Idris Elba of "Beasts of No Nation" and Benicio Del Toro for "Sicario."


The N.W.A biopic "Straight Outta Compton" also failed to earn a best picture nomination, as some predicted. Ryan Coogler's acclaimed Rocky sequel "Creed" scored a nomination only for Sylvester Stallone. (Lee's own movie, the Chicago gang violence hip-hop musical "Chi-Raq" - celebrated by some and scorned by others - also went unnoticed.)


The hashtag "OscarsSoWhite," created last year, was quickly resurrected online following the nominations. Rev. Al Sharpton - who last year met with former Sony head Amy Pascal following leaked emails that some viewed as racist - on Friday lambasted the academy.


"Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets and this year's Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscar," said Sharpton.


In his post, Lee made it clear the Academy Awards is only part of the problem in an industry with deep-rooted diversity issues. In his Governors Awards speech, Lee said "It's easier to be the president of the United States as a black person than be the head of a studio."


"The Academy Awards is not where the 'real' battle is," wrote Lee. "It's in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to 'turnaround' or scrap heap. This is what's important. The gate keepers. Those with 'the green light' vote."



MONTREAL (AP) -- Daniel Dion, the older brother of pop singer Celine Dion, died Saturday, just two days after the death of the entertainer's husband, Rene Angelil.


Celine Dion's representative Kim Jakwerth released a statement that Daniel Dion, 59, died Saturday surrounded by his family after battling cancer for several years. The statement said he died at a palliative care center in Terrebonne, Quebec, outside Montreal.


The family is "remembering a gentle and reserved man of many talents," the statement said.


The announcement follows the death on Thursday of the 73-year-old Angelil in suburban Las Vegas after a long ballet with throat cancer. Angelil was Celine Dion's manager for decades, molding her from a French-speaking Canadian ingénue into one of the world's most successful singers, best known for the smash hit "My Heart Will Go On," the theme from "Titanic."


Daniel Dion, the father of two daughters, was the eighth of 14 Dion children. The Dion siblings, including Celine, performed at their parents' small piano bar called Le Vieux Baril ("The Old Barrel") in the town of Charlemagne, Quebec.


Viewing will take place next Saturday, a day after Angelil's funeral is set to take place at Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica, the same church where he married the singer in 1994.


Daniel Dion's religious funeral will be held several days later at a church in the family's hometown of Charlemagne.



PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- A roundup of news Friday from the Television Critics Association winter meeting, at which TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs.






Fox is trying to push forward its rebuilding process with a reliance on its past.


The network announced that it will make a new version of "Prison Break," the action series that aired from 2005-2009. Both stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are on board to reprise their roles as the brothers that were at the series' center. No other details were made available.


Fox is also returning again to "24," this time without star Kiefer Sutherland. It has ordered a pilot of a new series, "24: Legacy," with a new cast and story about trying to stop the activation of terror cells inside the United States. Fox had already brought the original series back once before with the summer series "24: Live Another Day."


Later this month, Fox is starting a six-episode new run of "The X-Files," with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. And it might not be the last of that series, either.


"We would love to do this again," said Gary Newman, co-chairman and CEO of the Fox Television Group. "We would be on board if schedules could be worked out."






Trisha Yearwood will play Mary, the mother of Jesus, in "The Passion," a two-hour musical event airing live on Fox on March 20, which is Palm Sunday.


The country singer and wife of superstar Garth Brooks co-stars with singer Prince Royce, who plays the disciple Peter. Tyler Perry will host and narrate the show that unfolds at famous sites around New Orleans, his hometown.


"Being Christian, I love this story and I love the idea of it being told in a very modern way," Perry said.

A procession of hundreds of people carrying a 20-foot, illuminated cross will travel from outside the Superdome to the live stage at Woldenburg Park on the banks of the Mississippi River.


The show focuses on the last hours of Jesus Christ's life on earth, including the Last Supper, his betrayal by Judas, his trial by Pontius Pilate and subsequent conviction, crucifixion, and resurrection.


Perry, who typically writes, acts and directs his own projects, is happy just to be along for the ride this time.

"In order to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower," he said. "I'm here to listen and basically be told what to do. I'm absolutely going to enjoy every moment for me because it's a vacation for me."






Tim Curry, the original Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," is on board for Fox's production of the show next fall. You'll hear him instead of see him, though: Curry will be a narrator of the story, instead of playing his old role.






The stage at TCA news conferences can feel a little crowded, sort of like a certain popular television event lately. Actress Rachel Harris was one of nine people who turned out to talk about the new Fox series "Lucifer," and waited a little while for someone to address her.


"I was starting to feel like the Ben Carson of this," she said.






Fox made a point of acknowledging the new ways that people watch television by ordering a second season of its comedy-horror series "Scream Queens," which by traditional television measurements might be dead by now.


Measured over a 30-day period, only 30 percent of the people who watch a typical episode of "Scream Queens" actually watch it live when originally broadcast, said Gary Newman, co-chairman and CEO of the Fox Television Group. Some 44 percent of its viewers watch through video on demand or services like Hulu. Others watched on DVR.


"These are people who actively sought it out and watched the show on their own time," he said.

Fox recently became the first broadcast network to refuse to release overnight ratings on who watches their show live, saying those measurements are essentially useless in how they make decisions about programming.


"Scream Queens," from the "Glee" production team, will change its setting for the second season. Instead of being on a college campus, the second season will be in a hospital, Fox said.



LONDON (AP) -- British actor Alan Rickman, whose career ranged from Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company to the "Harry Potter" films, has died. He was 69.


Alan Rickman


Rickman's family said Thursday that the actor had died after a battle with cancer.


His breakout role was as the scheming Vicomte de Valmont in an acclaimed 1985 RSC production of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses."


Film roles included "Truly, Madly, Deeply," ''Love Actually" and the Potter films, in which he played the ambiguous Dark Arts teacher Severus Snape.



PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- The Al Jazeera America cable news network said Wednesday it will shut down two and a half years after its launch, a victim of a rough business environment and political headwinds it could not conquer.


The channel, an offshoot of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera cable network, had trouble persuading cable and satellite companies to carry it, and viewers to watch. It failed despite a promise to offer serious-minded journalism and some award-winning work.


The cable network will shut down on April 30. It launched in October 2013.


Al Anstey, CEO of Al Jazeera America, said the economic climate for media forced the decision. "Al Jazeera America is committed to conducting this process in a way that is consistent with its respect for colleagues," Anstey said.


Al Jazeera will expand its international digital news operations so they will be available in the United States, Anstey said, adding that details will be available in the next few months.


"I'm not sure it was inevitable, but it's certainly not surprising," said Philip Seib, a University of Southern California journalism professor and author of the book "The Al Jazeera Effect." ''In the news environment today there is so much competition that it is virtually impossible for a new company to get any traction."


Anstey had taken over last spring after the news network's CEO, Ehab Al Shihabi, was dismissed. The company was the target of lawsuits from former employees who had complained about a culture of fear, and anti-Semitic and sexist behavior among executives. Al Jazeera also could not overcome suspicion among some potential viewers about its motives bred in the years after the 2001 terrorist attacks.


Last month, Al Jazeera America was honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University journalism award for a documentary that depicted the lives of working class Americans.



PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- The Nielsen company says 31.3 million people watched President Barack Obama deliver his last State of the Union, his smallest audience for the annual speech.


His lowest previous was last year's State of the Union, which had 33.3 million viewers. Nielsen says Obama's ratings peak was his first State of the Union in 2009, which was seen by 52.4 million people. This year's speech was carried live on 12 networks and on tape delay on Univision.


Obama has something in common with his predecessors: the least-watched State of the Union speech by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton was their last.



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The College Football Playoff championship's viewership is down nearly a quarter from last year.


Alabama's 45-40 victory over Clemson on Monday night averaged 25.7 million viewers on ESPN, down 23 percent from the 33.4 million for the inaugural CFP title game in 2015.


The audience was smaller than that for both of last season's semifinals, along with two of the four BCS title games ESPN aired: Auburn-Oregon in 2011 and Alabama-Notre Dame in 2013.


ESPN said Monday the "Megacast" of alternate broadcasts totaled 26.2 million viewers including ESPN2 and ESPNU. Online streaming added an average of 585,000 viewers.



PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- To make room for the set of "Animal Kingdom," a new TNT drama coming this summer, producers had to destroy the family home from "The Waltons" on a Hollywood soundstage.


It makes for an irresistible metaphor: New boss Kevin Reilly has begun the process of transforming the Turner Networks of TBS and TNT from a home for television comfort food into what he hopes is a destination for buzzy, edgy fare that can compete on the same turf as the AMC, Netflix and HBOs of the world.


Reilly calls it a necessary move that reflects the need to attract attention in a crowded world of programming and the different ways a new generation watches television.


"Frankly, we intend to rewrite the rules now to lead the transition to the next era to define what a TV network is in years to come," Reilly said. The former Fox and NBC entertainment chief came to his new job a year ago and is only now starting to outline his vision for the networks.


TNT and TBS are hardly failures despite recent slippage; they're consistently among the top-rated cable networks. But their fare is symbolized by the TNT police procedural "Rizzoli & Isles," that Reilly just canceled, the most popular series on cable TV that no one talked about.


Such comfort food was fine in an era of passive television viewing, when there were relatively few choices. "The Waltons" didn't have much competition. But it's also, in Reilly's view, little remembered. People actively choose what shows to watch now, and they need some flash and critical attention.


"Animal Kingdom," which stars Ellen Barkin as the matriarch of a crime family, certainly has a much darker feel than "Rizzoli & Isles." TNT also has two thrillers, "Good Behavior" and "Alienist," in the works, and it has invited filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan in to curate a "Tales From the Crypt" remake that will lead a new block of horror programming.


Reilly's vision for TNT is "bolder, more cinematic fare," he said. He wants "series that are less by the book, more engaging, challenging and, we like to say, more muscular. And we're looking to muscle our way right into the top consideration set of the very best of what's on television and hopefully knock out a few competitors while we do."


One of TNT's direct competitors, the USA network, has been making a similar transition and received a significant endorsement Sunday when its new series "Mr. Robot" won the Golden Globe for best drama.

TBS will keep its meal ticket, reruns of "The Big Bang Theory." But Reilly wants to position it as a bridge between the current TBS and the youthful Adult Swim network.


Among its upcoming programs are "Angie Tribeca," an "Airplane"-like spoof of a police procedural made by Steve Carell and his wife, Nancy. "People of Earth" is about a support group for alien abductees. "The Detour," from former "Daily Show" correspondent Jason Jones, is a family road trip tale but, based on a few highlights, has its racy moments.


"Going into the future, this is a wise strategy," said Billie Gold, vice president and director of program research at Carat USA. Both networks need to replace outgoing programming with shows that put them on the map as a destination.


Turner is also expanding into businesses that it hopes will complement the networks. The boldest is ELeague, an organized competition for gamers that will have its contests televised on TBS. Super Deluxe, a startup company, is operating in Los Angeles as a digital content creator and incubator for tech products.


"These are going to be integral to the core of what we call our network business," Reilly said.

He's giving himself three years to fully put his new vision in place.



NEW YORK (AP) -- David Bowie, the other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, nonconformity, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust, died of cancer Sunday. He was 69 and had just released a new album.




Bowie, whose hits included "Fame," ''Heroes" and "Let's Dance," died "peacefully" and was surrounded by family, representative Steve Martin said early Monday. The singer had fought cancer for 18 months.


Long before alter egos and wild outfits became commonplace in pop, Bowie set the music world on its ear with the release of the 1972 album, "The Rise of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars," which introduced one of music's most famous personas. Ziggy Stardust was a concept album that imagined a genre-bending rock star from outer space trying to make his way in the music world. The persona - the red-headed, eyeliner wearing Stardust - would become an enduring part of his legacy, and a touchstone for the way entertainers packaged themselves for years to come.


Bowie turned 69 on Friday, the same day as he released a new album called "Blackstar."


"While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief," said a statement issued via his social media accounts. No more details were provided.


The singer, who was born David Jones in London, came of age in the glam rock era of the early 1970s. He had a striking androgynous look in his early days and was known for changing his appearance and sounds. After Ziggy Stardust, the stuttering rock sound of "Changes" gave way to the disco soul of "Young Americans," co-written with John Lennon, to a droning collaboration with Brian Eno in Berlin that produced "Heroes."


He had some of his biggest successes in the early 1980s with the bombastic "Let's Dance," and a massive American tour. Another one of his definitive songs was "Under Pressure," which he recorded with Queen; Vanilla Ice would years later infamously use the song's hook for his much maligned smash "Ice Ice Baby."


"My entire career, I've only really worked with the same subject matter," Bowie told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. "The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I've always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety - all of the high points of one's life."


At a concert for rescue workers after the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, his performance of "Heroes" was a highlight.


"What I'm most proud of is that I can't help but notice that I've affected the vocabulary of pop music. For me, frankly, as an artist, that's the most satisfying thing for the ego."


Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, but he didn't attend the ceremony. Madonna, another artist who knew something about changing styles to stay ahead of the curve, accepted for him and recounted how a Bowie concert changed her life when she attended it as a teenager. David Byrne, of the art rockers Talking Heads, inducted Bowie and said he gave rock music a necessary shot in the arm.


"Like all rock 'n' roll, it was visionary, it was tasteless, it was glamorous, it was perverse, it was fun, it was crass, it was sexy and it was confusing," Byrne said.


Bowie kept a low profile in recent years after reportedly suffering a heart attack in the 2000s. He made a moody album three years ago called "The Next Day" - his first recording in a decade which was made in secret in New York City. "Blackstar," which earned positive reviews from critics, represented yet another stylistic shift, as he gathered jazz players to join him.

He released a music video on Friday for the new song "Lazarus," which shows a frail Bowie lying in bed and singing the track's lyrics. The song begins with the line: "Look up here, I'm in heaven."


Tributes poured in for the singer after the announcement of his death. British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted about his sadness from outer space aboard the International Space Station, saying "his music was an inspiration to many."


British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that Bowie's death is "a huge loss." He wrote he had grown up listening to and watching Bowie and called the singer a "master of reinvention" and a pop genius who kept on getting it right.


Kanye West said on Twitter that Bowie "was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime."


Bowie felt uneasy about some of his greatest material, once embarking on a "greatest hits" tour saying it would be the last time performing much of his old material. He later relented, however.


"I'm not a natural performer," he said in the 2002 interview. "I don't enjoy performing terribly much. Never have. I can do it and, if my mind's on the situation, do it quite well. But five or six shows in, I'm dying to get off the road and go back into the studio."

Bowie was married twice, to the actress and model Mary Angela "Angie" Barnett from 1970-80, and to international supermodel Iman since 1992. He had two children - Duncan Jones and Alexandria Zahra Jones - one with each wife.



AP entertainment writer Dave Bauder in New York and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.




This story has been corrected to show the accurate spelling of Bowie's daughter's first name is Alexandria, not Alexandra.



AP - "The Martian" rocketed to best film comedy at the 73rd annual Golden Globes, where even its director, Ridley Scott, wondered whether his science fiction epic about a stranded astronaut quite belonged in the category.




"Comedy?" Scott wondered, taking the podium, answering with a skeptical wave of his hand.

Sylvester Stallone scored a knockout 29 years after the first "Rocky," Jennifer Lawrence notched her third Golden Globe and Matt Damon landed both best actor for his stranded astronaut in "The Martian" and withering jabs from host Ricky Gervais at the Beverly Hills, California, ceremony. Leonardo DiCaprio won for best actor in a film drama.


Nominated for the same character that earned him his only other Golden Globe nod, Stallone took best supporting actor for the "Rocky" sequel-reboot "Creed." The crowd greeted him with a standing ovation.


"I want to thank my imaginary friend Rocky Balboa for being the best friend I ever had," said Stallone.


Though security was especially tight to guard against terrorism, the Gervais-led Globes, evidenced little of seriousness that marks most award shows, or the teary-eyed acceptances speeches. Instead, the Globes had a particularly unraveled atmosphere that included Jonah Hill dressed as the bear from "The Revenant," copious discussion of "Transparent" star Jeffrey Tambor's male anatomy by Gervais, and much buzzing about Sean Penn's escapade with Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.


Gervais greeted the crowd (which he labeled "pill-popping sexual deviant scum") with a predictably astringent opening, setting the tone for a much-bleeped night that was at turns irreverent and frivolous.

"I want to do this monologue and then go into hiding. Not even Sean Penn will find me," he said, pausing for a swig. "Snitch."


In his fourth time hosting, Gervais' act dominated the evening, often drawing loud laughs from the Beverly Hilton hotel audience, but also the expected criticism. In a particularly awkward encounter, he and Mel Gibson stood arm-in-arm after exchanging insults.


"I love seeing Ricky once every three years because it reminds me to get a colonoscopy," said Gibson.


Best actress went to Brie Larson, the breakout star of the captive mother-son drama "Room." A gleeful Larson concluded: "I'm sorry for anyone I forgot. I'll write you a thank-you card."


Lawrence, who spent much of the night with her new friend and collaborator Amy Schumer (herself a nominee for "Trainwreck"), scored her third Globe for a David O. Russell-directed film. After winning for "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle," she made it three for "Joy."


Damon had to suffer being introduced by Gervais as "the only person who Ben Affleck hasn't been unfaithful to," but he later won best actor in a comedy for Ridley Scott's sci-fi hit "The Martian." Damon said the film's success was an unlikely pleasure: "I have made a lot of movies that people just didn't go see." ("The Martian" also won best film comedy.)


Scott was also pegged by many for best director, too, but that honor went to Alejandro Inarritu for the frontier thriller "The Revenant," fresh off a $37 million debut that nearly topple the box-office behemoth "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" - which didn't screen in time for the Hollywood Foreign Press to consider.

Referencing the production difficulties of the on-location shoot in the Canadian Rockies, Innaritu - an Oscar winner last year for "Birdman" - said: "Pain is temporary. A film is forever."


Though "Steve Jobs" failed to win over many critics or moviegoers, Danny Boyle's drama about the Apple co-founder earned best screenplay for Aaron Sorkin and best supporting actress for Kate Winslet. Winning her fourth Globe in 11 nominations, Winslet triumphed over the lauded Alicia Vikander for "Ex Machina," though Vikander is also contending for best actress in "The Danish Girl."


Citing the crowded categories, Winslet remarked: "What an incredible year for women in film."

USA's "Mr. Robot" won best TV drama for its first season, besting more established favorites like HBO's "Game of Thrones" and Fox's "Empire." Best comedy series was a similar upset, with Amazon's "Mozart in the Jungle," winning over the HBO heavyweight "Veep." Actors in both shows - Christian Slater for "Mr. Robot" and Gabriel Garcia Bernal for "Mozart in the Jungle" - also won.


In an election year, Gervais had the only cutting political remark in the show. He introduced presenters Eva Longoria and America Ferrera as two talented actresses that "your next president, Donald Trump, can't wait to deport."


The Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement honoree, often an emotional high point in the awards, also lacked a memorable moment. Honoree Denzel Washington fumbled with his speech, while his wife, Pauletta, prodded him. As he wound down, Washington finally granted: "Yeah, I do need my glasses."


Best foreign language film went to Hungary's Laszlo Nemes' "Son of Saul," a harrowing view of life inside Auschwitz. Said Nemes: "The Holocaust over the years has become an abstraction. For me, it is more of a face. Let us not forget this face."


Best animated film went to Pixar's acclaimed "Inside Out." Lady Gaga, who has seven Grammys, won her first major acting honor for her performance on the anthology series "American Horror Story." Gaga compared the sensation to being like Cher in "Moonstruck."


Best actress in a TV drama went to Taraji P. Henson for "Empire." Jon Hamm won his second Globe for the final season of "Mad Men." He thanked the HFPA for the support to their long support of the show and his "horrible" character, Don Draper.


Quentin Tarantino accepted the award for Ennio Morricone's score for his "The Hateful Eight" - a winner that presenter Jamie Foxx initially read as "Straight Outta Compton" in a parody of the Miss Universe winner debacle.


Oscar Isaac, a star of the box-office behemoth "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," won best actor in a miniseries for HBO's "Show Me a Hero." Best limited series went to "Wolf Hall."


Gervais spared little time before laying into the HFPA and the awards' network, NBC, which he noted had no nominations. He mocked the whole enterprise, assuring losing actors that "no one cares about awards as much as you do."


The Globe award, itself, he said, is "a bit of metal that some confused old journalist wanted to give you to meet you in person and take a selfie." One of his three Globes, Gervais said, he stuffs up his rear.


After a 10-year ratings high three years ago, the Golden Globes' viewership has dipped slightly since, with an audience of 19.3 million tuning in last year.


That, though, is still very strong for the Golden Globes, which have worked to shed an image of eccentric selections made by a group of little-known international journalists. The Globes have instead grown into one of the most popular award show broadcasts of the year, thanks to increasingly credible nominees, its trademark relaxed atmosphere and its unique position as a major awards show that honors both film and television.




NEW YORK (AP) -- Denzel Washington was given the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award on Sunday, with his "Philadelphia" co-star Tom Hanks saluting him as an actor with the "mysterious power not just to hold our attention, but demand it."




Hanks recited a list of legendary actors - Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and the like - that command the most respect in the industry.


"The list is finite," Hanks said. "The club is exclusive. But it includes the actor who is being given the Cecil B. DeMille Award tonight," said Hanks, who said he was fighting a cold.


Washington brought his family onstage for a speech that appeared to be cut short by a failure to bring his glasses with him. His wife reminded him twice that he needed them - and the second time, he agreed.


Washington won Oscars for roles in "Glory" and "Training Day," and has a long list of credits including "Malcolm X," ''The Hurricane," ''Flight," ''The Manchurian Candidate" and "Mo' Better Blues."

In his speech, he thanked his mother for convincing his father that the family needed light bulbs more powerful than 25 watts.


"God bless you all," he said.



MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Recently captured drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was unapologetic for running one of the world's biggest drug trafficking organizations in a Rolling Stone interview with American actor Sean Penn published late Saturday.


Drug Lord


Guzman said he entered the drug trade at age 15 because there was no other way to survive. "The only way to have money to buy food, to survive, is to grow poppy, marijuana, and at that age, I began to grow it, to cultivate it and to sell it. That is what I can tell you."


Penn had the first-ever interview with Guzman in October while the world's most wanted drug lord was on the lam, having escaped in an elaborate tunnel from Mexico's maximum security prison in July. Guzman was recaptured Friday in the city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa in a shootout that killed five of his associates and wounded one marine.


A Mexican law enforcement official said Saturday that the October interview in the remote community of Tamazula in the northern state of Durango helped authorities track the whereabouts of the drug lord, who earns millions shipping tons of cocaine and manufacturing and transporting methamphetamine and heroin to world markets, the largest in the U.S. market.


Three days after the interview, members of the Mexican Navy launched an operation to capture him, but Attorney General Arely Gomez said Friday that it was aborted because he was accompanied by two women and a young girl, whom they did not want to harm.


But he was later tracked to a home in Los Mochis that was under surveillance for a month before marines moved in Friday.


Penn's meeting with Guzman was arranged through Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, known for her portrayal of a female drug lord. She was first contacted in 2012 by the drug kingpin after tweeting that he should start "trafficking with love." He contacted her again after his arrest in February 2014, when "gringos were scrambling to tell his story," Penn wrote.


"He was interested in seeing the story of his life told on film, but would entrust its telling only to Kate," he wrote.


Penn describes an elaborate travel itinerary of private planes and a seven-hour truck ride through mountainous jungle in a two-truck convoy. They were never blindfolded along the way. They spent seven hours eating and drinking with the kingpin until he went off with his men at 4 a.m. and Penn and company went to sleep.


Penn asked for a photo shaking Guzman's hand to prove to his editors that he actually saw him. An M16 was on the couch opposite them, Penn wrote.


Penn said he received credible information that the DEA was on the trail of the actors, as raids intensified after their first meeting. He asked Guzman for a formal interview during their initial encounter that was supposed to happen a week later. But with the pressure of federal forces, Guzman instead videotaped his response to Penn's questions and sent it to Del Castillo.


In the video, Guzman said he grew up poor, selling oranges, soft drinks and candy as a child. He took care of his grandmother's cattle and chopped wood.


He said he is not responsible for the epidemic of illegal drug use in the U.S. and around the world.


"The day I don't exist, it won't decrease in any way at all," he said.


His answers belie a man who is responsible for hundreds of killings and for inciting violence in border cities such as Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso, Texas, in his bid to control shipping routes. Wars between Guzman's Sinaloa cartel and the local Juarez cartel made the city one of the deadliest in the world around 2010.


When asked whether his activities impact Mexico, he responded, "Not at all."


"Drug trafficking does not depend on just one person. It depends on a lot of people," Guzman said.


He said he hasn't done drugs in 20 years and is a person "who's not looking for problems in any way."

Penn, reminding him of the gun battle that killed another famous drug lord, Colombia's Pablo Escobar, asked Guzman how he sees his final days in the drug business.


"I know one day I will die," Guzman said. "I hope it's of natural causes."



BEIJING (AP) -- The record-breaking "Star Wars" opened Saturday in China, where it is far from certain to draw in enough movie-goers to knock off "Avatar" as the world's all-time biggest grossing movie.


"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is the highest ever grossing film in the North American market, where it was released three weeks ago.


But internationally, it still has a long way to go to beat "Avatar," James Cameron's science-fiction movie with blue aliens. The international box office of the latest "Star Wars" movie stands at $1.6 billion, compared to the $2.8 billion "Avatar" made in 2009.


Richard Huang, an analyst at Nomura Securities, expects the movie to roughly match the $229 million in Chinese box-office sales that "Jurassic World" generated last year.


Not many Chinese are familiar with "Star Wars." The franchise's three prequel films released from 1999 to 2005 were shown in China, but at a time when there were much fewer screens in the country.


Promotional events organized by Disney in the months leading up to the release included the placing of 500 Stormtrooper figures on the steps of the Great Wall and the illumination of the movie's Chinese title on the guard towers for a light show in October.


It enlisted the marketing power of actor and singer Lu Han, who appeared in promotional videos and released a music video on Thursday called "The Inner Force" with images from the film.


In an overt bid to appeal to Chinese audiences in next "Star Wars" film, "Rogue One," bosses have cast Hong Kong martial arts actor Donnie Yen and Chinese actor and director Jiang Wen in it.


China is expected to surpass North America as the world's largest movie market as soon as next year, and Hollywood is casting Chinese actors and incorporating Chinese elements to appeal to the massive audience.




NEW YORK (AP) -- CNN's "Guns in America" town hall meeting with President Barack Obama was seen by 2.4 million viewers Thursday night, according to early data from the Nielsen rating company.


The 75-minute special, hosted by Anderson Cooper, fell short of Fox News Channel's audience of 3 million viewers, but outpaced MSNBC, seen by slightly fewer than 1 million.


However, CNN took first place in both the 25-54 and 18-34 demos, outperforming the combined audience for those two rivals.


Among 25-54 viewers, CNN averaged 845,000 viewers, far ahead of Fox News' 463,000 and MSNBC's 227,000 viewers. In the 18-34 demo, CNN had 277,000 viewers, while Fox News trailed with 73,000 and MSNBC had 40,000.



LONDON (AP) -- Cold War thriller "Bridge of Spies" and lush lesbian romance "Carol" lead nominations for the British Academy Film Awards, while Eddie Redmayne has a chance to win a second straight best-actor prize with his role as a transgender artist in "The Danish Girl."


"Bridge of Spies" and "Carol" each have nine nominations for Britain's equivalent of the Oscars, including best picture. Survival saga "The Revenant" has eight, and dystopian thrill ride "Mad Max: Fury Road" has seven.


"The Danish Girl" - based on the life of early 20th-century transgender woman Lili Elbe - received five nominations Friday, including acting nods for Redmayne and co-star Alicia Vikander. Last year Redmayne won the same prize - and an Oscar - for the Stephen Hawking biopic "The Theory of Everything."

Swedish rising star Vikander also received a supporting-actress nomination for sci-fi thriller "Ex Machina."


Vikander called both films "such gifts of projects for me" and said she was extremely grateful to be nominated.


The other best-actor contenders are Bryan Cranston for Red Scare drama "Trumbo"; Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Revenant"; Matt Damon for space adventure "The Martian"; and Michael Fassbender for computing biopic "Steve Jobs."


In the best-actress category, Vikander is up against Brie Larson for mother-son drama "Room"; Cate Blanchett for "Carol"; Maggie Smith for Alan Bennett adaptation "The Lady in the Van"; and Saoirse Ronan for Irish emigrant tale "Brooklyn."


Winners of the British trophies, known as BAFTAs, will be decided by 6,500 members of the British film academy and announced at London's Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, two weeks before Hollywood's Academy Awards.


The British awards are considered an omen of Oscars success, and the list puts awards-season propulsion behind Steven Spielberg's sturdy Tom Hanks vehicle "Bridge of Spies," Todd Haynes' gorgeously shot "Carol" and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "The Revenant," which stars DiCaprio as a 19th-century fur trapper fighting for survival in the wilderness.


All three filmmakers are nominated for best director at the BAFTAs, along with Adam McKay for financial-crisis drama "The Big Short" and Ridley Scott for "The Martian."


The best-picture nominees are "The Big Short"; "Bridge of Spies"; "Carol"; "The Revenant"; and newspaper drama "Spotlight." The separate category of best British film pits "The Danish Girl" against "Ex Machina"; "Brooklyn"; Amy Winehouse documentary "Amy"; marriage drama "45 Years"; and quirky sci-fi fable "The Lobster."


The year's biggest films at the British box office were relatively overlooked by the film academy. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" received four nominations - for production design, sound, music and visual effects - while James Bond adventure "Spectre" got nothing.

"Star Wars" newcomer John Boyega was nominated for the Rising Star Award - decided by public vote - alongside "Room" star Larson and performers Bel Powley, Dakota Johnson and Taron Egerton.




NEW YORK (AP) -- Beyonce is returning to the Super Bowl halftime show.


Pepsi confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that the 34-year-old singer will perform at the Feb. 7 show at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Last month, Coldplay announced it would perform at the halftime show.


Beyonce headlined the 2013 Pepsi Super Bowl halftime show in New Orleans at the Superdome, where she was joined by her Destiny Child's bandmates, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.


Beyonce and Coldplay recently collaborated on the band's new album, "A Head Full of Dreams."


Katy Perry, who performed at last year's Super Bowl, had the most-watched halftime show in history with 118 million viewers. Other past halftime headliners include Bruno Mars, Prince, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and the Rolling Stones.



HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- A Helena judge has permanently barred a man who said he was producing a documentary narrated by Clint Eastwood from soliciting investments in Montana.


District Judge Mike Menahan also froze the assets and bank accounts belonging to Matthew McClintock, who also goes by Michael Willis. McClintock did not appear at Thursday's hearing after he told the judge that he had an undisclosed medical emergency.


Montana officials say McClintock scammed investors into giving him more than $24,000 to produce a cowboy documentary he said would be narrated by Eastwood and aired by PBS and Fox.


Instead, Deputy Securities Commissioner Lynne Egan said, McClintock spent the money on himself and to make interest payments to other investors.

McClintock faces criminal charges that include theft and fraud. He has denied the charges.



PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- The "Star Wars" version of Monopoly will add a game piece based on the female character Rey after an 8-year-old girl wrote "Girls matter" in a letter to game maker Hasbro noting the omission.


Carrie Goldman, of Evanston, Illinois, posted a letter on Twitter this week written by her daughter, Annie Rose, asking why Hasbro left out Rey when she is a main character of the latest movie in the series, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."



The original game includes pieces modeled on male characters: Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Finn and Kylo Ren.


Hasbro responded, saying it didn't want any spoilers, so it did not include Rey when it released the game in September.


The Rhode Island-based toy maker says it will add the new piece this year.



AP LAS VEGAS - Thomas Serval's dentist called him a bad father when his then 7-year-old refused to brush her teeth. So he and his dentist made teeth-brushing fun - almost too much fun.


Serval's company Kolibree made a toothbrush into a video game controller kids can use to make rabbits race and pirates plunder in games on a smartphone.


He says his company studied as many as 50 kids in a dentist office to see how they used his toothbrush versus a regular one. The kids brushed for more than two minutes on average with his brush and game combo, and he tweaked the product based on what he learned. The games themselves now last a little less than two minutes and appear to keep an avid brusher from playing more than three times a day.


There's no price tag, yet, for the kid version of the toothbrush, which should be available by April. The adult version, which looks almost identical but has a shorter battery life, sells for $149.




LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "Spotlight" is dominating awards season, but the Writers Guild has recognized a diverse slate of films, including "Trainwreck" and "Straight Outta Compton."


The organization on Wednesday announced its selections for the best in original and adapted screenplays.


Nominated for original screenplay are Amy Schumer for her bawdy comedy "Trainwreck," Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff for the N.W.A. biopic "Straight Outta Compton," Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for "Spotlight," Taylor Sheridan for "Sicario," and Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen for "Bridge of Spies."


Those vying for best adapted screenplay are Aaron Sorkin for "Steve Jobs," Phyllis Nagy for "Carol," Drew Goddard for "The Martian," John McNamara for "Trumbo," and Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for "The Big Short."


Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 13.



FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Pierre Boulez, the former principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic who moved between conducting, composition and teaching over a long career that made him one of the leading figures in modern classical music, has died at age 90.


Boulez, who had been unable to conduct recently due to increasing eye problems, died "peacefully" Tuesday at his home in Baden-Baden, Germany, said his assistant Marion Thiem.


"Pierre Boulez made French music shine throughout the world," French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday in a statement. "As a composer and conductor, he always wanted to reflect on his era."


Born in Montbrison, France, on March 26, 1925, Boulez initially studied mathematics as a youth before switching to music. He studied harmony at the Paris Conservatory with composer Olivier Messiaen and had lessons from Rene Leibowitz in the dissonant 20th-century style known as twelve-tone composition. His compositions include the Second Piano Sonata from 1947-48 and "Le Marteau Sans Maitre (The Hammer Without A Master), a setting of surrealist poetry by Rene Char for six instruments and alto voice.


He turned more and more from composition to conducting, leading the New York Philharmonic, where he succeeded Leonard Bernstein, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra during the 1970s.


He led Wagner's "Ring" cycle of operas at the Bayreuth Festival Theater and also worked with the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and the London Symphony Orchestra. His recordings won 26 Grammys.


In 1977, he launched IRCAM, a Paris-based institute focused on music, acoustics and electronics.

Boulez was a cool and contained presence on the podium, preferring a dark business suit and tie to tuxedo and tails, his gestures communicating logic and precision. He didn't use a baton.


He had a reputation as an uncompromising modernist who rejected easy ways of pleasing audiences or music he found uninteresting. In a 2010 interview with Philip Clark for the classical music publication Gramophone, Boulez described the more conventional music of American composer Aaron Copland as "folklore and dance" and dismissed German composer Paul Hindemith by saying his music "is very well put together, yes" but "says nothing to me."


Yet as a conductor Boulez ranged well beyond the confines of modernism, often favoring Romantic audience favorites such as Bruckner, Mahler and Wagner. For some of his last recordings he chose the lush, moody works of early 20th century Polish composer Karol Szymanovski.


"I may be wrong, but I equate music with culture," he was quoted as saying in the Gramophone interview. "I don't think music is an entertainment product. It's a product of culture - not for marketing, but to enrich lives."


"All these years, I've been trying to convince people that music is not there to please them; it's there to disturb them."


Thiem said Boulez never married. He is survived by a brother, Roger, and a sister, Jeanne Chevalier, along with several nieces and nephews. Funeral plans were incomplete.




Hinnant reported from Paris.



LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Shailene Woodley and Alexander Skarsgard are part of a new HBO project, "Big Little Lies."


They join previously announced stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, who also are executive producers for the limited series.


HBO describes "Big Little Lies" as a darkly comedic drama about a trio of mothers with young children whose perfect lives fall apart and into murder.


Skarsgard will play Kidman's husband, HBO said Tuesday. Others in the cast include Laura Dern, Adam Scott, Zoë Kravitz and James Tupper.


David E. Kelley, whose credits include "Ally McBeal" and "Boston Legal," wrote the script and is an executive producer.


A premiere date for "Big Little Lies" was not announced.



LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is even closer to usurping "Avatar's" reign as the top domestic box office earner of all time.


Disney's record-busting film brought in $90.2 million over the New Year's weekend, bringing its domestic total to $742.2 million. "Avatar" earned $760.5 million over its theatrical lifetime - a record "Star Wars" is expected to pass this week.


But "Star Wars" wasn't the only film that enjoyed a strong weekend. The Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg comedy "Daddy's Home" took second place with $29.2 million in its second weekend in release, while Quentin Tarantino's bloody epic "The Hateful Eight" came in third in its first weekend in wide release with $15.7 million.


Rounding out the top five were the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy "Sisters" and the animated "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" with $12.8 million and $12.1 million, respectively.


The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Rentrak:


1. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Disney, $90,241,673, 4,134 locations, $21,829 average, $742,208,942, 3 weeks.


2. "Daddy's Home," Paramount, $29,205,583, 3,342 locations, $8,739 average, $93,889,861, 2 weeks.


3. "The Hateful Eight," The Weinstein Company, $15,706,645, 2,474 locations, $6,349 average, $29,045,855, 2 weeks.


4. "Sisters," Universal, $12,760,730, 2,978 locations, $4,285 average, $61,884,110, 3 weeks.


5. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip," 20th Century Fox, $12,071,523, 3,474 locations, $3,475 average, $67,646,950, 3 weeks.


6. "Joy," 20th Century Fox, $10,210,971, 2,924 locations, $3,492 average, $38,521,065, 2 weeks.


7. "The Big Short," Paramount, $9,060,303, 1,588 locations, $5,705 average, $33,055,481, 4 weeks.


8. "Concussion," Sony, $7,846,281, 2,841 locations, $2,762 average, $25,266,650, 2 weeks.


9. "Point Break," Warner Bros., $6,817,641, 2,910 locations, $2,343 average, $22,402,176, 2 weeks.


10. "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2," Lionsgate, $4,616,274, 1,485 locations, $3,109 average, $274,185,395, 7 weeks.


11. "The Good Dinosaur," Disney, $4,050,462, 1,735 locations, $2,335 average, $114,766,932, 6 weeks.


12. "Creed," Warner Bros., $3,737,106, 1,375 locations, $2,718 average, $103,122,271, 6 weeks.


13. "Danish Girl, The," Focus Features, $1,543,909, 449 locations, $3,439 average, $6,050,349, 6 weeks.


14. "Brooklyn," Fox Searchlight, $1,248,858, 284 locations, $4,397 average, $20,812,853, 9 weeks.


15. "Spotlight," Open Road, $1,185,093, 385 locations, $3,078 average, $27,108,972, 9 weeks.


16. "Carol," The Weinstein Company, $1,181,341, 189 locations, $6,250 average, $4,982,475, 7 weeks.


17. "Krampus," Universal, $812,020, 663 locations, $1,225 average, $42,277,730, 5 weeks.


18. "Bajirao Mastani," Eros Entertainment, $778,957, 302 locations, $2,579 average, $5,848,971, 3 weeks.


19. "Spectre," Sony, $730,706, 331 locations, $2,208 average, $197,833,291, 9 weeks.


20. "In The Heart Of The Sea," Warner Bros., $686,785, 533 locations, $1,289 average, $23,750,170, 4 weeks.




Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.



LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It started on June 11, 2002, with a couple of unfamiliar hosts posing in an empty theater and making an overblown declaration to TV viewers.


"Live on this stage, an unknown talent will be launched into superstardom," said Brian Dunkleman.


"You at home decide who will become the next American idol," intoned Ryan Seacrest.


The reasonable reaction: uh-huh, sure. But it turned out the two were underselling Fox's "American Idol."


The singing contest, which begins its 15th and final season Wednesday, was a blockbuster that invigorated its network. It made stars of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and others, and resurrected the TV talent show as a boom industry that includes NBC's "The Voice" and ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."


"It not only was a huge success for Fox but impacted everyone else," said Bill Carroll, media analyst with Katz Television Group. "It once again underscored the fact that broadcast television is communal and an event."


"American Idol," from megaproducer Simon Fuller and based on his British hit "Pop Idol," did even more. It breathed life into the music industry as it and network TV both grappled with technology-driven changes in consumer habits.


The show's end is the result of dwindling ratings, the inevitable fate of even durable performers. "Idol," which averaged more than 30 million weekly viewers at its 2006 peak and ranked No. 1 for nine consecutive years, averaged about 11 million last season (still enough by today's standards to land it in the top 20, but with fewer advertiser-favored younger viewers).

Whatever its change in fortunes, the series will get a send-off worthy of a television landmark, said executive producer Trish Kihane.


As she sees it, that means paying tribute to its past while focusing on the battle among this year's contestants to become the last "Idol" winner.


"It's that tricky thing of, 'Hey, it's the 15th season, let's do nostalgia, let's look back at the show's really rich history,'" Kihane said. "But on the other hand, you've got to find an amazing American Idol. So we're trying to combine both of those things."


To accomplish that "organically," she said, past winners and familiar runners-up will be sprinkled throughout the season, starting with the open auditions in which Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Taylor Hicks and others were on hand to share tips with the hopefuls.


Plans also call for duets pairing contestants with their now-famous predecessors, who "all want to be involved, somehow," Kihane said.


A famous non-Idol, Kanye West, made a surprise appearance at the judges' auditions in San Francisco in September, with wife Kim Kardashian West along as his cheerleader. His "tryout" is included in Wednesday's episode.


The season debut is a four-hour, two-night affair, airing from 8-10 p.m. EST Wednesday and Thursday and opening on a retrospective note with the Seacrest-Dunkleman '02 clip.


One contestant featured in the premiere demonstrates the show's impressive hold on its fans. Michelle Marie Lecza of Daytona Beach, Florida, recalls watching it as a 4-year-old and can recite all of the winners, in order.

"'American Idol' is what I based my life off of. I am going to walk into the audition room and go get my dream," the braces-wearing 15-year-old says.


Such fervor made "American Idol" a well-timed hit. With social media gaining steam, viewers wanted to get in on the real-time conversation about "Idol" - good news for networks selling commercial airtime and the sponsors who wanted their ads to be seen, not skipped as the show was replayed on a DVR.


The live "Idol" episodes increased that appetite and launched the networks' embrace of a variety of other live broadcasts that included NBC's musicals "The Sound of Music" and "The Wiz."


It was a salve as well for the music business: In 2009, Steve Knopper, author of "Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age," called "American Idol" and its robust digital sales one of the few bright spots for the industry as consumers grew increasingly resistant to shelling out for albums.


The series became such an impressive promotional platform that established artists including Steven Tyler, Mariah Carey and Prince dropped in as panelists, mentors and performers.


So did Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, returning for their third year together as judges to usher "Idol" to its conclusion. They're joined by the savvy, unflappable Seacrest, the show's on-camera linchpin who outlasted fellow original cast members Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson (and Dunkleman, who was one-and-done).


Urban said he's focused less on the show's farewell than what he calls the "job at hand."


"I more often forget it's the last season until somebody mentions it," the country music star said during a production break at the Dolby Theatre. "It's just finding the right person and making sure we don't miss somebody."


He said the show retains its power to jump-start a beginning career. For the farewell season, some 75,000 people swarmed to auditions in Atlanta; Denver; Philadelphia and Little Rock, Arkansas, in addition to San Francisco.


"I love the fact that these guys and girls still see the potency and potential of something like 'Idol' to take them to places really, really quickly," Urban said.

It would be ideal if the final season produces another "American Idol" pop superstar, Connick said.


The show "has had a lot of hits, had a lot of misses. I would love to see somebody come out and put a bookend on what Kelly Clarkson did the first year, which is to sell a ton of records, sell a lot of concert tickets and became a household name," the jazz musician said.


"That would be a great way to end it," he said.




NEW YORK (AP) -- Evan Shapiro thinks you deserve to laugh more. Wherever you are. With hot- and cold-streaming comedy from any screen in reach.


He thinks Seeso, his new streaming comedy channel, will do the trick.


"We want to give you more and better laughter," he says, adding that when you log on to Seeso, a dose of comedy content is served to you with barely a moment's delay, "because we also want you laughing FASTER."


Shapiro is a former president of IFC and Sundance channels and was an executive producer of such laugh generators as "The Onion News Network," ''The Whitest Kids U'Know" and "Portlandia."


A year ago he became executive vice president of NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, and, jumping onto the OTT (over-the-top) video bandwagon, "We're launching this brand-new product, direct to the consumer, with 2,500 hours of content, 20 original series and a brand-new platform built from scratch. And we are doing it organically, from within, as opposed to making an acquisition."


Seeso may be a homegrown part of the Comcast empire, but its indie vibe is reflected in its offices on Manhattan's lower Broadway, many blocks removed from Rockefeller Center's Comcast headquarters, in an airy loftlike space where affirmations are scribbled on the walls alongside a sprawling humor taxonomy of planned Seeso content ranging from the British chat show "Man to Man with Dean Learner" to New York stand-up on "Night Train with Wyatt Cenac."


The ad-free Seeso, which officially launches Thursday, will be available by subscription for $3.99 per month. But if you're seeking laughs before then, a beta version is available for sampling.


"Seeso is not exclusively for a younger audience," says Shapiro, explaining that Seeso targets no particular demographic, but instead is aimed at a "psychographic": comedy fans of all kinds.


Its span of programing seems to bear him out.

Old favorites include "30 Rock," ''Fawlty Towers," ''Parks and Recreation," ''Saved by the Bell," ''The IT Crowd," both the British and U.S. versions of "The Office," and every season of "The Kids in the Hall." Next-day episodes of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and "Late Night with Seth Meyers" will be available, as well as all 40-plus years of "Saturday Night Live," ''Monty Python's Flying Circus" and Python films "The Meaning of Life," ''Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian."


Initially, original fare will include "The UCB Show," from Upright Citizens Brigade founders like Amy Poehler; a dating/sketch-comedy series, "Dave & Ethan: Lovemakers"; "Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane," a musical comedy about mismatched housemates (one an attorney, the other a puppet); and the animated "Cyanide & Happiness Show," based on the Web comic.


Shapiro promises a brand-new helping of stand-up every day and three to five new pieces of long-form content every week.


With this constant replenishment, Seeso is designed for regular check-ins, which might range from a burst of stand-up during your morning commute to an evening's film festival at home on your big screen.

"We're aiming to be a habit," he says.


The name for the channel was sparked during a brainstorming session when Shapiro and his colleagues nailed down the Seeso mission: Comedy concierges finding the good stuff and bringing it to you on whatever device you prefer.


"Then," recalls Shapiro, "someone said, 'How will they KNOW this is the good stuff?' I said, 'Come and SEE SO for yourself.'"


The timing for Seeso could be ideal: Viewers who long flocked to broadcast and pay-TV networks are now embracing big-tent streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. CBS All Access, a subscription source for recycled CBS network programming, seized viewers' attention with its recent announcement that in January 2017 it will be the exclusive outlet for a brand-new "Star Trek" series.


Now comes Seeso, a channel laser-focused on comedy "at a point in time," says Shapiro, "when the world is so awful that comedy is more important than it's ever been."


He declines to specify how many subscribers Seeso is hoping for. Rather, he envisions his channel as a potent cultural provocateur.


"Our big measure of success is whether, a year from now, we are relevant," he declares. "If people aren't watching and talking about our content, that means we have failed."


But what if Seeso results in not only talk and viewings, but also such laughter that it causes breathlessness in its subscribers?


"That's not my problem," Shapiro replies with a grin. "I never said it was going to help people live longer."




EDITOR'S NOTE - Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier.Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore



LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Ellen DeGeneres is receiving a humanitarian award, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is reaping the benefits.


Producers of the People's Choice Awards announced Monday that DeGeneres will be recognized as the Favorite Humanitarian at Wednesday's ceremony. The honor comes with a $200,000 donation from Walgreens, which DeGeneres is directing toward the hospital.


She joked that the award "sums me up perfectly as I am both a human and an itarian."


DeGeneres is also nominated for Favorite Talk Show Host at the fan-voted People's Choice Awards, which will be presented at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and broadcast on CBS.



NEW YORK (AP) -- The National Society of Film Critics has voted "Spotlight" the best picture of 2015.


Society members who gathered Sunday at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York also awarded the film the prize for best screenplay.


The movie chronicles The Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into child abuse in the Catholic Church.


Last month the Los Angeles Film Critics Association named it the best film of the year, and it is a Golden Globe best picture nominee.


The critics also named actor Michael B. Jordan best actor for his role as Adonis Johnson in the seventh "Rocky" boxing film since 1976.


And Charlotte Rampling was voted best actress for her work in the marital drama "45 Years."



LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" marched confidently into the new year, raking in an additional $88.3 million over the New Year's weekend and topping the box office for a third week, according to studio estimates Sunday.


In addition to setting a new high mark in New Year's box office history, the record-busting film blew past the domestic grosses of both "Jurassic World" ($652.3 million) and "Titanic" ($658.7 million) to become the second-highest earner of all time with $740.3 million in just 19 days of release.


The top domestic film is "Avatar" with a $760.5 million lifetime domestic gross, but "Star Wars" is barreling in to surpass it soon. For context, it took "Avatar" 72 days to reach $700 million. "Star Wars" did that in 16 days.


Internationally, "Star Wars" earned $96.3 million this weekend, boosting its global total to $184.6 million. The film opens in China on Jan. 9.


While "Star Wars" might not give up its throne any time soon, films like "Daddy's Home" and "Sisters" have proven to be incredibly strong performers.


"Daddy's Home," the comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, came in second with an estimated $29 million, bringing its total to $93.7 million in just two weeks. The film fell only 25 percent from its first weekend in theaters. Even more formidable is the mere 11 percent drop from the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy "Sisters," which brought in $12.6 million in its third weekend for a fourth-place spot. The film has earned $61.7 million so far.


"When you look at the holding power of 'Daddy's Home' and 'Sisters,' it shows you that those films are for many people the antidote to 'Star Wars,'" said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for box office tracker Rentrak. "The diversity of the slate that the studios created by not retreating from 'Star Wars' is helping."


Quentin Tarantino's bloody Western "The Hateful Eight," meanwhile, took third with $16.2 million in its first weekend in wide release after a strong limited debut. The three-hour epic, which cost a reported $44 million to produce, has made $29.6 million to date - just shy of what "Django Unchained" made in its first weekend.


"There is still a big audience out there for auteur-driven cinema," Dergarabedian said. "Tarantino, no matter what, is an interesting filmmaker. Film fans want to see what he's up to. It's not as big as some of his other films, but it's still doing well as it expands."

"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" took fifth place with $11.8 million, dropping only 10 percent from last weekend.


The year is off to a strong start overall, up 24.5 percent from last year. This New Year's weekend could even set a record if it tops the $220 million total of 2009/2010, when both "Avatar" and "Sherlock Holmes" were in theaters.


Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.


1."Star Wars: The Force Awakens," $88.3 million ($96.3 million international).

2."Daddy's Home," $29 million ($9.2 million international).

3."The Hateful Eight," $16.2 million.

4."Sisters," $12.6 million ($650,000 international).

5."Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip," $11.8 million ($10.3 million international).

6."Joy," $10.4 million ($9.3 million international).

7."The Big Short," $9 million ($2.2 million international).

8."Concussion," $8 million ($1.4 million international).

9."Point Break," $6.8 million ($6.8 million international).

10."The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2," $4.6 million ($4.4 million international).




Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Rentrak:


1. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," $96.3 million.

2. "Detective Chinatown," $45 million.

3. "Mr. Six," ''$38 million.

4. "Mojin: The Los Legend," $32 million.

5. "Nuovo progetto Di Checco Zalone," $20 million.

6. "The Peanuts Movie," $16.8 million.

7. "The Himalayas," $11 million.

8. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip," $10.3 million.

9. "Little Door Gods," $10 million.

10. "The Good Dinosaur," $9.5 million.




Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.


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