Spurred by the pandemic, survey says remote “co-viewing” seems here to stay

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In the darkest days of the lockdowns, millions of people looked to remote “watch parties” to binge their favorite shows with friends — even if they couldn’t get together. 

And according to the media researchers at Hub, this “co-viewing” trend is here to stay, thanks in part to the pandemic, and because 70% of homes in the U.S. now have smart TVs that allow for a more streamlined co-viewing experience.

The company crunched the numbers, and as part of its third annual “Evolution of the TV Set” report, compiled just who these co-viewers were, and how they’re getting their shared entertainment. 

According to Hub’s non-scientific survey of more than 2,500 people aged 16 to 74, 23% percent of viewers said they have enjoyed content via a co-viewing app or service this year, up three percentage points from 2020.

Forty-one percent of viewers aged 16 to 34 have co-watched; 23% of those 35 to 54 have; while — perhaps not surprisingly — only 3% of those 55 and older have watched shows and movies with others remotely.

According to Hub’s findings, Amazon Watch Party is the most commonly used co-viewing app at 44%. The next most popular apps are two adapted from other uses: Discord, familiar to gamers, was at 28%, followed close behind at 27% by Zoom, with which we’ve all become familiar during the pandemic.

Use of Amazon Watch Party proved to be more common with the 35-54 age group, versus those in the 16-34 age range, and the app proved more appealing to men than women: 52% to 31%.

On the flip side, 33%, or a third of those surveyed in the 16-to-24-year-old group, chose Discord; just 26% of their 35-to-54-year-old counterparts did.

 

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Raven-Symone, Loni Love to host two Daytime Emmy ceremonies; ‘Power Book III: Kanan’ renewed ahead of premiere; & more

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Raven-Symoné and Loni Love have signed on to respectively host the next two Daytime Emmy ceremonies, Variety reports.

The Daytime Emmys Children’s & Animation awards, which will be held virtually on Saturday, July 17, at 8 p.m. ET, will be hosted by Raven-Symoné, a previous Daytime Emmy nominee. Meanwhile Love will take on the virtual hosting duties for the Daytime Emmys Fiction & Lifestyle awards on Sunday, July 18, at 8 p.m. ET. Both events will be streamed on the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Emmy OTT platform.

In other news, Starz has given a greenlight to a second season of Power Book III: Kanan ahead of the series’ premiere on July 18. According to the Starz, the renewal comes “amidst strong demand for the upcoming premiere of the third book in the growing Power Universe franchise.” Additionally, Antonio Ortiz, who recurs as Shawn “Famous” Figueroa in the first season, has been promoted to a series regular role for the second season. As previously reported, Power Book III: Kanan, starring Mekai CurtisPatina Miller and Omar Epps, follows the early years of the now-deceased Power character Kanan Stark, portrayed by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

Finally, Uzo Aduba and Ron Cephas Jones are among the stars who have been added to Second Stage Theater’s upcoming Broadway production of Lynn Nottage‘s new play Clyde’s, Deadline has learnedThey join a cast that already includes Reza Salazar and Kara Young. The play follows Aduba as Clyde, the owner of a truck-stop sandwich shop who “tries to keep her staff under her thumb even as the staff members are given purpose and permission to dream.” Clyde’s begins previews on Wednesday, November 3, with an official opening on Monday, November 22, at Second Stage’s Broadway home, The Hayes Theater.

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Kristen Stewart’s Princess Diana biopic ‘Spencer’ to debut at Venice Film Festival

NEON

Although organizers so far are mum, Variety reports Kristen Stewart‘s Princess Diana biopic Spencer will make its debut at the Venice International Film Festival. 

The event runs from Wednesday, September 1 through Saturday, September 11 in Italy. It’s not yet known what date the film will premiere.

The movie, directed by Pablo Larraín, will debut “in competition,” meaning its eligible for judging and, potentially, the festival’s coveted Golden Lion for best film.  

As previously reported, Spencer takes place in the 1990s and will have Stewart playing Diana over a crucial Christmas holiday during which she plotted her divorce from Prince Charles and began charting a life away from the British royal family.

The synopsis from production company Neon reads, “December, 1991: The Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage has long since grown cold. Though rumours of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. This year, things will be a whole lot different.”

Princess Diana was killed August 31, 1997 in a car crash in Paris that was caused in part by a high-speed pursuit by paparazzi. Her partner, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, were also killed. Paul was later found to have been driving drunk.  A bodyguard survived the crash.

The film will debut in 2022, timed to the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death.

Director Larrain previously called the shots on Natalie Portman‘s Oscar-nominated Jacqueline Kennedy 2016 biopic, Jackie.

 

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#Equallyjoked? Eddie Murphy’s son and Martin Lawrence’s daughter confirm they are dating

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Eddie Murphy‘s eldest son, Eric, and Martin Lawrence‘s oldest daughter, Jasmin, have made their relationship Instagram official.

Over the weekend, Jasmin, 25, shared a photo of her and Eric with a loving caption in celebration of his 32nd birthday.

“Happy birthday, my love!,” she wrote. “I’m so incredibly blessed to know you, to love you, and to have you by my side. Cheers to many more blessings, laughs, and beautiful memories! I love you so much!!”

Jasmin’s sweet post comes just weeks after Eric declared his love for her in an Instagram post.

“Head over heels in LOVE with YOU,” he captioned the selfie, adding the hashtags “#myotherhalf,” “#equallyyoked” and “#iloveyou.”

For those who may not recall, Eric is the firstborn son of Eddie and his former girlfriend Paulette McNeely. Meanwhile, Jasmin is the daughter of Martin and his ex-wife Patricia Southall.

Although the two legendary comedians have not commented on their kids dating, the now-public relationship could offer a reason for Eddie and Martin to work together again. They previously starred in Ted Demme‘s 1999 comedy Life and in Murphy’s 1992 comedy Boomerang.

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Scarlett Johansson on what makes her Black Widow “stand out” among other superheroes

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios’ Black Widow had a super-sized $215 million worldwide debut over the weekend. But stateside, the $80 million it made in theaters, along with the more than $60 million it generated via Disney+ Premiere Access, gave the character’s standalone adventure the highest domestic opening weekend for a Marvel Cinematic Universe origin story after Black Panther and Captain Marvel

Scarlett Johansson, the star and executive producer of Black Widow, explained at a recent press event what makes her character, AKA Natasha Romanoff, so special in a field of super-soldiers and hammer-wielding gods.

“I was going to say the pose, but then Florence, poo pooed on that,” ScarJo said to laughs, referencing Florence Pugh‘s Black Widow character poking fun in the film at Natasha’s trademark pouncing hair flip. 

“I think Natasha…has a lot of integrity,” Johansson says. “She’s a she’s a big character. And she’s…not afraid to admit when she’s wrong. She’s endearing that way. And I think she’s curious about herself and curious about other people. And I think it makes her stand out as superheroes go.”

Disney Studios Content Chairman Alan Bergman apparently agrees with the audience. “[T]his spectacular opening weekend shows just how eager fans have been to see this beloved Avenger in her own story,” he said in a statement.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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Cedric the Entertainer to host the 73rd Emmy Awards

CBS

Cedric the Entertainer will be the host of this year’s 73rd Emmy Awards.

On CBS’ social media accounts, Cedric announced the news in the form of an “and the winner is…” envelope reveal. “I’m about to be hostin’ the Emmys! And I ain’t even a Jimmy!” he laughed, before yelling the news off-screen: “Hey babe! I’m about to be hosting the Emmys!” 

In a statement, the comedian noted, “Since I was a little boy huddled up next to my grandmother, television has always been my reliable friend, so it is an enormous honor for me to host this year’s Emmy Awards.”

He continued, “Throughout the roller-coaster of a year that we have all lived through, television has helped us stay connected as a society like never before. It not only entertained us, but as it always has, it helped to open our eyes, educate us, and hopefully brought about a better understanding of who we are as a people.”

It is the first time Ced will host the event. The stand-up comic and Barbershop veteran stars on The Neighborhood on CBS. 

The Emmys will be held live and in person from on Sunday, September 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

The hosting news comes a day before the Emmy nominations will be announced virtually, streaming live on Tuesday, July 13, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time on Emmys.com.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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‘Boyz n the Hood’ turns 30: John Singleton, Tyrese Gibson share the importance of giving opportunities to new talent

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John Singleton wasn’t afraid to take a chance on new talent when he made his feature directorial debut Boyz n the Hood in 1991. As the seminal film celebrates its 30th anniversary, Singleton, who passed away in 2019 after suffering a stroke, told ABC Audio two years prior that looking at the success of the actors he helped “put on,” like Ice Cube, was always a source of pride for him as a director.

“It’s a pleasant surprise. I mean to see that people have had long careers and they’ve gone on to do other things,” Singleton said. “Ice Cube has transitioned from being an actor-producer to almost mini mogul — making a lot of things happen in different ways in film and television.”

Even though Boyz n the Hood also was Cube’s acting debut, the accomplished filmmaker — who, at 24,  became the youngest person to receive a Best Director Oscar nomination thanks to the movie — says he takes no credit for the rapper’s success.

“I can’t take credit for any of that stuff — those of really talented people,” he says. “All they really needed was an opening in the business and they just ran with it.”

One of those “really talented people” is Tyrese Gibson, who starred in Singleton’s 2001 film Baby Boy. Gibson says he’s “grateful” that the director also saw something in him like he did Cube.

“John Singleton chased me for five years the way he did Ice Cube, the way he did a lot of people that made their acting debut in a film,” Tyrese says. “He was a visionary. He envisioned a lot for people that we may have not envisioned for ourselves.”

He continues, “There would not be a such thing as a Fast and Furious, Four Brothers, Waist Deep, Baby Boy, Transformers,” listing off his acting credits. “All of the movies that I’ve been able to do [would] be no such thing if John Singleton didn’t see something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”

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In Instagram message, Patricia Heaton marks three years of “freedom from alcohol”

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Former Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton chose an Independence Day-themed greeting to fans to celebrate her three years of independence from booze. 

“It’s July when we celebrate our nation’s freedom,” the Emmy winner posted Sunday to Instagram while on a 3.5 mile hike. “Also celebrating three years of freedom from alcohol for me.”

The former star of The Middle pledged support to fans who might need a boost, too. “Message me if any of you are thinking about doing that, any of you are doing that now and need some encouragement or anything at all,” she said before closing with, “Have a great day.”

Heaton told Parade magazine last year that she decided to give up booze because she found herself partaking a bit too much. “I noticed that I was looking forward every night to cocktails. And if I happened to go to lunch, I might have a glass of wine or Prosecco,” she explained.

The 63-year-old actress told the publication, “I miss it terribly, but at the end of the day, I feel better.”

She also added, “There’s an actual statistic that women who were moderate drinkers in their 30s and 40s often become alcoholics in their 50s and 60s. I think it’s something about your children leaving the house and the things that used to anchor you are no longer there. You’re a little bit at sea, and so you reach for the bottle to dull the uncertainty. I sensed that a bit with myself.”

Heaton said then, “I’ve stopped, and my life has improved significantly. My kids are in their mid-20s and I’ll probably be in my 70s by the time I have grandchildren. I want to be healthy for them.”

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‘Black Widow’ sets pandemic record with $80 million at U.S. theaters; makes $60 million+ on Disney+

Marvel Studios

Marvel’s long-delayed Black Widow had an explosive debut, making more than $215 million worldwide, Disney has announced.

The film had an $80 million domestic haul that crushed the $70 million pandemic-era record set by F9: The Fast Saga just three weeks ago. Additionally, the prequel adventure of star and executive producer Scarlett Johansson‘s titular Avenger also raked in more than $60 million via Disney+ Premier Access, where it could be streamed for around $30.

Black Widow, also starring Florence PughDavid HarbourO.T. FagbenleOlga KurylenkoWilliam HurtRay Winstone and Rachel Weisz, cleaned up overseas as well, bringing in an estimated $78 million.

The aforementioned F9: The Fast Saga dipped to second place with an estimated $10.9 million, bringing its stateside totals to $141.3 million after three weeks.  Overseas — where the film debuted before it did in the U.S. — F9 has earned $400.5 million, bringing its worldwide gross to $541.8 million.

Grabbing third place is The Boss Baby: Family Business, a follow-up to the 2017 smash, The Boss Baby, delivered an estimated $8.7 million in its second week of release, raising its domestic total to $34.7 million.

Fourth place belongs to the latest chapter in The Purge franchise, The Forever Purge, earning an estimated $6.7 million, for a two-week total of $27.4 million.

Rounding out the top five is A Quiet Place Part II, earning $3 million in its seventh week. Its domestic total now stands at upwards of $150 million. Overseas, the movie has added an estimated $128.3 million so far, bringing its current worldwide earnings to $279 million.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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Bill Cosby reportedly considering lawsuit against Pennsylvania for prison sentence

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After his 2018 conviction on sexual assault charges was overturned by Pennsylvania’s highest court, Bill Cosby is reportedly thinking about suing the state of Pennsylvania.

Cosby was sentenced in September 2018 for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand in 2004. 

The comedian’s publicist Andrew Wyatt says the state violated Cosby’s due process rights.

Speaking to the Domenick Nati Show Friday, Wyatt explained, “We are looking at what recourse, what legal recourse we can take against the state of Pennsylvania” and added that he believes the state has “an axe to grind against black men.”

Wyatt stated Cosby is hoping to obtain “a couple of hundred grand” in compensation.

On Sunday, Montgomery County PA District Attorney Kevin Steele issued a statement regarding misinformation stemming from the overturned sentence.  The statement was made after state Supreme Court Chief Justice Max Baer called Cosby’s trial a “reprehensible bait and switch” by the prosecution, in reference to a claim made by Cosby’s legal team that Montgomery County prosecutor Bruce Castor promised not to criminally prosecute Cosby in the Constand case.

The statement, obtained by ABC News, said, “To be very clear, prosecutors in this case did not believe there was an agreement not to prosecute or immunity for the defendant at the time we moved forward on the case, and we do not believe it now. If we had believed there was an agreement or immunity, we would not have moved forward in our attempt to bring Cosby to justice.”

“Among a litany of reasons, a promise never to prosecute was not mentioned by Bruce Castor when he issued his press release saying he was declining prosecution,” Steele continued. “Despite the extensive investigation we conducted, we found no credible evidence that Castor had given Cosby immunity.”

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