‘Overtime’ Revelation: Barney Frank Tells Bill Maher His Cousin Was A Stooge

Yes, you heard right. If you were watching the YouTube-only Overtime segment of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher tonight, you might have learned something new about former congressman Barney Frank: His cousin was a Stooge.

Shemp, to be specific, and a first cousin once removed, to be precise.

The former Massachusetts congressman, along with Maher and Real Time guest Bob Costas, were discussing the controversy over ESPN’s Jemele Hill, who caused a firestorm by tweeting that Donald Trump is a white supremacist.

Costas suggested that Twitter was an inappropriate venue for “a bold face name” to make such a point, given Hill’s status as an employee of a corporation like ESPN. Hill, he said, could have made her opinion known more elegantly.

Maher disagreed, saying Twitter was as good a place as any. “She’s a human being,” he said. “She’s a citizen.”

And besides, interjected Frank, “Accusing someone of treating Trump inelegantly is like saying someone was silly about the Three Stooges.”

Taking the bait, Costas opined, unaware of any secret family connections, “I never thought Shemp got his due.”


That’s when Frank dropped the bomb. “Married to my cousin. Babe Frank, Shemp’s wife, was my father’s cousin.”

The panelists, including Martin Short, were rightfully impressed. “Babe and Shemp,” said Short. “What a team.”

Not to be outdone, Maher said, “My second cousin was Stubby Kaye.”

“Is that true?” asked a sincerely surprised Short.

No, I’m bragging,” said Maher, winning a laugh worthy of any Stooge.

Watch the exchange in the video above. The Stooge revelation arrives at about the 7:50 mark.


‘Real Time’: Bob Costas Proposes Solution To NFL’s Anthem Problem

With President Donald Trump tossing out some red-meat comments tonight about NFL players who protest the National Anthem – “get that son of a bitch off the field right now” – NBC sportscaster Bob Costas offered up a slightly more elegant solution.

Costas, appearing tonight on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, didn’t seem willing to go quite as far as Maher in blanket-defending Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee – and lost a career – to protest police shootings of black suspects. But Costas wasn’t siding with Trump either.

Saying that the National Anthem doesn’t reflect only the nation’s military, police and laws, but its principles as well, Costas suggested that those “Please stand for the National Anthem” stadium recordings be changed to “Please stand for the National Anthem and the ideals it represents.” Both liberals and conservatives, he said, might get behind that. Maybe even stand for it.

Whether Trump would go along with it, is another matter entirely.

But Costas’ booking on tonight’s Real Time was, at the very least, timely. Not only did Trump make his blunt NFL recommendation, but the attorney of the late Aaron Hernandez – the former New England Patriots star who committed suicide last April while serving a life sentence for murder – announced a lawsuit this week against the NFL.

Hernandez, the attorney said, had a severe case of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy common to pro players.

Maher said that even as a Libertarian, who believes adults should be able to choose their own professions, he was “feeling a little like I need a shower after watching a game.” He compared the NFL commissioner to the shark-denying mayor from Jaws.

Costas said “you can’t make the leap” from studies about CTE to Hernandez’ crimes, but conceded the “accumulation of bad news” for the game that “remains not only the most popular sport but the most popular thing in all of entertainment.”

“Evidence is evidence,” Costas said, adding that “unless they can improve helmets to the point where they protect the brain from rattling around like a pickle inside a jar,” football could go the way of the Roman circus: “People watch it but don’t let their kids play it.”


CAA Head Of TV Literary Ryan Ly Exits

EXCLUSIVE: In a surprising move, Ryan Ly has exited Creative Artists Agency after 12 years, most recently as the head of the agency’s TV lit department.

After a brief stint at UTA right after college, Ly started at CAA in 2005. He had been a rising star at the agency where his clients have included Better Call Saul showrunner Peter Gould, Castle Rock co-creator creator Sam Shaw, and Good Girls Revolt Dana Calvo.

Details about the circumstances surrounding Ly’s sudden departure are sketchy but sources say it was the agency’s decision to part ways with its long-time agent over alleged harassment policy violations.


Disney And Altice Trade Jabs As Carriage Contract Deadline Looms

A week of speculation about carriage negotiations between Disney and cable operator Altice USA has ended with Disney suggesting that a “potential loss” of programming is possible and Altice calling for the owner of ESPN and ABC to stop the threats.

The drumbeat has grown recently over negotiations to carry Disney-owned networks on the nation’s No. 4 cable operator following deals to acquire Cablevision and Suddenlink that give Altice 4.3 million subs. Disney also owns Disney Channel, Freeform and other networks.

But at the center of the heat is ESPN, the most valuable of all cable networks, with the most recent SNL Kagan estimate that distributors pay $7.54 per subscriber per month to carry it. ESPN has suffered ratings declines of late, making operators wary of paying more, which would result in higher costs to consumers.

“Despite the fact that viewership of their programming by Optimum customers has been declining in the double digits for years, ESPN and its owner are demanding double the rates for ABC for the same content they offer today, exorbitant fee increases for ESPN, and are trying to force customers who don’t receive ESPN to have to pay for it,” Altice said in a statement this evening, adding that it has “already offered an increase in retransmission fees and sports programming costs.”

At stake: Disney could pull its programming when the current contract expires, reportedly at month’s end (and take with it Monday Night Football and upcoming postseason baseball), and keep it off even if negotiations continue. Altice has about 2.4 million pay-TV customers alone in the nation’s top TV market, New York City.

“This behavior by ESPN is anti-consumer, and we urge ESPN and its owner to stop the threats, leave their programming on for customers and focus on negotiating an agreement that is fair for our Optimum customers,” Altice said today.

Said Disney: “The typical Optimum customer pays $160 or more each month for service to Altice, and the bulk of that money goes into their pocket. For broadcast basic, Altice charges its customers $34, which is more than 15x the amount we are seeking for the market’s most watched station, WABC.”

The war of words comes on the heels of an eMarketer report this month in which the research firm cut its forecast for 2017 U.S. TV ad spending by 1.5% to $71.65 billion, saying that cord cutting is accelerating faster than it expected. The report forecasts about 196.3 million adults to be traditional pay TV viewers this year, down 2.4%. By 2021, the number will be down 10%.

It also comes as Disney is prepping its own video service to bow sometime next year.

“Our contract with Altice is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming,” a Disney spokesperson said this evening. “We remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so. Our company has never had a disruption of service for our family of networks and there is no reason that should change now.”


‘The Exorcist’ Reveals Biting New Photos + Key Art Ahead Of Season 2 Premiere

EXCLUSIVE: A week before Season 2 of The Exorcist debuts, the Fox horror drama today pulled back the curtain to unveil a new peek at some of upcoming backwoods action.

Premiering on September 29, the new cycle of Alfonso Herrera and Ben Daniels-led series based on William Peter Blatty’s infamous bestseller moves from urban Chicago to the islands and forests of the Pacific Northwest. However, as the new key art and photos from the season opener show, it looks like none of the spookiness and shock value that characterized the Geena Davis co-starring first season has drained away.

A first season that was one of my favorite new shows of 2016.

“We’re going to see a foster home, a group for troubled kids” Exorcist executive producer Jeremy Slater revealed at Comic-Con this summer as Star Trek alum John Cho and Deadpool’s Brianna Hildebrand (who is featured in the key art to to the right) were publicly introduced as joining the cast. Season 2 finds Herrera and Daniels’ demon-fighting priests going on the road, with the aftermath or Season 1 and new consequences at play. “John’s character is the patriarch, and Brianna is one of the kids in his care,” the creator of the small screen Exorcist added.

As the snaps with Zibby Allen and Herrera here show, trouble is up-close and personal this season.

Little more than a week after the Season 2 premiere, The Exorcist is taking its show on the road literally with an October 8 appearance at New York Comic-Con. In the meantime, check out this behind the scenes featurette that the series dropped the other day:
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Why Flash Gordon Reboot Has Been on Indefinite Hold

Back in the spring of 2015, 20th Century Fox moved forward with its long-awaited Flash Gordon remake, setting director Matthew Vaughn at the helm, but we haven’t heard anything about it since then. It turns out there’s a very good reason for that, with Matthew Vaughn revealing in a new interview that he’s still been working on it, but his original vision for the story was basically taken by Marvel’s 2014 blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy. Here’s what the director had to say below, when asked if he’s still working on a Flash Gordon movie.

“Yeah, we’ve been working on it. For me, the only problem with Flash Gordon is Guardians (of the Galaxy) kind of stole what I would have liked to have done with it. You’ve got Star Wars, you’ve got Guardians, so you’ve got to have your own space opera, but you have to find something that can survive among these two very, very great franchises.”

The director made these comments during an interview with Collider, while promoting this weekend’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle. This project has been in various stages of development at Sony for almost a decade, with our first report on this movie coming back in August 2008, when writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold) were brought aboard this Flash Gordon remake. Director Breck Eisner (The Last Witch Hunter) was brought aboard in 2010, although he ultimately backed away from the project.

Then in 2014, we reported that Star Trek Beyond writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay were brought aboard by producer Jon Davis. Before those writers came aboard, George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) had worked on the script, and was moving from a writer to producer on the project, but now it isn’t clear if he is still involved. Then in 2015, Matthew Vaughn became attached to the project, just a few months after his first Kingsman movie became a surprise hit at the box office. When asked if this movie adaptation will ever happen, the director revealed that there is only one way that he decides to move forward and actually make a movie.

“The way I choose films is when I know I have to make it. Simple as that. There will be a moment where I can’t think of anything else other than getting behind a camera and shooting a movie. It’s a very hard switch to click; once it’s on, nothing stops me.”

The director didn’t say one way or another if writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are still working on the script, or if there are already other writers on board. The Flash Gordon franchise is certainly steeped in history, going all the way back to the serial comic strips created by Alex Raymond in 1934, following the adventures of the title character, a Yale graduate and polo player who was kidnapped and taken to the planet Mongo, where he does battle with Ming the Merciless alongside friends Dale Arden and Hans Zarkov.

The comics spawned a number of movies including Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (1936), Flash Gordon‘s Trip to Mars (1938) and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940), which is said to be a major influence on George Lucas while he was creating the original Star Wars trilogy. There was also a 1979 animated TV series dubbed The New Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon, a 1980 feature film adaptation starring Sam J. Jones and the live-action Syfy series Flash Gordon, which ran from 2007 to 2008.


Queen Movie Casts Shameless Star as Freddie Mercury’s Boyfriend

Aaron McCusker (Shameless) has officially signed on to portray Freddie Mercury’s boyfriend, Jim Hutton, in the Queen movie called Bohemian Rhapsody. This news comes after it was revealed that Mike Myers is in talks to join the cast as an unknown character, which will bring Myers back full circle after the legendary performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 1991′s Wayne’s World. Brian Singer’s Queen biopic has recently started filming and is moving along full steam ahead with the recent news announcing the casting of McCusker.

Jim Hutton was a large part of Freddie Mercury’s private life during his final 6 years. He was Mercury’s hairdresser as well as boyfriend and he took care of the late front man when he became sick due to complications from AIDS. Hutton was by Mercury’s side when he passed and even gave him a wedding ring that he was wearing when he died. Though Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody will end in 1985, 6 years before Mercury’s death, the story arc might include the first meeting between the front man and his hairdresser who would later go on to become his lover and caretaker.

Freddie Mercury would distance himself from Hutton in public as he never formally came out publicly, but was openly gay around friends. Privately, Hutton and Mercury were involved in a long-term romance that all of their friends and family knew about. Hutton later recalled that Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987 and from there on out, rumors were rampant that the singer had contracted AIDS, though Mercury denied the allegations and didn’t come out publicly that he had AIDS until November of 1991, 24 hours before he died. It was during this time that Hutton started to take care of Mercury and Queen began to tour less and less due to the singer’s condition that rapidly deteriorated in the next few years.

Rami Malek will not play Freddie Mercury in his later years, instead the movie will end at the 1985 Live Aid concert, which was called, “The best day of our lives” by Queen guitarist Brian May. Production has already started and there is some amazing behind the scenes footage of Malek on stage as Mercury, channeling the late singer in look as well as performance. 1985 will be a good place for Bohemian Rhapsody to end, with Queen and Freddie at the height of their powers, conquering a show with many of rock music’s most iconic acts.

According to Deadline, Irish actor Arron McCusker was recently seen in the sci-fi feature, Incoming with Scott Adkins and has also been in the U.K. version of Shameless. Since Bohemian Rhapsody does not go past the Live Aid concert in 1985, it isn’t clear how much of McCusker as Hutton that we will see on screen, but as previously mentioned, the story could show the start of their professional relationship that later bloomed into a full-blown romance. Brian Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody is currently in production and has a set release date of December 25th, 2018.


Maze Runner 3 Trailer Arrives Sunday During Teen Wolf Finale

Despite a great many delays and setbacks, Maze Runner 3: Death Cure is finally going to arrive in theaters on January 26, 2018. Star Dylan O’Brien is back on his feet and is getting ready to reassert himself as one of Hollywood’s great rising stars. That being the case, we are getting a pretty serious double dose of O’Brien this Sunday. It has been announced that the Death Cure trailer will debut during the Teen Wolf series finale on MTV.

The news was revealed via the official Maze Runner Twitter account, but they didn’t say precisely when the Maze Runner 3 trailer will air. So even if you’re not a Teen Wolf fan but you are a Maze Runner fan, you may want to tune in to the finale. Or you can just hope that the trailer also arrives on YouTube around the same time, which is more than likely going to be the case. This also works as a very smart bit of cross-promotion, since Dylan O’Brien has quite the fanbase.

“Tune in to the series finale of @MTVTeenWolf this Sunday, 9/24 at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT for the new #DeathCure Trailer.”

In Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which is the third and final movie in the Maze Runner saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. They must save their friends, but in order to do so, they are going to have to break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may (definitely) turn out to be the deadliest maze they’ve encountered. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions they have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.

As fans of the franchise know, Maze Runner: The Death Cure was originally slated to come out in February of 2017, but tragedy got in the way of that happening. In March of 2016, Dylan O’Brien was severely injured while filming a motorcycle stunt for the movie. The actor suffered a concussion, a facial fracture and several lacerations. Rather than try to rush things, Fox delayed the production, giving the actor adequate time to heal before finishing things up. We’ll get our first glimpse as to how that delay helped or hurt the movie on Sunday when the trailer drops.

Wes Ball returns to direct Maze Runner: The Death Cure, meaning he has directed all three movies in the trilogy. Let’s just hope this particular entry can be an improvement on Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which was most certainly not the Empire Strikes Back of young adult adaptations. Quality aside, these movies have done very well at the box office, bringing in a combined $660 million worldwide. Given the excitement over Dylan O’Brien’s return, don’t be surprised if The Death Cure manages to outgross the other two entries. But we’ll need to see the trailer before we get too ahead of ourselves.

Tune in to the series finale of @MTVTeenWolf this Sunday, 9/24 at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT for the new #DeathCure Trailer.

— The Death Cure (@MazeRunnerMovie) September 22, 2017

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