Anthony Pellicano’s Sllence Richly Rewarded By Hollywood Elite As Prison Stint Ends

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: When Anthony Pellicano walks out of a California prison tomorrow, the once notorious Hollywood P.I. will be welcomed by some of the biggest names in Hollywood with dual gifts of deep appreciation and cold hard cash.
Ending a 15-year sentence…

Lee Daniels Lets Loose On “Pain & Anger” That ‘Empire’ Team Feels Over Jussie Smollett’s Alleged Fake Hate Crime

Read on: Deadline.

Putting the notion that there is no such thing as bad publicity to the test, Empire co-creator Lee Daniels today held nothing back in talking about the impact on the Fox drama of Jussie Smollett’s alleged fake hate crime.
“These past couple of weeks ha…

‘Midnight Rider’ Case: First AD Hillary Schwartz Denied Leniency By GA Court

Read on: Deadline.

Like Midnight Rider’s director before her, the film’s first assistant director Hillary Schwartz asked for and was denied leniency by a Georgia court for her part in the death of her 27 year-old crew member Sarah Jones. Schwartz had motioned the c…

‘Tanked’ Concluded By Animal Planet After 15 Seasons, Cites “Natural End” To Series

Read on: Deadline.

Animal Planet has ended the 15-year run of Tanked, but claims the ending came naturally and is not related to a recent domestic disturbance involving a host.

“After 15 fantastic seasons, the series came to a natural end late last year,” confirmed Paul…

New Zealand Mosque Shooter Sent Manifesto To Government, Media Before Killings

Read on: Deadline.

The shooter behind the New Zealand mosque attacks sent his manifesto outlining his sick philosophy to government officials and media outlets less than 10 minutes before the attack that killed 49 people, according to a report.
The New Zealand Herald sai…

‘From Not To Hot’ Star Mama June Shannon Arrested In Alabama On Drug Charges

Read on: Deadline.

Reality TV star Mama June Shannon and her boyfriend were arrested in Alabama earlier this week for drug possession following a domestic dispute, according to reports.
Shannon, the mother of Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, faces chargers on suspicion of…

YouTube Star PewDiePie “Sickened” By New Zealand Shooter Reference During Massacre

Read on: Deadline.

YouTube content star PewDiePie has issued a response to having his name attached to the New Zealand mosque massacre, saying he was “sickened” by any connection to the incident.
The shooter reportedly said, “Subscribe to PewDiePie” during th…

Lori Loughlin’s ‘Fuller House’ Future Dim Due To Elite School Bribery Scandal

Read on: Deadline.

First it was Hallmark Channel cutting Lori Loughlin loose earlier today after her indicted involvement in the elite college admissions fraud scheme. Now it seems inevitable that Netflix will not be inviting the actor know around the world as Aunt Becky…

Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin & Bill McGlashan Hit With $500M Suit Over Elite Colleges Bribery Scheme

Read on: Deadline.

As the fallout from the nationwide elite college bribery scheme continues, the indicted Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and STX Entertainment co-founder Bill McGlashan have all been hit today in a multi-million dollar lawsuit from one very angry mother…

Lori Loughlin Dropped By Hallmark Channel Due To Elite College Bribery Scandal

Read on: Deadline.

Two days after Lori Loughlin flew into town from a Vancouver set to face charges and arrest over the elite college entrance fraud scheme, the Hallmark Channel has cut all of its various ties with the actor.
“We are saddened by the recent news sur…

Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Counts of Disorderly Conduct

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Jussie Smollett entered a formal not guilty plea to 16 counts of disorderly conduct in a Chicago court on Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Smollett was indicted by a Cook County grand jury on those 16 felony counts last week after being accused of lying to police regarding a Jan. 29 incident, in which he said he was randomly attacked by two men shouting racial and homophobic slurs in his Chicago neighborhood.

The “Empire” star was originally charged with one felony count for filing a false police report by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office last month.

Judge Steven Watkins has been assigned to preside over Smollett’s case, with the actor set to return to court on April 17, according to CBS Chicago.

Representatives for Smollett and a spokesperson for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for confirmation.

Smollett surrendered himself to Chicago police on Feb. 21, hours after he was formally charged. He was released from police custody later that afternoon, after posting bail and surrendering his passport following a bond hearing.

“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system,” Smollett’s team said in a statement that day. “The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election. Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”

Within hours of his release from police custody, Smollett returned to work on the set of “Empire.” However, the following day, executive producers announced that they had decided to remove the actor — who plays the openly gay Jamal Lyon — from the final two episodes of the show’s current season.

Also Read: Ratings Tank for First ‘Empire’ Since Jussie Smollett Arrest

During a press conference last month, hours after Smollett’s surrender on Feb. 21, Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that the actor staged an attack on himself because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.” He also told reporters the police were in possession of a $3,500 check, which he said Smollett used to pay brothers Olabinjo (“Ola”) and Abimbola (“Abel”) Osundairo for the incident.

The Osundairos were released without charges Feb. 15, following an arrest and 48-hour hold, after the police said “new evidence” had emerged and that the investigation’s “trajectory” had changed course. Smollett was arrested a few days later.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Empire’: Here’s What Jamal Did on the First New Episode Since Jussie Smollett’s Arrest

Osundairo Brothers Lawyer: Jussie Smollett’s Check Was for Both Training and Staged Attack

‘Empire’ Returns for First Episode Since Jussie Smollett Arrest: How Will It Do in Ratings?

Jussie Smollett Appears in Zero of 38 ‘Empire’ Promotional Photos for Fox Return

Ratings Tank for First ‘Empire’ Since Jussie Smollett Arrest

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Empire” returned from winter hiatus on Wednesday, airing its first original episode since star Jussie Smollett was arrested and charged with filing a false police report. It didn’t receive a warm welcome from viewers.

Last night’s 8 p.m. episode settled for a 1.3 demo rating/6 share among adults 18-49, and 4.412 million total viewers — those Nielsen numbers are way down from last year’s comparable hour, and are even down double digits versus the hip-hop soap opera’s fall finale.

The previous original “Empire” episode on Dec. 5 had a 1.5 rating and 5.043 million total viewers. Last year’s midseason return put up a 2.0 rating and tallied 6.217 million viewers.

Also Read: Osundairo Brothers Lawyer: Jussie Smollett’s Check Was for Both Training and Staged Attack

We’ll save you the math: All of that data means that Wednesday’s hour was down 13 percent in both the demo and for the overall audience versus the fall finale, and down a heaping 35 percent in the demo and 29 percent in viewers from last year’s midseason premiere episode.

As a matter of fact, last night’s “Empire” drew the second-smallest audience and second-worst demo rating ever for “Empire.” The only episode to draw fewer “live” eyeballs (4.229 million) and a lower demo rating (a 1.2) aired on Halloween 2018, which makes sense, as people were celebrating the holiday and not in front of their TVs.

That said, Fox and its regular abbreviated (compared with CBS, ABC and NBC) primetime schedule still finished first in key-demo averages, but it just barely edged ABC — with a different of 17,000 viewers — for third in terms of total viewers. NBC aired all reruns last night and still landed a bigger audience than both of those nets.

Also Read: Jussie Smollett Appears in Zero of 38 ‘Empire’ Promotional Photos for Fox Return

Fox was first in ratings with a 1.2 rating/5 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and third in total viewers with an average of 4.05 million, according to preliminary numbers. Following “Empire,” “Star” at 9 had a 1.1/5 and 3.7 million viewers.

Shortly after this set of Nielsen data came out, Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct. Read all about that here.

CBS and ABC tied for second in ratings, both with a 0.9/4. CBS was first in total viewers with 5 million, ABC was fourth with 4.03 million.

Also Read: Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Counts of Disorderly Conduct

For CBS, “Survivor” at 8 got a 1.5/7 and 7.6 million viewers. From 9 to 11, the season finale of “The World’s Best” managed a 0.6/3 and 3.7 million viewers.

For ABC, “The Goldbergs” at 8 had a 1.1/5 and 4.8 million viewers. At 8:30, “Schooled” got a 1.0/4 and 3.9 million viewers. “Modern Family” at 9 received a 1.2/5 and 4.6 million viewers. “Single Parents” at 9:30 closed the comedy block with a 0.8/4 and 3.4 million viewers. “Whiskey Cavalier” finished off primetime to a 0.6/3 and 3.7 million viewers.

NBC was fourth in ratings with a 0.6/3 and second in viewers with 4.2 million, running all repeats.

Also Read: ‘Empire’: Here’s What Jamal Did on the First New Episode Since Jussie Smollett’s Arrest

Univision and Telemundo tied for fifth in ratings, both with a 0.4/2. Univision was fifth in total viewers with 1.2 million, Telemundo was sixth with 1.1 million.

The CW was seventh in ratings with a 0.3/1 and in viewers with 833,000. “Riverdale” at 8 had a 0.3/2 and 1 million viewers. At 9, “All American” got a 0.2/1 and 629,000 viewers.

Find last Wednesday’s ratings here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Empire’: Here’s What Jamal Did on the First New Episode Since Jussie Smollett’s Arrest

Ratings: Fox Sinks in Week Between ‘Masked Singer’ Finale and ‘Empire’ Return

“Rich People Are Insane” Seth Meyers Explains Of College Admission Bribery Scandal

Read on: Deadline.

Seth takes a closer look at how the massive college admission scam and the sentencing of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman expose corruption at the highest levels of society.
“Rich people are insane,” Meyers said, in a…

Osundairo Brothers Lawyer: Jussie Smollett’s Check Was for Both Training and Staged Attack

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Gloria Schmidt, the lawyer representing the two brothers “Empire” star Jussie Smollett is accused of hiring to stage an attack against him, says a key piece of evidence is “more nuanced” than many people realize.

Smollett’s $3,500 check to Abimbola Osundairo says in the memo line that it was for “5 Week Nutrition/Workout Program (Don’t Go),” according to a copy received by ABC News. (“Don’t Go” is the name of a song Smollett says he was getting ready to shoot a music video for.)

Chicago police, however, said the check was payment for Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo to attack Smollett on Jan. 29.

But Schmidt told TheWrap on Wednesday that the check was for both the attack and the training.

Also Read: Jussie Smollett Betrayed Osundairo Brothers, Lawyer Says: ‘They Put Their Trust in the Wrong Person’ (Video)

“The idea of them getting paid by Jussie for the training actually occurred before… this Jan. 29 thing happened,” she said. “When he went to pay them, was when he [asked] for this favor.”

“So it’s like a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, ‘Can you do this for me?’” Schmidt said. “‘Here’s payment for the other thing we talked about.’”

Asked if she knows how much of the money was for training and how much was for the attack, she said she had never though of it in “that binary way.”

The Osundairo brothers were taken into custody by Chicago police after the attack but were released after two days and have not been charged with any crimes. Schmidt said her clients have “fully cooperated” and will still “fully cooperate” with the ongoing case, adding that she does not believe them to be in legal jeopardy.

“Are they in legal peril? Am I nervous for them? No,” she said. “You only need immunity when you’re facing unrelated charges on things … No promises were made, no deals were cut. They wanted to be truth-tellers in the story.”

Smollett was indicted by a grand jury last week on 16 felony counts after allegedly lying to police about the incident, in which he said he was randomly attacked by two men shouting racial and homophobic slurs in his Chicago neighborhood. The Osundario brothers are from the north side of Chicago.

Also Read: Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Felony Counts by Grand Jury

Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett staged the attack because he was displeased with his pay on the Fox hip-hop soap opera “Empire.”

Schmidt denied that that detail came from her client’s conversations with police. “[They] never once… touched on what was Jussie’s motive,” she said Wednesday. “My clients would not know what he was thinking or how far back he was planning something.”

“We have not been asked to do anything further in terms of the state’s investigation or their case,” she added.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Empire’ Returns for First Episode Since Jussie Smollett Arrest: How Will It Do in Ratings?

Jussie Smollett Appears in Zero of 38 ‘Empire’ Promotional Photos for Fox Return

Jussie Smollett Betrayed Osundairo Brothers, Lawyer Says: ‘They Put Their Trust in the Wrong Person’ (Video)

Why Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin’s Mug Shots Probably Won’t Be Released

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If you’ve been searching the internet for Felicity Huffman’s mug shot since yesterday — and Lori Loughlin’s since this morning — then we can let you know that your search is over because they aren’t likely to be released.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice confirmed to TheWrap that mug shots are only released by the U.S. Marshals “under very specific circumstances that do not apply here,” and that the ones for Huffman and Loughlin will not be released.

“In the Central District of California, it would be very uncommon for the federal Marshals to distribute a mug shot to the public,” one criminal defense attorney told us, backing the DOJ’s answer.

Also Read: Lori Loughlin Surrenders to FBI in College Admissions Cheating Case

That is consistent with the U.S. Marshals’ stated policy, which can be found in full here.

“It is USMS policy to release photographs of fugitives or other prisoners only for law enforcement purposes,” it reads.

“When a fugitive has not yet been captured, the Task Forces and district offices may determine whether a law enforcement purpose would be served by release of photographs to the media or public,” the policy continues. “Once a prisoner has been arrested, the general rule is that no release should be made because release of photographs of that prisoner to the media or public would not serve law enforcement purposes.”

Also Read: Felicity Huffman’s Bond Set at $250,000 in College Admissions Bribe Case

There is a means for media to possibly get the mug shot using the Freedom of Information Act, or an FOIA request.

In that case, the USMS will still not disclose booking photographs unless its Office of General Counsel “determines either that the requester has made the requisite showing that the public interest in the requested booking photograph outweighs the privacy interest at stake or that other factors specific to the particular FOIA request warrant processing that request consistent with existing Sixth Circuit precedent.”

But there is a chance the mug shots can get out another way.

Also Read: William H Macy Called Daughter’s College Application Process ‘Stressful’ Months Before Admissions Fraud Scandal

Most of the time, a mug shot is taken when someone is processed, whether at the state of federal — including the Marshals — level.

A U.S. Marshals public information officer told TheWrap the Marshals don’t have a place to hold prisoners, so if they need to be detained, usually at a local jail, the local jails sometimes take their mug shots and they sometimes release those.

However, Marshals can’t disclose where someone is being held, and without that information, obtaining the mug shots through this route becomes unlikely in Huffman and Loughlin’s cases.

Also Read: Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin Arrested in College Admissions Cheating Scam Case

On Tuesday, Loughlin and Huffman, along with 46 others, were charged with paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into top universities like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC, according to charging documents.

During a press conference in Boston on Tuesday, Andrew Lelling, U.S. District Attorney for Massachusetts, said this was the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” totaling $25 million in bribes.

The official charges for both actresses were “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.” If convicted, they could each face up to five years in prison.

Huffman made her initial court appearance on Tuesday and was released on $250,000 bond. Her next court date is March 29 in Boston. Loughlin surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning. She will appear in a federal Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday at 2 p.m. PT.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Lori Loughlin Surrenders to FBI in College Admissions Cheating Case

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Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin Arrested in College Admissions Cheating Scam Case

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Lori Loughlin Surrenders to FBI in College Admissions Cheating Case

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A day after she was charged as part of a nationwide college admissions cheating scam case, actress Lori Loughlin surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning.

She will appear in a federal Los Angeles courtroom at 2 p.m. PT.

Loughlin, along with 46 others including actress Felicity Huffman, were charged with paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into top universities like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC, according to charging documents. During a press conference in Boston on Tuesday, Andrew Lelling, U.S. District Attorney for Massachusetts, said this was the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” totaling $25 million in bribes.

The official charges for both actresses were “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.” If convicted, they could each face up to five years in prison. Huffman made her initial court appearance on Tuesday and was released on $250,000 bond. Her next court date is March 29 in Boston.

Also Read: Felicity Huffman’s Bond Set at $250,000 in College Admissions Bribe Case

According to the charging documents, Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”

Giannulli had already made his court appearance and was released on $1 million bail, and will appear in a Boston courthouse on March 29.

According to a separate affidavit, Huffman and her spouse — “Shameless” star William H. Macy, who was not identified by his name or charged in the affidavit — made a charitable donation of $15,000 “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter.” The document added that Huffman “later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her youngest daughter, before deciding not to do so.”

The suspects also include William McGlashan Jr., co-founder of STX and a director of the Hollywood agency CAA.

“McGlashan participated in both the college entrance exam cheating scheme and the college recruitment scheme, including by conspiring to bribe Donna Heinel, the senior athletic director at … USC, to facilitate his son’s admission to USC as a recruited athlete,” according to the affidavit.

Following his arrest, TPG, the private equity firm where McGlashan is a managing partner, placed him on indefinite administrative leave and named co-CEO Jim Coulter as interim managing partner.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin Arrested in College Admissions Cheating Scam Case

‘Empire’ Returns for First Episode Since Jussie Smollett Arrest: How Will It Do in Ratings?

Indicted Lori Loughlin Surrenders To Cops; Court Hearing Today For Elite School Bribery Scheme

Read on: Deadline.

Lori Loughlin has surrendered to law enforcement for her alleged role in the multi-million-dollar elite college bribery scheme and will appear in federal court in downtown L.A. this afternoon.
Filming the Hallmark Channel series When The Heart Calls in…

‘The Simpsons’ Boss Al Jean Believes Michael Jackson Used Cameo ‘to Groom Boys’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Al Jean says he “strongly” believes Michael Jackson used his classic — and now pulled — cameo in Season 3 of “The Simpsons” to “groom boys.”

The “Simpsons” showrunner spoke in detail to The Daily Beast about Jackson’s “Stark Raving Dad” guest role, telling the publication at South by Southwest (SXSW), “It wasn’t just a comedy to [Jackson], it was something that was used as a tool.”

Below are the relevant excerpts from the wide-ranging interview, which readers can find in full here.

Also Read: Corey Feldman ‘Can No Longer’ Defend Michael Jackson After ‘Leaving Neverland’ (Video)

Daily Beast: The very first episode of Season 3, “Stark Raving Dad,” featuring the voice of Michael Jackson made some news recently when it was revealed that you decided to remove the episode after watching the Jackson documentary “Leaving Neverland.” That must have been a difficult decision for you, seeing as you wrote it and it was your first episode at the reins.
Al Jean: Yes. It wasn’t something that makes me happy. It’s something I agree with completely. What saddens me is, if you watch that documentary–which I did, and several of us here did–and you watch that episode, honestly, it looks like the episode was used by Michael Jackson for something other than what we’d intended it. It wasn’t just a comedy to him, it was something that was used as a tool. And I strongly believe that. That, to me, is my belief, and it’s why I think removing it is appropriate. I lose a little bit of money financially, it’s not something that’s great personally to lose one of the most successful things I ever did, but I totally think it’s the right move. I don’t believe in going through and making judgments on every guest star and saying “this one was bad, that one was bad,” but the episode itself has a false purpose, and that’s what I object to about it now.

DB: And the false purpose was what?
AJ: I think it was part of what he used to groom boys. I really don’t know, and I should be very careful because this is not something I know personally, but as far as what I think, that’s what I think. And that makes me very, very sad.

Also Read: ‘The Simpsons’ Producers Pull 1991 Michael Jackson Episode in Response to ‘Leaving Neverland’

Last week, fellow “Simpsons” executive producer James L. Brooks said the episode featuring Jackson will be permanently shelved.

“It feels clearly the only choice to make,” Brooks told the The Wall Street Journal.

Brooks told the Journal that though he went into “Leaving Neverland” wanting to believe that Jackson was innocent, he came away convinced that “the documentary gave evidence of monstrous behavior.”

The four-hour documentary details the accounts of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say Michael Jackson sexually assaulted them over several years beginning when they were young boys.

Also Read: Anti-Abuse Group Sees Spike in ‘Grooming’ Searches After Michael Jackson Doc ‘Leaving Neverland’

The Jackson estate called the documentary “the kind of tabloid character assassination Michael Jackson endured in life, and now in death.” The estate is suing HBO for $100 million, accusing the network of violating a non-disparagement clause included in an agreement to air Jackson’s Dangerous World Tour live back in 1992.

Brooks told The Wall Street Journal that the reason the episode wasn’t shelved sooner is because Jackson was acquitted in his 2005 sexual abuse trial, but that the documentary convinced him. He said also that the “The Simpsons” production team was “of one mind on this.”

The third season episode, “Stark Raving Dad,” features Jackson as the voice of a man in a mental institution who believes he is Michael Jackson. For contractual reasons, Jackson wasn’t credited when the episode originally aired, but his participation was confirmed several years later.

Related stories from TheWrap:

It’s Weird That Michael Jackson’s 2005 Trial Hasn’t Gotten the ‘People v OJ Simpson’ Treatment

‘The Simpsons’ Producers Pull 1991 Michael Jackson Episode in Response to ‘Leaving Neverland’