Kardashian-Jenner family announces "KUWTK" will end in 2021… but they'll be back elsewhere
From long-running series coming to an end to brand-new shows breaking network records, even amidst a global health crisis, there's been no shortage of watchable content and headline-making developments in the world of television this year. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look back at the biggest TV moments of 2020… starting with some big news from this reality TV family… On Sept. 8, the Kardashian-Jenner clan announced that their long-running reality series, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," will come to an end after 14 years following its 20th season in early 2021. "To our amazing fans — it is with heavy hearts that we've made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians,'" read a statement from the reality television family. "After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, hundreds of episodes and numerous spinoff shows, we are beyond grateful to all of you who've watched us for all of these years — through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears and the many relationships and children. We'll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we've met along the way." This wasn't the only major announcement the family made in 2020…
Kardashian-Jenner family inks multi-year deal with Hulu
Three months after announcing plans to end "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" in 2021 after 14 years and 20 seasons, the Kardashian-Jenner family revealed that they'll be back on television sooner than fans thought. On Dec. 10, Disney — Hulu's parent company — announced that Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner and Kris Jenner had signed a multi-year deal to "create global content" that would be streamed exclusively on Hulu in the United States and Star around the world starting late 2021.
RELATED: Celeb splits of 2020
On Nov. 23, former "The Bachelorette" star Kaitlyn Bristowe and pro dancer Artem Chigvintsev won the Mirrorball Trophy on the live season finale of season 29 of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," marking Artem's first time coming in first during his many years on the show. The pair took to Kaitlyn's Instagram Story afterward to show fans how they celebrated: with slices of pizza and cans of fellow competitor Nelly's limited edition Budweiser beer.
Saying goodbye to Alex
On Nov. 8, Emmy-winning "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek — who led the game show for 36 years — lost his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Tributes from Hollywood stars and even the political leader in his native Canada poured in as details about his final days emerged. "We have lost an icon. Almost every night for more than three decades, Alex Trebek entertained and educated millions around the world, instilling in so many of us a love for trivia," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who are mourning this tremendous loss." On Nov. 23, "Jeopardy!" announced that champ Ken Jennings would be the first interim guest host for the game show when it resumes production.
Lori Loughlin and husband plead guilty in college cheating scam case
On May 22, former "Full House" star Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud charges in the infamous college admissions scam dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by federal prosecutors after maintaining their innocence for over a year. The duo's plea deal comes with prison time and large fines. Lori began her two-month prison sentence at a federal prison in Northern California in late October; she's expected to be released before the holidays. She'll also serve two years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and pay a $150,000 fine. Mossimo, on the other hand, is serving five months in prison and will then have two years of supervised release. He'll also have to complete 250 hours of community service and pay a $250,000 fine.
Regis Philbin, Carl Reiner, Diana Rigg and more TV stars pass away in 2020
Beloved television host Regis Philbin died of natural causes on July 24, one month shy of his 89th birthday. Prolific entertainer Carl Reiner died of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home on June 29 at 98. Radio veteran-turned-TV newsman Hugh Downs died on July 1 at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 99. "Our House" and "The Waltons" star Wilford Brimley, 85 — who was also beloved for his QUaker Oats commercials — died on Aug. 1 in St. George, Utah, where he'd been in the ICU being treated for kidney issues. English actress Diana Rigg — famed for her work on TV's "Game of Thrones," "The Avengers" and "Rebecca" and for being the only Bond girl to get 007 to the altar (in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service") — died of cancer on Sept. 10 at 82.
"The Bachelor" announces first Black lead after 24 seasons: Matt James
On June 12, "Good Morning America" announced that real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder Matt James is the next star of "The Bachelor." That's right: After 24 seasons, the franchise is getting its first Black leading man. Rachel Lindsay made history in 2017 when she starred as the first Black lead of counterpart "The Bachelorette." Matt's season will premiere in January 2021. On Nov. 18, ABC released the first trailer, which you can see here.
The end of the line
Conan O'Brien's eponymous TBS late night show is coming to an end in the summer of 2021 after more than 10 years on the air, the comedian and WarnerMedia announced on Nov. 17. However, Conan — who kicked off his hosting career in 1993 when he took over for David Letterman on "Late Night" then briefly headed to "The Tonight Show" before settling in with "Conan" on TBS in 2010 — isn't leaving TV altogether. According to EW.com, he'll be shifting over to HBO Max's streaming platform, where he'll host a weekly variety show. "In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: 'As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,'" Conan quipped in a statement. "I'm thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription."
"Friends" reunion pushed back due to coronavirus pandemic
In February, Warner Bros. TV closed a deal to air a "Friends" unscripted special on HBO's new streaming service, HBO Max, starring all six main cast members — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — as well as creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane. "No audience has seen us together since the show was over," Lisa told The Sunday Times. "We will reminisce, talk about what was going on behind the scenes. It's not us playing our characters. It's not an episode. It's not scripted. It's six of us coming together for the first time in I don't know how long." According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cast will be paid between $2.5 million and $3 million apiece for their participation in the one-off. While the "Friends" special was initially supposed to be released when HBO Max debuted on May 27, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the premiere date was repeatedly pushed back. On Nov. 12, former "Friends" star Matthew Perry took to Twitter to reveal that the reunion would film in early 2021: "Friends reunion being rescheduled for the beginning of March. Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that's the way I like it!"
"Glee" star Naya Rivera loses her life in tragic drowning accident
"Glee" star Naya Rivera went missing on the afternoon of July 8 after taking Josey, her then-4-year-old son with actor ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, out on California's Lake Piru in the Los Padres National Forest about an hour north of Hollywood. The actress-singer had rented a pontoon boat for them to enjoy the water but three hours later, it was spotted adrift with only Josey on board in his life jacket. Authorities launched a search for Naya, who grew up nearby, but the next day announced that it had tragically turned from a rescue to a recovery mission. Her body was found on July 13. The former child star — who also memorably appeared on TV's "Devious Maids," "The Bernie Mac Show" and "The Royal Family" — was 33.
Ruby Rose leaves "Batwoman," Javicia Leslie takes over and makes history
In May, Ruby Rose took to Instagram to announce that she wouldn't be coming back to the CW superhero drama "Batwoman" after its first season. "Thank you everyone for coming on this journey. If I mentioned everyone it would be 1000 tags.. but Thank you to the cast, crew, producers and studio," she began. "It wasn't an easy decision but those who know, know.. I didn't want to not acknowledge everyone involved and how big this was for TV and for our community. I have stayed silent because that's my choice for now but know I adore you all. I'm sure next season will be amazing also. Xxx." Given that the series was already renewed for a second season that's set to premiere in 2021, Ruby's role as Kate Kane/Batwoman was soon recast — and the new lead is another star who's a member of the LGBTQ community: Javicia Leslie. The bisexual actress's casting — which was announced in July — makes her the first Black actor to portray Batwoman in a live-action television or film production, according to the CW.
On Dec. 2, TMZ reported that nearly half the cast of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" had tested positive for the coronavirus. Outlets like Variety also confirmed that Kyle Richards, sister Kathy Hilton — who's joined the hit Bravo series for its forthcoming 11th season — and Dorit Kemsley had contracted COVID-19. According to TMZ, the stars "did not contract COVID on set" even though production had shut down recently because crew members tested positive as well. TMZ further reported that "all three ladies are in the end stages of the virus and should be OK." Kyle later confirmed her illness, sharing on Instagram that she and one of her three daughters had tested positive. "Since I was diagnosed I have been separated from my family in order to keep them healthy," she wrote on Dec. 5. "Unfortunately, Sophia also got it. We will stay in isolation until it's safe to see the family and others again . I can't wait to hug them 🥰."
"Succession," "Chernobyl" and "Fleabag" win big at the Golden Globes
At the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5, the big winners in the TV field included HBO's "Succession" and "Chernobyl," which won best TV drama series and best miniseries or TV film, respectively, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge's "Fleabag," which took home the statue for best TV musical or comedy series.
Gabrielle Union pursues discrimination complaint against "America's Got Talent" producers following investigation
In late May, NBC released a statement saying that an internal investigation sparked last fall following Gabrielle Union's 2019 firing from the judging panel of "America's Got Talent" amid claims of racial discrimination had determined no wrongdoing as alleged and that her decision to voice her concerns about the troubling behavior she witnessed on set "had no bearing on the decision" to let her go from "AGT." But in June, Gabrielle filed a harassment complaint against NBC and "America's Got Talent" producers NBCUniversal, Fremantle and Simon Cowell's production company, Syco Entertainment, alleging that they committed "racial bullying" by failing to "promptly investigate" her complaints about racist and misogynistic behavior on the set of the popular reality show. She claimed via her lawyer that they failed to "even ask HR to get involved" but rather "stood against her and directed [their] outrage" at her. According to Variety, she also alleged that NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy threatened her for "whistleblowing about the racially offensive conduct she experienced" while working on "AGT" in an "attempt to silence her from telling the truth about racist actions that took place on the show." A few weeks later, during an appearance on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah," the actress alleged, "I decided to participate in this investigation. … Silly me, I thought 'independent' was independent. But when NBC and [producers] Fremantle and Syco pay for that investigation, they control it." In September, the actress and the network reached a settlement, though details were not disclosed. "We've reached an amicable resolution. NBC Entertainment appreciates the important concerns raised by Gabrielle Union and remains committed to ensuring an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds can be treated with respect," NBC and Gabrielle said in a joint statement.
Anna Faris suddenly leaves "Mom" after seven years
On Sept. 4, Anna Faris unexpectedly announced that after seven years of starring opposite Allison Janney on "Mom," she was leaving the CBS sitcom ahead of season 8. "The past seven years on 'Mom' have been some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of my career," Anna said in a statement. "I'm so thankful to Chuck [Lorre], the writers, and my amazing castmates for creating a truly wonderful work experience. While my journey as Christy has come to an end, allowing me to pursue new opportunities, I'll be watching next season and rooting for my TV family." A rep for Warner Bros. Television confirmed to Deadline that Anna's lead character, Christy, would not be recast, and when season 8 premiered on Nov. 5, viewers learned how the show's producers and writers addressed her departure. As reported by EW.com, the sober mom — who'd dreamed of a career as a lawyer — got a full ride to Georgetown University, where she was set to study law.
Jimmy Fallon addresses his old "SNL" blackface sketch
On the June 1 episode of "The Tonight Show," Jimmy Fallon addressed a resurfaced "Saturday Night Live" sketch from 2000 in which he wore blackface. "I had to really examine myself, really examine myself, in the mirror this week … and I was horrified," said the late night host. "Not at the fact that people were trying to cancel me or cancel the show, which is scary enough, but the thing that haunted me the most was: How do I say I love this person? I respect this guy more than I respect most humans. I'm not a racist. I don't feel this way." Similarly, the same month, Howard Stern addressed a 1993 sketch in which he made racist comments and wore blackface while parodying Ted Danson, who'd drawn criticism for wearing blackface during a New York Friars Club roast. "If I had to do it all over again, would I lampoon Ted Danson, a white guy in blackface? Yeah, I was lampooning him and saying, I'm going to shine a light on this. But would I go about it the same way now? Probably not. Not probably, I wouldn't," Howard said. On June 23, late night host Jimmy Kimmel apologized too after he was criticized for wearing blackface while impersonating Black celebrities like Karl Malone and Oprah Winfrey on his old Comedy Central series, "The Man Show." "I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke," Jimmy said in part in a lengthy statement. "Looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices. I believe that I have evolved and matured over the last 20-plus years, and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show."
Comedian Kevin T. Porter creates Twitter thread detailing Ellen DeGeneres's "mean" behavior
Ellen DeGeneres has been known to end each episode of her eponymous talk show with the phrase "Be kind to one another." But in the spring, she was accused of failing to follow her own advice. It started on March 20 when comedian and podcast producer Kevin T. Porter started a Twitter thread about the famed talk show host, writing, "Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen Degeneres always talks about! She's also notoriously one of the meanest people alive. Respond to this with the most insane stories you've heard about Ellen being mean & I'll match every one w/ $2 to @LAFoodBank." On the thread, which got more than 2,000 replies, people detailed their not-so-great encounters with the star. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. More drama ensued through the summer, as former and current staffers alleged the show and top execs fostered a toxic work environment rife with demeaning behavior. WarnerMedia even launched an internal investigation into conditions at "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Ellen later apologized to her staff as well as her audience when the new season kicked off in September. "I learned that things happened that never should have happened. I take that very seriously," she said in remarks made to a virtual studio audience. "I want to say I am so sorry to the people who are affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility. And I take responsibility for what happens at my show."
Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard and more TV stars pass away in first half of 2020
Legendary comedian Jerry Stiller, who's best known to many as Frank Costanza from TV's "Seinfeld," passed away from natural causes on May 11 at 92. "He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to [late comedy partner] Anne [Meara] for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad," son Ben Stiller tweeted. Hollywood also mourned the death of other notable names in television in 2020 including "This Is Spinal Tap" and "Best In Show" actor Fred Willard, who more recently appeared on "Modern Family" and "Space Force." Fred died on May 15 at 86 after suffering a cardiac arrest. Former WWE star Shad Gaspard died on May 17 at 39 after being caught in a strong rip current. "Ugly Betty" creator Silvio Horta died on Jan. 7 by suicide at 45. On Feb. 15, "Love Island" host Caroline Flack died by suicide at 40.
"The Good Place" airs its series finale
What the fork! After four seasons of following Eleanor Shellstrop and our favorite band of well-intentioned misfits on their journeys of self-improvement, Michael Schur's acclaimed comedy series "The Good Place" came to an end in 2020. "The table read was what was just a snot-fest. Everybody was bawling," star Kristen Bell told Rolling Stone. "It's this mixture of saying goodbye to the characters, whom we're attached to, but also saying goodbye to these friendships that we've been lucky enough to have on a daily basis. So there were these two levels to reading the finale that made us all extra-teary." The series, which also starred Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, Jameela Jamil,and D'Arcy Carden, aired its 53rd and final episode on Jan. 30.
"Laverne & Shirley" star David L. Lander passes away after MS battle
On Dec. 4, David L. Lander died from complications due to multiple sclerosis after living with the debilitating disease for 37 years. He was 73. The actor-comedian, who was best known as Squiggy on the "Happy Days" spinoff "Laverne & Shirley," went public with his diagnosis in 1999 and for decades worked as an ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
"Modern Family" comes to an end after 11 seasons
Another beloved television show that ended in 2020? Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan's "Modern Family," which had been on the air for over a decade! During an interview with "Good Morning America," some of the cast reflected on the show's legacy. "When people actually like something you do, it's a positive," began Jesse Tyler Ferguson. "And when people like it, and it's actually good ratings, that's even better. And if it like, has social ramifications, that's even more exciting." Sarah Hyland shared a similar sentiment, noting that the ABC series had this ability to connect families. "It's really brought families together in an age where kids and teenagers can be so separated from their families because of things like social media and phones and computers." After 11 seasons and 201 episodes, the Emmy-winning sitcom came to an end on April 8.
Nicolas Cage set to star in "Tiger King" scripted series for CBS
Art imitates… life? Long before Netflix's docuseries "Tiger King" captivated the world in the spring of 2020, an eight-episode scripted series was already in the works with Nicolas Cage set to play the now-incarcerated controversial big cat zookeeper Joe Exotic. The series, which will be produced by CBS Television Studios and Imagine TV Studios, will mark Nic's first television project.
John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" renewed through 2023
In September 2020, HBO confirmed that "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" was being renewed through 2023. "We're all extremely happy to be able to continue to do our show on HBO for another three years, or until the end of the world, whichever comes first," quipped John, who's led the late night satire show for the last seven seasons. Looks like the decision to renew the show wasn't a bad one either: "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" earned its fifth consecutive Primetime Emmy for outstanding variety talk series on Sept. 20.
Jimmy Kimmel hosted a socially distanced and remote Emmys where "Schitt's Creek" dominated with a comedy categories sweep
On Spt. 20, comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Emmy Awards for the third time. But it was an unusual telecast due to the coronavirus pandemic: There was no in-person audience or red carpet — though celebs still dressed up in designer duds at home — and only a handful of celebrities were on site to serve as presenters. Instead, producers sent camera crews or equipment to all the nominees, meaning there were up to 140 live feeds coming in from around the world. As for the evening's big winners? "Schitt's Creek" and its stars won the first seven prizes that were handed out and made Emmys history with an historic sweep of the top seven comedy categories. Zendaya won the best actress in a drama Emmy for her performance on "Euphoria." "Succession" won best drama series and other big prizes.
John Krasinski launches (and sells) uplifting web series "Some Good News" amidst coronavirus pandemic
In an effort to bring happiness to as wide of an audience possible during COVID-19 quarantine, John Krasinski created the YouTube series "Some Good News," which was aimed at highlighting "some good news from around the world." Hosted by John himself, the series did exactly that, featuring video clips of people across the globe committing random acts of kindness amidst the pandemic and featuring celebrity guests like Billie Eilish and brother FINNEAS and the Jonas Brothers, who performed during the series' virtual prom. One of our favorite moments though? When the original Broadway cast of "Hamilton" surprised a young girl with a performance via Zoom! In May, John made the decision to sell the quarantine web series to ViacomCBS. "In eight weeks ['Some Good News'] went from not existing to now being on one of these huge news networks," John told former "The Office" co-star Rainn Wilson on his Instagram Live series "Hey There, Human." "We have a lot of really fun stuff planned, and I can't wait to dig in. I'm going to be a part of it whenever I can, and I'm going to host a couple [episodes] and bring on a different community of people. But we're really, really excited about it. I've received the most amazingly kind notes about how much that show meant to everyone, but the truth is, it meant no more to anyone than me. That's probably the most emotionally fulfilled I've ever felt in my entire life."
"Riverdale" stars Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse split after three years
Looks like all good things must come to an end. On May 25, Page Six reported that "Riverdale" co-stars Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse had called it quits after three years of dating. The couple met on set of the CW teen drama, which premiered in 2017. "Cole and Lili split before the pandemic hit and have been quarantining separately. They remain good friends," a source told the media outlet. In June, Lili made headlines again when she publicly revealed she's bisexual.
Former TV child actress Mary-Kate Olsen files for divorce
Former TV actress Mary-Kate Olsen split from banker Olivier Sarkozy in the spring after four years of marriage but struggled to file for divorce amid the coronavirus pandemic. Efforts to file in April, the month she first signed a divorce petition, were quashed as New York courts were closed down as COVID-19 raged through the state, and an early May attempt to secure an emergency court order to get things moving also failed when a judge ruled the former "Full House" child star's situation didn't constitute an emergency. The fashion designer was finally able to file when courts reopened at the end of May.
More TV stars end significant relationships
In May, former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Brian Austin Green confirmed that he and Megan Fox separated in late 2019 after nearly a decade of marriage and 15 years as a couple. She's since moved on with music star Machine Gun Kelly… In May, following reports of trouble in their nearly three-year marriage, former "Dancing With the Stars" pro Julianne Hough and retired NHL star Brooks Laich confirmed they'd separated… In May, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star Scott Disick split from girlfriend Sofia Richie after nearly three years of dating… In June, it was revealed that Fox News star Sean Hannity and his wife had quietly ended their marriage in 2019. Reports soon claimed he's moved on romantically with "Fox & Friends" anchor Ainsley Earhardt.
Music competition shows crown winners virtually amid COVID-19 health crisis
Both "The Voice" and "American Idol" switched to remote formats amid the coronavirus pandemic in order to complete their seasons in the spring, and both crowned winners virtually. "The Voice" announced its winner from a distance — Todd Tilghman from Blake Shelton's team became season 18's victor on May 19. At 42, he's the oldest contestant to win the show. "American Idol" contestant Samantha Diaz (whose stage name is Sam) beat frontrunner Dibesh Pokharel (whose stage name is Arthur Gunn) on that show's remote finale on May 17. The show also made headlines for another reason: Some fans grew concerned when host Ryan Seacrest slurred his speech and appeared to have a swollen eye, as they believed he could have been suffering from a stroke. Ryan's rep quickly reassured fans that the host was just fine, chalking it up to "exhaustion."
"The Bachelor" star Peter Weber finds love with another contestant after his season ends with two dramatic splits
There was no shortage of drama on season 24 of "The Bachelor." During the season finale, which aired in March, Peter Weber was seen proposing to finalist Hannah Ann Sluss in Australia just before the 2019 holidays after Madison Prewett, who was saving herself for marriage, self-eliminated because she didn't think they'd have an easy future. However, fans soon learned that Hannah Ann called things off with Peter in January after realizing that the pilot couldn't fully commit to her because of his lingering feelings for Madison. Peter then briefly rekindled his romance with Madi — on the live segment of the finale, they announced that they would date and work on things. However, just two days after that, they announced that they'd "mutually decided to not pursue our relationship any further." By March, Peter was quarantining with Kelley Flanagan, one of his final five contestants, and by May, they'd made their relationship Instagram official. Fast-forward to June and Peter was revealing plans to move to New York City with the lawyer after the coronavirus pandemic. Talk about a tumultuous, rollercoaster love story!
Clare Crawley shakes up season 16 of "The Bachelorette" before Tayshia Adams takes over
Meanwhile, Clare Crawley shook up season 16 of "The Bachelorette" when she quit as the season 16 lead just a couple weeks into shooting over the summer after falling madly in love with one of her men: former professional football player Dale Moss. On the fourth episode of the season, Clare accepted a marriage proposal from Dale after breaking up with the rest of her suitors. Meanwhile, in another "The Bachelorette" first, Tayshia Adams stepped in to replace Clare as season 16's Bachelorette.
Andy Cohen, Khloe Kardashian and many more TV stars test positive for COVID-19
As the coronavirus swept the nation this year, many television stars revealed they were among those affected. On March 20, "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen took to Instagram to share that he'd tested positive for COVID-19 after feeling feverish. CNN's Chris Cuomo, host of "Cuomo Prime Time," disclosed his diagnosis in a tweet on March 31. On March 13, "Luther" star Idris Elba announced that he'd tested positive for COVID-19. "Lost" actor Daniel Dae Kim revealed on March 19 that he'd also tested positive, explaining that he believes he contracted the virus while filming in New York City. As the year went on, dozens more TV stars revealed details of their coronavirus battles including Charlie Hunnam, Jim Parsons, Vanessa Williams, Stephen Amell, Giuliana Rancic, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyssa Milano, Brian Cox, Bryan Cranston, Lena Dunham, Jillian Michaels, Larsa Pippen and Richard Schiff and wife Sheila Kelley.
Lea Michele accused of past bad behavior on "Glee" set
In early June, Lea Michele faced backlash from former "Glee" castmates after she tweeted her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.It started when actress Samantha Marie Ware, who appeared on season 6 of the hit Fox musical, responded by accusing Lea of racist behavior, tweeting, "REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISION GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE I'LL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD 'S— IN MY WIG!' AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD." Other former "Glee" stars including Amber Riley and Heather Morris later spoke out to address Lea's alleged bad behavior on the set ("Was she unpleasant to work with? Very much so," Heather tweeted, though added that implying Lea's a racist is an assumption). Some of Lea's former Broadway colleagues also spoke out about her past transgressions. Lea took to Instagram on June 3 to apologize for the way her "privileged position and perspective … caused [her] to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times," though many considered it to be a non-apology.
Hank Azaria confirms he'll no longer voice Apu on "The Simpsons"
After 30 years as the voice of controversial Indian American character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on "The Simpsons," in February, Hank Azaria announced that he's stepping away from the character. Apu — an immigrant who owns the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store on the show — first came under scrutiny in 2017 after comedian Hari Kondabolu's documentary "The Problem with Apu" brought to light the show's mocking caricature of an Indian American man. "What they're going to do with the character is their call," Hank said SlashFilm. "It's up to them, and they haven't sorted it out yet. All we've agreed on is I won't do the voice anymore." Hari took to Twitter to share his thoughts on Hank's decision. "If @HankAzaria is indeed no longer doing the voice of Apu, I do hope they keep the character & let a very talented writing staff do something interesting with him," he wrote. "If not to better the show, then to at least spare me some death threats."
Kandi Burruss wins "The Masked Singer" after competing as Night Angel
Another music competition show named a winner in May: FOX's "The Masked Singer" — which taped before coronavirus lockdowns began — saw Xscape singer-songwriter and "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss, who performed as Night Angel, take top honors on May 20.
"Vanderpump Rules" stars fired after racist actions resurface, other cast members leave
Bravo released a statement on June 9 announcing it had fired four "Vanderpump Rules" stars — Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni — amid resurfaced allegations of racist behavior. During an early June Instagram Live, former "Vanderpump Rules" star Faith Stowers, one of just two black members of the cast, claimed that she was constantly verbally attacked by her white co-stars following her affair with Jax Taylor. "They wanted to attack, attack, attack, attack, attack. I was wrong, I was this, I was that, calling me names, saying my hair was nappy," she said before reminding fans that in 2018, Stassi and Kristen falsely accused her of being a criminal: After they read a tabloid report about a Black woman wanted for theft, the women reported their former co-star to police. "They thought it was me because it was a Black woman with a weave," said Faith. "They just assumed it would be me, and they called the cops on me." (During a 2018 podcast interview, Stassi bragged that she and Kristen "solved a crime," while Kristen shared the tabloid report on Twitter and asked her followers, "Doesn't this ex #pumprules thief look familiar?") After Max and Brett joined the show in January, fans unearthed racist comments they made on Twitter between 2011 and 2013. However, this wasn't the only major "Vanderpump Rules" casting development in 2020: On Dec. 4, Jax and pregnant wife Brittany Cartwright revealed on Instagram that they would not be returning for the reality television show's ninth season. "The last 8 years on Vanderpump Rules have been some of the most challenging, rewarding and fulfilling years of my life," they wrote. "Although this is difficult to share, Brittany and I will not be returning for another season of Vanderpump Rules. We are excited to take this time to focus on our growing family and share with you our new endeavors."
Chris Matthews resigns from "Hardball" following accusations he made inappropriate comments about women
On March 2, Chris Matthews announced that he'd be resigning from MSNBC's "Hardball" after he was accused of making inappropriate comments — several about women. "I'm retiring," he said at the beginning of his show. "This is the last 'Hardball' at MSNBC and obviously this isn't for lack of interest in politics. As you can tell, I've loved every minute of my 20 years as the host of 'Hardball.'" Chris has since apologized for his past comments. "The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins," he said. "We've seen them in politics, in the media and fighting for the causes. They're improving the workplace. We're talking here about better standards than we grew up with. Fair standards. A lot of it has to do with how we talk to each other. Compliments on a woman's appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were OK, were never OK. Not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I'm sorry."
Christopher Meloni to star in new spinoff "Law & Order: Organized Crime"
He's coming back to the franchise! In March, Deadline revealed that "Law & Order: SVU" alum Christopher Meloni will be reprising his role as Elliot Stabler in the forthcoming spinoff "Law & Order: Organized Crime," which will revolve around the NYPD's organized crime unit led by Detective Stabler. Christopher starred on "SVU" for the first 12 seasons and left in 2011. "Law & Order: Organized Crime" is expected to debut during the 2020-21 broadcast season.
Josie Totah cast as the lead in "Saved By the Bell" reboot
In January, news broke that actress Josie Totah, who came out as transgender in 2018, had landed a starring role on Peacock's "Saved by the Bell" reboot. Josie — who's previously appeared on "Champions" and "Glee" — plays Lexi, a "beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High." Original cast members Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez have also reprised their iconic roles on the reboot, which debuted on the streaming service on Nov. 25.
Kristin Cavallari splits from Jay Cutler, ends "Very Cavallari" amid divorce drama
On May 19, following a messy split from retired NFL star Jay Cutler and a divorce filing, Kristin Cavallari announced that she won't be continuing with her E! reality show, "Very Cavallari," which co-starred Jay and ran for three seasons.
Gayle King faces backlash for Kobe Bryant question
In February 2020, Gayle King was put on blast after bringing up sexual assault allegations against Kobe Bryant while interviewing his friend Lisa Leslie a few weeks after the NBA great, daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash. In a lengthy and wide-ranging interview, Gayle asked the WNBA star if she thought the dismissed 2003 charge — Kobe admitted he'd slept with a 19-year-old hotel employee who'd accused him of rape but insisted it was consensual — "complicated" his legacy, and that's the clip that CBS chose to promote the sit-down. Upon seeing it, many fans including stars like Snoop Dogg were outraged. Gayle went on Instagram to address the backlash and CBS accepted responsibility for the out-of-context teaser Gayle called "jarring." The morning show anchor's best friend, Oprah Winfrey, was the first celebrity to come to her defense. "She is not doing well," Oprah said while getting emotional on "Today." "She is not doing well because she now has death threats and has to now travel with security. She is feeling very much attacked." Oprah continued, "Anybody can criticize anything, but the misogynistic vitriol to the point where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone. … Because it's not just the people who are attacking. It's the other people who feel like they can take that message and do whatever they want." Snoop later apologized for threatening Gayle while stars like Amy Schumer and others defended her.
Anderson Cooper welcomes son Wyatt Morgan
Anderson Cooper is a father! On April 27, the CNN anchor welcomed baby boy Wyatt Morgan into the world via surrogate. "When I was 12 years old and knew I was gay and thought about my life, it always upset me because I thought, 'I will never be able to have a kid,'" Anderson — who announced the happy news during one of CNN's coronavirus town halls — told People magazine in May. "This is a dream come true." Anderson is raising his son with ex-partner Benjamin Maisani.
New "The View" drama: Abby Huntsman's departure is mired in controversy, Sunny Hostin responds to claims ABC exec made racist comments about her
On Jan. 13, Abby Huntsman announced that she was leaving ABC's "The View" after a little more than a year as a panelist in order to help run her father's Utah gubernatorial campaign. However, her abrupt exit from the talk show was tainted with claims of major drama behind the scenes as rumors circulated alleging she left due to the show's "toxic" culture. According to Page Six, Abby struggled with ABC's poor treatment of its hosts and tensions with fellow conservative panelist Meghan McCain, who hit back at all the speculation in multiple outlets. "I find it hard to believe that CNN would cover a story about men this way," she told Business Insider. "Abby has been my friend for years and will always be my friend. I love her and her family very much." On June 15, "The View" co-host Sunny Hostin responded to a report claiming Barbara Fedida — a top ABC News executive who's since been put on leave amid an investigation — made derogatory and racist comments about her and other on-air talent. The news, she said on her show, "tells me that systemic racism touches everything and everyone in our society. Regardless of social stature, no one is immune. It is the type of racism that black people deal with every single day, and it has to stop."
"Stranger Things" actor David Harbour marries English singer Lily Allen
"Stranger Things" actor David Harbor and English singer-songwriter Lily Allen are married! On Sept. 7, the couple exchanged vows during a private ceremony officiated by an Elvis Presley impersonator in Las Vegas. "In a wedding officiated by the king himself, the people's princess wed her devoted, low born, but kind credit card holder in a beautiful ceremony lit by the ashen skies courtesy of a burning state miles away in the midst of a global pandemic," David, who posted a series of wedding photos of him and his bride, wrote on Instagram. "Refreshments were served at a small reception following." In one pic, the couple is seen having fast food burgers with Lily's daughters from her previous marriage.
Netflix docuseries prompts reinvestigation into the assassination of Malcolm X
In February 2020, it was reported that the assassination of Malcolm X would be reinvestigated. The decision to review the case once more came after the Netflix docuseries "Who Killed Malcolm X?" — which hit the streaming service on Feb. 7 — raised more questions surrounding the murder of the black civil rights activist. The Manhattan district attorney is working with the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that aims to exonerate those that have been wrongly convicted. Muhammad Abdul Aziz (known as Norman 3X Butler) was sentenced to prison for his alleged involvement in the killing, though he's long maintained his innocence. He was released on parole in 1985. "Given the historical importance of this case and the fact that our client is 81 years old, we are especially encouraged that Mr. Vance has assigned two highly respected prosecutors, Peter Casolaro and Charles King, to work on this re-investigation," said Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck in a statement.
Hilary Duff asks for "Lizzie McGuire" reboot to be moved from Disney+ to Hulu
On Feb. 28, "Lizzie McGuire" star Hilary Duff took to Instagram to publicly request that Disney+ allow the series to be moved to Hulu. "Was incredibly excited to launch 'Lizzie' on D+ and my passion remains! However, I feel a huge responsibility to honor the fan's relationship with LIZZIE who, like me, grew up seeing themselves in her," she began. "I'd be doing a disservice to everyone by limiting the realities of a 30 year old's journey to live under the ceiling of a PG rating. It's important to me that just as her experiences as a teenager navigating life were authentic, her next chapters are equally as real and relatable. It would be a dream if Disney would let us move the show to Hulu, if they were interested, and I could bring this beloved character to life again." The reboot reportedly stalled in part due to creative differences between Hilary and Disney. This wasn't the only issue the "Lizzie" reboot has experienced either: In early 2020, creator Terri Minsky was fired after two episodes were shot. "Fans have a sentimental attachment to 'Lizzie McGuire' and high expectations for a new series," a Disney rep said in a statement. "After filming two episodes, we concluded that we need to move in a different creative direction and are putting a new lens on the show." The alleged "different creative direction" is likely a reference to Terri's vision of a more mature "Lizzie," which Disney was not on board with.
Lil Dicky's "Dave" premieres and becomes FX's most watched comedy series
On March 4, the comedy series "Dave" — which centers on the fictionalized life of real-life rapper-comedian Lil Dicky (real name: Dave Burd) — premiered on FXX. Following its first season, "Dave" became FX Networks' most watched comedy series, with an average audience of 5.32 million per episode. With an impressive growth in week-to-week viewership, the series surpassed "Atlanta," which previously held the title with an average audience of 5.2 million during its first season. "We set out to make something special and it's so gratifying to see the response this show has gotten," Dave — who's working on season 2, which will debut in 2021 — told Deadline. "This was my first rodeo, so I'm super excited to take another crack at it now that I've got some experience making television. It really feels like the sky is the limit with this show. I look forward to raising the bar even higher next year."
Netflix debuts new Mindy Kaling series "Never Have I Ever"
What can't she do? On April 27, Netflix premiered Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher's comedy series "Never Have I Ever," which follows a first-generation Indian American teen as she navigates high school while coping with her father's recent death. According to "The Mindy Project" creator, the show was partially based on her own upbringing. "For all of us in the writers' room, particularly those of us who were the children of immigrants, which comprised most of my staff, it was about sharing those stories of feeling 'other,'" Mindy told The New York Times. "One of the best parts about being in that room was realizing that they felt so many of the same things I did, and it was such a relief. It made me feel like, 'OK, I'm, like, normal." Emotional, charming, and hilariously honest, the series has been widely praised for its South Asian representation and ethnically diverse cast on the whole. While it has yet to be renewed for a second season, if its critical praise is any indication, we'll be seeing more of Devi!
Seth MacFarlane inks $200 million deal with NBCUniversal
If there's one thing we've learned since the premiere of "Family Guy," it's that Seth MacFarlane is a creative genius. And he's also a financial one: In January, news broke that the acclaimed creator inked a $200 million, five-year overall deal with NBCUniversal Content Studios. Under the lucrative deal, the "American Dad!" creator and his Fuzzy Door Productions company will develop projects for Peacock, NBCUniversal's streaming service. "Seth's voice resonates across multiple demographics and mediums. We all admire his ability to create audacious commentary with bold, yet relatable, humor and I look forward to working with him behind and in front of the camera," said Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios in a statement. "NBCUniversal is known for creating some of the most talked-about television and we know Seth's fearless voice will continue this storied legacy."