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 so far… starting with some "Friends" news… 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 has since been pushed back. Keep reading for more…
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 will see them both serving prison time and paying large fines. Lori's sentence is expected to include two months in prison and two years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and a $150,000 fine. Mossimo, on the other hand, will serve five months in prison and two years of supervised release, complete 250 hours of community service and pay a $250,000 fine.
RELATED: Biggest LGBTQ stories of 2020
"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.
"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 set to be 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 2021. But first, host Chris Harrison confirmed, Clare Crawley's season of "The Bachelorette" will tape and air. Production originally set for the spring was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ruby Rose leaves "Batwoman"
In May, Ruby Rose took to Instagram to announce that she won'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 will be recast with another star who's a member of the LGBTQ community.
Gabrielle Union files 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."
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 has more than 2000 replies, people detailed their not-so-great encounters with the star. TV writer Benjamin Siemon tweeted that Ellen has a "'sensitive nose' so everyone must chew gum from a bowl outside her office before talking to her and if she thinks you smell that day you have to go home and shower." Costume designer-author Alison Freer tweeted, "Was working on a show @ WB that was next to her stage. Was our showrunner's 50th Bday. Caterer grilling steaks outside for special fancy lunch. Ellen sent someone over to demand they stop, as she doesn't eat meat. She's the worst." Comic Josh Levesque replied, "Another friend of mine was a PA on her show and when Russell Brand came into the employee break area to chat with the crew and hang out, Ellen came in and got mad at him — saying he didn't have to interact with these people, that's why guests have their own area backstage." Kevin, who was overwhelmed by the number of responses, then tweeted, "Well this got out of hand! It's now hard to tell which stories are real or not, so I've rounded up to 300 and donated $600!"
"The Good Place" aired 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.
"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.
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.
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.
Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard and more TV stars pass away
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.
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.
Jimmy Kimmel to host 2020 Emmys as Television Academy makes changes
On June 16, ABC announced that Jimmy Kimmel will host the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards on Sept. 20. It's the late night host's third time emceeing television's biggest night, but it remains unclear how the show will be presented as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. "I don't know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it," the comedian said in a statement. This year, the Television Academy will expand the number of nominees to eight in comedy and drama categories and restructure how nominees are selected in every category. "The increase in submissions is a reflection of the number of new voices, new television platforms and a tremendous growth in content from existing platforms across our industry," said Frank Schema, Television Academy chairman and CEO. "Despite production suspension resulting from COVID-19, there is a wealth of excellent work submitted for this year's competition."
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!
Andy Cohen, Chris Cuomo and more TV stars test positive for COVID-19
As the coronavirus swept the nation this year, a handful of 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 and went on to chronicle his symptoms — fever, chills, shortness of breath, hallucinations and more — for many weeks as he recovered. On March 13, "Luther" star Idris Elba announced that he'd tested positive for COVID-19. "This is serious. Now's the time to really start thinking about social distancing, washing your hands," he told fans via social media. "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.
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.
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."
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.
"Vanderpump Rules" stars fired after racist actions resurface
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.
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 Dick Wolf 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 Dick Wolf 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 in the fall.
Josie Totah cast as the lead in "Saved By the Bell" reboot
Looks like Bayside has a new kid in school! In January, news broke that actress Josie Totah, who came out as transgender in 2018, had landed the starring role on Peacock's "Saved by the Bell" reboot. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Josie — who's previously appeared on "Champions" and "Glee" — will play Lexi, a "beautiful, sharp-tongued cheerleader and the most popular girl at Bayside High." Beloved original cast members Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez are also set to reprise their iconic roles.
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 plans to raise 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."
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 preteen / 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."