"Today" show stars address Matt Lauer rape allegations, share suport for accuser
Troubling new allegations concerning Matt Lauer's behavior while he was working at "Today" made major headlines this month. On Oct. 8, Variety reported that in Ronan Farrow's new book "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators," which came out on Oct. 15, Brooke Nevils — Meredith Vieira's former assistant — accused Matt of raping her while they were on assignment in Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In a lengthy open letter, Matt — who was fired from "Today" in November 2017 because of his behavior toward Brooke, whose identity was unknown at the time — denied her claims and insisted their sexual interactions were consensual. The morning after the news broke, Matt's former "Today" show colleagues addressed the allegations on the morning show: "This is shocking and appalling, and I honestly don't even know what to say about it," said Savannah Guthrie, who also told viewers, "We're disturbed to our core." She continued, "I want to say that I know it wasn't easy for our colleague Brooke to come forward then. It's not easy now. And we support her and any women who have come forward with claims…" Chimed in Hoda Kotb, "It's like you feel like you've known someone for 12 years … and then all of a sudden, like, a door opens up and it's a part of them you didn't know. We don't know all the facts in all of this, but they're not allegations of an affair — they're allegations of a crime, and I think that's shocking to all of us here who have sat with Matt for many, many years… our thoughts are with Brooke. It's not easy what she did to come forward. It's not easy at all."
"Game of Thrones" prequels scrapped and greenlit as original series creators pull out of "Star Wars" deal
On Oct. 29, multiple outlets including Deadline revealed that the much hyped "Game of Thrones" prequel starring Naomi Watts — which was set thousands of years before the events of the original HBO show — is not going forward as the pilot, which was filmed earlier this year, has now been scrapped. Just hours later, however, HBO announced that a different "GoT" prequel project — this one focused on the Targaryen civil war, to be titled "House of the Dragon — has been given a 10-episode first season order. In other "GoT" player news, just one day earlier, original series creators and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss announced that they were pulling out of plans to create the next "Star Wars" franchise trilogy beginning with a 2022 film. "We love Star Wars. When George Lucas built it, he built us too," they said in a statement. "Getting to talk about Star Wars with him and the current Star Wars team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything. But there are only so many hours in the day, and we felt we could not do justice to both Star Wars and our Netflix projects. So we are regretfully stepping away."
Jennifer Aniston almost starred on "Saturday Night Live"
Did you know Jennifer Aniston was almost on "Saturday Night Live"? During a visit to "The Howard Stern Show" on Oct. 7, the actress revealed that before she was cast as Rachel Green on "Friends," she turned down an offer to join the cast of "SNL." "I didn't think I would like that environment. … I remember showing up and [Adam] Sandler was there and [David] Spade was there and I'd known them already and they were like, 'Look, Aniston's here!'" she shared. Jennifer added that she later explained her decision to "SNL" creator Lorne Michaels: "I went to talk with him — I was such a young twit. I was like, 'I think the women need to be treated better here.' … Because it was such a boys' club. You're just not the brightest when you're in your early 20s. I didn't lecture — I was just saying what I would hope if I was to do this, what I would hope it to be."
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Gwen Stefani won't return for Season 18 of "The Voice"
Sorry, Gwen Stefani fans! The pop star — who's currently serving as a coach for the fourth time — won't be returning to "The Voice" for Season 18 in 2020. "Entertainment Tonight" reported there's no drama behind Gwen's decision to leave the show again so soon — fellow coach Blake Shelton's main squeeze simply has prior commitments that include wrapping up her "Just a Girl" residency in Las Vegas in 2020. So who will be replacing the No Doubt frontwoman? Nick Jonas, who on Oct. 8 announced that he's signed on as a first-time coach.
Contestant on "Wheel of Fortune" goes viral with funny intro
It's not every day that "Wheel of Fortune" makes major news! A contestant on the Oct. 14 episode of "Wheel of Fortune" made headlines with the hilarious way he chose to introduce himself on the game show. Host Pat Sajak asked contestant Blair Davis to talk about his family, and he certainly had a unique answer! "I've been trapped in a loveless marriage for the last 12 years to an old battle-axe named Kim. She cursed my life with three stepchildren named Star, RJ and Ryan, and I have one rotten grandson," Blair said. After a laughing Sajak pointed out that Blair, who owns a small trucking business in San Diego, was just being facetious, the contestant replied, "Absolutely. I love them like nobody's business."
Felicity Huffman is released early from prison while Lori Loughlin faces new charge in college admission scandal
There's good news and bad news for the two TV stars involved in the bombshell college admissions cheating scandal. On Oct. 25, Felicity Huffman was released early from a California prison after serving 11 days of a two-week sentence. The "Desperate Housewives" alum, who pleaded guilty in her case — which involved paying a middleman $15,000 to boost her daughter's SAT scores — now has to perform 250 hours of community service. Meanwhile, "Full House" alum Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli — who've been fighting charges that they paid $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California by falsely presenting them as crew team recruits — were indicted by a grand jury in Boston on a new charge of conspiring to commit federal program bribery, which carries a five-year prison sentence. New reports indicate that they're warming to the idea of taking a plea bargain.
Ellen DeGeneres addresses friendship with George W. Bush
This month, Ellen DeGeneres made headlines after she was seen sitting next to former president George W. Bush while watching the Dallas Cowboys take on the Green Bay Packers in a box suite at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Oct. 6. On the Oct. 8 episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the liberal comedian opened up about the criticism she'd received concerning her closeness to a conservative politician. After explaining that she attended the game as a guest of Charlotte Jones, the daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Ellen said: "Here's the thing: I'm friends with George Bush. In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have. We're all different, and I think we've forgotten that that's OK that we're all different. … But just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean that I'm not going to be friends with them. When I say, 'Be kind to one another,' I don't mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn't matter."
Giuliana Rancic announces she's leaving E! News role
On Oct. 23, Giuliana Rancic revealed that she's leaving her full-time role at E! News when the show moves to New York City from Los Angeles in January. "Returning to E! News this last year was an incredible homecoming," she captioned a photo of herself and her son, Duke. "I've decided I won't be able to make this big move at this time. I love E! News but what's best for my family, as well as my current schedule, just won't allow for the commitment a daily show takes. … In order to properly serve [my other business endeavors], flexibility is paramount. And nothing is more important than spending time with my family, which we are hoping to grow soon." Giuliana said she'll continue to host many of E!'s upcoming red carpet specials.
TV comedian Rip Taylor, 84 (pictured) — the famed "King of Confetti" — died on Oct. 6 at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after suffering a seizure days earlier. "Saved by the Bell" creator Sam Bobrick died at 87 after suffering a stroke. His rep confirmed the sad news to Entertainment Weekly on Oct. 14. John Clarke — who portrayed Mickey Horton on "Days of Our Lives" from 1965 to 2004 — died from complications of pneumonia at 88 on Oct. 16. Jerry Fogel — who starred on the late '60s NBC sitcom "The Mothers-in-Law" — died in hospice care in Kansas City, Missouri, on Oct. 21 at 83. Original "The Mickey Mouse Club" Mouseketeer Karen Pendleton died of a heart attack in Fresno, California, at 73 on Oct. 6.
"Jersey Shore" star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro faces charges in domestic violence case
"Jersey Shore" star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro avoided a felony charge following his Oct. 4 arrest for kidnapping and domestic violence following a volatile incident in Los Angeles with his on-off girlfriend, Jen Harley, with whom he shares a toddler daughter. Instead, prosecutors decided later in the month that Ronnie — who was tasered and handcuffed to a gurney by police after the cops arrived — will face five misdemeanor charges ranging from domestic violence and brandishing a weapon to child endangerment and resisting arrest.
Joe and Teresa Giudice contemplate a split
"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Joe Giudice headed to Italy on Oct. 11 as he continues to fight a permanent deportation to his native country after being locked up in federal prison and in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention for more than three and a half years. On Oct. 21, Joe — who's lost a lot of weight behind bars — broke his silence in a video message from Italy. "You just gotta look forward and never look back," he said. "At the end of the day, people make mistakes. Nobody's perfect. But I've learned a valuable lesson from all this. I know my family is the most important thing to me, but it's better that I'm out here than in there." On Oct. 27, Joe (via satellite) and wife Teresa Giudice appeared on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey Special Event: Joe and Teresa Unlocked." Both told host Andy Cohen that they believe the other has been unfaithful, and neither seemed to have high hopes for the longevity of their marriage after Teresa visits Joe in Italy with their four daughters in November. "We're both two different people now," Teresa said. "I'm not the same Teresa I was and he's not the same Joe. I do love him as a person. I don't know how I'm going to feel when I see him." According to Joe, "If we stay together, we stay together. If we don't, we don't."
"Sunnyside" gets canceled
Another one bites the dust! The Wrap reported on Oct. 15 that NBC will no longer broadcast Kal Penn's "Sunnyside." After the fourth of 11 episodes aired on Oct. 17, it finished its run on NBC's streaming app and on NBC.com. "Sunnyside" was the lowest rated new show of the season.
"Grand Hotel" canceled
There was bad news for ABC's "Grand Hotel" on Oct. 1. That day, the Wrap reported that the Eva Longoria-produced drama set at a luxurious family-owned Miami hotel, which starred Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez, had been canceled after just one season.
Pauley Perrette alludes to adversity at "NCIS"
Pauley Perrette made some comments on Twitter this month that raised some eyebrows. On Oct. 6 while promoting her upcoming CBS show "Broke," she alluded to overcoming adversity, tweeting: "I'm so exhausted and SO FREAKIN HAPPY shooting my new show #Broke on @CBS. I want to thank all y'all that supported me through a few devastatingly difficult years. I'm so happy and healthy now and having a blast. THANK YOU positive people for helping me and being kind Love y'all!" Though she didn't get specific, many people assumed she was referring to her final years on another CBS series, "NCIS," which she left after 15 years in May 2018. After her final episode aired, Pauley opened up about issues on set, alleging that she suffered "multiple physical assaults" during her time on the show. In June 2019, she tweeted that she was "terrified" of star Mark Harmon and the possibility of him "attacking" her. At the time she tweeted, "I have nightmares about it."