WWE Hall of Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel dies at 69, WWE fires several big names after resuming live shows
On April 16, the WWE published an obituary for ring announcer Howard Finkel. It was the first indication that the Hall of Famer recently died. He was 69. Details surrounding his death have not been made public. In other WWE news… The wrestling company resumed live televised shows (sans live audiences) on April 13 after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed off on a mandate designating "professional sports and media production with a national audience" as "essential services" critical to the state's economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. "We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times," the WWE said in a statement to CNN. "We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff." Two days later, the WWE released another statement announcing that they'd "identified headcount reductions and made the decision to furlough a portion of [our] workforce effective immediately." They then announced on Twitter that they'd "come to terms on the release of Drake Maverick (James Curtin), Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra), EC3 (Michael Hutter) and Lio Rush (Lionel Green)."
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Michael Che to pay rent for residents in grandmother's apartment complex after she dies from COVID-19
On April 6, "Saturday Night Live" star Michael Che took to Instagram to announce that a day earlier, he lost his grandmother to COVID-19. On April 15, he returned to the social media platform to announce that in her "spirit and memory," he's committing to "paying one month's rent for all 160" units in the New York City Housing Authority apartment building in which she lived. "It's crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many New Yorkers can't even work," he wrote, adding that he "can't offer much help" by himself and that his contribution is "just a drop in the bucket." Added the comedian, "So I really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, AT THE VERY LEAST."
Ali Wentworth says George Stephanopoulos has been a "rock star" caretaker amid her battle with COVID-19, he reveals he also tested positive for the coronavirus
On April 13, George Stephanopoulos revealed that wife Ali Wentworth's 16-day coronavirus self-quarantine had come to an end. The following day, she said during a joint appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" that her husband "instinctively knew" when she needed to have her temperature taken as she battled coronavirus symptoms including a raging fever and painful body aches. "He didn't have to bathe me or anything, but he brought me food and chicken soup and lemonade. He was actually a rock star," she said. A day earlier, George revealed on "Good Morning America" that he'd also tested positive for COVID-19. "I never had a fever, never had a cough, never had shortness of breath, no chills," he told Jimmy, adding that he lost his sense of smell for one day and suffered from minor lower-back pain one night — aside from that, he remained largely asymptomatic. "It's funny because it's very indicative of our lives," said Ali. "I get coronavirus and I am deathly ill for three weeks with a high fever and sweating and achy and going crazy — I was like Martin Sheen in 'Apocalypse Now.' Then George gets it and has no symptoms." She then joked that if she and her husband weren't quarantined together, they'd "probably take a separate weekend away from each other."
"American Idol," "Survivor" and "The Bachelorette" make production changes amid coronavirus pandemic
On April 14, ABC announced that starting April 26, season 18 of "American Idol" will shift to a remote format, with the top 20 contestants, host Ryan Seacrest, mentor Bobby Bones and judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie all appearing from home. First, according to TheWrap, the second "This Is Me" special episode featuring pre-recorded material will air on April 19. Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter reported on April 13 that in lieu of a proper in-person reunion, the May 13 finale of "Survivor: Winners at War" will feature video-chat appearances from all 20 players discussing highlights from the season with host Jeff Probst. Finally, on the April 9 episode of his eponymous podcast and in an accompanying blog post, Bachelor Nation blogger Reality Steve revealed that the producers of "The Bachelorette" are eyeing a new format for the show so that they can launch production on season 16 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the major takeaways: Clare Crawley's season could potentially shoot for five weeks in July and August at a single location — ideally a resort booked exclusively for the cast and crew. All dates, parties and rose ceremonies would take place at this location — meaning the season, which would air in September, would not feature international travel or hometown dates. Additionally, all cast and crew members would be tested for the coronavirus prior to their arrival at the resort, which would be on "complete lockdown" for the duration of the shoot "with no one leaving the premises."
"Tiger King" star Dillon Passage says prison quarantine is "taking a toll" on husband Joe Exotic
During an interview with E! News that hit the Internet on April 15, Dillon Passage said that his husband, "Tiger King" star Joe Exotic, is still in isolation at a prison medical center after multiple inmates at the Texas prison where he's serving a 22-year sentence tested positive for COVID-19 last month. "Our phone calls are really limited," he said, adding that he's only spoken to Joe twice since he was transferred to the medical facility. Dillon went on to say that Joe is "holding up" but is "kind of sad because he can't talk to people like he could before." Continued Dillon, "That is taking a toll on him. I have no idea when he will be released from quarantine." The 24-year-old Florida bartender then opened up about the current state of his relationship with the 57-year-old felon: "Joe has told me multiple times that he doesn't want me to be alone and that if I find somebody worthy of spending the rest of my life with then he would be totally supportive of that. I am loyal to Joe and I am sticking by his side, and if it comes to a point where I need to find somebody, I will have that conversation [with] Joe," he said. Dillon also cleared up his recent comments about looking forward to conjugal visits with his husband, saying that he messed up his wording and "would never have sex in jail."
Former "The Bachelor" star Chris Soules linked to controversial Peter Weber contestant Victoria Fuller
On April 15, Bachelor Nation blogger Reality Steve tweeted that former "The Bachelor" star Chris Soules is dating Victoria Fuller, who recently competed for Peter Weber's heart on season 24 of "The Bachelor" and previously romanced country music star Chase Rice. According to the blogger, they spent the week together in Iowa, where the farmer lives. Steve called the pairing "one of the more random" Bachelor Nation couplings and said that it's unclear "how long this has been going on or how serious it is." According to an Us Weekly source, Chris and Victoria recently connected when he slid into her DMs.
Jeffrey Tambor issues "Transparent" apology: "I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable"
On the April 14 episode of "Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Show," Jeffrey Tambor opened up publicly for the first time about getting fired from "Transparent" in early 2018 amid allegations that he sexually harassed two transgender actresses working on the Amazon dramedy. "I'm not this guy. I in no way, never ever intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable," said the two-time Emmy winner. "This cast was amazing. It was very much like this room. It was sort of raucous. It was wonderful and irreverent and loving and personal and, you know, we told personal stories and I got to be Jeffrey and I got to play Maura and it was vital for the [LGBTQ] community — I'm so proud of it. Regarding how I left the show, I just want to say, I never, ever, ever, ever intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable ever. It's just not who I am." He went on to acknowledge that although he has "character defects," he and his castmates "loved each other" and were "irreverent," "honest" and "vulnerable" with one another. "It was a set like no other," he continued. "There had to be, of course, instances where my interaction with these lovely people could have been mistaken way other — way other! — than how I intended. I have profoundly apologized, and I apologize now if I made anyone feel vulnerable. And I'm sorry it ended the way it did. But I just wanted to say, you know, I have to say it: I'm so proud of playing Maura and part of the LGBT community and getting that important message out. It's a highlight of my life." Added the actor, "I'm a nice guy. I know that. But I am kind. I'm a kind guy."