Kal Penn and Sean Astin cast on final season of "The Big Bang Theory"
Kal Penn and Sean Astin are set to star as a pair of physicists who accidentally confirm Sheldon and Amy's super-asymmetry theory — previously thought to have been disproven by a Russian paper — on an upcoming episode of "The Big Bang Theory." The CBS sitcom is currently in its 12th and final season.
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" actor Bob Einstein, creator of Super Dave Osborne character, dies at 76
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" actor Bob Einstein, who created the character of stuntman Super Dave Osborne, died at the age of 76 in Indian Wells, California, on Jan. 2. According to Deadline, he'd recently been diagnosed with cancer.
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Andy Cohen has on-air meltdown when told to lose his umbrella during New Year's Eve coverage, Times Square Alliance hits back
Andy Cohen had an on-air meltdown when the Times Square Alliance told him to ditch his clear umbrella while co-hosting CNN's "New Year's Eve Live" special with pal Anderson Cooper on Dec. 31. According to the Bravo star, the group — which helps coordinate New York City's annual ball-drop celebration — threatened to revoke CNN's credentials to cover the event next year if he didn't adhere to the rule. (Police announced before the event that umbrellas, backpacks and coolers would be banned due to safety concerns, meaning thousands of pedestrians were subjected to the rainy conditions throughout the day.) After ranting about the request ad nauseam, Cohen admitted that he told the Times Square Alliance to go ahead and arrest him if they had such a big problem with his umbrella. The following morning, he tweeted a compilation of other media personalities holding umbrellas during the event and suggested that he'd been singled out. On Jan. 2, a spokesperson for the group denied Cohen's allegations, telling Page Six that "some tempers flared" but that they would never bar CNN from covering the NYE ball-drop celebration. "It has been our policy that umbrellas are not permitted on the media riser so as to not interfere with media colleagues' sightlines. There were over 100 credentialed members of the media and 15 live broadcast camera spots on the media riser this year," said the spokesperson, explaining that other media personalities may have had umbrellas because "we don't monitor this issue on other stages that are stand-alone with no other networks present, thus no potential for other camera shots to be blocked."
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"Mean" Gene Okerlund, legendary WWE interviewer, dies at 76
WWE and WCW interviewer "Mean" Gene Okerlund died at the age of 76 on Jan. 2, the WWE announced. According to TMZ, he'd been in poor health since December, when he suffered a nasty fall — during which he broke multiple ribs — in his Florida home. The WWE Hall of Famer spent his last four days in a nursing home before dying with his wife of more than five decades, Jeanne, by his side.
Carrie Ann Inaba officially replaces Julie Chen on "The Talk"
"The Talk" announced on Jan. 2 that Carrie Ann Inaba is officially replacing Julie Chen. The "Dancing With the Stars" judge is no stranger to the CBS series: She's been filling in as a guest co-host since the "Big Brother" hostess departed in September after CBS fired her husband, Les Moonves, amid a workplace sexual misconduct scandal, which he's denied. "I'm just so excited to be here. It's been such an honor the last year kind of coming in and guest co-hosting and learning so much from all of you," Inaba told her fellow panelists: Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Sheryl Underwood and Eve. "The last few months have been really, really tough on all of us, but you have brought us together, and we love you for that," Osbourne told the newcomer. "Honestly, it just feels amazingly right," chimed in Eve. Even Chen gave Inaba her stamp of approval when she announced that she was leaving "The Talk," telling the dancer-actress in a pre-recorded message that she'd "look awful good sitting in that chair."
"Absolutely Fabulous" actress June Whitfield dies at 93
Dame June Whitfield died at the age of 93 on Dec. 28. According to the BBC, a rep for the "Absolutely Fabulous" actress, whose career spanned six decades, said that she died "peacefully."
Chrissy Teigen starts 2019 by slamming her face into Leslie Jones's umbrella on live TV
Oops! Chrissy Teigen had an embarrassing start to 2019 while co-hosting NBC's live New Year's Eve coverage from New York City's Times Square, where it rained for much of the evening. Seconds after the clock struck midnight, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model leaned in to hug fellow co-host Leslie Jones, who was holding a clear umbrella… which Chrissy ran into face-first. The mother of two grimaced but recovered quickly, laughing as she eventually landed a successful hug with the "Saturday Night Live" star.
Teen "Jeopardy!" champion overcomes Internet bullying to win $100,000 grand prize
On the Nov. 20, 2018, episode of "Jeopardy!" — which was taped in August — Claire Sattler, a 17-year-old senior from Bonita Springs, Florida, won the $100K grand prize during the Teen Tournament. During an interview with the Naples Daily News distributed by USA Today on Jan. 1, she opened up about the Internet bullying she faced as the episodes on which she appeared started airing. "I was more nervous about the Internet's reaction," she said. "Twitter decided it didn't like me very much. … Twitter very much decided I was the villain of the finals for some reason other than the fact that I talk a lot. … But people moved on to their next fixation. I don't really think about it now." Said Claire's father, "She got fooled by some people. … It really bothered her. I said, 'You don't need affirmation from a person who has nothing else to do than watch teen kids on a game show and make fun of them.' It's a good lesson — if you do something in the world, you've got to be ready for it." Claire is planning to spend her winnings ($65K after taxes) on college tuition.