Abby Huntsman says she's leaving "The View" to help run her dad's gubernatorial campaign, toxic on-set environment is really to blame
Abby Huntsman announced on Jan. 13 that after less than a year and a half on the panel, she's leaving "The View" to serve as the senior advisor on father Jon Huntsman Jr.'s campaign for the governorship of Utah. "Family has always been my number one priority, and is where I need to be focused at this time," she said in a statement. "We are incredibly close and are there to support and help each other when it matters. It's not often there is a political campaign that involves someone you love and believe in, but this is one of them." She went on to express her gratitude to ABC and her fellow panelists, calling her time on the show "a dream" and adding that "The View" will "always be a special place to me." But according to a Page Six source, the former Fox News personality is actually leaving because of the "toxic" environment on set, which Abby reportedly complained about to ABC brass. ("ABC won't do anything about it," said the source.) Echoed a second insider, "It's an unhealthy environment — just the way that things are handled during shows and how people deal with each other. It's intense. … She's felt for a while that things had to change. … ABC treated Abby like [crap], but everyone on the show gets treated like [that]. She was smart enough to do something about it." Her exit comes amid reports of increased tension between conservative talking-head Meghan McCain and her fellow panelists.
"Highlander" star Stan Kirsch dead at 51
Actor Stan Kirsch — who starred as Richie Ryan on the "Highlander" TV series — died at his home in Los Angeles on Jan. 11. Authorities confirmed that the renowned acting coach took his own life. He was 51.
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Heidi Klum defends "America's Got Talent," says she's "never seen anything that was weird or hurtful"
Following a Jan. 14 press conference for her new show "Making the Cut," Heidi Klum defended "America's Got Talent" against recent reports that there's a "toxic culture on set." Said the former "AGT" judge, "I've only had an amazing experience. I can't speak for [anyone else]. I didn't experience the same thing. To me, everyone treats you with the utmost respect. I've never seen anything that was weird or hurtful." When asked if she ever heard anything racist on set — as Gabrielle Union reportedly claimed in late 2019 — Heidi replied, "Nothing." According to USA Today, she added that "she did not believe undue focus was placed on her wardrobe or appearance" — another claim made by the "Bring It On" star, who was reportedly told her hairstyles were "too black" for the "AGT" audience. Heidi went on to defend the show as a place "to relax a little bit." Said the model-mogul, "Of course, there's always this cat-and-dog fight, but this is fun. You say something silly. … For me, being on television, I want to entertain people. I want people to have a good time. I want people to go away from their life for two hours and just have fun and enjoy." Finally, she concluded by sharing (and defending) an example of a sexist joke made by "AGT" judge and executive producer Simon Cowell: "If there's a girl on stage and she's a beautiful girl … and I said, 'I didn't love the act so much, [but] I think you're gorgeous and this and that,' and he's like, 'Meow!' I think that's funny because I understand the joke — because normally girls are catty, and it's like, 'Oh, maybe I don't like the girl on the stage because she's beautiful,'" she recalled "But, like, relax! It's a joke."
Ken Jennings on his "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time" win: "I just remember feeling shock"
During a Jan. 15 appearance on "Good Morning America," Ken Jennings dished on winning "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time." Said the champ, "I just remember feeling shock. I've been in a lot of these 'Jeopardy!' super-tournaments, and I have an amazing talent for finishing second. So I had no idea what to do when you actually win. It turns out you walk over and stand by [host] Alex [Trebek]."
Wendy Williams claps back at Howard Stern after Hall of Fame diss: "Stop hating on me"
Although Howard Stern and Wendy Williams appeared to end their long-running feud in mid-2019, they were at it again this week after the shock jock complained on the Jan. 13 episode of his SiriusXM show that Wendy was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame a year before him. "No offense to Wendy Williams, but they put Wendy Williams in before me," he scoffed. The following day, Wendy responded on her eponymous daytime talk show: "Now you looky here, Howard, I'm tired of fighting with you, man," she said. "Why do you always have to fight with me? Why? Because you think I'm the low-lying fruit? … Why are you and I always fighting? I wasn't fighting with you — I'm minding my own business, trying to watch the rest of … 'The Bachelor.'" She went on to call Howard the "King of All Media" and "a hero to me and many people around here." She also agreed that he probably should've been inducted into the Hall of Fame first because he launched his career in radio more than a decade before her. "There's nothing you can say that will make me stop loving you, Howard," she said. "Personally and professionally, I admire you, Howard Stern, and they were wrong for that. But don't hate on me because I got in before you. I know the only reason I got in is that I had a new talk show. I went from radio successfully to TV with my own show. You haven't done that. …. All I'm saying is: Keep your hundreds of thousands of dollars, your beautiful wife Beth, all of those animals that you all rescue and be happy, man. And stop hating on me. Because I don't hate you!"
Dwayne Johnson's father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, dies at 75
Dwayne Johnson's father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, died on Jan. 15. He was 75. His longtime pal, fellow former professional wrestler Brian Blair, told The Associated Press that Rocky, who lived near Tampa, Florida, had been "under the weather" lately and "thought he had the flu or something." Recalled Brian, "I said, 'You need to get checked out, Rocky.' He said he'd be OK. Then he missed [church] this Sunday, a few days ago. When I talked to him again, he said he still wasn't feeling good and he still missed church. He still didn't get checked out. I talked to [his wife] Sheila and she said he was just being stubborn. He died at home, today."
Ellen Pompeo affirms: "Grey's Anatomy" co-star Justin Chambers' exit is a huge loss
Ellen Pompeo took to Twitter to share her thoughts on the news that Justin Chambers is done portraying Alex Karev on "Grey's Anatomy" after 15 years and 16 seasons. She re-posted Vanity Fair's tweet that "#GreysAnatomy is about to feel one of its biggest losses yet." (The tweet linked to an article titled "Grey's Anatomy Will Not Be the Same Without Alex Karev.") Added the actress and longtime star of the medical drama, who also produces the show, "Truer words have never been spoken."
"Jeopardy!" says controversial question was accidentally included in broadcast
A Jan. 10 episode of "Jeopardy!" included a controversial clue about the location of the Church of the Nativity. The first contestant to buzz in answered, "What is Palestine?" But host Alex Trebek ruled her response incorrect. The second attempt to answer the question with "What is Israel?" turned out to be correct, prompting outcries from viewers. (As the "Today" show explained, the World Heritage Site is located in Bethlehem just south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank. The West Bank is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.) "In the process of taping this clue … we became aware that the clue was flawed as written and that determining an acceptable response would be problematic," the show said in a Jan. 13 statement. "In accordance with our rules and in the interest of fairness, we voided the clue and threw it out. Unfortunately, through human error in post-production, the uncorrected version of the game was broadcast. We regret the error, and we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again." According to the show, the two contestants' scores were restored to reflect the exclusion of the clue, and the outcome of the game was not affected.