"America's Got Talent" to get new judges?
Page Six reported on Jan. 19 that there could be major changes ahead for "America's Got Talent." Said a source, "The word on the street is they are replacing all 'AGT' judges except Simon [Cowell]. … It started with [talk about replacing] Mel B and now it's everyone." Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel also serve as judges on the NBC competition show, which Tyra Banks has hosted since mid-2017, though Page Six reported on Christmas that she will not return to host the upcoming 14th season. "There hasn't been much buzz about who's replacing them," said a second source, adding that "Simon's ready for new judges" but that it may be too late in the game to round up a new panel for the upcoming season. Yet another Page Six insider shot down the first two sources: "It's inaccurate," said the third insider. "The brand is extending and is doing phenomenally well."
Comedian and "Rel" co-creator Kevin Barnett dies at 32
Stand-up comedian Kevin Barnett, who co-created the FOX series "Rel," died at the age of 32 in Tijuana, Mexico, on Jan. 22. E! News reported two days later that, according to an autopsy report, the cause of death was complications from pancreatitis, which can be caused by a number of factors. "The corresponding autopsy was carried out, which determined that the cause of death was: Non Traumatic Hemorrhage, caused by pancreatitis," read a statement from the chief of the Forensic Medical Service. "At the moment his body is still in facilities of the Forensic Medical Service of Tijuana, waiting to be delivered to his family members who are performing the legal proceedings." The medical official also told E! that Kevin's body was received at 5:50 in the morning. No other details were available.
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"Suits" renewed for a ninth and final season
USA Network announced on Jan. 24 that it's renewed "Suits" for a ninth and final season. The series — on which Gabriel Macht has starred since 2011 — will likely conclude in 2020. The network is moving forward with a spinoff, "Pearson," centered around Gina Torres's character, Jessica Pearson, and her life in Chicago.
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The hilarious reason why Barbra Streisand canceled an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
On the Jan. 21 episode of "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," Jimmy Kimmel revealed that Barbra Streisand once bailed on his late-night show after he refused to rearrange his set so that the cameras could capture her from her "good side" during their interview. "If a guest wants you to swap around your set so the cameras get their best side, do you refuse? I have switched seats for Mariah Carey four times," admitted Andy. "I've had a guest ask for that, and I said no," replied Jimmy. "Really? Was it Streisand?" the Bravo host asked. "Yes," Jimmy confirmed. So did she appear on the show anyways? "No," said Jimmy. "It was the condition. The condition was we couldn't talk about the fact that we'd switched around, and I was like, 'I just don't see how that is gonna work.'"
Tarek El Moussa getting solo "single-dad" HGTV pilot and web series
People magazine reported on Jan. 23 that Tarek El Moussa is set to star on a new HGTV series that will show him mentoring inexperienced house-flippers and helping them with various renovation-for-profit projects. "With more than 300 profitable flips under his belt, Tarek is ready to lend his invaluable expertise — and his own cash — to those who want to win big in the competitive real estate game," HGTV said in a statement. Tarek will spend time with different amateur flippers on each episode of the series, which is set to debut later this year. The father of two will also invite fans into "his new life as a single dad" in a new web series for HGTV.com set to debut in the summer of 2019. According to a press release, the series will follow Tarek "as he works hard, plays hard and then goes home to spend quality time with his kids."
Kaye Ballard, star of "The Mothers-in-Law," dies at 93
Singer-comedienne Kaye Ballard, who starred on the '60s sitcom "The Mothers-in-Law," died at the age of 93 in Rancho Mirage, California, on Jan. 21. According to The Desert Sun, a local newspaper in the Palm Springs-Rancho Mirage area, the Broadway actress became ill not long after she attended the 29th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film premiere of "Kaye Ballard – the Show Goes On!," a documentary about her life, on Jan. 6.
Kenan Thompson inching closer to leaving "Saturday Night Live"
Multiple media outlets reported on Jan. 18 that NBC has given a pilot order to the Kenan Thompson-produced family comedy "Saving Kenan" — an indication that the funnyman could be nearing the end of his record-breaking run on "Saturday Night Live." The Emmy winner will star as a recently widowed dad struggling to raise his kids while "also begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in the family's life," according to The Hollywood Reporter. "SNL" boss Lorne Michaels is on board to executive produce the series, which reportedly went into development in the fall.
Gillian Anderson set to join Season 4 of "The Crown" as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Gillian Anderson will star as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the fourth season of "The Crown," Britain's The Times reported on Jan. 20. (Season 3 of the hit Netflix drama has yet to air.) According to Deadline, the fourth season is expected to take place during the '70s, when Thatcher rose to power, and will likely air in 2020.
Jay Leno clears the air about David Letterman and Conan O'Brien drama
On the Jan. 22 episode of "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," Jay Leno opened up about the perceived rivalry between himself and other late-night hosts — specifically David Letterman and Conan O'Brien. (When Johnny Carson left "The Tonight Show" in 1992, Letterman was considered the favorite to take over the job, though Leno ultimately landed the gig.) "We don't hate each other," he said of Letterman. "The media makes a big thing about it. I am a huge fan. When I started, Letterman was a great wordsmith. He could put things together, but he's kind of a hesitant performer. I was a very loud, boisterous performer, but I wasn't that good a writer. So I'd watch him and go, 'Oh, man, how do you put those sentences together?' And he'd watch me and go, 'How can you be so confident on stage?' So I think we sort of took from each other a little bit." As for the drama with Conan, Leno said he "can't think of anything" he would do differently if given the chance. (The two men made headlines in 2009 when NBC moved Leno to a new 10 p.m. show and gave "The Tonight Show" to Conan, then tried to get them to switch timeslots less than a year later, which prompted Conan to unceremoniously leave the network.) "Look, they're rating-based shows," said Leno. "It's not your decision. People act like it's your decision. 'Well, you know, I think I'll go back!' The network makes these decisions. They decide you're going to leave and then they decide when you're gonna come back. So, there is not a lot different I would have done." And finally, Leno explained why he's never responded to longtime criticism from Howard Stern, saying, "You're not going to win a feud with Howard." (Stern has been a vocal critic of Leno for years.)