Roseanne Barr lashes out after her character is killed off on "The Conners," former co-stars "understand that she's hurting"
Roneanne Barr took to Twitter after her "Roseanne" alter ego got killed off on the Oct. 16 premiere of the sitcom's spinoff, "The Conners," tweeting, "I AIN'T DEAD, B——!!!!" The controversial comedienne then released a joint statement with her spiritual adviser, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, on Facebook. "We regret that ABC chose to cancel 'Roseanne' by killing off the Roseanne Conner character. That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show," they wrote after sharing their well wishes for the cast and crew of "The Conners." The statement went on to praise "Roseanne" for addressing "the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society" while promoting "the message that love and respect for one another's personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord," bringing together "characters of different political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in one, unified family" and celebrating "a strong, matriarchal woman in a leading role." The statement then took aim at ABC, criticizing the network for failing to forgive Roseanne for "a regrettable mistake" — her racist Valerie Jarrett tweet, which led to the show's cancellation — in spite of "repeated and heartfelt apologies." After maintaining that the actress used "words that do not truly reflect" who she is, the pair ended by calling the sitcom's cancellation "an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive." On Oct. 17, "Roseanne" stars Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman, as well as "The Conners" newcomer Maya Lynne Robinson, addressed Roseanne's statement during an appearance on "Good Morning America." Said Lecy, "We really miss Roseanne and love her very much. Her spirit is still very much with us, so we understand that she's hurting right now and she's in pain. She's always with us, so hopefully we can see her and kind of remedy some of this at some point in time, I hope." After admitting that it was "strange at first" and "definitely had a different feel" shooting "The Conners" without the former TV matriarch, Michael addressed the character's death: "The tone of the way she passed away was related to last season," he said. "If you listen to our producers, they really wanted to take a real crisis that's happening in our country and find a way to give voice to that. I know that the reaction to that is gonna be different for different people, but what we've always tried to do is tackle big topics and be very honest about them."
Original Big Bird actor Caroll Spinney leaving "Sesame Street" after nearly 50 years
Caroll Spinney, who's portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on "Sesame Street" since the show's debut in 1969, recorded his final voice-over for the children's program on Oct. 18. New performers will now take over his roles. The actor told The New York Times that he had not been planning to leave the series for long but that the physical requirements to bring the puppets to life had become increasingly demanding in recent years. Caroll stopped puppeteering Big Bird in 2015 after developing problems with his balance.
"Grimm" spinoff in the works at NBC
"Grimm" came to an end in early 2017 after six seasons on NBC. Now the network is reportedly developing a spinoff "building off the mythology of the original series." The new show will reportedly "feature returning fan favorites while also introducing new characters, new dangers and epic new mysteries." David Giuntoli starred as Portland detective Nick Burkhardt on the original iteration of the supernatural drama. According to The Wrap, original series co-creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf will serve as consulting producers on the new show if it's picked up to series. Original executive producers Todd Milliner and Sean Hayes are also on board.
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HLN shake-up: Ashleigh Banfield, Carol Costello and Michaela Pereira exiting
Three of HLN's live news shows — "Crime & Justice with Ashleigh Banfield," "Across America with Carol Costello" and Michaela Pereira's "MichaeLA" — are ending on Oct. 26. The network's new lineup will kick off on Oct. 29 with an extended version of "Morning Express with Robin Meade" airing from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. and a longer version of "On the Story" airing from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. HLN head Ken Jautz announced the new schedule in an Oct. 16 memo to staff, saying that the network's live news shows — given their "story mix" — have struggled to compete with the current cable news landscape, which is dominated by politics. He went on to say that HLN will be shifting its resources to long-form programming, which has been performing "very well," and centralizing production of live news programming in Atlanta — meaning that the network will no longer produce live shows in New York City or Los Angeles.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy reveals why he's not returning to "Dancing With the Stars"
During an Oct. 15 appearance on "The Real," fan favorite Maksim Chmerkovskiy revealed that he's not going back to "Dancing With the Stars" because he's a dad and a husband now. "[Your] responsibilities are a little different. Your chemistry changes when you have a child. Things look different. They seem different," he said after joking that he thought he wouldn't be missed because his younger brother, dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, "looks just like me, does the same stuff and says similar things." He then said that although he'll always be a "big supporter" of "DWTS," there's "something to be said about what the show is itself" regarding the voting process. "You find yourself politicking for your votes," said the notoriously hotheaded dancer. "I spent 12 years on the show trying — I probably failed a lot at times — [to] not say what I shouldn't. You find you have to be a certain way because you don't want your antics to cost your partner their votes." He added that he now wants "people to know me for me, and not that guy who was there." Concluded Maks, "I'm not saying that a lot of things are now gonna be said, and I wasn't real back then. … [But] I want what I say now to be understood that it's me. It's not, 'Oh, well, he has to say that.'"
"Orange Is the New Black" to end with Season 7
"Orange Is the New Black" will end at the conclusion of its upcoming seventh season. The cast of the Netflix dramedy made the announcement in a video that the show's official Twitter account posted on Oct. 17 along with the caption, "Warning: This may make you cry. The Final Season, 2019. #OITNB." In the clip, several of the show's stars — Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew, Danielle Brooks, Dascha Polanco, Selenis Leyva, Yael Stone, Taryn Manning, Adrienne C. Moore and Natasha Lyonne — shared their appreciation for the series and gratitude for the fans. "Season 7, you will not be disappointed," teased Uzo. "It is a season you will not forget, and we're going to give you everything and more that you could have ever wanted. …. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you," she concluded.
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's son Brandon joining "The Hills" reboot
Page Six reported on Oct. 14 that Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's 22-year-old son, Brandon Thomas Lee, is finalizing his deal to join the cast of "The Hills: New Beginnings." Said a source, "The show is very Brody Jenner-centric. … The cast is circling around him and his friends." It's unclear whether or not Brandon and the 32-year-old reality TV star, who appeared on the original iteration of the MTV series, are friends, though they both live in Malibu.