Megyn Kelly sparks backlash with "blackface" comments
Megyn Kelly enraged the Internet when she shared her thoughts on Halloween costumes that feature blackface during a segment on the Oct. 23 episode of "Megyn Kelly Today." Said the controversial hostess, "What is racist? You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween — or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as a character." She went on to cite the time Luann de Lesseps drew heat for dressing up like Diana Ross — complete with darkened skin and an oversized afro wig — for Halloween. "There was a controversy on 'The Real Housewives of New York' with Luann. … She made her skin look darker than it really is, and people said that was racist," said Kelly. "And I don't know. I thought, like, 'Who doesn't love Diana Ross?' She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don't know how that got racist on Halloween." Several celebs took to Twitter to break it down for her. "Because @megynkelly: minstrelsy is the basis for the coining of the term 'Jim Crow' laws which served to humiliate & target Black Americans. Because caricaturing another race perpetuates the dehumanization of POC who are being killed & jailed at a disproportionate rate in the US," tweeted Padma Lakshmi. "Dear @megynkelly — you and I are approximately the same age. Blackface was NOT okay when we were kids. Take it from a big-hearted boy who just wanted to show his love for Nipsey Russell on the worst Halloween of my life," tweeted Patton Oswalt.
NBC News officially cancels "Megyn Kelly Today"
On Oct. 26, NBC News announced that they'd cancelled "Megyn Kelly Today" with a one-sentence statement: "'Megyn Kelly Today' is not returning. Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be hosted by other 'Today' co-anchors." They did not say who exactly would fill in for the controversial hostess, whose attorney, Bryan Freedman, released his own statement saying that he's still negotiating her exit from NBC News. "Megyn remains an employee of NBC News and discussions about next steps are continuing," he said. On Oct. 25, Variety reported that Kelly hired Freedman as part of her preparations for an "aggressive" legal battle with NBC to determine the payout of the remainder of her reported $69 million contract, as well as the terms of her non-compete clause. (She parted ways with CAA, earlier this week — reportedly over a conflict of interest between the talent agency and NBC. She then reportedly backed out of an offer to sign with UTA, opting to work with Freedman instead.) There were signs that Kelly's days with NBC were numbered when the network announced earlier this week that it would air reruns rather than new episodes of "Megyn Kelly Today," which is almost unheard of when it comes to morning news programming. Initial reports following her headline-making comments about blackface, however, indicated that she might stick around through December. "We began discussions earlier this month [before the blackface controversy] about a different role within NBC News because Megyn wants to be involved in political coverage in a deeper way than she can do at 9 a.m. … Megyn indicated before this brouhaha that she wanted to move on before the end of the year in order to be involved in the presidential campaign coverage," an NBC source told People magazine.
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"The Voice" fans outraged by change to the show, call it a "slap in the face"
"The Voice" fans were outraged on Oct. 23 when the NBC competition opted to air only three Battle Round match-ups in their entirety. Viewers could watch all of Sarah Grace's victory over Erika Zade (pictured), Kameron Marlowe's defeat of Kayley Hill and Deandre Nico's triumph over Funsho, but the other three battles were limited to short clips as part of a montage. "these shortened battle rounds are such a slap in the face to the contestants and a disservice to the viewers. Do better!" tweeted one angry fan. "A MONTAGE??????? @NBCTheVoice REALLY????? HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO MY GIRL @imkennedyholmes ?????? Soooooo disappointed. Welp. I'm done watching for tonight. #VoiceBattles," tweeted another. "Uh can we get the full battles on YouTube instead of the montage ? I waited all week to hear Kennedy and Kirk," chimed in yet another disappointed fan of favorites Kennedy Holmes and Kirk Jay.
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"The Big Bang Theory" stars top Forbes' highest paid TV actors list
On Oct. 24, Forbes released its list of the highest paid (male) actors on television. Coming in at No. 1 is Jim Parsons, who earned $26.5 million from June 2017 to June 2018. Johnny Galecki is second ($25 million), followed by Kunal Nayyer ($23.5 million) and Simon Helberg ($23.5 million). Rounding out the top five is "NCIS" star Mark Harmon ($19 million). Following Harmon and the stars of "The Big Bang Theory" are the four male stars of "Modern Family" — Ed O'Neill ($14 million), Eric Stonestreet ($13.5 million), Jesse Tyler Ferguson ($13 million) and Ty Burrell ($12 million). Ranking tenth is "The Walking Dead" star Andrew Lincoln ($11 million).
"Wheel of Fortune" to give away first house in show history
"Wheel of Fortune" is giving away a $350,000 home in Latitude Margaritaville — Jimmy Buffett's new retirement community in Daytona Beach, Florida — as part of its Home Sweet Home Giveaway. According to The Hollywood Reporter, anyone can enter the sweepstakes by tuning in to the show from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, recording the bonus round puzzle solution and submitting the answer online. (The winner will be selected at random.) In addition to the grand prize, "Wheel of Fortune" is giving away $500 Margaritaville gift cards to 20 first-prize winners. Meanwhile, contestants appearing on the show during the giveaway dates will play for vacations to Margaritaville resorts in Florida, the Caribbean and the Great Smoky Mountains. According to THR, Latitude Margaritaville is a community for individuals above the age of 55 "who wish to grow into a laidback Florida lifestyle." The property features a town square for community events, a pool with beach entry, cabanas, tiki huts, a poolside bar, tennis, pickleball and bocce ball courts, a fitness center with an aerobics studio, an indoor lap pool, a spa, fitness classes and wellness programs, a pet spa and a dog park.
"Jeopardy!" player doesn't know answer, offers meme instead
Contestant Erik Agard answered with a meme during the final round of the Oct. 22 episode of "Jeopardy!" The category was "places in the news." Read host Alex Trebek, "In a hint of the future, in 1973 Marjorie Post gave it to the U.S. Govt. as a warm-weather presidential retreat, but it was returned." Agard wrote in response, "What is you doing, baby?" (Twitter user Nick Joseph has used the line as a catchphrase since early 2017.) The correct answer, by the way, is Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort owned by Donald Trump.
"Wife Swap" son Jacob Stockdale charged with killing mother, brother
TMZ reported on Oct. 22 that prosecutors in Stark County, Ohio, have charged 26-year-old Jacob Stockdale, who appeared on a 2008 episode of "Wife Swap" when he was just a teenager (pictured), with two counts of murder for killing his mother and younger brother in June 2017. (He also attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head but ultimately survived.) Prosecutors reportedly presented Stockdale's case to a grand jury, which decided against the death penalty. Stockdale has pleaded not guilty and will face life in prison if convicted. On "Wife Swap," the Stockdales — who performed bluegrass as The Stockdale Family Band and lived on a 150-year-old farm — were depicted as devoutly religious and incredibly strict. Their sons, for example, were home-schooled and banned from dating, watching TV, playing video games and listening to pop music.
Tears on "Shark Tank" as kids pitch invention from late 9/11 firefighter dad
On the Oct. 21 episode of "Shark Tank," siblings Kaley, Christian and Keira Young pitched their late father's invention: the Cup Board Pro, a chopping board with a detachable bowl for easy cleanup. "It was his dream to pitch it on 'Shark Tank.' … Unfortunately, he passed away before he had that chance, but we're here today to continue his legacy and make that dream a reality," Kaley said of dad Kevin Young, who won Food Network's "Chopped" twice. He was also a firefighter in New York City and assisted with cleanup efforts at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He died from cancer related to his work at Ground Zero, passing away just three months before his children taped the "Shark Tank" episode in May. (According to USA Today, the Cup Board Pro bears the insignia of the firefighters who died on 9/11.) In 2012, around the time Kevin received the first prototypes for the Cup Board Pro, his wife died of breast cancer. "He put everything on hold to be at her side," said Kaley. So the Young children, who range in age from 15 to 24, launched an online store on their own, running the business out of their living room. All five Sharks — Daymond John, guest Shark Matt Higgins, Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary and Lori Greiner — were moved by the Youngs' story and combined forces to offer $100,000 to the siblings for a 20 percent stake in their business, vowing to donate profits to a charity that helps firefighters affected by 9/11.