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Patricia Heaton cried at the very end of “The Middle”

ABC(NEW YORK) — ABC’s successful family sitcom The Middle wrapped up Tuesday night after 9 seasons, and with it, Patricia Heaton, who also starred in Everybody Loves Raymond, had to say goodbye to another TV family.

“I feel a bit un-moored,” the Emmy winner admitted to ABC Radio. “I love having some free time. But my free time is most enjoyed when I know I have a job to go back to at the end of the free time.”

Another side-effect? “[T]he crazy dreams I’ve been having about people kicking me off the Warner Brothers lot!”

Her last day of shooting was tough — understandable, considering Heaton watched her character’s three onscreen kids grow up in front of her eyes. “I was rehearsing the night before going over my lines trying to memorize them and I kept breaking down and sobbing and I thought, ‘This is terrible! Because tomorrow either I’m not going to be able to get through it because I’m sobbing or I’m crying so much tonight that I will be as dry as a bone tomorrow.'”

Heaton told Kelly Ripa that it was only when the assistant director had her sign out at the end of her last day that she lost it, sobbing in her car. 

Heaton expressed, “You have an enormous amount of gratitude that you get to do this for a living and you get to make people laugh. And, I sometimes think of us as bunch of clowns when there’s other people out there curing cancer and whatever. But so many people come up to me and say things like, ‘When my Dad had cancer, your show was the one half hour that we could all just forget everything and laugh our heads off. So you know, I realize everybody has something to contribute.'”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Spoiler Alert! How Maddie Poppe found out she’d won “American Idol” before America did

ABC/Mitch Haaseth(NEW YORK) — On Monday night, Maddie Poppe won the American Idol crown, but even before Ryan Seacrest announced it, she knew she’d won…because she literally saw her name written on the card in Ryan’s hand.

“Every week…I [could] see the card, but I [didn’t] ever look,” she tells ABC Radio. “But this week…I knew I was gonna be able to see whose name it was. And I looked over at Caleb [Lee Hutchinson] and I couldn’t help but look down at the card, and I was like, ‘Ohmigosh! It’s my name!'”

Maddie says if you watch the moment back, “you can see, Caleb winks at me, and he kinda looks at me and in that moment, I knew that we both had seen the card.”

Caleb didn’t mind losing to Maddie, though, because as we now know, they’ve been a couple since January.  While Caleb says it was love at first sight for him, it took a bit longer for Maddie to come around.

“I was not looking for a relationship…I’ve just been burned a lot,” she tells ABC Radio. “But he captured my heart pretty quickly.  I mean, his personality just shines, and he makes me laugh more than anybody else in the whole world, so it didn’t take long!”

So how did Maddie, who described herself as an “underdog,” end up winning?  Well, in classic Idol fashion, she stayed true to herself.  In fact, she was surprised that the show’s producers “truly let me be exactly who I wanted to be.”

Maddie believes having judge Katy Perry on her side didn’t hurt either.

“Early on, she was saying, ‘Oh, this girl reminds me of myself,’ and was tweeting super-nice things,” Maddie recalls. “To have her support…to have her say that to the world…was pretty awesome.”  

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Philip Roth, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, dies at 85

D. Herrick/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — Philip Roth, the prolific author known for dark humored novels like Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy’s Complaint, died Tuesday in a New York City hospital of congestive heart failure, a close friend tells CNN. He was 85.

The Newark, New Jersey-born writer — whose more than 25 books mainly centered on the Jewish experience, the betrayal of American ideals, personal identity and the frailty of the human body — won nearly every literary honor, including two National Book Awards, a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral, and three PEN/Faulkner Awards.

Eight of Roth’s novels were made into films, including Goodbye Columbus, starring Richard Benjamin and Ali McGraw; Portnoy’s Complaint; The Human Stain, with Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman; The Humbling, featuring Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig; and American Pastoral, directed by and starring Ewan McGregor.

He retired from writing fiction in 2012, focusing thereafter on essays and criticism.

Roth was married twice: first to Margaret Martinson Williams from 1959 to 1963, then to stage actress Claire Bloom from 1990 to 1995.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Brynn Cartelli becomes the youngest winner of “The Voice”; coach Kelly Clarkson wins in her first season

Tyler Golden/NBC(LOS ANGELES) — Kelly Clarkson notched a victory in her very first season as a coach on The Voice, as her artist Brynn Cartelli was crowned the season 14 winner — the youngest in Voice history. She receives a recording contract as her grand prize.

Cartelli, a 15-year-old pop singer from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, finished ahead of runner-up, 18-year-old Britton Buchanan of Team Alicia Keys — who just missed winning her second straight title.

R&B powerhouse Kyla Jade and country/soul singer Spensha Baker, from Blake Shelton’s team, finished in third place and fourth place, respectively.

All of Team Adam Levine’s members were eliminated prior to the finale.

During the two-hour results show, each finalist performed with a special guest. Cartelli joined Julia Michaels to perform a medley of the latter’s singles “Issues” and “Jump”; Baker teamed up with Kane Brown for Brown’s “What If”; Buchanan joined Ryan Adams for a rendition of Adams’ “To Be Without You”; and Jade reunited with season 13 coach Jennifer Hudson — for whom Kyla was once a backup singer — for “I Know Where I’ve Been,” from Hairspray.

The musical lineup also included Dua Lipa performing her latest single, “IDGAF”; James Bay teaming up with Alicia Keys on “Us”; Florence + the Machine performing their latest single “Hunger”; Halseyand Big Sean teaming up for their single “Alone”; and Jason Aldean performing “Drowns the Whiskey.”

The Voice will be back with a new season in the fall on NBC, with coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and returning coach Jennifer Hudson.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Jamie Foxx to host the 2018 BET Awards

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — BET has tapped Academy Award winning actor Jamie Foxx to host the 2018 BET Awards.

The network announced on Tuesday that Foxx has signed on to host the annual event, which will take place in Los Angeles June 24. This will be Foxx’s second time hosting the music event — his first time was in 2009.

As previously noted, DJ Khaled tops the list of nominees this year with six nominations, including Video of the Year and two for Best Collaboration, with Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, for “Wild Thoughts,” and with Jay-Z, Future and Beyoncé for “Top Off.”

Kendrick Lamar follows with five nominations, while Migos and SZA have four each.  

The 2018 BET Awards air live Sunday, June 24 at 8 p.m. ET from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Taylor Swift is “so proud” of her “fuzzy daughters” and their “Deadpool 2” cameo

20th Century Fox(LOS ANGELES) — If your kids appeared in the movie that was currently #1 at the box office, you’d be proud, right? That’s why Taylor Swift is pretty excited right now.

In the movie Deadpool 2, star Ryan Reynolds, a good friend of Taylor’s, sports a shirt featuring a picture of Taylor’s two cats, Meredith and Olivia. The t-shirt says “Olivia & Meredith…best friends purrrr-ever.”

Taylor posted a still from the movie on her Instagram story and wrote, “I’m so proud of my fuzzy daughters! Thanks @VanCityReynolds!”

Taylor also posted a video captioned “Telling Mer the news,” in which she tells her cat, “In Deadpool 2, they put you and your sister on a shirt in the movie.” Meredith purrs loudly, which Taylor says means “she’s really happy.” She captioned the video, “The purring is really next level. MEREDITH LOVES A CAMEO.”

Then we see Olivia and hear Taylor saying, “How do you feel about the shirt?  The world is dying to know!” When Olivia gives no response, Taylor asks, “No comment?”  The cat then walks out of the frame. Taylor captioned that video “She’s very private.”

The nod to Taylor’s cats may be a thank-you from Reynolds, after Taylor featured James, his baby daughter with wife Blake Lively, on her album Reputation.  You can hear her in the intro to the song “Gorgeous.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bachelorette Becca Kufrin is engaged

Craig Sjodin(HOLLYWOOD) — It seems like new Bachelorette Becca Kufrin is going to get her happy ending after all.

ABC’s Good Morning America has confirmed that the reality TV star, who has wrapped production on her season of The Bachelorette, is engaged.

Of course, the details of the proposal — and the identity of her fiancé — are not yet available.

“I am engaged,” Kufrin said in an interview with PeopleTV. “It feels so good to say it, and you know, this time, I feel like it is going to stick.”

“It’s been a whirlwind,” she added. “It’s crazy, but it was so worth it.”

Arie Luyendyk Jr. proposed to Kufrin, 28, on last season’s Bachelor. However, after production ended, Luyendyk Jr. had a change of heart, and broke up with Kufrin as cameras rolled.

The Bachelorette will premiere on Monday, May 28, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. To read the full interview with Kufrin, pick up the latest issue of People magazine, on newsstands nationwide this Friday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Gangster’s paradise: Paul Bettany begged Ron Howard via text to join “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Lucasfilm(NEW YORK) — Actor Paul Bettany is still in theaters as Vision in Avengers: Infinity War, but on Friday you can see him without the purple android makeup as the villain in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Was the actor hesitant to jump into another massive movie franchise. “No!” he told ABC Radio emphatically. “In fact, I chased it!”

Solo reunited Bettany with his Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard, whom he considers family. Howard also directed both Bettany and his wife Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind, a role that earned her an Oscar. 

So when Howard replaced Solo‘s directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Bettany saw his chance.

“I texted Ron and I said, ‘Ron: I heard the news, and have you ever spent long winter evenings wondering why you aren’t in the Star Wars franchise? And he texted back, ‘Give me a couple of weeks.'”

A couple of weeks later, Bettany found himself on the set, playing the intergalactic crime lord Dryden Vos.

What can Bettany reveal? “Uh, I can tell you that he is a big-time gangster, and if you want to do a piece of work…a heist or whatever, in his galaxy, you have to pay him tribute.”

Sure enough, a young Han Solo, played by Alden Erenreich, and his onscreen mentor Beckett, played by Woody Harrelson, find themselves under the thumb of the ruthless character. “He was so much fun to play,” enthuses Bettany. 

“The costumes are fantastic, they have somehow both a Western cowboy aesthetic with a sort of Japanese aesthetic — sort of a samurai gunslinger thing that was —  yeah, it’s just, I just — I had a ball!”

Solo, which also stars Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke, is from Lucasfilm and Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Spike Lee is in a Brooklyn state of mind after winning the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival

ABC/Fred Lee(NEW YORK) — Spike Lee is ready to get back to work after receiving the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix Award Sunday for his forthcoming film BlacKkKlansman.

On Monday, Lee switched gears, posting a message from his hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

“Back To Reality. Back To Da People’s Republic Of Brooklyn,” he wrote on Instagram. “We Did Our Thang, We Represented. BK Always Standing UP. Ya-Dig???Sho-Nuff. And Dat’s Da “GRAND PRIX” Truth, Ruth.”

While Lee’s focused on filming the second season of his hit Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It, Lee’s friend and fellow filmmaker Ava DuVernay, offered a sweet message to honor Lee’s Grand Prix win.

“Let me tell you a small Sunday story,” DuVernay, who served as one of the festival’s jury members, tweeted. “We happened to be on the same flight back to NYC. And I happened to ask to see his history-making Cannes Grand Prix Prize. And he happened to say yes.”

She continued, “And then me and about 27 other passengers stood there and swooned and smiled. The End.”

Lee also shared a few photos during his time at Cannes, with a couple showing him saluting the African-American flag on his jacket. He captioned those photos, “Fist Up.”

BlacKkKlansman will open in theaters August 10.  That’s the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where one person died and 19 were injured.  The film also stars John David Washington, Laura Harrier, Corey Hawkins, Adam Driver, and Topher Grace. 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Are “SNL” star Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande an item?

Will Heath/NBC(NEW YORK) — It looks like Ariana Grande has moved on after ending her two-year relationship with rapper Mac Miller earlier this month — and is “casually dating” Saturday Night Live castmember Pete Davidson, a source tells Us Weekly.

The insider seems to confirm a story first reported by Bossip on Friday, telling Us that Ariana was spotted at the SNL after-party a week ago “hanging out with Pete and his mom.”

“Ariana is very happy,” the source continued.

Grande, 24, shared the news of her breakup with Miller — who was born Malcom McCormick — on her Instagram Story earlier this month, according to the entertainment magazine, writing, “I respect and adore him endlessly and am grateful to have him in my life in any form, at all times regardless of how our relationship changes or what the universe holds for each of us!”

She added, “Unconditional love is not selfish. It is wanting the best for that person even if at the moment, it’s not you,” she added.

Meanwhile, Davidson, also 24, recently ended his two-year relationship with Larry David’s daughter Cazzie.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.