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Study shows women still lagging behind on camera and behind the scenes in Hollywood

Producer and TV show creator Shonda Rhimes – Jay Goldman/Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — According to a study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University, some women have made great strides in showbiz, while others continue to lag behind.

The study looked at basically every show on TV between 2017 and 2018, analyzing 4,833 characters and 5,195 behind-the-scenes credits.  And its findings are surprising.

Latinas fared best: The number of Latinas in television speaking roles in at an all-time high, at 7%, up from 5% in 2016-2017. However, they still remain the most underrepresented group of actresses compared to their population in the U.S.

More sobering is that in that same time, women in speaking roles overall have slightly declined to 40% of all roles on TV.  

The number of black and Asian women in speaking roles on TV held steady at 19% and 6%, respectively. White women had 67% of the speaking jobs; the remaining 1% was “other.”

More troubling is how women are represented.

“…[M]ale characters remain more likely than females to be…seen at work, actually working,” the report says. Seventy-six percent of male characters had “identifiable” jobs, compared to only 63% of women.

Women did top the males identified on TV in “personal life-oriented roles” — like “wife and mother.”

When it comes to behind-the-scenes work, despite the colossal success of women like Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, there’s way more work to be done. 

The study says, “women comprised 27% of all creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography working on broadcast network, cable, and streaming programs.” This was down 1% from 2016-2017. 

Here’s the breakdown of how many women are doing which jobs in TV entertainment, according to the university study:

Producers — 40%
Executive producers — 26%
Writers — 25% 
Editors — 24%
Creators — 22%
Directors — 17%
Directors of photography — 3%

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kevin Hart serves as principal for a day at Dallas high school

ABC/Randy Holmes(DALLAS) — Kevin Hart gave some high school students in Dallas the surprise of a lifetime.

During an assembly at Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School Wednesday, captured by ABC News affiliate WFAA, the school’s principal, Scott Rhudes, shocked students by announcing he was stepping down from his post. But the real surprise came when Rhudes named a new interim principal — which turned out to be Hart.

At the mention of his name, students erupted in applause and cheers which quickly increased in volume when Hart walked out.

Taking the mic, the comedian — who was also joined by Night School producer Will Packer — spoke to students about the policies he’d like to implement as their principal, including a noon start time for class and an all-chicken-nuggets lunch menu.

Hart’s appearance was to promote his new movie comedy Night School, in which Hart plays a successful businessman who attends night school to earn his GED. Also starring Tiffany Haddish, the film opens September 28.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Anna Kendrick talks “flirtation” with Blake Lively in ‘A Simple Favor’

Lionsgate/Peter Lovino(NEW YORK) — People have been describing A Simple Favor, the new thriller starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, as an amped up Gone Girl. But Kendrick, who plays high-strung mommy vlogger Stephanie, has a better analogy for the film.

“It’s almost like if Sex and the City, like, if Samantha went missing but it’s like for real is missing,” she tells ABC Radio. “It’s not like, ‘Oh! Where’s Samantha?’ It’s like, ‘OK, but really, where’s Samantha?’”

In this case, it’s Lively’s mysterious Emily who goes MIA prompting Stephanie to become even more entangled in her friend’s life. Kendrick says she loved portraying the unlikely friendship between the two women.

“There’s an element of almost — like, not in a romantic way necessarily — but there’s a flirtation with the two of them where they don’t really understand the other,” she says. “It’s like one of those…videos of monkeys and tigers becoming friends, where it’s like, ‘What even are you? But, like, I guess this is kinda cool.’”

In her search for Emily, Stephanie tracks down Emily’s eccentric mother, played by Jean Smart.

“I always wanted to play, you know, the crazy lady in the dilapidated mansion with the cats, all the cats, and here I am,” Smart says.

Through all the plot’s twists and turns, director Paul Feig — a veteran of comedies like Bridesmaids — makes sure the film doesn’t take itself too seriously.

“It’s such a great thriller but it also has this bizarre sense of humor occasionally,” Smart explains. “You’re thinking, ‘Was I supposed to laugh at that?’ Yes, indeed you are supposed to laugh at that.”

A Simple Favor is in theaters today.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Designing Women’ headed back to TV

Photo by Fotos International/Courtesy Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — The Sugarbakers are back in business.

ABC has a script deal with Designing Women creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, making the multi-camera comedy series the next show to get a revival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The project, which has been in the works for months, is billed as a sequel to the original series that debuted 25 years ago and ran for seven seasons. 

The news comes after Thomason revealed, in a Hollywood Reporter column, that her former boss, recently ousted CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, kept her shows off the air for seven years — this despite the fact that at the time, Bloodworth-Thomason was one of the most powerful female producers in Hollywood.

The sequel will follow the next generation of Sugarbakers with a crop of new, young, female designers at an Atlanta interior design firm. It’s poised to have the same razor-sharp dialogue as the original series. The script is also expected to cut through the political, cultural, and social factions that rarely agree on anything. 

Thomason’s husband Harry Thomason will executive produce the comedy that will come from Sony Pictures Television — the same studio that produced the original series. 

“I’m very excited to be working with ABC,” Bloodworth-Thomason told The Hollywood Reporter a day after penning the column. She added, “Normally, I’m not a fan of reboots, but Designing Women does seem to have the right feng shui for all that is going on right now. We could definitely have some fun.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dolly Parton is bringing ‘9 to 5’ to the London stage in new musical

ABC/Lou Rocco(LONDON) — Dolly Parton will be working around the clock to bring the classic 1980 film 9 to 5 to the stage in a new musical.

The show will make its debut in London’s Savoy Theatre for a limited run from Jan. 28 to Aug. 31, 2019. The book is written by the original film’s writer Patricia Resnick, and Parton has written the music and score.

The cast will feature Louise Redknapp as Violet Newstead, Amber Davies as Judy Bernly, Natalie McQueen as Doralee Rhodes, and Brian Conley as Franklin Hart. 

9 to 5 follows three working women as they battle their sexist and egotistical boss in a plan to take him down and reform the office work environment. 

Tickets for 9 to 5 The Musical go on sale Tuesday. 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Julie Chen signs off ‘Big Brother’ using Moonves name in first TV appearance since husband’s firing

Monty Brinton/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved(LOS ANGELES) — Julie Chen made her first TV appearance since her husband, Les Moonves, was ousted as CBS’ CEO after sexual harassment allegations were revealed — and she’s certainly making a statement. 

Chen returned to host Big Brother Thursday night, showing support for her husband by signing off using his last name, which is something she doesn’t regularly do. 

“From outside the Big Brother house…I’m Julie Chen-Moonves. Good night,” she said

Earlier this week, Chen was a no-show on the season premiere of her CBS show The Talk. 

In a statement Chen noted on Monday, “I am taking a few days off from The Talk to be with my family. I will be back soon and will see you Thursday night on Big Brother.”

Chen has defended her husband since the accusations from another group of six more women; these new accusations of sexual harassment — and in at least two cases, physical and sexual assault — were made in a follow-up article by Ronan Farrow published in The New Yorker.

Chen had called Moonves a “good man, a loving father” and a “kind, decent, and moral human being,” adding on her chat show that she stands “by that statement today, tomorrow, forever.”

Moonves has denied all allegations.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘The Predator’, ‘A Simple Favor’ and ‘White Boy Rick’ top this week’s new movies

20th Century Fox(LOS ANGELES) — Here are the films opening nationwide on Friday:

* The Predator — The fourth film in The Predator series follows a group of mercenaries — played by Moonlight‘s Trevante Rhodes, Sterling K. Brown and Key & Peele‘s Keegan-Michael Key — and a disgruntled teacher — portrayed by Olivia Munn — who try to protect a small town from an alien invasion. Narcos‘ Boyd Holbrook and Room‘s Jacob Tremblay also star. Rated R.

* A Simple FavorBridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig helms this thriller, starring Anna Kendrick as a small-town blogger trying to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of her best friend — played by Blake Lively. Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Linda Cardellini and Jean Smart also star. Rated R.

* Unbroken: Path to Redemption — The followup to 2014’s Unbroken picks up where the original left off, chronicling World War II vet Louis Zamperini — played by Samuel Hunt — and his conversion to evangelical Christianity following one of Reverend Billy Graham’s church revivals. Rated PG-13.

* White Boy Rick — Newcomer Richie Merritt plays the titular character in this true story of teenager Richard Wershe Jr. — a.k.a. White Boy Rick — who became the youngest undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s and was ultimately arrested and sentenced to life in prison for drug-trafficking. Matthew McConaughey also stars, along with Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, Bruce Dern, and Piper Laurie. Rated R.

* The Children Act — Emma Thompson stars as a judge who must decide a case involving a teenage boy who refuses a blood transfusion on religious grounds, while dealing with her failing marriage. Stanley Tucci and Dunkirk‘s Fionn Whitehead also star. Rated R.

* Lizzie — This psychological thriller, starring Chloë Sevigny, is based on the true story of Lizzie Borden, accused and acquitted of the 1892 axe murders of her family. Also starring Kristen Stewart. Rated R.

(The Predator trailer contains sporadic uncensored profanity.)


Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

First look: Viola Davis returns to the classroom in epic ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ season 5

ABC/Bob D’Amico(LOS ANGELES) — Viola Davis’ Annalise Keating makes a grand return in the first official trailer for season five of ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Fresh off of her Supreme Court victory in season four, law professor Annalise Keating welcomes the new batch of students attending her class.

“And to think, they wouldn’t even let me step foot on this campus a few months ago,” Davis, as Keating, says. “Despite what you think, this is not a class at all. This is a sacrifice. Brutal. Mean. Depressing. But that’s what it costs to change the world.”

After a pause, she adds, “So…who wants in?”

The teaser also alludes to another murder for the class to solve, in addition to a possible marriage for one of her former students.

HTGAWM also stars Billy Brown as Detective Nate Lahey, Jack Falahee as Connor Walsh, Aja Naomi King as Michaela Pratt, Matt McGorry as Asher Millstone, Karla Souza as Laurel Castillo, Charlie Weber as Frank Delfino, Liza Weil as Bonnie Winterbottom and Conrad Ricamora as Oliver Hampton.

The fifth season of How To Get Away With Murder premieres September 27 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Rihanna hosting her annual Diamond Ball tonight, featuring Donald Glover, Dave Chappelle, Issa Rae, and more

ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) — Donald Glover, Issa Rae, and Dave Chappelle will be among the stars joining Rihanna tonight at her fourth annual Diamond Ball gala in New York City.

Rae is hosting the black-tie charity event at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan. Glover will perform as Childish Gambino, and DJ Mustard will also perform. The night also features a charity auction.

Chappelle hosted last year’s gala, which featured performances by Kendrick Lamar and Calvin Harris. The 2017 edition raised over $5 million for RiRi’s Clara Lionel Foundation which supports education, health and emergency response programs to improve the lives of young people around the world.

The auction items include VIP tickets to the Beyonce/JAY-Z On The Run 2 tour, and a trip for four to Las Vegas to see Mariah Carey perform at Caesars Palace.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

John Legend and Common raise nearly $2 million for the GOOD+ Foundation

Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for GOOD+ Foundation(NEW YORK) — John Legend and Common brought the “Glory” to New York City’s Carnegie Hall Wednesday night, as they helped raise nearly $2 million for the GOOD+ Foundation. The charity provides low-income families with social services and educational support.

Common, Robert Gasper and Karriem Riggins performed as the group August Greene. Legend sang his hits “Love Me Now” and “All of Me,” plus a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark. He later joined Common to perform their Oscar and Grammy award-winning song, “Glory.”

ABC’s Michael Strahan hosted the evening of music and comedy, which also featured Leslie Jones from Saturday Night Live. Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica Seinfeld, founded the GOOD+ Foundation, and Jerry supported his wife with a stand-up comedy set at the event.

Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen, as well as Chris Rock and Tiffany Haddish, were among the stars attending the charity event.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.