Good luck everyone!!!

2020 Emmy Awards still set for September despite coronavirus

The Television Academy is adjusting the eligibility and voting deadlines for this year’s Primetime Emmy calendar in response to concerns made by TV communication executives and awards strategists in the current coronavirus climate.

The dates for the Creative Emmy Awards and Primetime Emmy shows remain unchanged respectively on Sept. 12 to 13 and Sept. 20, and will only be moved should state and national safety directives deem them to be, should the coronavirus worsen.

This morning’s big changes involve the entry deadline moving close to four weeks from May 11 to June 5, and the Phase one voting period jumping from June 15 to 29 to July 2 to 13 with the new nominations announcement date being July 28 instead of July 14. The Phase one period thus shrinks from 15 days to 12 days.

Phase 2 voting, which was originally set for Aug. 17 to 31, will start slightly later, and shave off four days, now occurring between Aug. 21 to 31.

Also being extended is the eligibility date for hanging episodes for regular series and limited series, as the TV Academy takes into account production and programming delays. Now, all hanging episodes must broadcast or post on an accessible platform by June 30, instead of May 31. Both regular and limited series must still premiere by the end of this year’s eligibility date which remains May 31. A minimum of six episodes continues to be required for a show to be qualified in the series category. A limited series in its entirety must air or post on a platform before June 30, and if it doesn’t, then the limited series will qualify in the 2020-2021 Emmy year.

Meanwhile, all TV Academy FYC events “whether with a live audience, streaming or recorded for posting on a viewing platform” per the org remain suspended for the current Emmy season.

In recent weeks, the TV Academy appeared to be standing firm on their original voting and eligibility dates. However, TV publicists and Emmy campaign strategists reportedly voiced their reservations about promoting too heavily and too soon, thus wanting to exercise a greater degree of sensitivity in a spring that’s been rocked by COVID-19: Many productions have shut down, leaving many out of work, and the whole atmosphere across the nation is rather dour as we all self-quarantine. Emmy season has traditionally been decked with glam marketing, billboards, food trucks, stunt events, big DVD boxes and soirées. Earlier this year, to tame some of that, the TV Academy banned DVD mailers to voters, and in doing so, favored online screeners. The hope here with the TV Academy’s tweaking of the FYC calendar is that we’ll be on the other side of the curve in regards to the coronavirus, and in a lighter-spirited environment. Between the entertainment capitals, New York City currently counts 23K COVID-19 cases (and 365 deaths as of yesterday) while Los Angeles counts 1,2K cases (and 21 deaths) according to reports.

Still, this Emmy season has forced a lot of campaigners to continually re-think their plans. Screenings, Q&As, and pop-up hubs like those previously hosted by Amazon and Netflix are expected to be near-extinct in addition to a broad billboard presence of shows with few cars on the road. According to sources, the expectation is that networks and streamers will relegate their Emmy campaigning to digital, TV, and radio.

And the lengthening of the hangover episode deadlines? Will that new grace period now benefit FX’s season 4 of limited series “Fargo,” HBO’s “Undoing” or other shows? That’s hard to predict at this point in time as we don’t know how fast the current COVID-19 climate will quell, and how feasibly episodic production will resume. “Fargo” has two more episodes to shoot out of its ten order, with FX already pushing the premiere of the multi-Emmy winning limited series from April 19 to later this year. Yesterday, HBO released the following statement “In light of current events, HBO’s six-part limited series ‘The Undoing,’ will now debut this fall” instead of May 10. Meanwhile, National Geographic’s “Genius: Aretha” halted production, with its May 25 premiere date in limbo.

In regards to the Creative Emmys and Primetime ceremonies, the TV Academy also mentioned today that together with ABC, they’ll be monitoring the recommendations from the CDC and the L.A. County Department of Health when it comes to the coronavirus and whether they should delay both shows or not.


Very sad news. May he rest in peace.

Country singer Joe Diffie dies of coronavirus complications

EW YORK — Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s with chart-topping ballads and honky-tonk singles like “Home” and “Pickup Man,” has died after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 61.

Diffie on Friday announced he had contracted the coronavirus, becoming the first country star to go public with such a diagnosis. Diffie’s publicist Scott Adkins said the singer died Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee, due to complications from the virus.

Diffie, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 25 years. His hits included “Honky Tonk Attitude,” “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die),” “Bigger Than the Beatles” and “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).”

His mid-90s albums “Honkey Tonk Attitude” and “Third Rock From the Sun” went platinum. Eighteen of Diffie’s singles landed in the top 10, with five going No. 1. In his 2013 single “1994,” Jason Aldean name-checked the ’90s country mainstay.

Diffie is survived by his wife, Tara Terpening Diffie, and five children from his five marriages.


For those who still care about this show…

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ plans early season finale for April 9

Grey Sloan Memorial is closing its doors ahead of schedule. The Season 16 finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” will now air on Thursday, April 9 (ABC, 9/8c), TVLine has learned.

The major scheduling change comes as a result of ABC deciding not to resume production on Season 16, which shut down earlier this month in response to the coronavirus crisis. Twenty-one of 25 episodes were completed when production was halted; the status of the remaining four Season 16 episodes is TBD. (Click here for a complete list of other early finales.)

Neither “Station 19” nor “How to Get Away With Murder” (which resumes its farewell season on April 2 and finales on May 14) are affected by the “Grey’s” programming changes.

That means “Grey’s” only has two new episodes left to air this season: April 2’s “Sing It Again,” in which Owen and Link treat an older woman who wakes up from surgery and can’t stop singing, and April 9’s “Put on a Happy Face,” which will now serve as the season ender.

Here’s what fans can expect from the new finale, according to ABC’s official synopsis: “Link tries to convince Amelia to take it easy during the final stage of her pregnancy; Hayes asks Meredith a surprising question; Owen makes a shocking discovery.”

“Out of an abundance of caution, production is postponed on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ effective immediately,” showrunner/EP Krista Vernoff, director/EP Debbie Allen and line producer James Williams said in a letter to the ABC drama’s cast and crew on March 12. “We are going home now for at least two weeks and waiting to see how the coronavirus situation evolves. This decision was made to ensure the health and safety of the whole cast and crew and the safety of our loved ones outside of work, and it was made in accordance with Mayor Garcetti’s suggestion that we not gather in groups of more than 50.

“Stay safe, stay healthy, stay hydrated, stay home as much as possible, and wash your hands frequently,” the trio added. “Please take care of yourselves and each other. As updates come in, we will keep you informed. Thank you for all that you do!”


I know I should be watching this show…but I haven’t started yet.

‘Killing Eve’ Season 3 premiere to air two weeks early

Fans of “Killing Eve,” the Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer-fronted psychopath drama, are in for an early thrill after AMC Networks moved the show’s third season premiere forward by two weeks.

AMC Networks Entertainment Group will now launch the Phoebe Waller-Bridge-created drama on Sunday, April 12, as opposed to its previous premiere of April 26. The eight-part series will be simulcast on BBC America and AMC.

“We know how adored this series is and we know how keen people are for great content right now,” said Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios. “This season of ‘Killing Eve’ digs deep psychologically, and with actors like Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer and Fiona Shaw the results are nothing short of astonishing. We literally couldn’t wait for fans to see it.”

It is the latest scheduling move for the AMC Networks Entertainment Group, which postponed the launch of its zombie spinoff series “The Walking Dead: Beyond World” to the end of the year as a result of the Coronavirus. AMC was one of a number of linear networks facing an ad-hit in Q2.

The third season of “Killing Eve,” which has already been renewed for a fourth season, continues the story of two women with brutal pasts, addicted to each other but now trying desperately to live their lives without their drug of choice. For Villanelle (Comer), the assassin without a job, Eve (Oh) is dead. For Eve, the ex-MI6 operative hiding in plain sight, Villanelle will never find her. All seems fine until a shocking and personal death sets them on a collision course yet again. The journey back to each other will cost both of them friends, family, and allegiances … and perhaps a share of their souls. Fiona Shaw and Kim Bodnia also star.

Season 3 cast also includes Harriet Walter (“Succession”), Danny Sapani (“Harlots”), Gemma Whelan (“Game of Thrones”), Camille Cottin (“Call My Agent”), Steve Pemberton (“Inside No. 9”), Raj Bajaj (“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding”), Turlough Convery (“Ready Player One”), Pedja Bjelac (“Harry Potter”) and Evgenia Dodina (“One Week and a Day”).

“Killing Eve” is produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd. for BBC America and is distributed by Endeavor Content.

British writer Suzanne Heathcote (“Fear the Walking Dead”) serves as lead writer and executive producer for season three, continuing the tradition of passing the baton to a new female writing voice. Executive producers are Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Gina Mingacci, Damon Thomas, Jeff Melvoin, Suzanne Heathcote and Sandra Oh. Nigel Watson also serves as producer on the series.


Kenny Rogers was a part of my family growing up. I love him. RIP Kenny!!

Country singer Kenny Rogers dead at 81

Actor-singer Kenny Rogers, the smooth, Grammy-winning balladeer who spanned jazz, folk, country and pop with such hits as Lucille, Lady and Islands in the Stream and embraced his persona as “The Gambler” on record and on TV died Friday night. He was 81.

He died at home in Sandy Springs, Ga., representative Keith Hagan told The Associated Press. He was under hospice care and died of natural causes, Hagan said.

The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys and was the star of TV movies based on “The Gambler” and other songs, making him a superstar in the ’70s and ’80s. Rogers thrived for some 60 years before retired from touring in 2017 at age 79. Despite his crossover success, he always preferred to be thought of as a country singer.

“You either do what everyone else is doing and you do it better, or you do what no one else is doing and you don’t invite comparison,” Rogers told The Associated Press in 2015. “And I chose that way because I could never be better than Johnny Cash or Willie or Waylon at what they did. So I found something that I could do that didn’t invite comparison to them. And I think people thought it was my desire to change country music. But that was never my issue.”

“Kenny was one of those artists who transcended beyond one format and geographic borders,” says Sarah Trahern, chief executive officer of the Country Music Association. “He was a global superstar who helped introduce country music to audiences all around the world.”

Rogers was a five-time CMA Award winner and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

A true rags-to-riches story, Rogers was raised in public housing in Houston Heights with seven siblings. As a 20-year-old, he had a gold single called That Crazy Feeling, under the name Kenneth Rogers, but when that early success stalled, he joined a jazz group, the Bobby Doyle Trio, as a standup bass player.

But his breakthrough came when he was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels, a folk group, in 1966. The band reformed as First Edition and scored a pop hit with the psychedelic song, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In). Rogers and First Edition mixed country-rock and folk on songs like Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town, a story of a Vietnam veteran begging his girlfriend to stay.

After the group broke up in 1974, Rogers started his solo career and found a big hit with the sad country ballad Lucille, in 1977, which crossed over to the pop charts and earned Rogers his first Grammy. Suddenly the star, Rogers added hit after hit for more than a decade.

The Gambler, the Grammy-winning story song penned by Don Schlitz, came out in 1978 and became his signature song with a signature refrain: “You gotta know when to hold `em, know when to fold ’em.” The song spawned a hit TV movie of the same name and several more sequels featuring Rogers as professional gambler Brady Hawkes, and led to a lengthy side career for Rogers as a TV actor and host of several TV specials.

Other hits included You Decorated My Life, Every Time Two Fools Collide with Dottie West, Don’t Fall In Love with a Dreamer with Kim Carnes, and Coward of the County. One of his biggest successes was Lady, written by Lionel Richie, a chart topper for six weeks straight in 1980. Richie said in a 2017 interview with the AP that he often didn’t finish songs until he had already pitched them, which was the case for “Lady.”

“In the beginning, the song was called, Baby,” Richie said. “And because when I first sat with him, for the first 30 minutes, all he talked about was he just got married to a real lady. A country guy like him is married to a lady. So, he said, `By the way, what’s the name of the song?”‘ Richie replies: “Lady.”

Over the years, Rogers worked often with female duet partners, most memorably, Dolly Parton. The two were paired at the suggestion of the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb, who wrote Islands in the Stream.

“Barry was producing an album on me and he gave me this song,” Rogers told the AP in 2017. “And I went and learned it and went into the studio and sang it for four days. And I finally looked at him and said, ‘Barry, I don’t even like this song anymore.’ And he said, ‘You know what we need? We need Dolly Parton.’ I thought, ‘Man, that guy is a visionary.'”

Coincidentally, Parton was actually in the same recording studio in Los Angeles when the idea came up.

“From the moment she marched into that room, that song never sounded the same,” Rogers said. “It took on a whole new spirit.”

The two singers toured together, including in Australia and New Zealand in 1984 and 1987, and were featured in a HBO concert special. Over the years the two would continue to record together, including their last duet, “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” which was released in 2013. Parton reprised “Islands in the Stream” with Rogers during his all-star retirement concert held in Nashville in October 2017.

Rogers invested his time and money in a lot of other endeavours over his career, including a passion for photography that led to several books, as well as an autobiography, Making It With Music. He had a chain of restaurants called “Kenny Rogers Roasters,” and was a partner behind a riverboat in Branson, Missouri. He was also involved in numerous charitable causes, among them the Red Cross and MusiCares, and was part of the all-star We are the World recording for famine relief.

By the ’90s, his ability to chart hits had waned, although he still remained a popular live entertainer with regular touring. Still he was an inventive businessman and never stopped trying to find his way back onto the charts.

At the age of 61, Rogers had a brief comeback on the country charts in 2000 with a hit song Buy Me A Rose, thanks to his other favourite medium, television. Producers of the series Touched By An Angel wanted him to appear in an episode, and one of his managers suggested the episode be based on his latest single. That cross-promotional event earned him his first No. 1 country song in 13 years.

Rogers is survived by his wife, Wanda, and his sons Justin, Jordan, Chris and Kenny Jr., as well as two brothers, a sister and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, his representative said. The family is planning a private service “out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency,” a statement posted early Saturday read. A public memorial will be held at a later date.


Very, very cool casting!!

Rosario Dawson cast as Ahsoka Tano in ‘The Mandalorian’

inally something to get excited about: Rosario Dawson has been cast in Season 2 of Disney+’s “The Mandalorian.”

Dawson, 40, will guest star as Ahsoka Tano, Variety confirmed. In the animated “Star Wars” series “The Clone Wars,” the character is Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice. The role has been voiced by Ashley Eckstein and is a favorite among true “Star Wars” fans.

Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” is slated to drop on Disney+ this fall. The live-action show’s creator Jon Favreau also shared that Carl Weathers, who plays Greef Carga in “The Mandalorian,” is set to direct an episode of the second season.

The first season, which stars Pedro Pascal as a helmeted bounty hunter, ended with his character fleeing to find the home planet of a creature now colloquially known as Baby Yoda — the show’s most adorable and viral export.

Timeline-wise, it’s unknown how Dawson’s character will fit into the storyline. However, “The Clone Wars,” which features Ahsoka heavily, takes place before “The Mandalorian” plot begins.

Dawson’s also been in the news for her relationship with New Jersey senator and former presidential candidate Cory Booker, 50.


If you haven’t re-watched it again yet, you should.

How the movie ‘Contagion’ perfectly predicted the 2020 coronavirus crisis

The COVID-19 crisis caught a lot of people flat-footed — including an alarming number of people in government — but to anyone who’s seen “Contagion,” this all seems a bit like deja vu.

The drama, which hit theaters in 2011, is about a regular family man (Matt Damon) trying to navigate a partial societal collapse after a deadly virus sweeps across the globe. As of Friday, it was the third most popular movie on iTunes — and the only film in the top 10 that didn’t come out in 2019.

The filmmakers, including director Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Burns, set out to make a film that was as realistic as possible. And they accomplished that, in part, by consulting numerous real-life epidemiological experts.

“Their goal was to try and really show people as accurate a picture that could be conjured, in hopes that it would motivate political leaders to get mobilized,” says Laurie Garrett, one of those health experts consulted by the filmmakers.

Garrett is a former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations who has been tracking outbreaks for decades. She published the bestselling book “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance” in 1994.

In early versions of the film script, the bug was going to be related to the flu virus that killed millions in 1918. But then a virus from the same subtype — H1N1 — known as the “swine flu” hit in 2009, luckily with limited casualties.

“It wasn’t a super virulent strain,” Garrett says. “It made no sense to use that because humanity had just gone through it.”

So the script was rewritten to focus on a hypothetical virus that originated in Hong Kong, designed with the help of Ian Lipkin, the director of Columbia’s Center for Infection and Immunity.

“We’ve generally seen a lot [of diseases] arising out of Asia because of the tremendous disruption in that part of the world,” Garrett says. “Bats and birds are deeply stressed because of deforestation and climate change.”

In “Contagion,” a bat drops a piece of a fruit, which is eaten by a pig. That pig is then slaughtered for consumption, passing on a virus to humans.

Scientists believe that the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 300,000 people worldwide and claimed over 11,000 lives, may also have come from bats.

“Bats have a high index of viruses in their saliva,” Garrett says.

None of these viruses harm the bats themselves, serving as a defense mechanism to ward off predators.

One of the reasons “Contagion” feels so prescient is because of its myriad subplots, each representative of events and behaviors that Garrett says almost always come with a pandemic. “Contagion” not only gives an illuminating glimpse into what happened — but what might.

“I’ve been in more than 30 epidemics, and the same things happen over and over again,” Garrett says.

“We always get scumbags off the Internet claiming to have a cure,” the author adds.

In the film, Jude Law plays an unscrupulous blogger who asserts forsythia, a flowering plant, can kill the virus. In real life, we have Alex Jones and Jim Bakker peddling supposed elixirs on TV.

The movie also nails the range of psychological reactions that come during an outbreak.

None of these viruses harm the bats themselves, serving as a defense mechanism to ward off predators.

One of the reasons “Contagion” feels so prescient is because of its myriad subplots, each representative of events and behaviors that Garrett says almost always come with a pandemic. “Contagion” not only gives an illuminating glimpse into what happened — but what might.

“I’ve been in more than 30 epidemics, and the same things happen over and over again,” Garrett says.

“We always get scumbags off the Internet claiming to have a cure,” the author adds.

In the film, Jude Law plays an unscrupulous blogger who asserts forsythia, a flowering plant, can kill the virus. In real life, we have Alex Jones and Jim Bakker peddling supposed elixirs on TV.

The movie also nails the range of psychological reactions that come during an outbreak.

For another, “cancel all your travel plans. You’re not going anywhere,” Garrett says. If you have an out-of-town relative you’d like to be near, go “there today or tomorrow, because pretty soon you’re not going to have [the option].”

But on an uplifting note, “Contagion” does offer one final, all-important message, Garrett says:

“Society is better off in a plague when everyone works together and cares for one another and tries to muddle through a nightmare.”


CONTAGION plays like a documentary now.

How ‘Contagion’ Suddenly Became the Most Urgent Movie of 2020

It starts with a cough. You’ve heard the sound a million times before, in the same way you’ve seen people grip a subway pole, hand over a credit card, pass someone else their phone a million times before. Only this slightly hoarse, barking noise plays out over a black screen, it’s currently the sole object of your focus, and vaguely ominous. Oh wait, no worries, it’s coming from Gwyneth Paltrow. There she is, sitting in an airport, talking to someone on her cell (the voice on the other end belongs to director Steven Soderbergh), telling them that she’s glad they connected before she heads home. Just an Oscar winner chatting about an illicit tryst while eating beer nuts from a bowl at the bar. All good.

She does seem a tad pale and sweaty, however. So, for that matter, does that Ukrainian model in London, that Tokyo-based businessman, and the man on the train in Kowloon. He’s got a fairly nasty cough as well. You start to notice all of the tiny interactions they have with other people: hugging loved ones, nestling themselves into crowded elevators, using public transit, walking through an open-air fish market. They’re so innocuous, you’d hardly register them at all. Later on, however, you remember all of the little everyday points of contact with folks they have. You also recall the population numbers of the cities they are all in, stats which accompany those introductory scenes and number in the millions. The death toll will be substantial. Time is already running out.

This is how Contagion starts, not with a bang but with a whimper, and the future Goop founder hacking up a lung. If you saw Soderbergh’s all-star disaster movie when it came out back in 2011, you’d have recognized it as a particularly intense type of entertainment. You wouldn’t call it escapism — it’s a bit too bleak for that. But there’s a momentum to it that you associate with a night at the multiplex, with movie stars looking tense and thoughtful while their crusty-mouthed co-stars drift about in cadaverous makeup. Soderbergh knows how to shoot a thriller. Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns knows how to construct one. Cliff Martinez’s synth score couldn’t be more propulsive or more perfectly John Carpenter-esque. It’s a movie that never stops moving.

But while there are lots of films about battling viruses, ranging from the prestigious to the pulpy, Contagion has become the go-to viewing choice for people trying to make sense of the moment we find ourselves in right now. Back in January, The Hollywood Reporter noted that the almost-decade-old drama was the 10th-most-rented movie on iTunes. Go to the service’s charts right now, the day after a handful of major cities declared a state of emergency, and it’s currently in the No. 4 slot. (Should you open up the iTunes app on your laptop or your Apple TV, you’ll notice it’s listed as second in rentals, just behind Bombshell.) Speaking to Slate a few days ago, Burns noted that “whether on social media or in conversations with friends … people will say to me, ‘This is uncanny how similar it is.’” By “it,” he’s not talking about the film’s fictional virus MEV-1, which has a 72-hour incubation period and a much higher fatality rate than the present predictions regarding the coronavirus. He’s talking about the sense of watching things fall apart as everyday life grinds to a halt. Listen to experts talking about fomites and hand-washing techniques on TV — not the monitors framed in the film, but on real-life TV — and it’s as if you have stepped through the looking glass.

Contagion has, perhaps a little surprisingly, become the flashback film of the moment precisely because it’s not an outrageous worst-case scenario but an eerily realistic one. When a notable actor dies very early on, said A-lister does not return from the dead, arms outstretched and craving the taste of brains. Aliens are not responsible for the virus attacking humans; nor, for that matter, is it the result of foreign agents disrupting the American way of life, despite what fearmongers on a particular conservative news network would have you believe. What may be the single most chilling aspect of Soderbergh and Burns’ heavily researched scenario is how random the MEV-1’s creation is. “The wrong pig met up with the wrong bat,” a scientist notes after the genetic makeup of the virus is discovered. It’s almost a throwaway statement, until you get to the end and the film shows you exactly how “Day 1” played out. A bat happens to defecate in a pig pen. A little porcine fellow happens to consume it. He’s brought to a casino in Macao to be prepared for someone’s dinner; the chef happens to shake the hand of a visiting businesswoman. She happens to blow on the dice of the businessman playing next to her at a craps table. All it takes is the right series of wrong moves.

It’s everything that happens after that narratively/before that scene chronologically, however, that has likely made Contagion the single most urgent movie of the moment, and thus the most (re)viewed. It’s a disaster movie, but it’s also a pandemic procedural, one devoted to charting the how, when, where, why — and most important, what happens next. The film’s CDC and WHO representatives are competent, intelligent, and organized; they have mobilized to the best of their collective abilities. Kate Winslet’s doctor puts her life on the line; a San Francisco medical professional (played by Elliot Gould) does defy direct orders to destroy his samples but ends up uncovering a key piece of the puzzle. The Centers for Disease Control researcher who first charts the when-bat-meets-pig origins ends up testing a vaccine on herself, willfully ignoring protocol … but voila, she now proves there’s a workable vaccine. For every scene involving blogger Jude Law cashing in on the chaos or Matt Damon’s dad staving off people in the throws of extreme prepare-anoia, there are several sequences in which our better angels are on display, and there’s a sense that there are actually adults in the room.

And that last bit in particular is something we really aren’t getting right now when we hear about travel bans in lieu of testing, delayed responses instead of determination to make up for lost time, past leaders being defensively blamed rather than current ones acting with accountability. In that sense, maybe Contagion really is escapism. Despite the gruesome scenes of people dying and overall sense that society is just one viral video away from sheer anarchy, it’s a hopeful movie. Trust in scientists, and the innate decency in people, and we will prevail. Things fall apart, and then you put them back together again. Use common sense. Pray to your respective gods but also, y’know, wash your hands. It will get bad, the movie tells us. But it will also get better. People are probably flocking to this movie to see what may be in store for us in the next month or so. That last bit of optimism it offers us couldn’t have come at a better time.


I will miss going to the movies over the next little while.

Onward retains top spot at the box office, amidst record lows due to coronavirus concerns

Onward has retained its top spot at the box office during its second week in theaters with $10.5 million, during a weekend that marked the lowest theatergoing turnout in over two decades.

The animated Pixar film took a major hit as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the globe, with major events and film releases being canceled or pushed back. On Friday, AMC Theaters and Regal announced it would be reducing the amount of tickets available for screenings by 50 percent as part of an effort to promote “social distancing.”

“This was predestined to be a very low grossing weekend at the box office with social distancing protocols seeing movie theaters appropriately taking steps to ensure the safety and health of their patrons and employees while still presenting movies to consumers who had the desire to partake in the escape that the movie theater experience has traditionally provided,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst for Comscore.

Following Onward in second place is I Still Believe with $9.5 million and Bloodshot $9.3 million — both new entries this weekend. Rounding out the top five are The Invisible Man ($6 million) and The Hunt ($5.3 million).

I Still Believe tells the real-life story of Christan music superstar Jeremy Camp (K.J. Apa) and his journey through love and loss while also finding his way in the music industry. Britt Robertson portrays Camp’s first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp (Britt Robertson), who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer before they were married. Gary Sinise and Shania Twain play Camp’s parents, Tom and Terry, respectively. Moviegoers gave the film an A via Cinemascore.

F9 may have been delayed but Vin Diesel is in theaters right now in the film Bloodshot, based on the best selling comic book of the same name. Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a marine who was killed in action then resurrected with superpowers by an evil corporation.

With Garrison, now known as the superhero Bloodshot, the RST corporation has an unstoppable weapon on their hands that can heal instantly. But they’re also controlling his mind, and he can’t tell what’s real and what’s not but he’s trying to figure it out. The David S.F. Wilson film co-stars Eiza Gonzalez, Guy Pearce, Sam Heughan, and Toby Kebbell.

EW gave the film a C+ saying, “it’s a lot of bog-standard action stuff glommed onto a deeper metaphysical muddle; Inception drawn in extra-thick Sharpie and testosterone.” Moviegoers liked it a bit more, giving it a B via Cinemascore.

Blumhouse Productions finally dropped the long-delayed satirical thriller The Hunt, starring Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, and Hilary Swank. The film follows 12 strangers who wake up mysteriously in a clearing, unsure how they got there or where they are. They soon discover they’ve been chosen to be hunted in a game created by a group of elites, but not all of the players are willing to be pawns.

EW gave the film a B+ saying, “The big disappointment with The Hunt is that it never feels so ahead of the curve. It’s a complicated form of 2016 catharsis, condemning recognizable pastiches of the left and the right. And yet, there’s a playful terror in its portrayal of people getting trapped by silly things they type.” Cinemascore reports moviegoers gave the film a C+.

Overall, the box office is down 8.7 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the March 13-15 numbers below:

Onward— $10.5 million
I Still Believe— $9.5 million
Bloodshot— $9.3 million
The Invisible Man—$6 million
The Hunt— $5.3 million
Sonic the Hedgehog — $2.6 million
The Way Back—$2.4 million
The Call of the Wild—$2.2 million
Emma —$1.4 million
Bad Boy for Life — $1.1 million


Very sad news.

Modern Family’s beloved French bulldog dies after filming series finale: Report

Beatrice, the French bulldog best known for playing Stella on Modern Family, has died, according to The Blast. She reportedly died a few days after the show wrapped its final episode on Feb. 21.

Stella was introduced in season 2 when Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) reluctantly got a dog. She was played by a French bulldog named Brigitte up until season 4 when Beatrice took over the role. As time passed on the series, Jay grew fonder of Stella and showered her with affection and gifts, which made her the nemesis of Jay’s wife, Gloria (Sofia Vergara).

Good Dog Animals agency, which represented Beatrice, did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

Beatrice’s owners Guin and Steve Solomon spoke with the blog Bodie on the Road about her role on Modern Family back in 2017 when she was 7 years old. They said O’Neill doted on her, just like his character on the show.

“Ed O’Neill is in love with her! It’s very easy working with him because he brings Beatrice treats like popcorn and always looks out for her,” said Guin Solomon, one of her owners. “We’ll be doing scenes in the backyard by the pool and in between takes he’ll say, ‘Would you please get Beatrice an umbrella, she’s in the sun!’”

Her owners also said the pooch was popular with the rest of the team too: “Of course the crew loves to play with her when she’s out and about because she’s so fun and clowny. She really is one of the family!”

Although Modern Family was her bread and butter (er, kibble and bits), the Frenchie was an entertainment veteran whose work spanned from TV series like Workaholics and The Kominsky Method to commercials for Dunkin’ and Chase Bank.

After 11 seasons, the show’s last episode will end in a two-part finale airing April 8. Many cast members took to Instagram to show fans what it was like on set the last day of filming.

“What a day!! Saying goodbye to our Modern Family,” Vergara wrote on Instagram. “I will never forget this set, this people, there were only good times. Thank you Moden Family Thank you Gloria Pritchett.”