Month: May 2021

Gavin MacLeod, star of ‘Love Boat’ and ‘Mary Tyler Moore’, dies at 90

Gavin MacLeod, who played a wise-cracking news writer on the classic 1970s U.S. sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the hospitable cruise ship captain on “The Love Boat,” died on Saturday aged 90.

His nephew, Mark See, confirmed his death to Variety. No cause of death was given, it said, but MacLeod’s health had declined in recent months.

The bald MacLeod often played villains on TV before being cast in the acerbic comic role of Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which ran on CBS from 1970-1977 and was one of the most honored shows of its decade, winning 29 Emmy Awards.

After “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” MacLeod was signed for the starring role of Captain Merrill Stubing on ABC’s “The Love Boat,” which ran for 10 seasons from 1977-1987.

The series, which featured guests stars in each episode as passengers looking for romance aboard a cruise ship, was not a favorite of critics – a New York Times reviewer once called it “a dreadful porridge” – but it was frequently amusing and popular with viewers.

“I remember TV critics saying, ‘How could you do it?'” MacLeod told Entertainment Weekly in 1997, referring to his jump from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to “The Love Boat.” “But I loved it. I said, ‘This is going to take people away from the everyday burdens of life. It’ll give them something to dream about.'”

MacLeod also had a regular role on the World War Two situation comedy “McHale’s Navy” from 1962 to 1964 but frequently played bad guys like a character named Big Chicken in the crime drama “Hawaii Five-O.”

He appeared in supporting roles in several prominent movies as well including “Kelly’s Heroes” (1970), with Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas, and “Operation Petticoat” (1959) with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.

He was born as Allan See on Feb. 28, 1931, in Mount Kisco, New York. For his show business career, he changed his first name to Gavin because he liked it and his last name to MacLeod as a tribute to his college acting teacher.

“I was a young kid with a bald head so I only played pimps, perverts, woman beaters and child molesters,” MacLeod told People magazine in 1978.

That changed forever after he was cast on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as a news writer for a fictional Minneapolis TV station, joining a talented cast that included Moore, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Betty White, Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman.

Some of his character’s best moments came interacting with Knight’s buffoonish anchorman Ted Baxter and with White’s acidic and man-hungry “Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens, who rarely let an opportunity pass to comment on Slaughter’s baldness.

On “The Love Boat,” he headed a cast that included Fred Grandy, who later served as a U.S. congressman, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange, Lauren Tewes and Jill Whelan. As Captain Stubing, he wore a white captain’s hat and white captain’s outfit, often with unflattering white shorts.

The show was populated by a seemingly endless stream of guest stars, from some of the most forgettable performers of the time to some genuinely big names from Hollywood’s past.

MacLeod battled alcoholism during his career and became a devout Christian, starring in the Christian-themed film “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry” in 2009.

He had four children from his first marriage, which ended in divorce, and three stepchildren from his second marriage.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #MaryTlyerMoore #LoveBoat @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Paris venue hosts indoor rock concert – with masks and virus tests

French rock band Indochine performed at a concert venue in central Paris on Saturday before a crowd of 5,000 fans in a welcomed return to pre-pandemic life, with the exception of masks and mandatory tests.

The show at the Bercy arena was part of an experiment launched by the Paris hospital authority aimed at assessing how concerts will be able to resume as France gradually ends restrictions imposed by the coronavirus crisis.

Cafes and restaurants resumed serving customers earlier this month following a six-month shutdown mandated by the government to try to contain the spread of infection. But protocols surrounding concert venues and other gatherings of crowds have yet to be decided.

“First, I love Indochine … It’s always nice to attend a concert, and, in addition, we can help science for these tests, so it is a win-win,” Sandra Terrin, a 22-year old music fan, told Reuters.

“We are a bit less depressed because of this. The fact that we can again see people, a concert, music, all that, it’s really pleasant.”

Two groups of people were selected for the experimental event.

The first comprised 5,000 subjects who were allowed to attend the concert after taking a COVID-19 test last week and then another on the day of the event.

Another 2,500 people were selected to stay at home and act as a control group to see if coronavirus spreads among those attending the concert.

Members of both groups will be tested again next week. The results of the experiment will be disclosed by the end of June.

“We’ve seen our European neighbours do the same types of experiments and they showed pretty good results,” Lucas Bauneche, also 22, said. “There’s no reason for this to go badly here.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #FilmFestival #Covid @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Rockers Royal Blood excited for ‘alien’ live music to return

British rock band Royal Blood say they can’t wait to tour their latest chart-topping album even if right now the concept of playing for audiences seems “alien” after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live music shows for more than a year.

The duo, who formed in 2011, were half-way through recording their third album “Typhoons” when Britain went into its first national lockdown in March 2020 and they had to abandon the sessions.

But this hiatus turned out to be a good thing as they relocated to a studio close to where they grew up in the southern English city of Brighton and ended up writing more tracks.

“The world falling apart around you … it gave us … more bravery … to go even further into this concept of the album we were making,” frontman and bass player Mike Kerr told Reuters. “Looking back, it was the best thing that could have really happened to us.”

Kerr said the album explores the idea of “being in a kind of destructive cycle …(a) seemingly infinite loop of bad behaviour and self sabotage.”

While the lyrics on tracks such as “Typhoons” and “Limbo” are quite dark, the music isn’t, he said.

“My theory is that because at the time it was so bleak and rainy and cold and miserable, it’s almost like we wanted to make music that was the opposite of that.”

“And also when we come back to playing these songs, we don’t want to be reminded of this time so much. We want to go out and play these in massive venues and have a party and no one wants to party about COVID,” drummer Ben Thatcher added.

“Typhoons” was released in late April and topped the UK music charts.

“Now we’ve got music out again, we just want to be on that stage playing to our fans,” Thatcher said.

Royal Blood are set to play some festivals in the summer and have a UK arena tour starting in March 2022. Details for their upcoming world tour are yet to be announced.

“It’s weird. It doesn’t seem real. The idea of being in front of people, again, it’s kind of alien,” said Kerr.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #RocketRoyalBlood #Music @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Oscars to again allow movies on streaming platforms to compete for honors

The organizers of the Oscars on Thursday moved the date of the 2022 ceremony to late March, a month later than originally planned, and said that films released on streaming services would again qualify for Academy Awards consideration.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement that the Oscars ceremony would take place on March 27, 2022 at the show’s traditional home in Hollywood. The ceremony was originally scheduled for February 27.

No reason was given for the date change.

The Academy added that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will for the second time allow movies made primarily for release in theaters that were shifted to a streaming platform to be eligible for Oscar consideration.

Dozens of movies have been released on streaming services such as Disney+, HBO Max, Netflix and Amazon in the past 15 months while movie theaters around the world have been shuttered because of the pandemic.

The 2021 Oscars were delayed from February to late April because of the pandemic and took place for the first time at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Film #Oscars @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Amazon brings James Bond, Rocky to fight Netflix with $8.5 billion MGM buy

Amazon.com Inc will buy MGM, the fabled U.S. movie studio home to the James Bond franchise, for $8.45 billion, giving it a huge library of films and TV shows and ramping up competition with streaming rivals led by Netflix and Disney+.

The deal aims to bolster Amazon’s television-focused studio with new and historic filmmaking from MGM, which has snapped up lucrative series including “Rocky” and “Tomb Raider” since its founding in 1924.

Streaming video helps the world’s largest online retailer draw people to subscribe to Prime, a club with fast shipping, and to shop more once they’re members. Privately-held MGM, or Metro Goldwyn Mayer, also owns the Epix cable channel and makes popular TV shows including “Fargo,” “Vikings” and “Shark Tank.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, laid out the rationale for the deal at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

“MGM has a vast, deep catalog of much beloved intellectual property,” he said. “With the talented people at MGM and the talented people at Amazon Studios, we can reimagine and develop that IP for the 21st century.”

Bezos said it was “premature” to name Amazon Studios as the fourth pillar of the company after its seller marketplace, cloud division and Prime, but it was working toward that milestone. More than 175 million Prime members watched content on Amazon in the past year, and streaming hours were up 70%, he said.

July 5 – the day Amazon was incorporated in 1994 – will be the date long-time cloud chief Andy Jassy takes over as CEO, Bezos said.

Amazon’s Prime Video faces a long list of rivals including Netflix Inc, Walt Disney Co’s Disney+, HBO Max and Apple Inc’s Apple TV+. The companies have increased spending and expanded in international markets, capturing the pandemic-led shift to binge-watching shows online.

To stay competitive, Amazon has also courted fans of live sports and picked up licenses to stream games, boasting a long-term deal with the National Football League that was estimated to cost about $1 billion per year.

The proliferating streaming services are scrambling for content libraries and brands they can expand. Analysts have said this is a big motivation for another round of consolidation of media properties after a brief hiatus during the pandemic.

“With new entrants to streaming from all the major studios and TV networks, Amazon has to increase its commitment to video or risk losing engagement,” said Jim Nail of research firm Forrester.

Underscoring the trend toward consolidation, AT&T Inc announced a $43-billion deal last week to spin out its WarnerMedia business and combine it with Discovery Inc, one of the most ambitious yet in the streaming era.

Amazon’s Hollywood studio purchase is a first for a big U.S. tech company and could spark further interest in Silicon Valley, a source familiar with the matter said.

The acquisition is Amazon’s second-biggest after Whole Foods Market, which it bought for $13.7 billion in 2017.

At almost $9 billion, the lofty price is about 37 times MGM’s 2021 estimated EBITDA – or almost triple the enterprise value-to-EBITDA multiple that Discovery’s deal implied for AT&T’s content assets – according to Reuters Breakingviews.

At the same time, Amazon posted its fourth consecutive record quarterly profit in April.

MGM started a formal sale process in December, when it was estimated to be worth about $5.5 billion. Morgan Stanley and LionTree advised MGM on the deal.

The deal will provide fuel for the Seattle company’s critics in Washington who complain it is already too big and powerful, but experts said the deal poses few classic antitrust concerns.

Amazon shares rose 0.3%.


Amazon has picked up Academy Awards over the years and slowly moved from art-house fare toward content with wider appeal. The MGM acquisition accelerates that move, giving it rights to James Bond, one of the most lucrative franchises in film history that’s earned nearly $7 billion at the box office globally, according to MGM.

Other classic films in MGM’s library include “RoboCop,” “Moonstruck” and “The Silence of the Lambs.”

The potential to mine this intellectual property, by making new content based on popular characters, will help Amazon draw viewers to Prime, two former Amazon executives told Reuters.

MGM also licenses content for video games, which could benefit Amazon’s development efforts in that area.

Still, Amazon efforts to profit off the library won’t be easy, or cheap.

In many cases, MGM’s content is tied up in multi-year deals with television networks, the former Amazon executives said. Amazon cannot simply air MGM’s reality show “The Voice,” for instance, which contractually is in the hands of NBC.

Bringing a new installment of the James Bond saga online instead of in theaters would be a particularly difficult task, the sources said. The terms under which MGM acquired the franchise leave control in the hands of the Broccoli family, the Bond films’ producers.

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions said in a statement, “We are committed to continuing to make James Bond films for the worldwide theatrical audience.”

News of the acquisition followed quickly on the upcoming return of Jeff Blackburn, Amazon’s former senior vice president overseeing content and M&A, who had left early this year.

Incoming Amazon CEO Jassy had particular trust in Blackburn after decades at Amazon together, hoping he might shepherd a complicated merger, the sources said.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #MGM #Netflixs @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’ lyrics and Cobain self-portrait head to auction

Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to “Lay Lady Lay,” a cheeky self-portrait by Kurt Cobain and five guitars designed by the late Eddie Van Halen are among 1,300 items going up for auction in June.

A series of hand-written letters from Britney Spears to her high school boyfriend will also be offered for sale in the Music Icons event at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills.

The lyrics to Dylan’s 1969 song, written in pencil on a sheet of notepaper from a lumber company, carry an estimate of $500,000-600,000.

“That’s the most expensive item in the auction in June. It’s with all the hand notations from Bob Dylan, including chord notations,” said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s.

Cobain’s self-portrait is a caricature in black felt pen that he drew in 1992 during a tour in Singapore for his punk band Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album.

It depicts the late singer playing the guitar with the words “I don’t know how to play and I don’t give a hoot!” Cobain memorabilia has soared in price in recent years; an acoustic guitar he played in 1993 sold for $6 million last year.

The collection of letters between Spears and her boyfriend Donald “Reg” Jones were written just as her pop career was about to explode in the late 1990s, and carry an estimate of $4,000-6,000.

“It’s sort of part of her pop culture history and part of her journey, if you will,” said Nolan.

Five Charvel EVH Art Series electric guitars designed and played by Eddie Van Halen, who died of a stroke in October 2020, are expected to sell for up to $50,000 each.

“He signed each of the guitars. He actually dated the tour that he played each of these individual guitars,” said Nolan.

The two-day auction will take place in Beverly Hills from June 12-13.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #LayLadyLay #Cobain @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Box Office: ‘F9’ Drives to Mighty $162 Million Debut Overseas

“F9” has the international box office sizzling.

The latest installment in Universal’s testosterone-fueled franchise kicked off with a massive $162.4 million in eight markets, including China, Korea and Hong Kong. Those ticket sales easily mark the best start for a Hollywood blockbuster since COVID-19 hit.

It’s an encouraging start to summer movie season, particularly because revenues weren’t far off from what a “Fast” movie would have generated at the box office in non-pandemic times.

“Moviegoers are eager to come back to theaters when the right movie is out there,” Universal’s president of international distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg said. “It’s a great movie for the China market,” she adds. “It has a strong fanbase.”

Of this weekend’s $162 million bounty, $135 million came from China alone. That ranks as the second-biggest launch for the series in the country following the eighth entry, 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious” ($184 million). In another notable milestone, it’s the first Hollywood title in two years — since Disney’s 2019 superhero epic “Avengers: Endgame” — to debut to more than $100 million in China.

Elsewhere, “F9” opened to $9.9 million in Korea, as well as $6.2 million in the Middle East and $2.4 million in Hong Kong. With this weekend’s ticket sales, the “Fast” franchise has pushed past $6 billion globally.

“F9” — directed by Justin Lin and starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena — is deploying a staggered rollout across the world as the globe recovers from the pandemic. It touches down in the U.S. on June 25 and will bow in 60 additional markets over the summer. Unlike upcoming blockbuster hopefuls, such as Disney’s “Black Widow” and the Warner Bros. musical “In the Heights,” “F9” will only be offered in theaters — at least for its first few weekends of release.

It was much quieter at the box office in North America, where the gruesome horror film “Spiral,” action adventure “Wrath of Man” and wilderness thriller “Those Who Wished Me Dead” presided over the competition.

Without any new nationwide releases, “Spiral” remained in first place with $4.5 million from 2,991 screens in its second weekend of release. The movie, a creepy addition to the “Saw” franchise that stars Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, has generated $15 million in the U.S. to date.

In second, “Wrath of Man” collected $2.9 million from 3,007 theaters. After three weeks on the big screen, the Jason Statham-led vigilante flick has amassed $18.8 million.

Ticket sales for “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” starring Angelina Jolie, dipped 35% from its opening weekend. The film brought in $1.8 million from 3,379 venues between Friday and Sunday, boosting its total haul to a bleak $5.5 million. The Warner Bros. movie, like the studio’s entire 2021 slate, is currently playing on HBO Max and will remain on the streaming service for 31 days in total.

Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” and the Warner Bros. tentpole “Godzilla vs. Kong” rounded out the top five on domestic box office charts. The family friendly “Raya and the Last Dragon” pulled ever so slightly ahead of “Godzilla vs. Kong” with $1.6 million in ticket sales, compared to $1.4 million for the latter. “Raya and the Last Dragon,” which initially debuted 12 weeks ago in theaters and on Disney Plus, has made $48 million at the box office. Meanwhile, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which is still being offered on HBO Max, is just shy of the $100 million mark with ticket sales hovering at $97 million.

In the U.S., the box office is expected to ramp up over Memorial Day weekend as Paramount’s nearly silent sequel “A Quiet Place Part II” and Disney’s “Cruella” land in theaters.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #F9 #Movies @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

K-pop megaband BTS renews Grammy challenge with “Butter”

n its success last year, when it became the first Korean pop group to win a Grammy nomination.

In a breakthrough year in the United States in 2020, the seven-member boy band was nominated but did not win an award, and instead performed its hit song “Dynamite” at the Grammy ceremony.

“Of course we would like to win a Grammy. That’s still valid and we are aiming to work for it once again with ‘Butter,’ and hoping for good results,” songwriter and rapper Suga told a news conference in Seoul.

He said “Butter”, the group’s second English-language single following “Dynamite”, was a funky summer track.

BTS will perform the new song at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards set for Monday, for which it clinched nominations in four categories, the most yet for K-pop stars, including top duo/group and top selling song for “Dynamite”.

Vocalist Jimin said he regretted BTS could not meet fans for the eighth anniversary of the group’s debut next month, which will be celebrated virtually rather through a live concert because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve felt somewhat isolated being unable to see fans due to the current situation, but we continue to think hard about how we can show our different aspects and satisfy them,” he said.

Leader and rapper RM said: “For us, the biggest topic is what function BTS can serve, why we exist and which values we should pursue under this new normal era and for the industry.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #BTS #Music @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

‘Friends’ reunion ‘like a family’, Jennifer Aniston says

Joey would have opened a sandwich shop, Monica would be trying to outdo other moms at bake sales, and Rachel would have started her own clothing line.

That’s what the stars of “Friends” imagine their characters would be doing 17 years after the hit comedy series came to an end in 2004.

Ahead of a one-off reunion special to be aired next week, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry spoke with People magazine about the reunion, and their memories of the show.

“I always just feel like Monica would be doing something competitively with other mothers and trying to outdo them. Whether it’s the bake sale at school or something. I mean, she’d be so annoying. She’d be at the head of the PTA or something,” Cox told People.

“Joey would have opened a chain of sandwich shops,” said LeBlanc.

“And eaten all the sandwiches,” quipped Perry.

“Friends,” the story of six 20 Somethings in New York, was one of the most popular TV shows of the 1990s and found a new life on streaming platforms where it is one of the most watched shows worldwide.

The unscripted reunion will air on HBO Max on May 27 with a string of celebrity guests that includes Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber and actors who played supporting roles on “Friends” such as Janice, Richard, and Gunther.

Aniston said getting back together for the reunion was “like a family. I don’t have sisters. It’s what I assume sisters are like.”

Schwimmer said that when the original series ended in 2004, he took a “Professor Geller” placard from his paleontologist character’s office. Kudrow said she took Phoebe’s rings as a memento and her security badge for the studio where the series was filmed.

The interview will be published in the People magazine edition that goes on sale on Friday.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Friends #Reunion @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Model Naomi Campbell welcomes baby girl

Model Naomi Campbell announced on social media on Tuesday that she has welcomed her first child and shared a photo of her cradling her daughter’s feet.

“A beautiful little blessing has chosen me to be her mother, So honoured to have this gentle soul in my life there are no words to describe the lifelong bond that I now share with you my angel. There is no greater love,” Campbell, 50, wrote on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CPA-OI0JwBp/?utm_medium=copy_link.

The post had been liked 417,000 times in the hour after it was posted.

Campbell’s mom, Valerie Morris Campbell, also shared the same photo with a message congratulating her daughter and saying: “I’m beyond thrilled as I’ve waited a longtime to be grandmother.”

No details of the birth or the baby’s name were given.

Campbell was the first Black model to appear on the covers of French Vogue and Time magazine. She was also the first Black model on the cover of American Vogue’s key September issue.

The British native began her career as a teenager and has modeled for fashion heavyweights such as Versace, Chanel, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana. She has also championed African designers and co-produced April’s Arise Fashion Week in Lagos, Nigeria.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #NaomiCampbell #Model @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com