AMERICAN IDOL TO AIR NATIONWIDE LIVE TELECASTS: The ABC reboot of American Idol will air simultaneously for three weeks so viewers can cast their votes at the same time. In a first for the show, American Idol will air live beginning on April 29th at 5 p.m. PT and 8 p.m. EST. "We set out on a journey to find the best talent this nation has to offer," said Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, in a statement. "As we head into the next phase of the American Idol competition, it only makes sense to let every viewer from coast to coast experience the magic of live television and have the ability to vote for America’s next superstar." Saturday Night Live set the trend, wrapping its 2016-2017 season by airing the final four episodes live on both coasts. Season 43, which is currently airing, kept the schedule. What do you think of this trend? (THR — Click our Twitter or Facebook buttons to share this link!)
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH HAPPY TO WAIT FOR CURRENT WAR RELEASE: In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, several films connected to The Weinstein Company have been thrown into limbo. Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars in The Current War (about the rivalry between Thomas Edison, whom he plays, and George Westinghouse, played by Michael Shannon), says he is happy to wait for the Weinstein-produced project to come out. Initially due out in 2017, and already generating Oscar buzz, the film has been shelved without a release date. "If it takes us not releasing our film for a couple of years just to be rid of that toxicity, I’m fine with that," he told The Telegraph, adding, "to step back and be as far removed from that influence as possible, both as filmmaker and as human being." After the allegations against Weinstein emerged, he released a statement saying he was "utterly disgusted" by his "horrifying and unforgivable actions." Weinstein denies allegations of nonconsensual sex.
NETFLIX ANNOUNCES PLANS TO RAISE $1.5B: Netflix shared its plans to raise $1.5 billion in debt in an SEC filing Monday. The streaming giant also disclosed compensation for its top exec team. Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, made $22.4 million in 2017, up 18% over the $18.9 million he banked in 2016. CEO Reed Hastings earned $24.4 million, up 5%. In the filing, Netflix (per Deadline) said the company "intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, production and development, capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions." The company’s stock has been up 63% in 2018 so far.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS TRAILER DROPS: Fans are getting their first look John M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians. "Daaamn, he’s like the Asian Bachelor," Awkwafina tells Constance Wu in the first glimpse of the adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel, which follows Rachel Chu (Wu) as she joins her longtime love Nick Young (Henry Golding) to his BFF’s wedding in Singapore. The trailer reflects the high-fashion glam drama of the novel. The film lands August 17th.
J.K. ROWLING SHARES DETAILS OF JESSICA WILLIAMS’ FANTASTIC BEASTS ROLE: Fans are getting more of an idea of what Jessica Williams will be doing in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel. Williams and famously tight-lipped author J.K. Rowling teased the info on social media, explaining that she would take on Professor Eulalie "Lally" Hicks, who teaches at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, America’s equivalent of Hogwarts. However, she added that the next Beasts film, The Crimes of Grindewald, will feature hints of Lally, while her "true glory" will pour forth in the third film.