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'Orange Is the New Black' star Laverne Cox cancels University of South Florida lecture

Laverne Cox

Getty Images

Laverne Cox

Maybe all the critical raves racked up by Fox's Grease Live have spurred producers of the network's upcoming take on Rocky Horror Picture Show to step up their game. Because one of the production's stars has canceled an upcoming appearance in Tampa, and rehearsals for Rocky Horror are to blame.

Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox has canceled a March 21 lecture at the University of South Florida "due to the taping schedule for Fox's Rocky Horror Picture Show," the school said in a statement. Because the event was free and first-come, first-served, there are no tickets to refund. The school said the student-run University Lecture Series is currently looking for a replacement speaker.

Still, losing Laverne is a bummer. The Emmy-nominated actress surely would've had plenty to say about the state of transgender politics in Hollywood and America at large. …

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Emperor Palpatine and Joffrey Baratheon to bring their reigns of terror to Tampa Bay Comic Con in August

Jack Gleeson as Joffrey.

HBO

Jack Gleeson as Joffrey.

It’s still seven months away and already Tampa Bay Comic Con is announcing some big guests including Emperor Palpatine and King Joffrey Baratheon.

Ian McDiarmid and Jack Gleeson will make their appearances at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St., on August 6 and 7, the convention announced.

Scottish actor McDiarmid is most famous for his time at the Sith Lord Darth Sidious in the Star Wars franchise though he’s been in more than 40 films since starting his career in 1976. Gleeson, who played Joffrey on Game of Thrones, considers himself a retired actor at the ripe old age of 23.

Both men will be signing autographs and posing for fan photos for $75 and $50, respectively. Comic Con encourages fans to bring plenty of cash because fan photos and autographs are cash only.

Comic and cartoon artists Bob Camp, Steve McNiven, Don Rosa and Dan Veesenmeyer will also be in artist’s alley at the event.

Tickets for Comic Con August 5-7 are now $60 for 3-day admission or Friday single day tickets at $30, Saturday at $40 and Sunday at $30. For more info or to buy tickets, visit tampabaycomiccon.com.

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'The Bachelor,' Season 20, Episode 5: Everybody hates Olivia

IT'S OLIVIA.

Screen grab

IT'S OLIVIA.

Everyone on the show seems to be crazy town, but none more so than Ben Higgins himself for expecting to meet someone genuine in this pressure cooker of expectations.

He eliminated Jubilee in the middle of a group date because she had withdrawn considerably in the past two weeks. Jubes started as outgoing and bubbly – the way all the girls are expected to be – but her early one-on-one date got her invested in a possible relationship with Ben. She said it got harder to watch him go on dates and make out with others. Outside of Olivia, she seemed like the only other girl deeply invested in relationship with Ben. Not a relationship with The Bachelor, but one with Ben Higgins.

Because who would really be comfortable with watching the guy they like make out with someone else and then jumping in his lap to make out with him five seconds later?

If no one else understands Jubilee, I sure did. It doesn’t mean anything to stand in front of a Spanish class holding Ben’s hands while he says, “Te amo,” if you’re the fifth person he’s said it to. It’s always fun and games until someone catches feelings.  That’s a genuine reaction, Ben. You’ll realize that once you’re dating in real life again. …

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'The X-Files,' Season 10, Episode 3: Best quotes from 'Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster'

Scully and Mulder search for a creature believed to have attacked several people in this week's hilarious episode.

Fox

Scully and Mulder search for a creature believed to have attacked several people in this week's hilarious episode.

I tried to write a real recap of this episode. I tried to recount how Mulder and Scully switched roles, as they sometimes do, with Mulder playing the tired skeptic while Scully presses him toward the truth (also, Scully says the "I Want to Believe" poster is hers!). About how the werelizard turns out to be not a werelizard, per se, at all but a regular old lizard-creature who has been bitten and turned into an actually harmless werehuman. About how the stoners from Season 3 are still stoners but Mulder has tried to master smartphones and wears some bright red briefs.

But really, anything I could write couldn't help you appreciate this episode's utterly zany sense of humor, delivered in fine absurdist form by writer Darin Morgan (who also wrote, among others, "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" and "Humbug"). And what I kept coming back to were the quotes because by Guy Mann the lizard man there are some doozies.

Herewith, some beautiful quotes (and GIFs!) from "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster."

 

Mulder: "Since we've been away, most of the unexplained has been explained."

 …

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Why was 'Grease Live' so good? Here are three reasons

Hough and Tveit as Sandy and Danny.

Los Angeles Times

Hough and Tveit as Sandy and Danny.

There is a reason every high school on the planet stages Grease the Musical. The Broadway show created in 1971 that later became the John Travolta-Olivia Newton John movie you know and love contains intensely likeable material, simple yet subversive stuff that when executed properly can send beams of joy out into the audience. Such it was with Sunday night's production of Grease Live, Fox's first foray into the live TV musical field.

It was a seamless, vibrant, energizing hit.

The Twitterverse in particular was full of praise for the three-hour production, which is saying something in the age of unlimited snark that has turned on other TV musicals like NBC's rather terrible Peter Pan Live! in 2014. As someone who credits the 1978 movie and soundtrack (both on loop during my formative elementary school years) with my deep love for musical theater, Grease Live made me giddy and excited in a way most TV (and, really, all media) does not. I think a lot of people watching at home felt the same way. Here's why. …

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Harry Potter fans descend on Universal Orlando for a weekend of wizarding featuring Ron Weasley and Dumbledore's Army

Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), Katie Leung (Cho Chang, and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) sit for a media Q&A Friday night at Universal Orlando's A Celebration of Harry Potter weekend. The theme park event and expo runs through Sunday.

Robbyn Mitchell/Times

Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), Katie Leung (Cho Chang, and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) sit for a media Q&A Friday night at Universal Orlando's A Celebration of Harry Potter weekend. The theme park event and expo runs through Sunday.

There's not much new at this year's A Celebration of Harry Potter weekend at Universal Studios Orlando.

Organizers spent the third year fine tuning the three-day fan expo and drawing big name talent from the films to the theme park.

Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Katie Leung (Cho Chang) will take part in Q&A panels at Universal Studio's Music Plaza stage at 4:15 p.m. today and 4 p.m. Sunday-- and boy do they have some stories to tell. 

"I took the new Pottermore quiz and I got Gryffindor again," said Lynch, who is attending the three-day celebration for the third time. 

"I got Hufflepuff. I kind of want a recount, I think," laughed Grint. 

The Hogwarts alums have the easy rapport of former schoolmates -- taking simple questions of fun turns with their banter.

"There was a scene we filmed in the room of requirement and Rupert got the giggles and everyone just started laughing," Lynch recalled. "We were all having a blast and crew was so angry. The walls were all mirrored so we'd settle down and then you'd see in the mirror his shoulders would start moving and it would start again." …

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Neville, Ron and Ginny, Oh My: Follow us at the Celebration of Harry Potter

Fans pouring into the #HarryPotter expo at Universal Studios. The first treat is a paper school tie complete with house crest.

Robbyn Mitchell

Fans pouring into the #HarryPotter expo at Universal Studios. The first treat is a paper school tie complete with house crest.

Muggles, line up! Dumbledore's finest are descending on Universal Orlando as we speak for the third annual Celebration of Harry Potter, running through Sunday. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Katie Leung (Cho Chang) are in Orlando for a behind the scenes film talent panel discussion as a part of the event.

It's the first appearance at the fan experience event for Grint, Wright and Leung. Lewis and Lynch have been it attendance at both of the previous celebrations. This weekend, fans will be able to take a course from wand combat choreographer, Paul Harris, and hear from the movies' head prop maker, Pierre Bohanna. universalorlando.com.

Follow reporter Robbyn Mitchell as she sends dispatches from the event on Twitter and Instagram. Robbyn will be joining other journalists to interview the stars on a panel starting at 6 p.m.

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Winner and loser of the week in pop culture ft. Neil deGrasse Tyson and B.o.B.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is bae.

Times files

Neil deGrasse Tyson is bae.

Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Harvard-educated astrophysicist, cosmologist and multi-multi-multi-hyphenate shut down B.o.B. in a social-turned-mass-media feud that began when the rapper ranted to his 2 million Twitter followers that Earth is flat and anyone who disagrees is a blind sheep who’s been fooled by what is clearly a NASA conspiracy. DeGrasse Tyson responded to the rapper’s diatribe with scientific proof and just for kicks added this gem: “Duude — to be clear: Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music.” Zing! B.o.B. answered by releasing a diss track called Flatline, presumably to keep the free-publicity train in motion, and deGrasse Tyson’s nephew replied with his own diss track called Flat to Fact, which includes loads of scientific fact and doubles as a remix of Drake’s diss of Meek Mill. DeGrasse Tyson then appeared on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore to end things with an exclamation point, quoting Isaac Newton, laying down expletives — “The world isn't f---ing flat!” — and pointing out that spreading false information from such a giant platform is reckless. The geek god’s closer: “By the way, this is gravity,” before throwing down the greatest mic drop we've ever seen.  …

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Shows you should be watching: Currently on air

It's time to stop binge-watching -- only for a moment -- and take a look at what's currently on air.

TV press sites

It's time to stop binge-watching -- only for a moment -- and take a look at what's currently on air.

Guys, we need to go on a diet. And I'm not talking about food. We're obsessively watching everything TV and streaming channels have to offer, constantly trying to find the next best binge. But what comes of losing an entire weekend to Amazon's The Man in the High Castle or Netflix's Bloodline? Just because you have a large cheese pizza in front of you doesn't mean you should eat it all at once. Woof. Also, there's something to be said about sharing and deciphering shows with other viewers (and not just the ones in your computer). It can be lonely watching an entire series by yourself. …

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St. Petersburg's Kerry Courtney ousted from 'American Idol,' but Tampa's Shevonne Philidor still has a chance

Shevonne Philidor

Shevonne Philidor

This is Hollywood Week on the final season of American Idol. And while Wednesday's episode marked the end of the line for one hopeful contestant from Tampa Bay, another still has a shot to bring home the crown.

First, the bad news: St. Petersburg singer-songwriter Kerry Courtney, known locally for the rock band Goodnight Neverland, was ousted from Hollywood last night in a montage near the end of the episode.

"Some people that did really great on the road are having a little trouble here," Jennifer Lopez said before Courtney appeared on screen.

"I'm really bummed," Courtney said, "but my mother would be proud of me. And that thought just make sme feel warm."

But Hollywood Week continues at 8 p.m. tonight on Fox -- and that's where we might see another local singer shine.

Singer-guitarist Shevonne Philidor -- who, like Courtney, auditioned in Denver -- also made the cut in Idol's opening rounds,

Philidor was not featured on Wednesday's episode, though you can see her in the background in a few shots. And while her exact fate remains unclear, it does look like she's excited and celebrating in one shot. …

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Oprah tweets about losing weight while loving bread and sends Weight Watchers stock through the roof

Oprah loves bread, is losing weight and cashing in, etc.

AP

Oprah loves bread, is losing weight and cashing in, etc.

Sound the trumpets. Call the watchmen. Toll the victory bells.

Oprah Winfrey said we can eat carbs, you guys. We've won. 

Eat bread. Lose weight. Whaaatttt? #ComeJoinMe https://t.co/jUgpk9ToXY https://t.co/xtnB53EwSf

The billionaire talk show mogul and 10 percent shareholder in Weight Watchers International tweeted a video about her love of bread yesterday while simultaneously declaring that she was able to lose 26 pounds eating bread everyday. 

Investors squealed and threw more money at Weight Watchers stock, netting the 61-year-old OWN television owner $12.5 million in a matter of hours. 

It was only four weeks ago that folks began swearing off precious grains in service of their New Year's resolutions. A contestant on The Bachelor even introduced herself to Ben Higgins by assaulting a baguette and declaring, "Carbs are the enemy."

Well, no more, says Oprah. As long as you are willing to pay a monthly subscription fee, attend meetings, and vigorously track ever morsel that crosses your lips, you too can live your #bestlife with bread. 

How is this woman not president yet?

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Derrick Brooks assists 'The Birth of a Nation' at Sundance

NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks is a movie producer now.

DIRK SHADD | Times

NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks is a movie producer now.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks keeps adding to his illustrious list of off-the-field accomplishments.

Brooks is an executive producer of Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation, the Sundance Film Festival's most acclaimed offering, already touted as a 2016 Oscar contender before the 2015 prizes are handed out. 

The Birth of a Nation recounts the 1831 slave revolt in Virginia led by Nat Turner, and bloody retaliation by slave owners. Parker directed and wrote the screenplay, and stars as Turner. Parker was seen last year in the stage door romance Beyond the Lights.

The Birth of a Nation premiered Monday at Sundance, sparking a prolonged standing ovation and an immediate bidding war for worldwide distribution rights. Fox Searchlight won with a $17.5 million offer, the largest deal ever struck at Sundance. …

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RIP Abe Vigoda: It wasn't only business; it was a pleasure

The late Abe Vigoda's breakout role was Tessio the hit man in 'The Godfather'

Paramount Pictures

The late Abe Vigoda's breakout role was Tessio the hit man in 'The Godfather'

"Can you get me off the hook, God? For old times' sake?"

Abe Vigoda's fans can imagine the late actor trying to talk his way out of dying, the way he tried making Tom Hagen call off his character's execution in The Godfather.

Mr. Vigoda couldn't dodge that cinematic fate, or a mortal one. The character actor with a dourly distinct face and grumble  died Tuesday at age 94, at his daughter's New Jersey home.

Fans can also be excused if they don't believe that to be true. Mr. Vigoda's death was erroneously reported in a People magazine article in 1992, prompting a correction and the start of a 23-year running joke.

Various social media sites through the years were devoted to his longevity, by proclaiming in various shades of humor and respect that Mr. Vigoda was still alive. Sun-Sentinel courts reporter Rafael Almeda ran several Vigoda-themed sites.

"I hope he knew about our tribute, and I hope he was amused by it. Our intent was always to bring a smile by pointing to his longevity, which was an inspiration," Olmeda told CNN.com. His Twitter account, @AbeVigodaFacts announced Tuesday night: "I'd like to quote Mel Blanc but I can't because I just died. Ah hell... 'That's all, folks.'" …

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Tampa Theatre presents Oscar's short (films) list of nominees

Collections of animated and live action Oscar nominated shorts begin Saturday at Tampa Theatre

shorts.tv

Collections of animated and live action Oscar nominated shorts begin Saturday at Tampa Theatre

Each year Tampa Theatre does Academy Awards predictors a favor by showcasing two categories few know much about.

Short films are rarely booked in multiplexes, and seldom in independent venues unless they're Oscar nominated. Heck, the documentary shorts aren't even included here, just the live action and animated contenders.

Starting Saturday through Feb. 10, Tampa Theatre presents each collection of shorts on a schedule you'd better double-check before going. The venue alternates the live action and animated sessions, and sometimes combines them in double features, filling dates between concerts and private events. 

Visit Tampa Theatre's website for tickets ($11, with discounts available) and scheduling.

After reviewing both collections, I'd suggest leaning toward the live action finalists, three of which cram feature-length quality into a fraction of the running time. …

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'The X-Files,' Season 10, Episode 2: Alien hybrids, ringing sounds and baby snatchers — oh my!

Mulder and Scully are back to investigating in "Founder's Mutation."

Fox

Mulder and Scully are back to investigating in "Founder's Mutation."

If you had any doubt The X-Files was back after the premiere, Chris Carter presented you last night with an episode full of theories and baby-snatching and Mulder and Scully banter but very short of answers.

It all starts with this Indian guy with some I-have-not-slept-in-days hair who walks into work at a place called Nugenics, which we know is super top-secret just because the guy has to get a retina scan — which he passes despite having some very bloody eyeballs. He chats with Lucas from Continuum (Omari Newton, the first of many faces familiar to anyone who watches Canadian-filmed sci-fi) and then goes into a meeting as he's hearing this annoying ringing that we unfortunately have to hear too and there are a bunch of crows outside the window.

If it sounds like "Drive" (the one with Bryan Cranston hearing ringing), it is and isn't. Dr. Sanjay goes full cray in the middle of the meeting, runs out, locks himself in a room full of servers, taps at a computer and THEN STABS HIMSELF IN THE HEAD WITH A LETTER OPENER!

This was the first of many scenes in this particularly disgusting episode where I had to avert my eyes because GROSS WHY GOD WHY. …

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