Cruz edges out Kimmel in charity basketball game in Houston

It was the Thunderdome from “Mad Max” or the coliseum from “Spartacus,” if either Max or Sparty were two, middle-aged American men playing a slow-motion car-crash of half-court basketball for charity and political one upsmanship.

Conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz triumphed over liberal ABC late-night host/comedian Jimmy Kimmel with a hard-won 11-9 victory in the first Blobfish Basketball Classic at Texas Southern University’s Health and Physical Education Arena Saturday. The event, which turned out to be a Coachella festival of air balls, missed shots and footwork that would make a sloth look like Usain Bolt, was sparked by Twitter trash-talk that started after Cruz posted a picture of himself supporting the Houston Rockets over the Golden State Warriors during Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Kimmel joked that Cruz resembled a blobfish, a not particularly attractive creature that dwells at the bottom of the ocean.

Cruz responded with the idea of a b-ball challenge. Kimmel took him up on it and the two agreed the proceeds from their $5,000 wager would be donated to two local charities, the non-profit Generation One and Texas Children’s Hospital. Parts of the game will be televised on Kimmel’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” show Monday at 10:35 p.m.

The crowd in the 8,100-capacity venue — though half of the seats were blocked off because it was not a full-court game — was enthusiastic, even if the level of play often was not. While most of the fans seemed to be on Kimmel’s side in terms of sport and politics — there were enough T-shirts proclaiming support for Democratic senatorial candidate (and Cruz political opponent) Beto O’Rourke to make it seem like a Beto convention. But Cruz, wearing a Houston Strong shirt, had a lot of support in the town he calls home, too.

Houston resident Randall Haynie was there in a Trump shirt and MAGA hat. “These events don’t usually happen when a senator or someone calls out someone. That person [usually] backs down,” he said before the game. “So you can see why there are so many people are here. Another reason is to see my senator … I hope Cruz wins.”

Rob Reiner Shreds Robert De Niro for His ‘F– Trump’ Outburst: ‘You’re Helping Trump’

Rob Reiner, a director and longtime advocate for liberal Democratic causes in Hollywood, ripped into Robert De Niro for his “F— Trump” outburst at last Sunday’s Tony Awards, calling the foul-mouthed speech counterproductive.

“If you have any interest in trying to preserve the democracy, and put it in the hands of somebody who understands government, who isn’t self-dealing, who cares about this country and the people in this country, then you’re helping Trump,” Reiner said in an interview earlier this week on The Hill’s “Rising” TV show with co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton.

“You’re helping Trump by saying ‘F— Trump’ because he can say, ‘Look at these people, these elitists,’” added Reiner, who defended De Niro’s right to share his opinion even as he found it tactically a mistake.

“There’s a very fine line between energizing the base and energizing the other side,” added the director of classics like “The Princess Bride” and “When Harry Met Sally…”

“Right now, if you’re a Democrat and you want to hold this president accountable you have to have some ability, some subpoena power to have hearings and to actually expose certain things, right now you have an enthusiasm gap,” he said.

“If you do things like that, that enthusiasm gap narrows because you make the other side more enthusiastic and so it’s not good,” Reiner said. “Plus, that’s not a smart way to talk about anybody.”

Waitress fired, booted from Air Force Reserves over racist video

A Missouri waitress who spewed racist hate on social media, lost her day job — and now has been ejected from the Air Force, according to reports. Tabitha Duncan boasted that she wanted to go “n–r” hunting in an offensive viral video, leading the Social Bar & Grill in St. Louis to can her, the Air Force Times reported. Duncan, 20, posted the offensive footage shortly after joining the Air Force Reserves, which said this week it has no interest in her services. “The video, released days after her enlistment, is intolerable and does not reflect the values of the Air Force,” Lt. Col. Chad Gibson told the outlet on Thursday, adding that Duncan, “is in the process of being released from her enlistment.”

Seth MacFarlane Tweets He Is “Embarrassed” To Work For Fox After Tucker Carlson Tells Viewers To Ignore Other News Sources

Seth MacFarlane has not exactly been a shrinking violet over the years when it comes to scrutinizing his own home network, Fox.

But the creator of Family Guy and The Orville has taken things up a notch this weekend, tweeting that he is “embarrassed” to work for the network after the latest Fox News flap.

MacFarlane on Saturday retweeted a post from CNN’s Brian Stelter, who commented on what Tucker Carlson told his Fox News viewers. “Isn’t this sad?” Stelter asked, before directly quoting Carlson’s suggestion that viewers discount other media sources. “If you’re looking to understand what’s actually happening in this country, always assume the opposite of whatever they’re telling you on the big news stations,” Carlson said.

MacFarlane, in his quote-tweet, went off on Carlson for peddling “fringe sh-t.” He wrote, “In other words, don’t think critically, don’t consult multiple news sources, and in general, don’t use your brain. Just blindly obey Fox News. This is fringe sh-t, and it’s business like this that makes me embarrassed to work for this company.”

By Sunday morning, MacFarlane’s tweet had racked up more than 27,000 likes and nearly 2,000 comments, many of which suggested that he set up shop at a streaming service.

While it is impossible to gauge any actual threat of MacFarlane decamping Fox based on a single tweet, the message comes at a sensitive time after the company lost longtime creative engine Ryan Murphy to Netflix. Fox is also in the throes of sorting out competing bids for its studio assets from Disney and Comcast. Whoever winds up with those prizes, Fox News and the Fox broadcast network will remain together as the cornerstones of the “New Fox” corporate entity, along with the company’s leading portfolio of local TV stations.

MacFarlane’s overall deal is at 20th Century Fox TV, which will be part of the assets moving to Disney or Comcast and will no longer be a corporate sibling Fox News or the broadcast network. He will likely draw interest from other companies when the deal comes up for renewal. As Deadline reported last November, MacFarlane switched agencies, to CAA from WME, in anticipation of the 2019 expiration of his overall deal.

Here is the tweet:

President Donald Trump Endorses Song on Opioid Crisis

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S LETTER TO RAPPER MICHAEL ABOUT ABOUT HIS SONG QUIET WAR WHICH DEALS WITH THE OPIOID CRISIS IN AMERICA

President Donald Trump has been anything but traditional in his first term living and working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and his latest endorsement of a rap song on the Opioid Epidemic is just par for course. “Quiet War” is a song written and produced by rapper Michael Barber, and after President Trump heard the song, he responded with a letter of endorsement and an invitation for Michael to perform the song at the 2018 National Christmas Tree Lighting in President’s Park.

President Trump wrote that Quiet War was a ‘great song,’ that “will become a battle cry” for the entire country as his administration applies all measures to end a crisis that now kills more than 50,000 Americans each year. The President continued his praise calling Michael a “talented musician and songwriter.”

Barber issued a video statement about the song and the endorsement asking for both the right and the left to come together to fight this battle against the opioid crisis. Quiet War is the first song released on Michael’s upcoming album, AHAYWEH, which will release on June 1st.

Barber will donate all money from the song to an Indiana charity that deals with the opioid treatment.

Quiet War is available to purchase on iTunes and GooglePlay, and pre-orders for the album can be made at www.MichaelBarber.org.

QUIET WAR ON ITUNES

QUIET WAR ON GOOGLEPLAY

Spotify hit with $1.6 billion copyright lawsuit

Music streaming company Spotify was sued by Wixen Music Publishing Inc last week for allegedly using thousands of songs, including those of Tom Petty, Neil Young and the Doors, without a license and compensation to the music publisher.

Wixen, an exclusive licensee of songs such as “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty, “Light My Fire” by the Doors, (Girl We Got a) Good Thing by Weezer and works of singers such as Stevie Nicks, is seeking damages worth at least $1.6 billion along with injunctive relief.

Spotify failed to get a direct or a compulsory license from Wixen that would allow it to reproduce and distribute the songs, Wixen said in the lawsuit, filed in a California federal court.

Wixen also alleged that Spotify outsourced its work to a third party, licensing and royalty services provider the Harry Fox Agency, which was “ill-equipped to obtain all the necessary mechanical licenses”.

Spotify declined to comment.

In May, the Stockholm, Sweden-based company agreed to pay more than $43 million to settle a proposed class action alleging it failed to pay royalties for some of the songs it makes available to users.

Spotify, which is planning a stock market listing this year, has grown around 20 percent in value to at least $19 billion in the past few months.

Margot Robbie Signs First-Look Deal With Warner Bros.

The Aussie actress already has two projects set at the studio, including a spinoff for her ‘Suicide Squad’ character Harley Quinn.

WANT TO SEE MARGOT ROBBIE NAKED CLICK HERE

Margot Robbie is setting down roots at Warner Bros.

The Aussie actress is signing a first-look deal with the studio behind her summer Suicide Squadto develop and produce feature films through her LuckyChap Entertainment banner.

Producing and developing with Robbie will be her LuckyChap colleagues Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr.

Robbie, whose breakout performance came in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, is only 26 years old but has quickly grasped control of her career in a way few actors, especially female actors, do, steadily wading into the world of producing.

Robbie and LuckyChap are in postproduction on their first movie as producers, the upcoming neo noir thriller Terminal. LuckyChap also is developing and producing a Tonya Harding biopic, I, Tonya, where the actress will play the disgraced figure skater, and is developing an adaptation of Bad Monkeys, a novel by Matt Ruff, along with Bluegrass Films’ Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark for Universal Pictures.

Warner Bros. has built a relationship with the actress, who starred in Focus and The Legend of Tarzan for the studio before becoming one of the key factors as to why Suicide Squad grossed over $700 million worldwide.

The actress already has two projects set at Warners: a Suicide Squad spinoff for her character Harley Quinn (as well as other DC heroines) that she will executive produce and an adaptation of Dean N. Jensen’s Queen of the Air to which she is attached to star.

The first-look deal underlines Warner Bros.’ renewed focus on female-driven storytelling and comes after some notables moves from the Burbank-based studio.

It created the Warner Bros. Emerging Film Directors Workshop earlier this year as a program to increase female voices, among other under-represented sectors, which was spearheaded by the studio’s president, creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman.

Warners has Wonder Woman, based on DC’s iconic female superhero, coming out next year and was firm in its commitment to find a female director for that movie. And it is prepping Ocean’s Ocho, a female-centric take on Ocean’s 11 that will feature an A-list female ensemble.

Robbie is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Jeff Bernstein of Jackoway Tyerman.