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hollywood 411
October 15, 2018

The Endeavor talent firm is in discussions to return a $400 million investment from the Saudi Arabian government's Public Investment Fund, two people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News on Monday.

The move comes after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkey has told U.S. officials it has audio proof that he was murdered inside the consulate.

The Public Investment Fund agreed in March to buy a small stake in Endeavor. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said on Monday the disappearance of Khashoggi was "upsetting" and he was "really concerned." If Endeavor does cut ties with Saudi Arabia, it would be one of the most visible moves by an American company to distance itself from the kingdom in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance. Catherine Garcia

September 17, 2018

Julie Chen is not returning to The Talk, and will announce her decision via a video message set to air on the show Tuesday, people close to Chen told CNN's Brian Stelter on Monday.

Chen's husband, Les Moonves, the former chairman and CEO of CBS, left the company last week after several women accused him of sexual misconduct. Chen released a statement after the first allegations were published in The New Yorker in July, saying she supports her husband and stands behind him; she described Moonves as "a good man and a loving father, devoted husband, and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent, and moral human being." Moonves has denied the allegations.

A person close to Chen told Stelter that she's decided her "main focus needs to be clearing her husband's name from accusations made 25 to 30 years ago and tending to her son." Chen, they added, will stay on as host of Big Brother. Catherine Garcia

August 20, 2018

Opening in eight theaters on Friday, Kevin Spacey's new movie, Billionaire Boys Club, didn't even crack $300 at the box office in its first two days.

On Friday, the movie made $126, and on Saturday, just $162, The Hollywood Reporter said Sunday. That's less than most people spend at Costco on the weekend, likely due to Spacey having been accused last year of sexual harassment and assault by several men. After the allegations were made public, he was fired from House of Cards and his scenes in All the Money in the World were re-shot, with Christopher Plummer taking his place.

Billionaire Boys Club is a crime drama, also starring Ansel Elgort and Taron Egerton. Its distributor, Vertical Entertainment, announced it would become available on video on demand in July and then released in theaters, as to not punish everyone else who participated in making the movie. "In the end, we hope audiences make up their own minds as to the reprehensible allegations of one person's past, but not at the expense of the entire cast and crew present on this film," Vertical Entertainment said in a statement. Catherine Garcia

August 12, 2018

Sci-fi thriller The Meg had an impressive opening weekend, bringing in an estimated $44.5 million at the U.S. box office.

The Warner Bros. film about scientists trying to keep an enormous shark from causing chaos was expected to debut with $20 million domestically. It's estimated the movie brought in $141.3 million worldwide. The Meg had the biggest domestic opening for a live-action shark movie, not adjusted for inflation; The Hollywood Reporter says Jaws is still the top-grossing live-action shark film in the U.S., adjusted or not.

Mission: Impossible — Fallout dropped from the top spot to No. 2 with $20 million, followed by Christopher Robin with $12.4 million, Slender Man with $11.3 million, and Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman with $10.8 million. Catherine Garcia

August 6, 2018

NBA star LeBron James will serve as an executive producer for the three-part documentary series Shut Up and Dribble, Showtime announced Monday.

Shut Up and Dribble will focus on the modern history of the NBA, how some players are able to become cultural icons, and how athletes are now tackling politics, Variety reports. The name will be familiar to those who heard that in February, Fox News host Laura Ingraham took offense at James and Kevin Durant making critical comments about President Trump, saying the NBA stars needed to "shut up and dribble."

"LeBron James is one of many competitors whose place in the spotlight has led not to silence but perspective," Showtime President and CEO David Nevins said, adding that the series should bring fans "and fellow citizens to a higher level of discourse, rather than the dismissal satirized in the title." Shut Up and Dribble will premiere on Showtime in October. Catherine Garcia

August 6, 2018

Homeland's eighth season will be its last.

Showtime President and CEO David Nevins made the announcement on Monday. Gary Levine, Showtime's programming president, said the drama is "not limping into the sunset. Last season was one of its best ever." Star Claire Danes told Howard Stern in April that the show was going to be ending soon, and she felt "really conflicted about it," although she's "ready for a reprieve" due to her character, Carrie Mathison, being "a lot."

Homeland's final season will premiere in June 2019. Catherine Garcia

July 31, 2018

In an open letter released Monday, members of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast said they "fully support James Gunn," the movie director fired earlier this month after old tweets were unearthed where he joked about pedophilia.

Gunn, who was set to direct the franchise's third installment, was fired by the Walt Disney Co., a move that "shocked" the Guardians of the Galaxy stars, they wrote. The letter was signed by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and other actors in the film, who said they waited to respond "in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss."

The cast said they will not defend Gunn's jokes, but did want to share their experience with Gunn as a director. "The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love," the letter states.

There is "little due process in the court of public opinion," the letter continues. "James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial," and the hope is that "Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality." Pratt shared the letter on his Instagram feed, and said in the caption he didn't support Gunn's "inappropriate jokes" but would "love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3." Catherine Garcia

July 26, 2018

AMC announced on Wednesday it is reinstating Chris Hardwick as host of Talking Dead and Talking with Chris Hardwick, following an investigation into allegations made by a former girlfriend.

In June, actress Chloe Dykstra wrote an essay about the abuse she said she suffered during a relationship with an older man, and accused him of sexually assaulting her. Dykstra and Hardwick dated for three years, and while she did not name him, because of details and descriptions, readers determined she was writing about Hardwick. Hardwick denied the accusations, and AMC suspended Talking with Chris Hardwick and opened an investigation into his conduct.

"We take these matters very seriously and given the information available to us after a very careful review, including interviews with numerous individuals, we believe returning Chris to work is the appropriate step," AMC said in a statement. AMC did not say when Talking with Chris Hardwick will return to the schedule. Yvette Nicole Brown replaced Hardwick as host of several panels at Comic-Con, and was named interim guest host of Talking Dead; as planned, she'll still host The Walking Dead preview special on Aug. 5. Catherine Garcia

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