TV-Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams had left her show in January. — (AP Photo, File)

Gayle and Oprah are locking up these exclusives with both R. Kelly interview and the Michael Jackson documentary. First, Gayle King got an exclusive with R. Kelly who emotionally denied all wrongdoing, including denying ever having sex with underage girls. The Pied Piper of R&B says he’s not holding people against their will; he doesn’t have a harem or a cult and that he has made many mistakes with women in his relationships and for that he’s apologized to those women. Kelly told Gayle he hasn’t broken the law when it comes to women and he’s not Lucifer, which he says is who was described in Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary. Kelly claims he isn’t really affected by the sexual abuse he suffered from his sister. The singer/songwriter claims he’s being assassinated and buried alive because of the accusations. Kelly burst into tears and began screaming he’s fighting for his “fking life” during the interview. Gayle was super calm and cool when Kelly stood up and started ranting. She held her own challenging Kelly by asking if he was playing the victim card, and asked why would so many people who don’t know each other want to lie on him? He told Gayle their interview is just the beginning of what he’s got to clear his name, but wouldn’t tell her more than that. Then after the interview aired Wednesday, Kelly went to a Cook County Illinois court over $161,000 in back child support. Meanwhile, the prime-time R. Kelly interview with Gayle King will air Friday at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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Meanwhile Gayle King’s BFF, Oprah Winfrey, got an exclusive herself with Michael Jackson accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Both men we’re featured in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland and Winfrey’s interview aired after part 2. Winfrey had a studio full of survivors of sexual assault, declared she believed both men and that the documentary did in four hours what she’s been trying to convey to her audiences in 217 hours over many years. Both #CancelOprah and #MuteOprah are steady hash tags. Winfrey said this is bigger than just Michael Jackson.

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Wendy Williams is standing by her man. She’s back on the air and talked about how she had to adjust her meds because of her vertigo. She goes to the gym everyday for two hours and is focusing on her family. She also says she knows folks are upset about her not telling all or leaving husband/manager Kevin Hunter.

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Will Smith will star as Venus and Serena’s dad Richard Williams in a new biopic, but there’s some controversy. Social media is asking why cast Smith as his complexion is much lighter than Richard Williams’. Some even tried to bring up the Zoe Saldana film in which she darkened her skin and used a prosthetic nose to play The High Priestess Of Soul Nina Simone. That film came and went, and Saldana took a hit from critics and fans alike. Is Smith going to face the same criticism? Will knows better than the dark make up, but there’s also the personality. I’ll just say that Will, to play Richard Williams, you gonna have to curse.

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Speaking of Will Smith, he’s stepping aside from the Suicide Squad sequel, and Idris Elba is the studio’s choice to replace him as the character Deadshot. Smith stepped aside because of scheduling conflicts. The original Suicide Squad grossed $746 million at the box office. Of the original cast, only Margot Robbie has reportedly signed on at this point with filming slated to begin this fall.

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In more Idris news, he’s coming to Coachella in April, but first will debut as host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live with Musical Guest Khalid tomorrow night. Elba also has his Netflix comedy series debuting next month as well. The reigning People magazine Sexiest Man Alive is the co-creator and co-executive producer of Turn Up Charlie. Elba plays Charlie, a bachelor and DJ who reluctantly becomes a “manny” to a friend’s problem child daughter Turn Up Charlie will begin streaming on Friday, March 15th. And, this summer, Elba will team up with Dwayne The Rock Johnson for The Fast And The Furious spinoff.

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Denzel Washington has picked his next directing gig and it will star Michael B. Jordan. The film, A Journal For Jordan, will star Jordan as 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King. King, before he was killed in Iraq, kept a journal for his young son named Jordan, who was 7 months old when his father died. This will be Washington’s first directing assignment since Fences. Jordan is fresh off Creed II, which took in over $200 million worldwide at the box office. No release schedule has been announced, but Jordan’s company, Outlier Society, is producing the film.

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We remember Actor Nathaniel Taylor. He was best known for his role as Rollo Lawson, the best friend of Lamont Sanford, played by Demond Wilson, on the TV hit Sanford & Son (1972-1977). His character had a hostile relationship with Lamont’s father Fred played by Comedian Redd Foxx. The Rollo character was seen over 32 times in the show’s six season run. Taylor, who later went on to open a performing arts school and teach acting, appeared in the movies Willie Dynamite and Trouble Man and TV’s What’s Happening, 227 and the 1980’s The Redd Foxx Show. Taylor, whose 81st is March 31st, suffered a fatal heart attack.

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Actor Luke Perry has died after suffering a massive stroke. Brain damaged so badly, he would not have recovered. After being placed in a medically induced coma, the family made the decision to let him go. Perry rose to fame on the Fox teen drama Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000). Perry did the first five seasons and returned for the last two seasons. Perry became the unexpected breakout heartthrob of the show. He would later do feature films (Buffy The Vampire Slayer; The Fifth Element), other TV series (Jeremiah with Malcolm Jamal Warner) and other TV movies. Recently, 90210 got approved for a Fox reboot, and speculation began if Perry would return. The actor left his fortune to his children, and has been talked about nonstop for his generosity and kind nature at work. Luke Perry was 52.

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Singer /Songwriter Peter Tork of The Monkees has died. While many dismissed the group as manufactured strictly for their Monkees TV show (1966-1968), the group enjoyed platinum successes with their albums and hit No. 1 on the charts with several singles (Pleasant Valley Sunday; I’m A Believer; Daydream Believer; Shades Of Gray; Take The Last Train To Clarksville). The Monkees even rivaled their friends The Beatles for the top of the charts. Later, the Monkees protested how much control they didn’t have over their music, and Tork began writing songs. After the show was canceled and Tork left the group, a whole new wave of popularity hit when MTV re-aired the show in the ‘80s and Nick At Nite did the same in the ‘90s. The group reunited and had sporadic album releases and tours until the death of Davy Jones from a heart attack in 2012. After that the surviving members (Tork, Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz) would get together occasionally. Tork continued acting on shows like California Dreams, 7th Heaven and Boy Meets World. Plus, he wrote and sang for his groups The Peter Tork Project and Shoe Suede Blues. Tork died from cancer at age 77.

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Jaden Smith is donating clean water to Flint, Mich. The young actor and activist has a nonprofit, Just Goods, and teamed up with First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. Just Goods purchased a water filtration system and donated it to the church. First Trinity has been distributing bottled water as the all clear still hasn’t been given to the Flint water. Smith said the goal isn’t to disrupt what Trinity was already doing but to be a backbone in case there are problems with the supply of water Trinity has. Smith’s mother, Actress Jada Pinkett Smith, went to Flint with her son and vowed to donate a second filtration system for greater access to clean water.

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Singer/Actor Tyrese is set to play Teddy Pendergrass. Tyrese was mentored by the late superstar of Philly Soul music. Pendergrass’ greatest successes were with Gamble & Huff on Philadelphia International Records. First, Pendergrass was the lead singer of Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes in 1971. Then he went solo in 1976. Pendergrass’ voice dominated seven platinum albums and three gold singles before a car accident left him paralyzed. He came back to singing going gold again and hitting No.f 1 with “Joy” and toured as well. Before he died, Pendergrass met and befriended a host of young talent including Tyrese, whose own singing and acting has taken him to the top of the charts (Sweet Lady; Lately) and box office (The Fast & The Furious; Baby Boy). No word yet on a release date for the Teddy Pendergrass biopic.

Robin Roberts says when it comes to Jussie Smollett, she was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t. Many critics accused the Good Morning America co-anchor of going to soft on the Empire actor when he gave her an emotional denial that he staged a racial and homophobic attack in Chicago. Smollett has since been arrested and charged for exactly that. Roberts says as an African American who also happens to be gay, she knew it was a no-win situation. She wasn’t sure going in since Smollett was lawyered up, but was then told he asked for her after being accused of staging the attack. Smollett was arrested shortly after the interview. Roberts knew going too hard or too soft would draw criticism either way.

Next, Smokey Robinson and Cedric The Entertainer (CBS’s The Neighborhood) will host a Grammy special entitled Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration. Performers include Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Boyz II Men, Chloe X Halle, Ne-Yo and Thelma Houston. The 60th Anniversary Motown special airs Sunday, April 21st at 8 p.m. on CBS.

If you would like more info please email me at PattyJackson@iHeartMedia.com or check me out with my midday reports at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. during the day.

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