BILL RANCIC, SHERRI SHEPHERD, BARBARA WALTERS, JENNY MCCARTHY, WHOOPI GOLDBERG

Trailblazing broadcast anchor Barbara Walters, center, is surrounded by Bill Rancic, Sherri Shepherd, Jenny McCarthy and Whoopi Goldberg in 2014 on the set of “The View.” Walters is reportedly bound to a wheelchair and has advanced dementia. PHOTO: Tribune file

American Idol is coming back to ABC. Returning to the judges’ table are Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and, our favorite, Lionel Richie. At press time, ABC/Disney is hammering out a deal for Ryan Seacrest to return as host. My question is when we are going to see some stars? Remember, despite this being the third season on ABC, American Idol was on Fox previously beginning in 2002. We’ve seen many superstars come out of the Idol competition back in the day like Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Jordin Sparks, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, Candice Glover and Jennifer Hudson. Even those who didn’t win the finale went on to great stardom. For the past few years even before getting on ABC, Idol hasn’t produced the superstars it used to. Will that change with the new season? The show is planning to go back to basics by visiting cities and auditioning talent. American Idol returns to ABC in spring 2020.

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Where is Katt Williams? The embattled comedian/actor is being sought out for shows and work, but no one can seem to find him. Despite all the run-ins with the law, and at times the media, Williams continued making successful stand up appearances on the road. At press time Williams’ manager, close friends and associates have not been in touch with him for some time.

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Is Wendy Williams looking to reunite with her estranged husband Kevin (Kelvin) Hunter? She recently wished him and his alleged mistress and their alleged love child well in an interview. Williams was also asked if she’s keeping Hunter on as her business manager only. Her answer was she’s trying to get through her divorce. Hmmmm! After all that’s taken place, can even a business relationship work? Will keeping Hunter in any part of her life, other than their son, be too risky? Williams is currently on the Wendy Williams & Friends: For The Record Umm Hmmm tour coming to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Aug. 17. Her TV show is going on hiatus and making room for her frequent guest host Jerry O’Connell and his Jerry O Show beginning Aug. 12 on Fox 29.

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We’re keeping Barbara Walters in prayer. The TV news icon is 89 and hasn’t been seen in public in three years. She’s bound to a wheelchair and has advanced dementia. There was a hope she could be Tamron Hall‘s first guest on Tamron’s new ABC daytime talker. Tamron’s producing partner is Bill Geddie who created The View with Walters. Unfortunately, Walters isn’t well enough for a TV appearance. The Tamron Hall Show premieres Monday, Sept. 9 on ABC.

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Jussie Smollett is fighting back against the lawsuit from the city of Chicago whether he lied or not. Huh? Smollett has filed legal documents to get the case against him dismissed. The city sued Smollett after police determined that the gay/racial bias attack against him was a hoax. Although the former Empire actor was indicted on charges related to giving false statements to police, those charges were dropped. The city then sued for the cost of the police investigation. Smollett’s team says this is payback for the charges being dropped. Plus, the city hasn’t shown how his statements directly link to the cost of an investigation whether or not the statements are truthful. Smollett has already paid a price by being dismissed from his hit Fox drama Empire. This week, Fox Network CEO Charlie Collier confirmed what Lee Daniels stated months ago that there were no plans to bring Jussie back for Empire’s final season.

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We remember Toni Morrison. The prolific writer passed away this week after a short illness. Morrison was called America’s conscience by Oprah Winfrey because Morrison’s works delved into America’s battles with slavery, Jim Crow laws and how systematic racism affects generations. The Pulitzer Prize winner’s works included “Song of Solomon,” “Beloved” and “The Bluest Eye.” Morrison also worked on literary reviews, children’s books and writing for the opera. Morrison was 88.

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There will be no host for this year’s Emmys. The TV awards show airs on Fox this year. It appears they’re taking a note from The Academy Awards. The Oscars went with no host this year and actually turned out well timing wise and no big controversies. Stars are a little nervous about hosting these days. With the political and social landmines these days, they can be hit during monologues and sketches. A misstep can be devastating and get you chewed up on social media. The Emmy Awards air Sunday, Sept. 22 on Fox.

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At the movies this week, it’s Brian Banks. Aldis Hodge (Underground; Straight Outta Compton), Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets; Nurse Betty) and Sherri Shepherd (The View; Ride Along 2; Beauty Shop) star in this drama/bio-pic based on an actual case. Brian Banks was a onetime football linebacker, now a former player, falsely accused of rape and served six years in prison and five years on parole. His family and friends eventually helped him clear his name and resume his pursuit of joining the NFL. This is a gripping story that not only speaks to Banks’ perseverance in proving his innocence, but also speaks to our justice system. Brian Banks opens in theaters today.

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Power returns to Starz, and is promising some major twists. Team Ghost and Team Tommy with amazing show promos, but the only hint being dropped is that things are not as they seem. Look for Mary J. Blige to join the cast. Power returns to Starz on Sunday, Aug. 25.

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Serena Williams covers the new edition of Essence magazine. She’s talking all about the September debut of her fashion line S by Serena. Williams is also taking her stance socially as well on the topics of freedom and speaking up.

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Ebony Magazine is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Among its special features, the 2018-2019 HBCU Campus Queens’ photo shoot in Pensacola.

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Alicia Keys is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. She’ll be performing at magazine’s ICONS party with Christina Aguilera, The Weeknd and Kanye West on Sept. 6.

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Missy Elliot is on the cover of the August edition of Marie Claire with the feature story The Legend Returns.

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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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