Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell Are on the Case in See How They Run First Look

See How They Run, based on an original screenplay by Mark Chappell, follows a cynical constable (Rockwell as yet another kind of cop) and his keen rookie (Ronan) as they investigate the murder of a crew member from a smash-hit West End play gearing up for a movie adaptation. Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh/Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

A mystery is afoot and the only people who can solve it are acclaimed actors of the stage and screen. Martin’s Theatre in the West End, and the Old Vic Theater. Related

Lesley Ann Warren Answers Every Question We Have About Clue

Tags: Investigate this first look. See How They Run, a new murder-mystery from BAFTA winner Tom George announced its official cast with a first-look photo of Oscar winners Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan. See How They Run filmed earlier this year in historic London settings including the Dominion Theatre on Tottenham Court Road, St. As for the Knives Out of it all, the cast also includes Academy Award winner Adrien Brody, Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson, Globe nominee David Oyelowo, BAFTA winners Reece Shearsmith, Shirley Henderson, and Charlie Cooper, as well as Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (The Queen’s Gambit), Pearl Chanda (I May Destroy You), Harris Dickinson, and Pippa Bennett-Warner.

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Which Virgin River Citizens Deserve to Be Banished?

And this ex-Marine is pro-group therapy! This guy comes to town and the FIRST thing he does is make a joke about Mel trying to hook up with him? She’s teetering on the verge of being banished from town, but her kindness toward Christopher, Paige/Michelle, and Preacher really wins her some points. But what I will never forgive is that he used the line “So what’s your secret?” when first meeting Brie at a bar. This is based on the following evidence: He takes care of everyone else’s problems ahead of his own, he took a gunshot to the abdomen and seems 100 percent fine three weeks later, he makes bucket hats look sexy. Lydie

Ricky’s grandma is the most sex-positive person in this town PLUS she keeps things interesting drama-wise by sometimes forgetting to take her diabetes medication. Jo Ellen

Jo Ellen is very sweet but is always getting shit on for being chatty and boring. I’m not proud of it, but it’s my truth! Or at the very least, he’s just a bad detective. AND HIS COOKING SKILLS? Todd

Photo: Netflix

Ooof. Banish! That doesn’t change the fact that Ricky is also a weenie, and I’m sorry but we have brooding bartenders being gunned down and sinister people avenging the deaths of their identical twins, we do not have time for an 18-year-old who is worried that townspeople might find out he is having sex with his own girlfriend, okay? Also, someone really needs to hand this woman a pamphlet on why abstinence-only education is a terrible idea. They can all stay. Christopher

Photo: Netflix

There’s honestly, like, no children in Virgin River and it is a little alarming because (1) where are all the children?, and (2) will the town of Virgin River just die off eventually?, but also (3) WHERE ARE ALL THE CHILDREN? Honestly, banishing this woman from Virgin River would be for her own good. So, to sort out the Virgin River locals we love from the real dickheads, we’ve ranked all the characters below from best to who should be banished from Virgin River forever. Ricky

Photo: Netflix

Yeah, yeah, Ricky is a Nice Boy who makes sure his grandma doesn’t die from her diabetes and brings his girlfriend chocolate cakes and is respectful of other human beings. Yes. Being a 19-year-old horndog is one thing but, wow, when it comes to Lizzie, beware the wrath of a woman cock-blocked. And now he might be kind-of framing Brady for shooting Jack? Charmaine? Brady is a mixed-up dude who needs help. This guy. This woman is a treasure. Also why does he want to marry Charmaine — knocked up with another man’s babies — after three weeks? She spent all this time trying to claw Jack away from Mel, but now she’s changed tactics in her mission to make Jack miserable and shacks up with the biggest toolbox you could imagine (see above) and pretty much tells Jack that it’s wrong for him to want custody of his own children. Anyway, the kid has been surrounded by trauma his whole little life but he just wants to learn how to play Fortnite and eat mozzarella sticks. Remember that time when she texted Jack “911” and it was to unclog her sink so she could make dog cookies, and when Jack politely was like, “This is not an emergency,” she flipped? Mike Valenzuela

Dang, Detective Mike came in with a ton of potential but then Brady implies that he was into some very much not aboveboard things while they were all serving in Iraq. Three seasons in and she has yet to perform any mayoral duties except, I guess, officiate an egg relay race? Brady, please see yourself out. She’s a mess, but mostly in regards to herself, and this town could really use an attorney, so here’s hoping she sticks around. and be free, child! Obviously, I hope she wakes up from her medically induced coma, but it’s clear the town would survive without her. It does not, however, earn her a reprieve from still being terrible. Tucker the Dog

Now that this dog is free from Charmaine’s clutches, Tucker’s potential is limitless. He’s fine. Then, like the third thing Todd does is demand that Jack give up his parental rights so that he can raise Jack and Charmaine’s twins as his own. Like, I get it, he earnestly uses the phrase “I’m mighty proud of you,” but he also literally buried a body and took in a child for a woman he sort of had a crush on. Charmaine

Photo: Netflix

You’d think over the course of three seasons they would at least attempt to make Charmaine sympathetic in some way, but no, they are really doubling down on her being a whiny dick. The small town in Netflix’s romance series Virgin River, a show about a sad nurse from Los Angeles who moves to picturesque Northern California to reinvent herself, has a vibrant community of the types of people you’d expect to find in a place like that: a mix of lovable, wacky, brooding, romantic, and, yes, even villainous (a TV small town is also only as good as its drama, after all). He’s been drugged and left for dead in the woods, so who knows what his future holds, but that missed opportunity is on you, single people of Virgin River. Note: spoilers ahead for the events of season three. — but she is really going to need to step up her game to be seen as a valuable member of this community. WHO ARE YOU EVEN??? How Jack EVER forgave her once she read Charmaine’s letter and also told Mel that Char was pregnant before he got the chance, I’ll never understand. Who doesn’t love the “set-in-his-ways old guard warming up to the out-of-town daughter figure” story line? For now. Could you imagine? He loves taking sexy baths! Could people just give her a fucking break already? He also seems to have extremely strong sperm, which doesn’t matter when you’re ranking television characters, but maybe it should. Is anything more gutting than watching that man weep in a hospital lobby? That’s a real skill. Doc’s Secret Surprise Grandson

We only met this guy for like 30 seconds, but here’s what we know: He’s 19, he’s from Seattle, and that giant backpack of his is stuffed with some messy drama. I’m just so exhausted. He is kind but flawed! Man! They are a great match and she knows it. Her hair never looks bad. JUST TELL JACK WHY YOU WERE AT THE BAR THE NIGHT HE GOT SHOT. This! In most parts, you’d think saying someone “has the lung capacity of a Navy SEAL” would be a compliment, but not to the VR townies. Although it is endearingly cute that Brady is, like, so into The Sting and owns a DVD player, I can’t. Paige/Michelle

You have to feel for Paige, who has been through SOME THINGS, but she’s been gone for over a season and her fugitive/murder situation is still very much wreaking havoc on the citizens of Virgin River! Tara

Lily’s daughter Tara seems nice — she’s adopting her baby sister after all! Like, honestly, kudos to this woman for strolling into town and immediately falling for the one guy almost everyone suspects had something to do with her brother’s shooting. Connie

Connie is a person you look at and you’re like, Hmm, that lady needs a vacation. She and Doc have so much in common! Doc Mullins

Photo: Netflix

If at the beginning of the Virgin River journey you told me that I would come to love the curmudgeonly doctor who is a secret softy above everyone else, I would’ve said, Hmm, yeah that tracks. Is it wild that she, a midwife and person who has dealt with infertility issues for a long time, thinks she could be pregnant with an embryo she and her dead husband froze, even though the timing and logistics make zero sense medically speaking, and IVF is way way way more complicated than this show has decided it is? Join the Marines or don’t, just get out of here!!! Imagine what Doc looked like making that temporary paper nameplate he hung for Mel outside the office. Preacher

Photo: Netflix

So many ridiculous things happen on Virgin River and I will heartily accept them all, but the one thing I will not stand for is that somehow Preacher isn’t getting laid all the time. Hope McCrae

Photo: Netflix/(c) 2020 NETFLIX, Inc. She has zero boundaries, constantly complains about all of her friends, and is sort of mean to her old auntie she needs to keep safe during a hurricane. Aside from being an empathetic ear for the town to lean on, Doc breaks all of our hearts in season three as he deals with not only the fact that he is going blind and may lose his life’s work, but also [SPOILER ALERT] that his wife Hope is on the brink of death! Muriel

Photo: Netflix

Justice for Muriel! Also he makes Charmaine give up her dog? That’s her at a 1 compared to season three. You know she’s got a good soul, but, man, is she cranky. She’s very good at her job. Photo: Netflix

A TV small town is really only as good as the cast of characters who inhabit it. Brie Sheridan

Whoa, does Jack’s sister come in hot. Calvin

Why is this drug lord always in a jeff cap? Mel Monroe

Photo: Netflix

Mel is the most resilient person on the planet. And is into supporting his local arts community! He’s one of the hottest people around for miles, and yet people aren’t just, like, throwing themselves at this man. But before that, she was a real pal to everyone in Virgin River, especially our girl Mel. Lizzie

Photo: Netflix

If this ranking had been done after season two, Lizzie would easily be in the running for the bottom spot, but that Apple commercial of a heartfelt moment she has with Doc at the hospital as they cry listening to “Drift Away” earns her a reprieve from the title. Her relationship with Doc: the sweetest. That’s real fucking rich, Charmaine. Especially the hot ones!! She got a bad rap in season two for wanting to break up Doc and Hope, but, like, why wouldn’t she? Unbeknownst to most people, she is processing — er, not processing some pretty heavy trauma and does so by making a series of truly terrible decisions. Go to L.A. It’s a very endearing image! She deserves a hero edit. Listen, I’m willing to forgive Brady for getting into bed with the local drug syndicate, for betraying Jack, and even for trying to scam Lily out of her family farm. Virgin River (the town and the show) wouldn’t survive without him. Brady

Photo: Netflix

Why is this man so unnecessarily shady? Anyway, this guy and his perpetually reserved country-club table that seats like 12 but that he only uses for two should be tossed into the titular Virgin River and never heard from again. But we’ll give her time to work it out. What a good boy! We did not order this, sir! IN THIS CLIMATE? Her relationship with Jack: the steamiest. Have you not seen his face? Tags: Her mean-girl knitting friends think she has ulterior motives, but she seems pretty pure of heart. In season three, even though Hope’s not around, she knows Doc and Hope are renewing their vows and is simply a kind, supportive friend to Doc. Photo: Netflix


[MAJOR SPOILER ALERT] Unfortunately, Lily is dead now. Jack is not a perfect man, which makes him interesting, but he is the superhero of Virgin River (the town and the show). Over the course of three seasons, however, it’s become quite clear that while some of Virgin River’s citizens are angels to be treasured, some of them are terrible. So far, mostly all she’s done is cry and kill her mother by way of taking way too long to bake enchiladas. Okay, there was that whole “secretly birthing a child” thing that really fucked up the whole town for a while, but other than that, what a sweetheart! Sorry to kick a girl when she’s down — the end of season three leaves Hope on the verge of death after a car accident — but Hope seeeeewks. Jack Sheridan

Photo: Netflix

He’s a hot, sensitive barkeep with a heart of gold who is battling some real demons! Take care of this man! Doc is the best of Virgin River and he needs more hugs ASAP.

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Suni Lee Secures Olympic Gold in All-Around Gymnastics

Crowd reacts as Suni Lee appear to win the all around— Peter Cox (@peterncox) July 29, 2021


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Tags: Watch Suni Lee’s family watch her make sports history, and try not to cry along. Suni Lee trained throughout the COVID-19 pandemic despite experiencing two losses from the deadly virus. Sunisa “Suni” Lee
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Sunisa “Suni” Lee won herself a gold medal in all-around gymnastics at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics this morning. While she may have thought her Olympic journey would end with her in second place to Simone Biles, when Biles made the personal decision to step back from the team and all-around finals, she made room for her teammates’ Olympic dreams to come true, too. Her father, John Lee, was able to see her compete in-person at the Olympic Trials, one of the few times he’s been able to since suffering an accident in 2019 that left him paralyzed. The 18-year-old from Minnesota is the fifth consecutive gymnast from the United States to win the all-around following Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas, and the GOAT, Simone Biles. Of course, the team leader and greatest gymnast of all time was the loudest voice in the gym today, cheering on gymnasts from every country, according to tweets from Tokyo. While families were not allowed at the Ariake Gymnastics Center in Tokyo to watch them compete, Lee’s family watched from home. Rebecca Andrade of Brazil won silver, earning Brazil their first medal in gymnastics. Lee makes history as the first-ever Hmong American Olympian and undoubtedly makes her parents proud.

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Gossip Girl Week 4 Report Card: Go Play Your Video Games


Julien and Zoya’s relationshipLast week: Not gradedBecause we started the series with this fakeout — you think they barely know each other, but secretly they’re friends! If Julien’s whole thing is that she’s nice to everyone, why do Monet and Luna need to be her social muscle to stay in her good graces? I feel like we are speeding through plots that go nowhere and events that mean nothing and relationships so perfunctory it’s a wonder they bother getting together or breaking up at all. F

RafaLast week: BUghhhhh, okay, yeah, I guess just have sex with your student who is obviously in a bad place and needs you to be the adult in the room, whatever, I’m tired. Was he just lurking at the entrance to this student party until Max showed up? Telling me, as this show does over and over again, that any of these characters are So Very Interesting does not make them so. And we don’t see what it is that Julien gets out of her relationships with these girls, either. Is it very dumb that he thinks it’s good for the daughters to be fighting so the dads can bond? B

AkiLast week: C“I love you and I’m attracted to you” he says to Audrey in about the least convincing manner I can imagine. C-

JulienLast week: CJulien’s morning vlog is sort of lame to me — like, congratulations on not wearing makeup, I guess? And yet again we have a situation where Max was presented to us as so wild from the start — popping pills in the quad or whatever before the first day of school in the series premiere — that his “I’m in a spiral” conduct barely registers as different from his standard-issue druggy debauchery. To this I say: What? And since most of their interactions have either been performance pieces (pretending not to know each other) or giant misunderstandings perpetuated by Gossip Girl and Monet and Luna, we have no baseline for what they even are to each other, so their hug-slash-truce means nothing, and I figure we have about ten minutes before some other Monet & Luna effort gets them back in a brawl. Friday Night Lights episodes: 43 minutes long. D-

Monet & LunaLast week: F and C+, respectivelyMonet, aghast at Julien’s Instastory about natural beauty: “No one wants to see anyone without a filter.” Luna is appalled that Julien isn’t interested in a Conde Nast photo shoot. As Obie who saw Hamilton at the Public can tell you, we have no control over our legacies!! And the one person who could reasonably, if unfairly, have issues about this is Julien, but she apparently carries no trauma-induced-grudge around this. Also, I had to Google Josef Fritzl, but once I did, I gotta say that’s quite harsh of her to say to her dad about his no-longer-secret girlfriend. LolaLast week: BShe has a perfect blowout first thing in the morning, is just so happy to be here, and while she is trying very hard to win over Julien, she knows to respect boundaries (see: She didn’t show up to the birthday party). B

Davis, Julien’s dad Last week: A-So I do think it was correct of the dads to intervene, and I can see why Davis would think the obvious solution is to make this a joint party. — but Davis does not know this, and so I withhold judgment from him. What the HELL. Breaking Bad episodes were 43 minutes long. I’m not saying we need to replay the greatest hits here, but the point is: When Blair talked about being queen, it was because she acted like one, and everyone around her was affected by her behavior. Instead he just stood by while she went back onstage?? What’s the rush? And really only one of them is truly talented and the others are just rich and/or hot and/or rich-hot adjacent. For instance, maybe the scorned Aki would’ve been down to help his best friend’s girlfriend. LOL at the idea of this child (a 17-year-old, I think?) booking a hotel suite for his FIFTEEN-year-old girlfriend for the night and that just being fine with every adult who would know about it. The only drama that was a full hour and didn’t waste a minute was The Sopranos (Wire stans don’t @ me; we can talk another time … for now, just rewatch that journalism season and think about what you’ve done.) I never thought I would yearn for the return of commercials, but at least they forced some structure onto these otherwise shapeless blobs of content that go on FOREVER just because streaming services don’t have healthy boundaries. No. Or both? Why are they even in each other’s lives? Yes, but if he weren’t at least a little dopey he wouldn’t fit in at all on this show. F

Nick, Zoya’s dadLast week: C-When that tape starts playing, he just … stands there? Zoya still doesn’t really have a personality or an identity beyond New Girl With a Secret, and now her secret’s out, so half her personality is gone. But no, instead we have some eighth-grader who can summon an army of Russian bots at a moment’s notice. What does this mean for fair Gossip Girl? Oooookay. He spills out of a van in the morning full of people in scrubs that he was … having sex with? As for her announcement that she’s a bully, I gotta say: No, you’re not! B+

AudreyLast week: CEven though we are supposed to believe this generation of Gossip Girl is woker-than-woke, Audrey is still out here using words like “normal” to describe heterosexuality, which according to Julien is why Aki doesn’t feel safe opening up to her about his burgeoning bisexuality. But you’re young and poreless and plenty of girls don’t wear makeup in high school, or anywhere, so honestly, who cares. Anyway, Julien’s exposed face horrifies her lackeys, again for reasons unclear (more on the henchwomen in a minute). D

I swear I’m rooting for them, but these teens are still so boringLast week: C-The trials of these teens reminds me a bit of Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings, which I liked but did not love in part because (sorry for spoilers, and yes I know this is kind of the crux of the whole book) most of the so-called “Interestings” are not actually interesting; they are ordinary but obsessed with their sense of themselves as somehow extraordinary because they went to a rich-kid artsy camp like one time. She apologizes for making his sexuality about her when it’s not about her at all. Zoya nearly Buffy-ed her old school to the ground while being bullied to pieces by some mean girls, and now everyone knows, but because Julien told them, it was all a big oopsie-daisy and no one is going to be mean to Zoya about her past or to Julien about her cruelty? That clears up all our age-of-consent concerns, yes? Monet and Luna sound fully deranged talking about some “throne” that no one else seems to even acknowledge or see, serving a “queen” who reigns over exactly zero people. Brace yourself for a cold, cruel edition of the Gossip Girl Report Card. — and then their real friendship started to crumble almost immediately, but then it got put back together again until Monet and Luna goaded Julien into attacking Z until Julien changed her mind again and again and again … how are we supposed to know how these girls actually feel about each other? the Charlie Trout of Dan Humphrey’s eyeroll-bad short story), whose mom died in the same manner, forever turning Bart against his only son and heir? AND WHY ARE THEY SO INVESTED IN JULIEN’S SOCIAL-MEDIA PRESENCE, GOOD LORD. Her behavior with Obie is, yet again, totally incoherent; did we not just go through the thing where not being true to herself but acting like Julien made Obie less into her? Being natural — or at least pretending to be natural and authentic and whatever — is its own kind of flex, and these girls should KNOW that. Or just buying drugs from? Photo: HBO

Unlike the headmistress of Constance Billard, I believe in holding our Gossip children and their parents accountable for their behavior, which means that the grades this week will reflect their relentlessly ridiculous conduct and my evaporating tolerance for their totally illogical choices. Apologies for being repetitive here, but I must report the truth, which is: Kate’s character development is so unhinged that none of her choices make any sense, thus making her entire plot difficult and annoying to follow. C

MaxLast week: CGreat outgoing message (“If you’re leaving a voicemail, you obviously don’t know me”), but his bender is so absurd I genuinely can’t tell if we’re supposed to find it heart-wrenching or just hilarious. Their relationship is 80 percent misunderstandings. That Altoids tin with just a bunch of, like, random pills in it, like candy? That’s what I wish these hour-long shows would do! These episodes are so long — too long, I’ll say it again! D+

Kate KellerLast week: D+Turns out Ms. And now we have to rehash that again so the self-proclaimed low-key birthday kid can suddenly decide she needs to have a BIGGER party than her sister? Aren’t we supposed to believe Julien, an influencer in her own right, is above needing the old-school establishment for validation and that this generation doesn’t care about legacy media? How is he not more concerned about how she is being treated by her peers considering the whole reason they can’t go back to Buffalo in the first place? Sorry to out myself as not an expert on the matter but like … is that how people do drugs? Keller dropped out of Iowa six months shy of her M.F.A. And does nothing!! We have not seen her exile a social climber from the top of the Met steps, take somebody out with a field hockey stick, throw a Nairtini at someone’s head, sort incoming freshmen into projects and victims, scream at an underling for mistaking leggings for pants, or attempt to win a lunch invite while wearing last season’s Tory Burch flats. At least her hair looks cute. I hear them drop these little lines about internships they want or clout they’re chasing, but we are given absolutely no explanation for why these two girls — who are already privileged, beautiful, rich, conniving, etc., etc., etc. The Americans episodes were 43 minutes long. Not sure how long this can last, but in the meantime: Good on you, stepmommy dearest. In our new show, oh well, this piece of potentially explosive information has virtually no effect — it just means Zoya hates her birthday, which means anytime someone (inevitably, as she has not provided this information to any of her new friends or loved ones) acknowledges her birthday she becomes very uncomfortable. I mean, maybe these report cards are the greatest thing I’ll ever write. Why should we care about anything that happens to any of these people if nothing they do has any lasting consequences or changes them or their relationships in any meaningful way?!? Plus she wears makeup to her party, so this commitment to the barefaced life lasted all of 12 hours. F

Tags: C+ 

Every episode of a television drama should be no more than 43 minutes longLast week: Not gradedMad Men episodes were 43 minutes long. The whole thing of “we need to restart Gossip Girl to keep the kids in line and protect our jobs” was flimsy from the start, but we are only four episodes in and already we have lost the thread completely. I feel like it’s not. D

MiloLast week: Not gradedNot even going to pretend to follow who this child is or why we are being introduced to him when this show already has like 3,098,437 characters in it and his role easily could have been fulfilled by someone we’ve already met and are supposed to care about. Somehow I doubt what Obie meant by that was that Julien needed to perform her authenticity for her Instagram followers. (By the way, I don’t believe for a second that Julien keeps her “options” for Audrey’s backup dates in a literal little black book.) Audrey’s attempt at making Aki jealous backfires in a most pathetic manner — the cute guy from Andover is gay and figured she knew since “I go to boarding school and I’m on a dance crew” —but I have to give her credit for eventually coming around and confronting Aki in as fair a way as possible. Oh, wait, it doesn’t? In “Fire Walks With Z,” big secrets are OUT, new allegiances are IN, and the scores this week are … well, let’s just say I hope to see brighter performances from all our stars in the episodes to come. Julien remains a totally unconvincing queen bee, not least because we spend basically no time at school so we don’t see her interacting with any other students in a way that would suggest they are obsessed with her, terrified of her, or both. Without fail, every show I’ve covered that had 50-minute-and-above episodes would’ve been improved exponentially by leaving a whole plot and a half on the cutting room floor. — and the pacing is a hot mess, and none of these ostensibly exciting endeavors are going to resonate if the characters are this underdeveloped. We have never seen her bully anyone! Are we to be invested in this redemption arc for someone who has barely done anything at all, good or bad, since we met her but four episodes ago? In the pro column: He is quite understanding about Nick and Zoya’s living situation and offers financial assistance in this matter, which naturally Nick is too proud to take, but it was cool of Davis to put it out there. “Like literary great Hannah Horvath before her, she just wasn’t good enough!” Having run the @GossipGirl account for all of three weeks, Kate has decided these captions are the greatest thing she’ll ever write. — cannot achieve those ends without Julien’s assistance. Cool, cool. I don’t understand why it matters that she had spiked food (?) at the party if, after doing one drunk ramble, she just manages to recover with a different drunk ramble, and no one seems to notice or care that she’s obviously under the influence of some illicit substance. Somehow he magically reads into Zoya’s extremely vague “umm” that the birthday is loaded with trauma; I don’t buy it, but sure, he can be that perceptive, I suppose. I do, however, judge him for not running up on that stage and pulling Julien off it the second her speech started to go off the rails, so, pretty much the second she started — and if not then, OBVIOUSLY he should’ve been up there the minute that video took a turn. Also it’s just not clear what this decision has to do with anything; it seems to come out of nowhere, though I imagine we’re supposed to see it as some literal response to the allegation from Obie via Zoya that Julien isn’t “real” enough. Hands full of prescription drugs like he was just trick-or-treating at Mount Sinai … what? I will dock points from Zoya’s dad for not even anticipating the no-duh ways in which that could implode — your daughter was JUST bullied out of her old school and now you think the solution to your problems is to put her in a room half-full of people who’ve sided against her in this sister-versus-sister war? Anyway, good for Kate for staying home and writing an entire short story in one night, as real writers are wont to do. Your daughter is being humiliated and tormented by her half-sister in front of all of her new classmates and you’re like, This is a good time for me, the parent, to just chill quietly on the sidelines and do absolutely nothing, not even gonna make sure she’s okay, I will wait here helplessly. Sure. Only Monet and Luna, for whom she is sometimes an unwitting puppet, get their hands dirty! Alas, all these characters are so scattered it barely feels like they’re in the same show, and it’s too bad she’s sidelined with this plot and only interacts with Julien to talk about Aki when I feel like she’d be a lot more useful if she could engage in … well, whatever they decide to make the central drama of this series. NICK! I could go on, but I won’t — see? I assume I’m supposed to be worried about Z’s apartment situation, but I have been given no reason to believe it will matter, so why would I? Or, maybe one of the teachers could have overheard Zoya’s woes and done some damage to Julien through the @GossipGirl account. A-

ObieLast week: A-He doesn’t really do much, but the food trucks were a sweet if over-the-top idea. What are they TALKING about? C-

ZoyaLast week: DI am STRUGGLING to find reasons to give points to anyone this week, but this is the birthday girl, so let’s try to start positive: I died at “whatever a Minka Kelly is.”

Do we think having Zoya’s immunocompromised mom die while giving birth to her is an intentional callback to Chuck Bass (a.k.a. Well, at least she’s 15 now. All this talk about thrones and royalty and meanwhile we have never seen Julien do anything at school involving anyone else, ever. I thought he and Zoya had chemistry before, but I am no longer seeing it, are you? F

It would be cool if any actions had consequencesLast week: Not gradedSo the whole thing where Zoya got into school because her half-sister plucked her application from the pile, that’s just … over now?

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Categories: Entertainment News

Rosamund Pike Is First Lady Edith Wilson (and 3 More Podcasts Worth Trying)

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It is apparently a point of historical consensus that when the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, was incapacitated by a stroke in 1919, his wife, Edith Wilson, took over an unprecedented amount of responsibilities of his office. Sign up here to get it weekly. The resulting product is a zany period piece that sits somewhere between a comedic stage play and an adult animated tragicomic sitcom — which makes sense as far as the latter is concerned, I suppose, given that Edith! (Like, for example, the fact that President Wilson was, you know, an egregious racist even for the time.) Being knowing isn’t the same as knowing what to do with something, and in this regard, Edith! Or will millennials be the last generation for whom these two powerful midwestern film critics meant anything, as we drift further from their deaths — Siskel in 1999, Ebert in 2013 — and as the film business is still being radically reshaped by IP-ification, the increasing centrality of streaming services, the parallel decline of cinemas, and what feels like the continued flattening of celebrity? We’re back next week, but in the meantime: Send podcast recommendations, feedback, or just say hello at Movie. Opening the first episode, Raftery discusses how he was shaped by watching the two men debate films on their television show, before he proceeds to argue that everybody has a Siskel or Ebert in their life and that you can detect traces of their show’s DNA these days in conversational podcasts everywhere. There’s another question that strikes me while I listen to the miniseries: Whom is this for? And that’s a wrap for 1.5x Speed! Meanwhile…

• We ran a story in this week’s “Hot Pod” about something called Neutrinowatch. But those questions were definitely on my mind as I listened to host Brian Raftery walk through the early beats of Siskel and Ebert’s rise, both as individual critics and as a defining partnership. That said, I don’t yet feel as if I’m getting much that’s new, having already consumed, among other things, Ebert’s memoir, Life Itself, and Steve James’s documentary of the same name about the critic. Edith! This subject really does make for a good narrative premise. Wry, tactical, and cutting, Pike shows more than a bit of her performance in Gone Girl here, or maybe her turn in that film is so firmly etched on my brain that it readily comes to mind whenever I hear her narration. 1.5x Speed: A Weekly Newsletter of Podcast Recommendations and Reviews
Listening notes for the top shows, from Vulture’s critic Nick Quah. Or is it intended as another vessel of pop-culture nostalgia, something The Ringer has consistently been very good at delivering in the past? can come off as being too eagerly and cavalierly clever for its own good. Those aren’t necessarily questions posed in Gene and Roger, The Ringer’s new eight-part miniseries about their legacy (being published through the company’s feed The Big Picture) — at least not at the outset. In his case, the influence was deep. It’s no deal-breaker, though, not by a long shot. Again, it’s an experimental project so don’t go in expecting a full meal, but it’s definitely worth poking around. Pike, of course, is the point here; the entire narrative is run through the First Lady’s point of view. I’m enjoying Gene and Roger enough, though I’m somewhat predisposed, being a huge film nerd and a fan of film criticism in general. Email

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Terms of Service apply. You know, as you do. The experimental project comes from Here Be Monsters’ Jeff Emtman and Song by Song’s Martin Austwick, and the concept is based on what they’re calling “generative podcasting.” The idea, in short: The feed seems to contain six episodes (plus a short explainer), but the substance of every episode changes every day. What has been nice, though, is getting a better sense of balance between the two figures: Siskel, despite being Ebert’s defining collaborator, always struck me from a distance as having something of a more muted legacy. features the ever-interesting Rosamund Pike as the titular First Lady, and she’s rounded out by a fairly extensive roster of solid supporting players, including Clark Gregg as Woodrow Wilson (being very Clark Gregg), Stephen Root as Vice-President Thomas Marshall (being very Stephen Root), and Esther Povitsky as Trudie Grayson, who functions in the podcast as Edith’s sidekick and foil. Ever.: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen, is undoubtedly one such person who sits squarely within a generation influenced by Siskel and Ebert’s heavenward thumbs. Find me on Twitter or reach me over email: is written by Gonzalo Cordova and Travis Helwig, the former of whom worked on Tuca & Bertie. More 1.5x Speed

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Tags: There are truly few things more pleasurable than the sound of Pike working through an increasingly thorny problem out loud. The First Lady, along with others in the president’s inner circle, was also said to have kept the full severity of his illness from the public, and through the end of his term, she played such an outsize role in daily presidential affairs — acting as gatekeeper, managing priorities, directing flows of communication — that some biographers consider her the country’s unofficial first female president. Edith! Maybe that’s true. Raftery, the culture writer who authored 2019’s Best. Edith! Edith! Hope you enjoyed it. • Pop-Up Magazine, the “live magazine” organization, has released its first podcast-style project, though it’s more appropriately termed a “multimedia experience.” It’s called Field Guide, and the initiative pulls together a wide assortment of interesting people — Roxane Gay, Bonnie Tsui, and Anna Sale, among many others — to appreciate the world around us. The current shape of the concept suggests the former, but it’s probably the latter. Year. Is it meant to be an introduction to Siskel and Ebert for the next generation of film consumers? If you were to stream or re-download each one every morning, you would hear something slightly different from the day before. positions the First Lady as continuously balancing between being the most strategic — perhaps the smartest — person in the room and being a sharply ambitious individual who veers ever so close to getting out over her skis at any given point. It’s her voice and perspective that set up the scenes, layer the context, guide the action, and tie everything together with a steady peppering of puckish asides (well delivered). Gene and Robert

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Do the names Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert mean anything to filmgoers under the age of 25? Photo-Illustration: Vulture

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By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. is a fiction podcast that stands as a really good time, minute to minute, and that’s no small feat. The scenario is fertile for high jinks and high stakes, a combination befitting a farce — or, in this case, a new fiction podcast series, Edith!, which comes from a collaboration between Crooked Media and QCODE. The script is swift and punchy, though it does rely a little too much on a winking knowingness to indicate the writers’ awareness of some of the more unsavory historical truths embedded in the situation. This article was featured in 1.5x Speed, New York’s podcast recommendation newsletter.

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Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, and Other Gymnasts Have Simone Biles’s Back

Sending love to you @Simone_Biles 🐐❤️-Team UNITED States of America 🇺🇸— Kerri Strug (@kerristrug96) July 27, 2021

I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall. “Your health and peace matters,” U.S. WHAT A QUEEN. “There’s only so much she can take. “The whole globe is watching her,” Laurie Hernandez, who competed with Biles and Raisman on the U.S. “She has pains like all of us, she has stress like all of us. “It’s just so much pressure,” fellow Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman told Today on July 27. Dominique Moceanu, who also competed on the 1996 U.S. I’m really proud of her.”

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Former gymnast Kerri Strug tweeted her support of Biles as well, writing that she was “sending love.” Strug knows firsthand the pressure of performing when your body isn’t up to it. She’s human — sometimes people forget that.” Raisman said she was “devastated” to learn Biles had dropped out of the competition but was most concerned whether she is okay. We need you one more time for the gold.” Team U.S.A. “[Simone Biles’s] decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health — ‘a say’ I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian.”

Badass. Gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi reportedly told her, “Kerri, we need you to go one more time. “I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later,” she wrote. ♥️— Danusia Francis (@danusiafrancis) July 27, 2021

That pressure rang true to other Olympic gymnasts, who understand the intense scrutiny Biles is under in Tokyo. @Simone_Biles 🤍 decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health—“a say” I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian. GOAT in more ways than one.— Dominique Moceanu (@Dmoceanu) July 28, 2021

Strug wasn’t the only gymnast who emphasized that pushing yourself to the point of destruction shouldn’t be equated with strength or perseverance. Related

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Tags: I competed in the Olympic floor final minutes later. “Simone is human,” Raisman reiterated. Tennis legend Billie Jean King said Biles showed “true leadership” by withdrawing from the competition. It’s insane how much pressure is on her.”

Love you @Simone_Biles— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) July 27, 2021

Don’t know about you but I think @Simone_Biles just empowered everyone to put their mental well-being above everything else. “Having to put that much pressure on her to carry the team to gold — it’s not fair,” she said, adding, “At the end of the day, she is a human being. “You’re reminding Black women that we can take the space we need for ourselves.” U.S. did win gold; afterwards, Strug had to be carried off the floor to Larry Nassar. Representative Cori Bush tweeted. softball pitcher Cat Osterman said, “I commend her for stepping out and saying, ‘You know what, I can’t do this right now’ … People need to remember that athletes are human first.”

“We should be out here having fun and sometimes that’s not the case,” Biles said during a press conference after the gymnastics team finals. gymnastics team at the 2016 Olympics, also said on Today. Former U.S. After hurting her ankle on her first run, Strug was pressured by coaches to complete her second run. 🇺🇸😤— Yul Moldauer (@Yul_Shin0122) July 27, 2021

From a gymnast friend regarding Simone Biles 🐐❤️— Brandon Marino (@TheBatMarino) July 27, 2021

Everyone from other Olympic athletes to politicians to actors have expressed their support for Biles’s decision to step back. “When something like this happens, there’s just immense pressure … this feeling of, ‘I don’t want to let my team down.’” Hernandez also emphasized that the success of the team shouldn’t be on Biles alone. Later, she noted that tennis star Naomi Osaka in part inspired her decision to withdraw, and told press she hopes other athletes will feel inspired to “put mental health first.”

She added, “It’s okay sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself, because it shows how strong of a competitor and a person that you really are.” Based on the reaction she’s gotten thus far, her prioritization of her mental health has already been an inspiration. Olympic gymnastics team, shared a video of the moment she landed head-first on the beam, resulting in a tibial stress fracture during competition. The gold medalist is best known for landing her vault on an injured ankle during the 1996 Olympics. Photo: Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images

Ahead of the biggest events in her sport, star gymnast Simone Biles has withdrawn from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team and individual all-around gymnastics competitions in order to focus on her mental well-being. While it’s unclear whether she’ll participate in next week’s gymnastics event finals, many fellow gymnasts are focusing on the bigger picture: athletes’ mental — and physical — health.

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Foolish Mortals LaKeith Stanfield and Tiffany Haddish in Haunted Mansion Talks

Deadline reports that LaKeith Stanfield and Tiffany Haddish are in talks to star in an adaptation of the Haunted Mansion, the spooky theme-park attraction that dates back to 1969. This time, Disney has tapped Dear White People writer-director Justin Simien to direct, which is promising. But wake us from our eternal slumber when Disney does the real work: stunt-casting the hitchhiking ghosts. Photo: Getty Images

Jungle Cruise (and its exclusively gay moment) hasn’t even swashbuckled its way onto screens yet, and Disney is already planning its next cinematic adaptation of a theme-park attraction. The studio previously tried to adapt the ride in 2003 with a film starring Eddie Murphy, but that movie ended up being more of a Country Bears than a Pirates of the Caribbean, if you know what we mean (we mean it flopped). Related

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Chrishell Stause Confirms Her Selling Sunset Office Romance

“So happy for you guys!” Romain commented on the Instagram post. Stause was previously married to This Is Us star Justin Hartley, and their divorce was a central subject on season three of the show. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

There’s an interoffice romance happening at the Oppenheim Group and, surprisingly, it’s not between Jason and Mary. Here’s what we know so far: Netflix revealed two more agents, Vanessa Villela and Emma Hernan, are joining the crowded couches; Davina left; Brett broke off and broke into the brokerage game on his own; Heather got engaged; and Christine had a whole baby. Oppenheim dated co-star Mary Fitzgerald once upon a time and the two remain close friends and doggy co-parents, along with Mary’s new husband, Romain Bonnet. “Love you Chrishell,” Brett Oppenheim commented. “Finally people will stop with Jason and Mary hopefully.” Oh, Romain, so earnest, so optimistic, so tall. Hopefully cameras have been rolling, otherwise season four will be one lengthy poolside catch-up in a random mansion. With another relationship in the mix, Jishell is absolutely going to make for some interesting television. The broker and realtor’s friendship has been documented on Netflix’s reality show Selling Sunset, which begins with Stause joining the luxury Los Angeles brokerage. Related

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Tags: “Thank you for making my brother happy.”

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Two more seasons of Selling Sunset, starring Christine Quinn, Mary Fitzgerald, Heather Rae Young, Maya Vander, and Amanza Smith, were confirmed in March. Chrishell Stause went Instagram official with Jason Oppenheim on Wednesday, calling it “The JLo effect.” At the end of a slideshow of the cast’s Capri vacation, Chrishell shared a photo of the Oppenheim twin kissing her neck. Think of all the events she had to plan that we have not yet seen!

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Dusty Hill, ZZ Top’s Heady Bassist, Dead at 72


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Tags: We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C,’” they wrote. Variety reports that fellow band members Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard confirmed the death of their “Compadre” in a statement, saying that Hill passed away in his sleep at home on July 28. “We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature, and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top’. “You will be missed greatly, amigo.” As ZZ Top’s bassist and co-lead vocalist, Hill helped propel the band into a unique stratosphere among rock music: Their ’70s blues-driven sound (as exemplified by the brothel ode “La Grange”) evolved into more synth and punk experimentation for the MTV era, which spurred memorable, innuendo-soaked hits such as “Gimme All Your Lovin,’” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Legs.” Hill’s cause of death was not shared by the band. Photo: Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images

Dusty Hill, a member of the pure power trio ZZ Top and international beard icon, has died at the age of 72.

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Stupid Pet Tricks Returning As TV Series, With Sarah Silverman Hosting

No word on casting yet, but that’s no reason not to start getting your pet ready for its big moment. Pets will get stupid in front of a live studio audience, competing to have the “Stupidest Trick of the Week,” according to a press release; the series will also feature games and celebrity guests. Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic,

Add one more to the dog show circuit. Related

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Tags: Stupid Pet Tricks, a series inspired by the iconic, self-explanatory segment from The Late Show With David Letterman, is heading to TBS and will be hosted by Sarah Silverman. “The rule in show business is, ‘never work with animals or children’ but I choose to work with David Letterman anyway,” Silverman said in a statement. Sarah Silverman will host the adaptation of the Late Show segment. TBS has ordered a ten-episode season of the half-hour show, set to start filming later this year, with Letterman himself serving as one of the series’ executive producers.

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Margaret Cho to Join Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster in Fire Island

Lady Catherine, right? Our beloved Bowen has come such a long way from the days of geeking out over Cho on Las Culturistas. Bennet stand-in. Variety reported today that Cho will “play a key role as a homeowner and host on the notorious LGBTQ-friendly island.” As we’ve previously reported, Booster based the screenplay for Fire Island on Pride and Prejudice, which means it’s time for us to brainstorm who will be Cho’s Regency counterpart. Or maybe she’s our queered Mr. Either way, there’s ample room for one-liners and high-camp comedy from Cho. Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

As if we weren’t already completely onboard the ferry for a Fire Island movie starring Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster … Margaret Cho went and got herself attached to it. Now we’re obsessed. Related

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Will Smith Is Venus and Serena’s Undeterred Father in King Richard Biopic

As two of the greatest athletes in the world, Venus and Serena Williams’s stories have been brought to the big screen. Starring Will Smith as Richard with the sisters as executive producers, the film puts their upbringing and transition from Compton, California, to the global stage on full display, portraying “the power of family, perseverance, and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.” Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton co-star as Venus and Serena, with Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn, and Dylan McDermott rounding out the cast. King Richard follows the unconventional methods of Richard Williams, the undeterred father of the two, as he raises them to be extraordinarily gifted tennis stars. Today, Warner Bros. dropped off the trailer for the film, which will hit theaters and HBO Max on November 19. Related

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Delroy Lindo Superbly Cast As a Trickster God in Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys was given a six-episode order and plans to shoot in Scotland later this year. Another Neil Gaiman adaptation is coming to television, but this one has Delroy Lindo. Like a mystical 23andMe, he also learns he has a brother, Spider, who is determined to throw Charlie’s life into chaos, good or bad. Related

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Tags: The show follows Charlie Nancy, a young man with a complicated relationship with his estranged father. He’ll be seen next in The Harder They Fall, a western starring Jonathan Majors, Regina King, Idris Elba, and Zazie Beetz. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Tribeca Festiva

Neil, my guy, my man, you’ve done it again. Gaiman and Douglas Mackinnon serve as co-showrunners, with Hanelle M. Culpepper directing the pilot. “Delroy Lindo is a giant of the stage and the screen, and we are so lucky to have him,” Gaiman said. Jermain Julien and Azhur Saleem will also direct episodes. Delroy Lindo. Gaiman and Sir Lenny Henry, who conceived of the original story, are writers and executive producers on the series. “I cannot wait to see his gravitas and charm being deployed for the benefit of Anansi Boys, as he plays an unreliable father with hidden depths.” Delroy, a Spike Lee veteran, was most recently praised for his role in Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. When his dad passes, he discovers he wasn’t just a regular ol’ deadbeat; he was Anansi, trickster god of stories. According to Variety, the actor joins the upcoming Amazon series Anansi Boys as the trickster god Anansi himself.

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Kelly Clarkson Owes Brandon Blackstock Nearly $200K a Month in Divorce

According to TMZ, Clarkson asked a judge at the beginning of July to declare her legally single, ahead of ironing out details like spousal support. Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Kelly Clarkson may now be Miss Independent, but she can’t fully break away from her estranged husband. In the meantime, the $200,000 in support is a temporary number, according to the Blast, that could change as the former couple finalize the rest of their divorce in court. (Clarkson has celebrity divorce attorney Laura Wasser, who is representing her, to thank for the decrease.) The order for support came down on July 27 in Los Angeles County Court, and also requires Clarkson to pay Blackstock $1.25 million to cover attorney fees and ongoing costs in the divorce. People previously reported in November 2020 that Blackstock sought more than double that amount in support, $436,000 per month. The money comes out to $150,000 in spousal support and $45,601 in child support for their two children, River and Remington, of whom Clarkson has primary physical custody. Blackstock previously worked as Clarkson’s manager since 2007, alongside his father Narvel (the ex-husband of Reba McEntire), and in the wake of their divorce, Clarkson has also accused the team of fraud, arguing they worked as her managers without talent agent licenses and owe her millions. Brandon Blackstock and Kelly Clarkson, who filed for divorce in June 2020. (He denied the claims in a subsequent filing, per Us Weekly.) According to the new divorce filing, Blackstock has “made a very deliberate choice to change his life and become a rancher full-time,” and will be leaving management — aside from the “minimal time” he spends working with his sole client, Blake Shelton. As part of Blackstock’s plans, he will keep the couple’s Montana ranch, which Clarkson previously wanted to sell, and be responsible for around $81,000 per month in payments for the mortgage and upkeep. Related

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Tags: The outlet said Blackstock has claimed the couple’s prenup is invalid, which is sure to drag out their divorce further. According to the Blast, the filing lists Clarkson’s monthly earnings as over $1.5 million, making the $195,000 to Blackstock just a small dent. The singer and TV host has been ordered to pay Brandon Blackstock nearly $200,000 per month in support amid their ongoing divorce, after they filed over a year ago in June 2020, according to the Blast.

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Vulture Asks: What’s Your Favorite Olympic Event?

Did they splash a lot? With Brody Malone, a 100 percent–muscle rising senior at Stanford and all-around U.S. It’s mesmerizing! Take, for example, Yul Moldauer from the U.S. Add the weight of water and it’s that much more difficult. The boys will be having a blast at the Ariake Gymnastics Center. But happening they are, and we’re still watching. I’m rooting for Mahina Maeda, who’s from Hawaii but is surfing for Japan. We asked Vulture staffers which events they’re most looking forward to, and, predictably, it’s the silly, scary, and downright strange stuff. I assume they’re rich, because no sport has ever looked more for rich people than dressage, which, in addition to the whole horse-having aspect, also requires its participants to kit themselves out in a top hat, breeches, and a swallowtail coat. champion, the men have a solid chance of earning a medal against Japanese, Chinese, and Russian competitors at the Olympics. It’s an absolutely bananas sport, and also one of the few sports where even imagining myself attempting to do it turns my entire digestive tract into gelatin. The big bonus of watching diving once every four years is that, unlike racquetball or fencing, it’s very easy to pretend you know what’s going on. While men do participate in other artistic swimming competitions, they still don’t at the Olympics, making this the rare event fully owned by women. Ooh, that’s not good. It’s the most popular sport in the world! I have absolutely no data to support this. Apparently the waves at Tsurigasaki might be kinda bogus, but they still look terrifying to me. Everybody’s at nature’s mercy, everybody’s hot, and it’s the first year the sport will be included in the Olympics, with athletes catching waves about 60 miles from Tokyo at Tsurigasaki Beach. Both simpler and harder to understand than American football (I’ll never get the offside rule no matter how many times I watch Bend It Like Beckham), soccer is often dismissed as boring by Americans, who point to the fact that matches usually end with only a handful of goals. Tune in every time you wish Simone Biles could just yell “GOAAAAAT!” —Zoë Haylock


I would like to go on record that I was a(n extremely casual) soccer fan well before Ted Lasso charmed his way into my heart, but there’s no denying that watching the entire first season at least four times during quarantine made me appreciate the beautiful game all the more. —Jen Chaney


I will always stop what I’m doing to watch Olympic diving, but it’s tough to know whether that’s because I love it or because I live in terror that one of the athletes will hit their head on the diving platform and the whole thing will transform into a crime scene. On top of all that, just as in gymnastics, competitors have to make what requires extreme grit look graceful. Then the announcers mutter about “elasticity” and “doubling coefficients for the pirouettes,” and then someone, often possessed of a double-barreled last name, wins, and no one knows why. But that’s ignoring all of the nuance and drama that comes from the near misses, the penalties, the defensive plays, and, of course, the fashions (have you seen Megan Rapinoe’s hair??). It’s life or death! How could you not watch surfing? The stakes may be lower but the flips are crazy high. I’ve never even tried to surf — I really don’t have the strength for that — but I still feel like I’ve been training to get invested all my life. Not to say the men aren’t exhibiting incredible feats of athleticism, strength, and precision. So my dude: Next time you make fun of artistic swimmers, report to your nearest local pool and try to bust a few simple dance moves in five feet of water, in unison, with a friend, then report back to me, mmm-kay? Artistic Swimming

Artistic swimming, which, until this Olympics, has been known as synchronized swimming, may be the most routinely mocked Summer Olympic event of them all. From having to debunk rumors that the sustainable cardboard beds were there to discourage sex to burnout from our top athletes, it’s almost like these games shouldn’t be happening at all. I say “sit” because part of the whole deal of dressage seems to be that the rider is supposed to barely appear to be guiding the horse, making the sport look delightfully like one in which very dressed up people are slightly embarrassed to be finding their mounts doing a nifty little side-step across the arena. “Brody, dude, you’re an animal, bro,” has been uttered on the sidelines. Executing the moves that these athletes have to execute requires enormous core strength and control of all sorts of muscles, and that’s if you’re outside of a pool. Dressage is a sport in which rich people make their horses dance. Think you can do this, bro? I am merely going on instinct and the lasting impact of a famous 1984 SNL sketch starring Martin Short, Harry Shearer, and Christopher Guest that is still pretty hilarious — “Hey, you, I know you, I know you!” — unless of course you’re a synchronized swimmer. He sticks landings with apparent ease, no matter which way he flings himself and celebrates with a rousing “LET’S GOOOOOOOOO” every time. —Madeline Leung Coleman


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Tags: Just that it’s incredibly fun to watch them rotate their stirrups around as they hold themselves up on something called a pommel horse or hang upside down on rings like buff kindergarteners. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where the ocean was close at hand and cold as shit; the few surfers I knew were pretty much stoner adrenaline-junkie jocks, the neoprene-clad skaters of the sea. It’s in this intensely uncomfortable-looking outfit that competitors sit on top of their horses while those horses perform some bouncy choreography to the sound of, say, the Beach Boys or The Lion King. Like all my friends, I was extremely influenced by Blue Crush and spent my tween years trying and failing to look natural in a pair of Roxy board shorts. —Allison Wilmore

Men’s Gymnastics

If Simone Biles got you hyped up for artistic gymnastics, share some of that energy with the men’s team. —Emily Palmer Heller


Dude. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images, Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images and An Lingjun/CHINASPORTS/VCG via Getty Images

The 2020 2021 Olympics are officially underway in Tokyo and so far things have been, well, the best word we can come up with is weird. Admittedly, this is a sport that looks a bit silly to the untrained eye, what with all the nose plugs and the splashing and the whole Sparkle Motion aesthetic. Oh, and when she was 16 she became one of the youngest women (girls) ever to surf the big wave at Nazaré in Portugal. Men’s team, (along with Sam Mikulak, Shane Wiskus, and Alec Yoder, an event specialist). But it is hard. Get into it! —Kathryn VanArendonk


Like all the greatest Olympics events, dressage provides a window into a world I had no idea existed and find utterly incomprehensible, but nevertheless become extremely invested in for the short time it’s on, before forgetting about it for four years. And they have to do it while mirroring exactly what their partner (in the duet category) or multiple partners (in the team category) is/are doing at the same time. It’s perfect. While the women’s routines are controlled, graceful, and poised, most of the men’s events are about swinging your body around as hard and as fast as you can. Not to mention the bro handshakes they give each other once they get off the mat.

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Lesley Ann Warren Answers Every Question We Have About Clue

Before or after this special Psych tribute came along, had you or any other members of the cast been asked to do an homage like that?Actually, no. Now, during COVID, we converse by writing each other emails, and his emails are just hilarious. I’ve worked for, god, more than five decades at this point. We were there together for three and a half months. Warren played the title role in a 1965 TV musical production of Cinderella. I was much younger, let’s just keep it real. But for Clue, the offer came in when I was on vacation in Greece with my family — my mom, my son, his girlfriend, just a whole bunch of us. Did it come as a surprise to you that viewers didn’t love the idea of seeing three different endings in the theaters? I find it interesting that of all the angles Clue could’ve taken, it was written with this very specific ’50s era in mind, with ideas about communism and the Cold War seeping through a lot of the dialogue. But ultimately, we got our revenge. In another ending, Mrs. I’m a huge fan of the show Psych, so it was such a joy to see you and other cast members reunite for an episode that paid homage to Clue. Martin Mull and I were inseparable, and we’ve gone on to make four or five other projects together. [Laughs.] That’s just a given. People are always pairing us together, and we love that. One of the things that began our journey prior to filming was that Jonathan had us come to a screening room at Paramount, where he screened His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. The fan mail that I get comes from 9-year-olds to 70-year-olds. I don’t think I can answer that, because I’ve been trying to understand that myself over the years. senator. The setting seems perfect for group hangouts, too, since you were filming in one location.It really was. And I say comic actors because they are all great actors who happen to have an extraordinary comedic bent. So I got this call about Clue when I was in Greece. I’ll say that actors are all unique and they have different ways of being on a set. But I feel like Clue is such a classic. But it gave me that divine shape and look, and it felt perfectly right for Miss Scarlet. I hadn’t seen it in a couple of years. I don’t know why, but I’m blessed to have experienced it. Some quotes I even have trouble remembering, but they quote them back to me and I’m thrilled. “But ultimately, we got our revenge.” Read on for Warren’s detailed memories of filming Clue, fitting into that dress, the rumor of a “lost” ending, and her thoughts on a reboot. I hope that doesn’t sound too egomaniacal. (The idea that it’s adapted from a board game, though, didn’t seem to matter.) Thanks to the dawn of streaming, Clue has found a new class of fans, who got sucked into the mystery of every character having the opportunity, the motive, and the weapon to go on a polished murder rampage in a New England mansion. How many miles of cardio do you think you ended up running with all of those staircase and hallway scenes?Way too many miles. Clue writer and director Lynn also directed My Cousin Vinny and The Whole Nine Yards. Curry played Wadsworth, a vengeful butler. I had done Victor/Victoria and was still enjoying the success that came with the role. It swept culture in this very interesting way. Just the world that she occupied and how she felt about it and how it affected her and all of that. Those were, and are, some of the most iconic comic actors of all time. Peacock, who was married to a U.S. Martin and I talk about it a lot too. I saw in this role an opportunity for me to do something very, very different. That’s how it was on the set. I think, with streaming, that seeing all those endings back to back helped with its popularity.I do think it was an innovative idea for a film. Lloyd played Professor Plum, a disgraced psychiatrist. I have plenty of work that I love and am proud of. It’s like Halloween, or getting dressed up and being in costume and being of a different era. I always say it was like herding a bunch of cats. Those were some of the qualities that attracted me to her. I wasn’t familiar with the board game. Mull played Colonel Mustard, an apparent client of Miss Scarlet’s. Tim Curry had so many lines and had to do them in such rapid-fire delivery that he was desperately trying to learn his material as we went along. And then Colleen Camp and I got really close because we were going through relationship drama, so we would do a lot of girl talk. Are you aware that there’s a Clue reboot in development from Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds?I am aware of it, and I’m sad about it. Because I wasn’t familiar with the board game, I was really looking at it as a script that came to me with all these fabulous characters and this exciting and creative murder mystery. Hell, you’d have to buy three tickets. We would crack up every time. Each character is so defined and so colorfully created; they appeal to people’s creativity. Clue, and Miss Scarlet in particular, have now attracted a huge LGBTQ audience. Madeline Kahn was one of the people who sort of retreated to her space. More From The Role Call Series

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In one ending, Yvette and Miss Scarlet are the murderers, and Wadsworth is an undercover FBI agent. Her business is actually government secrets, and she’ll kill to keep that a secret, as is revealed during one of Clue’s three unique endings. You can sort of see it in the film if you really look really carefully. It’s funny, because I watched Clue about a month ago. He’s one of the funniest people I know. But it’s exhausting. It eliminated the obstacle of having to watch it again. He writes to me and says, Are you receiving truckloads of Clue paraphernalia to be signed? I’m sure that his propensity for all of that impacted the direction that he chose to go with Clue. Going into Clue, I didn’t give it any thought because it would’ve paralyzed me creatively, so I just addressed it like I would address any role in any project that I was doing. It stars a wildly talented ensemble cast that includes Tim Curry, Martin Mull, Michael McKean, and the now-deceased Eileen Brennan and Madeline Kahn, but perhaps nobody leaves as indelible of a lipstick mark as Lesley Ann Warren’s Miss Scarlet: She’s a D.C. There have been some varied anecdotes from cast members about how a fourth “lost” ending was shot, but nobody seems to remember much of the details. Was it a comfortable dress?The dress itself was made out of a lovely fabric, but Michael also designed the undergarments, because he wanted Miss Scarlet to have a very hourglass shape. Tags: Role Call

Role Call is a series in which Vulture talks to actors about performances they’ve probably forgotten by now, but we definitely haven’t. My husband and I sat down and watched it again. What was your vision for Miss Scarlet’s backstory?I created a world that she operated in where she was the boss. I love Martin, a man I exclusively refer to as Gene Parmesan, so much.He’s so funny. Miss Scarlet to me was really smart and really in charge and ran a very successful business — albeit a little nefarious. It was that tight. Green, and Wadsworth is the real Mr. Eileen Brennan was definitely a part of whatever was going on on set, too, if we were talking afterwards or laughing. Have you given much thought to how your portrayals would’ve been different?You know, no. Jonathan is a very prolific writer who’s also very educated, very cultured, and someone who’s very interested in politics. She was a powerful woman and used her sexuality to get what she wanted, but she wouldn’t be used by anybody else. Where would you rank Clue among all of the films you’ve starred in?Clue, Victor/Victoria, and Cinderella are my most cherished film roles. Let it be its own world and continue to do so, because it certainly has continued to draw in new fans. Brennan played Mrs. Boddy. Can you give me a sense of where you were in your career at that point and the roles you were seeking out?I remember like it was yesterday. He makes me laugh more than anyone else. I was getting a lot of offers for that kind of character, and I didn’t want to recreate that in another project. I couldn’t move other than a few poses. It’s an amazing, wondrous outcome because, when it opened, we were all ravaged by disappointment. He was and is such a brilliant actor, and the repertoire between the two of us was so fast and funny and furious. Blake Edwards said something to me when we were filming Victor/Victoria that I thought was pretty astute. I turned on my television and it happened to be on at that very moment. There was one moment where we’re caught trying to get out of a door together; trying to get out of a space together. I feel like, Let it be. [Laughs.] I’d be out of breath sometimes. I did an event with Jonathan about five years ago, and we were talking about that. “It’s an amazing, wondrous outcome, because when it opened, we were all ravaged by disappointment,” Warren recalled during a recent call with Vulture. It’s truly for me one of the funniest, cleverest, joy-filled ensemble comedic works that I’ve seen. And I think you’re right. It’s always amazing when Martin and I get to be around each other, and I love Christopher as well. This adds even more to the lore, then.Exactly. And, my god, the cast. So I was in a real corset the entire time, too. We all, whether consciously or subconsciously, were affected by his vision. “Communism is just a red herring,” she purrs during her confession. She was in control of her life as she saw it. I was really being careful about what I did next and where that was. We’re asked to do a lot of podcasts, but not anything that was a visual homage or a performance type of gathering. I mean, no matter what we’re doing, he makes me laugh. What do you think people appreciate about the film in 2021 that they didn’t in 1985?Oh, that’s an interesting question. And I don’t believe that people can be funny when they’re tired. Did Jonathan tell you and your other castmates what compelled him to take on that creative direction?I was also intrigued by that, but he never did tell us. What was the behind-the-scenes culture like for those three months of filming? We’re just struggling to get through the bar without being sexually involved in the moment, you know what I mean? Which it never did, thankfully. I just knew some of the other cast members who had already joined, and I got really excited to act alongside them. Is the Miss-Scarlet-is-the-culprit ending your personal favorite?Of course it is! Photo: Paramount PicturesPhoto: Paramount Pictures

I read that Carrie Fisher was cast before you as Miss Scarlet, but she withdrew to seek treatment for her drug and alcohol issues. Edwards directed Victor/Victoria, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Days of Wine and Roses, 10, and the Peter Sellers–starring Pink Panther movies. I know it’s awkward to say that because, listen, I really do love Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. You said that you weren’t familiar with the board game, but I’m curious what your initial reaction was to learning that Clue, as a game itself, was being adapted into a film. I personally had never heard of that happening, so I don’t have anything to say about it. If we were all hanging out, he would always be part of that. So, it’s 1985, and a few years prior to Clue you had your most defining film role with Victor/Victoria. So he made another dress that had a hidden zipper on the bottom, which I wore to run in. However, I had broken my foot days before filming that episode, so I was not able to run or do anything more than a slow walk. I couldn’t wear heels! What has it been like, as someone from the inside, witnessing the film evolve into something with cult status over the years? What quotes do fans say the most when they come up to you?I get “it’s my defense mechanism” a lot; “one plus one plus one”; all the gun stuff. But when we started rehearsing, we found that I couldn’t run in the dress. So in some of the scenes where I have to take off and run with everybody really quickly, I was able to unzip and open up the bottom of the skirt. From left: The iconic dress, from different angles. I’m curious if you have any recollections about that.This is the first I’ve heard of it. He told me, People can’t be funny after eight hours; they’re tired. It’s one of the highlights of my personal career. I’m just very proprietary about it. In this case, I made up a history and made up relationships for Miss Scarlet. I know that something can hit the Zeitgeist and take on its own phenomenon. Those two guys are hysterical and brilliant in their own right. Kahn played Mrs. It hit this zeitgeist moment where it just became everyone’s favorite popular comedy. And it’s true. We were just so involved and overjoyed at each other’s work that it was difficult to keep us on track. Nobody, none of us, knew that this was going to happen. I wasn’t comparing it in any way to the board game, and I didn’t have a reaction to the fact that they were making a film out of a board game, because I was looking at it as an isolated script and character. Some people took to their trailers and needed that downtime. I was recovering. It seems so common for Hollywood now, but that type of adaptation wasn’t the norm in the ’80s.Yeah, that’s right. But I love our movie so much. “Like all members of the oldest profession, I’m a capitalist.”

Upon its 1985 release, Clue was met with a shrug by critics and viewers alike, who didn’t take kindly to the fact there were three separate endings that required three separate tickets to see. Because it was three and a half months of filming, we did so many takes — we had to, in a way, because there were so many people and so many characters in one shot. How did you pass the time?It was such a riot. You were all blessed with working among such a wickedly charismatic and funny ensemble. I just couldn’t do it. White, the widow of a physicist/magician. She was very materialistic and driven, but not terribly talented in what she did. Peacock is the murderer, and Wadsworth is, again, an undercover agent. Let it be. Just hysterical. Many drag performers come to outdoor screeners dressed as Miss Scarlet, but all the characters get a lot of love. There’s a feminine swagger to her that appeals to a lot of people, but there’s something about the exaggeration of each character’s specificity. I knew Carrie pretty well back in the day — her sense of humor was acerbic and so fabulous, and she was such a brilliant writer. Camp played Yvette the maid, who worked with Miss Scarlet. [Laughs.] But he was a great and jolly guy; just so lovely. But it was fun to do the witty moments that we were trying to recreate. That might be the reason why it accelerated in popularity. I can assume how wonderful she would’ve been, but in a very, very, very different way. It was so much fun to play out, and it was so much fun to do that reveal with Tim. So yeah, that was the reason that I did it, and boy am I not sorry that I did. When Clue came out, it was met with a modest critical reception and considered a box-office bomb, which is just wild to me in hindsight. That’s a lovely way to stay refreshed when you to be. Paramount broke into the ceiling of one of the sound stages to build the set upward, so we were able to run up those stairs and utilize space that wasn’t necessarily available to us on a regular sound stage. It was thrilling, a joy, and an honor to be amongst those people. I was laughing my head off watching it again. At the end of each day, I felt like I hadn’t taken a real breath for 12 hours. But you know what’s also interesting? I got to really go to town on that one. I had to fully commit to my own vision and version of it. We all watched it together as a group, because he wanted us all to have that sort of ’30s- and ’40s-era quick-paced particular way of talking. madam hustling in the Red Scare era who’s proud to be blackmailed for her line of work, which she describes as “a specialized hotel and telephone service to provide gentlemen with the company of a lady for a short while.” But not really. They had to actually have somebody do the running for me because I couldn’t do it. Christopher Lloyd was game for anything. People come up to me on the street and recite my lines. I want it to be its own special unique Clue. “When it opened, we were all ravaged by disappointment. I was definitely disappointed that people didn’t want to go back and see the movie with a different ending, but I understand it. I wasn’t wanting to do roles that emulated Norma in Victor/Victoria. In the third ending, everyone is a murderer of someone, save for Mr. We were just trying to figure out what to do next and how we would handle the men in our lives. I wanted to build on that in my mind and be truthful. But I think it’s true. It doesn’t lose anything to time, probably because it’s set in this particular time period and stands alone as a result of that. And did I say I just love spending time with Martin? You’ve answered my next question.Well, I’m sort of saying that tongue in cheek. What were the “very different” roles you were trying to seek out at the time?Miss Scarlet, as compared to Norma … well, Norma was canny in a street sense, but she portrayed herself as ditzy and superficial. So we hung out a lot, and we would talk about our pasts and our lives and hysterically laugh together. I mean, he’s just as brilliant of a writer as he is an actor. It was great for us all to see it together because we got to talk about it and do it as a unit. It’s so iconic. You’re not just having fun, you’re working hard. So, on a personal level, I was struggling to be able to find Miss Scarlet with those limitations, because so much of what she relies on is her body and her movements. We’ve all been blown away by it. But ultimately, we got our revenge.”
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo by Paramount Pictures

There’s a one-plus-two-plus-two-plus-one chance that Clue has reentered your cinematic orbit over the past few years, with the 1985 comedic whodunnit, like one of Wadsworth’s decanted wines, aging into a full-bodied cult classic destined for further greatness. How was it for you, Christopher, and Martin to get together again in that context after all those years?It was wonderful. But as far as the impact on people, I would say that those three are united in their extraordinary, sort of legendary, reality. What was the scene where it was most difficult not to break?Unsurprisingly, it was with Martin. It’s behind a bar. She knows how to utilize and manipulate people through her sexuality, but never gets used by anybody else. With the advent of streaming or television viewing … Clue being in circulation a lot on TV, where people could see all the different endings at one time, was helpful. We drove Jonathan Lynn completely crazy because we were ecstatic and laughing and carrying on over each other’s work all the time. Photo: Paramount PicturesPhoto: Paramount Pictures

From top: The iconic dress, from different angles. The interesting thing about all that running was that Michael Kaplan, the costume designer, had designed me this gorgeous dress that looked like it was about to fall off at any moment.

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At Last, an Adam Driver You Can Truly Ride

Adam Driver! This includes Adam Driver, who has tired of being merely an incredibly large man with four human limbs and now aspires toward something a little more mythical. Photo: Adam Driver Files/Twitter

From John Lennon to Skee-Lo, many of us have yearned to transcend the limitations of our physical forms. NEW Burberry Hero ad feat. At least if Driver tires of this whole acting thing, teaching Divination in the Forbidden Forest remains an option for him. Giddyup. *I quench that thirst* 🎶— The Adam Driver Files (@AdamDriverFiles) July 27, 2021

Tags: Driver’s new commercial for Burberry Hero, which informs us is “chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci’s first fragrance for the house,” finds the actor going for a shirtless sunset swim alongside a horse, the most heroic of animals. In an act of true beauty, their souls eventually merge — horse becomes man, man becomes horse, Oscar-nominated actor becomes centaur.

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Cash Rules Everything Around Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Clan Album Sale

Unsurprisingly, the Wu-Tang Clan hates his guts and will be presumably celebrating the news with some Donaghy champagne. The U.S. Related

A Comprehensive History of Wu-Tang Clan’s Endless Beefs

Tags: After it was seized by the government in March 2018, Pitchfork reports that a buyer has purchased pharmaceutical scum-bro Martin Shkreli’s previously unheard Wu-Tang Clan album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, for an undisclosed sum of money. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Getty Images

We’re trying to find the man who bought this. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, which facilitated the sale, stated in a press release that “the contract of sale contains a confidentiality provision that protects information relating to the buyer and price.” (Show your face, rich person with above-average taste.) Upon his sentencing in 2018, Shkreli, who has a shockingly compelling romantic history, was forced to forfeit $7.36 million in assets, which included an authentic Pablo Picasso painting and a robust brokerage account.

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Paris Hilton Denies Pregnancy Report: ‘Not Yet’

“I’m assuming that it was the Paris Hilton push-up bra from my new lingerie line. Just to dispel any final rumors, Hilton added, “The only thing in the oven at the moment is my sliving lasagna.” (That’s slaying and living, mind you.)

This post has been updated throughout with Hilton’s denial of the pregnancy reports. Photo: Frank Micelotta/FOX/PictureGroup/Frank Micelotta/FOX/PictureGroup

Paris Hilton isn’t having an heir just yet. The socialite took to her podcast, This Is Paris, on July 27 to refute an earlier “Page Six” report that she was pregnant with her first child with fiancé Carter Reum. “I guess some people got some shots, and they put them out and now they have a very reliable source that says Paris Hilton is pregnant.” After the report emerged, Ben Widdicombe, editor of Avenue magazine, tweeted that Paris’s sister, Nicky, refuted the story during a photo shoot, saying, “It’s not true.” And the news arrived on the same day as the trailer for Hilton’s next venture: her cooking show, Cooking With Paris, which hits Netflix on August 4. “I am not pregnant — not yet,” she continued, adding that she is waiting until she gets out of her wedding dress. Hilton had previously shared that she was pursuing IVF treatment on the podcast Trend Reporter. “Yes, I am pregnant with triplets,” the 40-year-old joked, before clearing up the rumors. I was wearing it at dinner with my fiancé, Carter,” she explained. Sources

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Paris Hilton to Add Chef to Her Résumé on Cooking With Paris

Tags: On This Is Paris, Hilton also speculated about the source of the rumors, which she said blew up all five of her iPhones that morning. On today’s This Is Paris, she added that she “can’t wait to have children in 2022.” Hilton and her venture-capitalist fiancé got engaged in February on a private island after dating for more than a year.

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Get 3 Months of HBO Max for the Price of One With a Chromecast Device

Don't have HBO Max? Though considering how a monthly HBO Max subscription of the ad-free plan costs $14.99, you’ll basically only be paying for one month while getting three months. Similar to their current deal with Netflix — in which one gets six months for free Chromecast is offering new users three months of an ad-free HBO Max subscription for a discounted price, along with a purchase of a Chromecast with Google TV device. Reader, we never claimed to be good at math. Here, in the middle of the streaming wars, Chromecast with Google TV won’t go unnoticed with a little deal to sweeten the pot. The device alone is worth $49.99, but to bundle HBO Max with it will cost $64.99. So, for those tilting their heads, wondering what exactly the deal entails, keep reading. Sign up here


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Photo: Emily V. But we do know that’s three months for the price of one; giving you enough time to watch the 2021 Gossip Girl and the original 2007 series. Does that make sense? Aragones/HBO Max

Spotted: a new way to get an HBO Max free trial, of sorts.

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Bridgerton Bad Boy Regé-Jean Page Is Starring in a Reboot of The Saint

Written by Kwame Kwei-Armah, the playwright currently serving as artistic director at the Young Vic in London, this is Page’s second project with Paramount, following Dungeons & Dragons. Kwei-Armah co-wrote John Boyega’s upcoming film 892, as well as the new Spike Lee musical All Rise. Since Bridgerton, Page has been cast in The Gray Man by the Russo brothers, alongside Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling. Sources

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Regé-Jean Page Reportedly Didn’t Burn for a Bridgerton Salary Bump to Return

Regé-Jean Page Reportedly Rejected From Playing Superman’s Grandfather

Tags: Val Kilmer played the role in Paramount’s 1997 adaptation. The adventure-thriller was initially floated in 2018 with Chris Pratt attached, but that version has since been shelved. Photo: Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage

Lady Whistledown, do we have some piping-hot tea for you. Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page has been cast as the lead in Paramount’s reboot of The Saint, per The Hollywood Reporter. The Saint is based on the novels by Leslie Charteris following another mysterious man named Simon, this one more a vigilante than lady-killer.

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This American Horror Story Teaser Is Teeming With Jeff Bezos Look-alikes

Or does a man-meat violin with a bone bow just look creepy? There are motifs of water, deserts, bones, and flesh throughout this teaser: Are these references to hoarded wealth and the consumption and commodification of human labor? Then, the two tribes of Bezoses make out with each other and use a lot of tongue. In the teaser for this season’s “Part 1: Red Tide” and “Part 2: Death Valley,” we see outer space Jeff Bezoses hovering over a surgery table, and underwater Jeff Bezoses swimming with the sharks. Related

Why Is Jeff Bezos Avoiding Gwyneth Paltrow? The horror! Freaky! This is the scariest American Horror Story teaser imagery we’ve ever seen. For the tenth season of Ryan Murphy’s perennial fuck-and-fearfest, FX is focusing on the anthology series’ scariest monsters yet: Jeff Bezoses. Will they work the “space” “travel” into this somehow? All will be revealed on the season premiere, August 25, on FX. AHS’s Newest Horror Story Is an On-Set COVID Shutdown


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Meet the Studio Behind Substack’s First Podcast Deal

A lot of people liked that. And then there’ll be a framework which when it has made those decisions — generated speech, decided which bits of music its using, etc  — it will assemble it.”

The setup is sophisticated enough that these Python libraries can produce something equivalent to your standard DAW — that is, the Digital Audio Workstation, like Audacity or Pro Tools — working with fades, overlays, cuts, delay effects, reverb, and more once set in motion. They don’t want it to just be an afterthought. Let me try to figure out what’s going on.”

Then it all happened. Vuolo: Yeah, Matt and I had talked about starting a podcast network for a couple years now, but it was never the right moment because of one thing or another. I sometimes wonder if he’s actually human, because I just don’t know how he accomplishes all the things that he does in the time that normal human beings do things. In the introduction Emtman says that “each day represents a little jolt into a parallel dimension”, and that’s certainly how it feels as a listener. They’ve helped us out so much. Schwartz: That’s one of these questions where politicians respond, “I don’t like to speculate.” [laughs] I don’t anticipate anything so nefarious or awful coming out from whatever investigation that would cause us to want to change this relationship. It’s unfortunate what happened, but I think ultimately it’s going to be a good thing in the long run. Capitol. You’re one of the best column writers I know that I’ve ever encountered.” I used to read his Ad Age column, not because I was particularly interested in someone’s take on advertising, but because Bob wrote it and was just so damn good. Finding a host that could work with their code and their unusual requirement of having a small number of episodes that changed every day was a challenge, but Austwick eventually hit upon JustCast, a no frills podcast host that allows you to publish new episodes by just adding them to a Dropbox folder. The sky’s the limit, but I think only if we put out a lot of content. Then the pandemic happened, which I think, like what happened for a lot of people, really crystallized our ability to see that it’s important to seize the day. You know, Bob fancies himself a political progressive, and always felt a political kinship with Teddy Roosevelt. John was the one who recommended we get in touch with Amna [Khalid, host of Banished]. “You can go in and add show notes through their interface, but what that means is that folder is just on my desktop, and whenever a new episode is regenerated, it just writes a new mp3 over the previous one,” Austwick explained. Mike Vuolo: So, as you might know, John McWhorter has been hosting Lexicon Valley for the past several years — I had started the podcast with Bob Garfield a few years before, until we thought it was time for an actual linguist to take over the show — and John had told me, prior to this year, that he felt like he was getting towards the end of his run. I still feel that way. In its report on the matter, The Daily Beast characterized the departure as being “amid internal tensions,” noting that the host had been “on medical leave for months at the same time the network has looked into human-resources complaints against her, including claims that on multiple occasions Vega blew up at members of her staff.” The Daily Beast also reported that Vega disputes this, with her lawyer previously telling the publication that the media had “spread false rumors about the reason for her leave.” Melissa Harris-Perry will be stepping in as interim host of The Takeaway. So for me, I have no reason to not believe him now. It’s not really an advance, because we don’t have to pay a penny of that back, but we couldn’t do this without the deal because, as it turns out, hosts don’t like to work for free, and neither do we. hosts Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz: It will be an audio documentary about the January 6 attack on the U.S. We all have things we conceal. “To make the audio, we’re using a bunch of Python libraries which work with audio, and then one or two that work with speech synthesis,” Austwick told me over the phone last week, when I asked for more detail on the underlying process. How did that come about? Here’s Deadline with the write-up. Around this time last week, Axios exclusively reported that Substack, the venture-backed newsletter publishing platform that doubles as a synecdoche for a certain strand of digital media anxiety these days, has given out its first official “Pro deal” in the audio world. You’re perpetuating division. I mean, everything is once you get close to it. Both creators have a track record playing around in the more strange, experimental side of audio — Emtman makes the weird and wonderful Here Be Monsters, while Austwick has contributed to shows including 20,000Hz and does things like analyze Tom Waits’ entire discography in chronological order. If you were to stream or re-download each one every morning, you would hear something slightly different to the day before. As you probably know, it’s been reported in the news that there’s litigation involved here, and to the extent he was able to tell me part of what was going on, it made me feel like I could not renege on our verbal agreement at that time. You’re opposite camps basically yelling at each other from your side.” I see Booksmart as a way to try to bridge those divides, to try to remove the fog of emotion and to try to look at things rationally from all angles. When the podcast is essentially making itself through infinite variations, there’s no limits on what you can do. But I think it’s ultimately going to be good for Booksmart. As you might expect, this technology and process lends itself most obviously to fiction shows with some kind of sci-fi or surreal flavour, since the constantly shifting nature of the episodes can be best explained in that milieu. ***

The Substack page for Booksmart Studios can be found here. Did I witness him and other people on the show get upset and raise their voice? But then once all this happened, he really wanted to take ownership of it. When I heard about this, I was a little bit concerned just because, you know, you hear “violating anti-bullying policy” — I was bullied as a child, I don’t do well with bullies, and I’m like, “Mike, is Bob a bully?” Like, I don’t think so. The project takes the shape of a daily podcast with a difference: When you pull up the show, you’ll see that the feed only houses seven seemingly persistent episodes, but the substance of every episode changes every day. It has been done before, of course, perhaps most notably in the 133rd episode of Welcome to Night Vale, which served three different endings to listeners at random depending on which one was inserted into that particular stream or download. Because, to me, that’s the essence, right? I haven’t run this by anybody and I’m telling it out loud to a reporter, but it’s an interesting story. True, plenty of sponsor reads are still hard-recorded into the episodes that contain them, but dynamic insertion is so widespread as a podcast technology now that encountering ad spots tailored to your location and other demographic data is fast becoming the norm. He’s keen to help other creators with the process so it can be put to other uses, and is contemplating ideas as diverse as a murder mystery, a mash up of soundscapes, and a story that unfolds via dispatches from a mission to Mars. In case you forgot: Host Alexandra Cooper had signed a deal with the company worth over $60 million spanning the next three years, according to Variety. They say they’re going to get their engineering team working on this. The “podcast network” has fallen a little out of vogue as an operational unit in the audio business these days, and so the question here is whether this new venture will represent a new path forward for the model. But I can understand how a guy like Bob, who does get passionate, might run afoul of some policies which prohibits yelling in any circumstances. That’s not what I want to do.” So, until and if I learn something that makes me feel like this agreement needs to end, then I’m okay with moving forward. However, I find it interesting that the technology seems to be less present within the context of the podcast content itself. We’re not going to agree on everything, but we can at least agree on where our differences are as a society and figure out how to move forward. Schwartz: Mike and I met at Slate working on a different podcast, and we had been pretty sympatico from the beginning. Vuolo: I wrote a piece that we published yesterday that said, “Don’t be afraid to own ‘book-smart,’” in which I defended this idea of the word book-smart, because it’s often used as a pejorative to imply that somebody has a lack of worldliness or a cosmopolitan kind of awareness. They don’t personally tinker with the edits and then reupload new .mp3 files to the hosting platform for each episode in the early hours of each morning. People I thought were really smart. He’s just… you know, I wouldn’t work with somebody who was a bully, so I’m not concerned about this. According to Axios, the money will be enough to cover “the salaries of the two full-time co-founders and their five part-time producers and hosts.”

To my eyes, there are two notable threads to unspool from this story. The computerized voice that narrates the first episode explains the gambit at greater length as she introduces herself — her name, favourite colour, location, and a whole host of other variables will alter according to when you are accessing it. Instead, they’ve written a body of Python code that handles all of that for them, leaving the show to decide for itself within the parameters they have set what each new day’s versions will sound like. I mean, John McWhorter: One man, one show, and a few extra segments… is that going to be enough? In every relationship you have with another human being, you evaluate them based on what you know of the person. They’ve had podcasts [on the platform] before, but this is their first major foray into really intentionally building a podcast network. Austwick also has a PhD in Quantum Computing, which gave the duo a bit of a technical headstart when they began to work on Neutrinowatch. Prior not only to it breaking publicly, but also prior to me having any inkling whatsoever that there was any investigation or trouble or anything like that. It’s never, ever been the case in our relationship. I don’t know what anybody’s concealing. Once the creative components that power Neutrinowatch are pieced together for a particular episode concept, the second part of the process is delivering it to listeners. I was reluctant to go with that title, but when he explained to me that he was fired under the anti-bullying policy and that he felt humiliated by the use of that word — because he was not fired for bullying, but that is, of course, the word that has stuck. McKenzie also noted that there are “many other” six-figure-generating Substacks in which audio is just one of that creator-publisher’s many publishing lines. We came up with an idea for a First Amendment show, Unprecedented, explaining how the Supreme Court decides what “freedom of speech” actually means, and we were actually in the middle of reporting for the second season of that show, which had been at WAMU, when the pandemic hit and all the projects got canceled. Schwartz: Basically, we want to entice subscribers. We have other people working with us, but there’s a lot for us to do personally, and it can get a little overwhelming. Each day, everyone who listens will hear the same thing, but someone pressing play the next morning will get something different. I’ve never known Bob not to tell me the truth about anything. ***

Hot Pod: Let’s start with the Substack deal. It should be noted that this isn’t Substack’s first engagement with audio. Let’s just see. ➽ Speaking of WNYC: Tanzina Vega is leaving as host of The Takeaway. I haven’t worked at WNYC in ten years. Not necessarily academics, but they could be. So, hopefully, that hockey stick is just going to keep getting more vertical. I kind of wanted to take ownership of that word again. Related

What’s Next for Pocket Casts? This is an unrelated thing, but I wanted to talk about raising your voice. Schwartz: We don’t want to go into specifics, but it’s a six-figure investment. We had another conversation, and then another, and it snowballed from there. It’s a new venue for Bob to really show his true personality in a way that he maybe couldn’t have done at On the Media. He’s been great to work with. Oh, you like podcasts? This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity and length. Vuolo: I mean, look, if anything came to light tomorrow about my own seven-year-old son, I would consider breaking off that relationship. After that, as we regrouped to look for something new, we knew we wanted to keep working together. Sure, yeah. HP: At the same time, though, his show is called Bully Pulpit. Sign up for Vulture’s new recommendation newsletter 1.5x Speed here. Vuolo: Well, you know, there’s no better defender of Bob than Bob, and certainly, I’m not here to defend Bob’s choices. Mogul Gets Chopped and Screwed (and 3 More Podcasts Worth Trying)

Tags: We’ve worked with Bob now for the last couple of months. I don’t know if there’s a lot of sensitivity today where you can’t yell at all about anything, or what. That was the calculation, and I think it was the right calculation: Our numbers are going up. So, as far as I’m concerned, Bob was telling me the truth. I had known of her, but I didn’t know her, and we had a couple of conversations and it just clicked. How would you describe what you want to do as a network? ​​

Neutrinowatch, from Jeff Emtman and Martin Zaltz Austwick, is a new experimental project that’s now trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible with creatively-focused dynamic insertion. The end result of this is a state in which each episode constantly shifts on the 24-hour cycle. With Booksmart Studios, Substack appears to be taking its first substantial step across mediums, thereby setting the stage for a potential expansion of how we might think about the startup’s long-term ceiling. Terms & Privacy Notice
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Listening notes for the top shows, from Vulture’s critic Nick Quah. That’s part of why I wanted him to do this for us, because I knew that Bob was brilliant, and I knew that he had a profane streak, that he has a kind of black and blue humor streak to him that wouldn’t be able to have full airing on public radio, certainly, but would on a podcast. There’s plenty of tweaking that goes on during the initial creation phase for an episode, with the parameters for lists and libraries adjusted to accommodate, for instance, the pronunciation limitations of the standard Mac text to speech functionality (which is what the show uses at the moment; in the future they hope to build a deepfake “Jeff and Martin” to narrate). She announced the move in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday. HP: Let’s end with this. People who were rigorous in their treatment of their journalistic approach, and who could take really difficult, abstruse topics and make them accessible. ➽ Also, Call Her Daddy began its exclusive run on Spotify last week. He was once a WNYC staffer who worked at On The Media and had co-created Lexicon Valley with Garfield, which the two hosted for Slate for several years before bringing in John McWhorter to take over the mic. The platform has been providing tools for paid podcast publishing since early 2019, and while those features have remained rudimentary at best, they have attracted some podcast-first usage to a point where Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie is able to claim, in the Axios report, that some audio teams are making “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year through the platform.” When asked for specific examples, McKenzie could publicly confirmed just two: Useful Idiots by Matt Taibi and Katie Halper, along with Krystal Kyle and Friends by Krystal Ball and Kyle Kulinski. But that’s the outlier, or exception, that proves the rule. So in order for us to really make a go at this, we’ve got to be able to pay everyone. He seems like he’s a good guy. In your press release, there’s a line that says, ”Booksmart believes that intelligence should be unapologetic and conventional wisdom interrogated.” Tell me more about what you mean by that. So when Substack called, everything just sort of came together at the right time. Here’s the Hollywood Reporter with more information. One of the hypothetical prompts was “under what circumstances is it ever OK to yell at an intern?”, and everybody said no, and I was like, “Yes.” And they said, “What?” And I said, “I can think of a scenario in which maybe we’re live on the air, and the intern is about to walk into the studio and doesn’t realize the on-air sign is on and you can yell at the intern to don’t go in there.” And they really didn’t like that answer. Certain people are not as responsive with me as they typically are, and I just want to let you know that.” And I said, “Okay, well, what is this about?” And he said, “I’ll tell you in a few days. I’m told that there have been experiments in the past around “truly responsive” generative podcasting, where the listeners hears something different depending on a variables other than just time, such as location, but for now that is beyond Neutrinowatch’s resources, although they hope to add a geographical element (such as customised tide tables or astronomical observations) in the future. The recipient is a new podcast network founded by public radio veterans Mike Vuolo and Matthew Schwartz called Booksmart Studios, which will be getting a “six-figure advance” to help fund its first year of operations. We strive to be smart for a reason, because we want to figure this world out and we want to figure this society out. By the way, we’ll be putting an FAQ on the website, because a few people have asked about it. So when he brought up the idea of naming the show Bully Pulpit as a way to kind of take ownership of that phrase and turn it into something that maybe was more positive for him, he just said, “It’s a really damn good name,” because Bob has quite an affinity for Teddy Roosevelt. Vuolo: For me, the idea of us calling it Booksmart, part of what I wanted was to feature really erudite people. It would take a lot. I mean, it would have been successful, but I don’t think it would have been successful enough to grow the network as much as we wanted. I think that his show, when it drops, when people hear it, they’ll hear that his show is thoughtful and funny and his personality really comes through. I don’t anticipate us breaking up the relationship because Bob likes to yell sometimes. Bob Garfield was fired in May for an alleged “pattern of behavior that violated the station’s anti-bullying policy.” What is your understanding of that situation, and how does that affect or inform your decision to continue working with him on Booksmart? It’s the holy grail of learning, of feeling like you’re getting something. We had several thousand free signups and several hundred [paid subscribers] even before we launched anything. As a studious kid, I always thought of myself as somebody who was proud to be book-smart and didn’t think that that should be taken away from me. And frankly, like I said, we had already had a verbal agreement at that time, so we had been brainstorming titles, and while Bully Pulpit per se was not one of the titles that was on our list, there were things on it that were not far from that. The second notable thread has to do with Booksmart Studios itself. As a reminder, the duo is now with Pineapple Street, following their departure from WNYC. I don’t know what it is. Mike, would you agree with that? Then, of course, I immediately thought of Bob, who was still working at WNYC at the time, and as far as I knew would be for years to come, and I just said, “You know, Bob, you’re a columnist without a column right now. So, he called me up shortly before it went public and said, “You know, I think something’s afoot here. Just to confirm: If, let’s say, as more information comes out, something comes to light that hypothetically changes your perception of what happened at WNYC, do you reserve the right to sever that relationship? But if we started with five shows, five hosts, five different sets of hosts, putting out more specialized subscriber only content — I think subscribers are going to get a lot of value for the money they’re putting in. He’s not a bully. I don’t know all the details of what went on, but you know, things will continue to come out. Most podcast platforms and apps, with the exception of Spotify (which rehosts the show before streaming it), will allow listeners to delete and redownload each episode as many times as they want. There is, of course, a lot to unpack here. It’s just a bigger value proposition for them if we can offer more content, especially with so much competition out there. Email

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Terms of Service apply. Prior to this development, the company’s “Pro deals” — that is, upfront payments meant to incentivize prominent individuals to use (and by doing so, evangelize by proxy) the platform’s newsletter publishing tools — has been given out almost exclusively to talent associated with text-based publishing: Writers, journalists, bloggers, and so on. John had also started a Substack newsletter in the past six months or so, which was doing really well, and he mentioned to them that he was thinking of leaving Lexicon Valley. Vuolo: Bob and I already had a verbal agreement prior to me knowing anything about that. Schwartz: Can I say something here? Why not start small with one show, and expand from there? Feels like there’s a little something on that title. I knew John was that person, because I’ve known him and worked with him for years. Like I said, I worked there [at WNYC] for seven years. I was in meetings with Bob every day for seven years. Neutrinowatch: The Daily Podcast … of a Kind

By Caroline Crampton

The idea of audio advertising being dynamic — which is to say, not static and easily changeable — is one that the podcast industry is pretty comfortable with at this point. I know Bob through Mike, who had worked with him for years and vouched for him. Schwartz: The original name we were probably going to go with before all this happened… Bob suggested Bob AF, which I think is pretty funny. They cut us a check, and the way it works is that for the first year, they take 85% of whatever subscription fees we bring in, and then in the second year, we take 90% and they take 10%. What he brings to the table is so much more than that. And so I said, “There’s no reason why you can’t do that in audio form.” You don’t have a column right now and you need a column…

HP: I’m just going to step in here and bring up the elephant in the room. ➽ Speaking of Spotify: The company announced the first set of partners that will be using its Open Access Platform, which, as a reminder, allows audio publishers with paid subscription businesses managed on other platforms to distribute its premium content to their paid subscribers through Spotify, something that wasn’t previously possible. He didn’t want to get stale, and he was thinking about stepping down as host this summer. So, when things started clearing up a little bit, and when we both started feeling comfortable with us actually being in the same backyard as each other, we started resurfacing this idea of a network. Selected News

➽ Podcasters Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen are flipping their Spotify show, Renegades: Born in the USA, into a book. A diversity training, or something like that. Substack put us in touch with a graphic artist who made the wonderful logos for all the shows, and they’ve been helping us with technical stuff on whatever we need. We’re getting that language finalized. “Depending on the episode, it will be generating speech or randomly selecting different pieces of audio. He’s a lot of things: He’s passionate, he’s cantankerous, he’s a little bit crotchety. We said, “You know, this is an opportunity to create a network right here at Substack.” They were immediately intrigued, and the more we talked about it, the more it made sense. ➽ Here are the first details on the next project from former Trump Inc. They’re on board with everything we want to do. And he is sometimes at his funniest and at his wittiest and at his cleverest when he is free to write in that way. That happened. So I said, “Look, Bob, you know, this is obviously a very thorny situation, but I am reluctant to break up an agreement with someone. [But] it didn’t happen frequently. ➽ Clubhouse has officially moved out of beta, removing its waitlist system as part of the process. I guess anything is possible, but at this point, we’re pretty confident. As someone based outside the US (specifically, in the UK), the tipping point around this was certainly noticeable even to me: I now hear far more British voices telling me which promo code to use for ten percent off than I ever have before, even when I’m listening to American podcasts. Although the opportunity is theoretically there, most podcast makers are yet to explore the possibilities of dynamic insertion tech for creative purposes in addition to commercial ones. There’s this strain of anti-intellectualism that runs through our political discourse, you know, more so every four years when people are running for office, because they’re trying to appear folksy. For now, Neutrinowatch resides firmly in that zone, describing itself as a “semi-fiction” show. HP: Let’s talk about Booksmart itself. Photo: Booksmart Studios

This article first ran in Hot Pod, an industry-leading trade newsletter about podcasting by Nick Quah. It’s unfortunate that he was let go from WNYC under the circumstances. We felt it was the right moment to take the chance and do it. Once a final mix of an episode is completed and signed off, the usual practice for the vast majority of shows is to upload the finished product to the hosting platform and — barring errors that need correction — leave it there to be discovered, downloaded, and preserved as such. So, although I’m friends with Bob and I talk to him, he never talked to me about any of his issues that he may or may not have had at WNYC. The show is great. But that, to me, has always been a lamentable thing. HP: Why launch as a network? Something seems wrong. You know, this idea of a man who had a public radio show in which he has to be relatively staid, as staid as Bob can be and live within the legal confines of the FCC, and suddenly he was free to not have to do that. Now I’m looking at the graph and I see that the hockey stick is starting to form, and we’ve only released one episode from one show so far. [laughs] In all honesty, that’s what you do in relationships anyway, right? Emtman and Austwick describe Neutrinowatch as a “generative podcast”, because once they’ve set up the processes behind an episode, the show generates its variations without their input. And he said, “Look, I even want to put Teddy Roosevelt in the opening of the show, every episode will have Teddy Roosevelt’s voice.” That is, I think, what Bob thinks of when he thinks of Bully Pulpit. It wasn’t crazy where it could happen. I think Bob wanted to kind of take ownership of that word and turn it into something different. That’s not who I am. I worked there for seven years. Initial partners include publishers like Slate and Vox Media, along with other subscription-facilitating platforms like Supporting Cast,, Supercast, and Memberful. Substack is fantastic. ➽ Sports Illustrated will now be making a slate of podcasts through iHeartMedia, off a newly announced partnership. “Everything else stays the same, the RSS feed stays the same, the thing that it’s pointing at has the same name, but it’s a different file.” He has a “cron job” — in layperson’s terms, it’s a Linux command for scheduling tasks to execute in the future — set up to do this automatically, and just has to open his laptop for ten minutes each day so that it can run. Some context to note: Mike Vuolo, Booksmart’s co-founder, has a long professional history with Garfield. I think they must’ve said something to him about, “Well, why don’t you put us in touch with Mike?” — because I own the show — “Maybe there’s a way we can bring it over here.”

We were put in touch, and eventually, I brought Matt into the conversation of us creating not just one podcast for them but a number of podcasts. Schwartz: I go back a lot to what Jon Stewart famously said on Crossfire years ago: “You’re doing nothing for culture. Everyone seems to have a subscriber deal these days — you know, “pay $5 a month, $10 a month, and you’ll get stuff” — and so we felt that to be more competitive, we have to offer more content from the beginning. Booksmart appears to be starting out broad, with its press release naming five shows as part of the launch slate:The language podcast Lexicon Valley, hosted by the linguist and academic John McWhorter (the show is moving over from Slate);

Banished, hosted by the historian Amna Khalid, which purports to “report on our present-day obsession with what we’ve come to call cancel culture”;

The Direction Is Sound, hosted by All Songs Considered creator Chris Mandra, about “the miracle of recorded sound”;

Unprecedented, a show about the First Amendment hosted by Vuolo and Schwartz that’s moving over from WAMU; and finally…

… Well, not to bury the lede, but here’s the last and most noteworthy detail about the launch slate: Booksmart Studios is also the new audio home of Bob Garfield, the former co-host of WNYC’s On The Media who was fired in May for a “pattern of behavior that violated New York Public Radio’s anti-bullying policy.” (Garfield has denied allegations of bullying.) His new show is called — wait for it — Bully Pulpit. But Austwick was keen to stress when we spoke that this first batch of seven episodes represents only the beginnings of their experiments with generative podcasting. He doesn’t want people to think of him as a bully, because of course he doesn’t think of himself that way. I probably raised my voice at times too. So, pending further information, you’re comfortable continuing this relationship with Garfield. HP: I want to go back to something you said earlier. HP: Did the plan to start a podcast network predate the conversation with Substack? You can find full details here. We’re a two man team running this. HP: Are you able to speak more about the terms of the deal itself? So I reached out to Vuolo and Schwartz, and we spoke over the phone last Friday where we touched on, among other things, the Substack deal, creating Booksmart Studios, and, obviously, the situation with Garfield. As far as I knew, it was always a functionally dysfunctional place — WNYC writ large, and individual shows too. ➽ There’s apparently a podcast coverage push around the Olympics by NBC. I was at NPR a couple years ago, and we were doing some training. Schwartz: I don’t have a working relationship with Bob. They want Substack to be a natural place for people to bring podcasts. It goes into more detail about that. The first has to do with Substack’s trajectory. He called me the night before it went public, and I said, “You know, Bob, I would like to know what happened here, because this makes me really, really concerned.” He told me what he could.

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Only Murders Trailer: Steve Martin, Martin Short and Their Third Amiga Are On It


Steve Martin Shares Funny Selena Gomez Clip

Tags: A $2,000 monthly maintenance fee! The series will premiere on Hulu on August 31, although the other Upper West Side classic, Oh, Hello, is streaming now. It’s hard to tell. Valid annoyances that their neighbors keep bothering them for clues? Red herrings? Regardless, “musical superstar” Sting might even be a suspect, even if Selena’s character thinks he’s from U2. Unfortunate.In the official trailer for the Hulu comedy series, the unlikely trio becomes fixated with a murder of a douchey businessman just a few floors away, with more and more suspects emerging from their Dakota-esque apartments with what seem like … motives? Oak elevators! So goes the enchanted Upper West Side lives of the characters Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, and Martin Short portray in Only Murders in the Building, until, well, some murders actually happen in their building. Hidden bookcases!

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Young Thug Goes Punk in Tiny Desk With Travis Barker

Thugger performed four new songs — including “Die Slow,” “Droppin Jewels,” “Hate the Game,” and “Tick Tock” — rapping over some heavy riffs and backed by a full rock band. Related

One of Your Favorite Rappers Is Probably on Young Thug’s Slime Language 2

Tags: But the punkest moment didn’t come until the end of the set, when Young Thug brought out pop-punk elder statesman Travis Barker to drum on an amped-up rendition of his Slime Language 2 hit “Ski.” During the performance, Thug also announced an October 15 release date for Punk, flaunting it on the back of his shirt. Until then, we’ll be crossing our fingers that Barker makes it onto the record. Young Thug has been talking a lot of talk about his upcoming album Punk, and at his NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, he started walking the walk.

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Caitie Delaney’s Music Engineer Videos: The Complete Collection

Turns out I post a lot of stuff that includes copyrighted music. Wale & Roscoe Dash”

Jay Z – “Hard Knock Life”


Did This Video of Jennifer Coolidge Saying ‘Hi’ Save My Life? And I’m sure they’ll be there for many years to come! ft. Sue me, I like music! These people are here, for you, to help fulfill your artistic endeavors, and this is how you treat them? Anyways, I’m gonna go lie down now. Why all the aggression? Fat Joe – “What’s Luv? Twitter receives claims from either record companies or individuals on tweets by users who use copyrighted music, and more often than not, Twitter removes the video and adds a strike to the tweeter’s account. Editor’s note: Delaney’s “What’s Luv” video made her Twitter followers jump from under 2,000 to over 45,000 within the first two days it was originally posted. So hop on over!” And afterwards I’ll sit and wonder if this is bound to be my legacy — posting decades-old videos on a platform for teenagers doing hoverboard tricks, sharing helpful tips about how to deal with the despair of living through a climate disaster, or being like, “Guys, I found my parents’ old music today and it kind of slaps??” while they play “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore. As people started responding to it, I realized what an evergreen concept the whole thing is — so many rappers include their improvised chatter to the sound booth at the beginning of their tracks. But … Maybe. Unless, of course, TikTok starts removing videos for copyrighted music, in which case I’ll bring them to the next hot platform, and those will get taken down, so I’ll go to the next one, which will be called “Yo-Yo” or “JingleJam” or “Frog” and I’ll post “All of my classic studio engineer videos are now exclusively hosted on FROG! I have … a few strikes. No. That’s the whole point of this. Ashanti”

Eminem – “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”

Chief Keef – “Love Sosa”

Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Gotta Have It”

Jay Z – “Blueprint 2”

Chief Keef & Zaytoven – “Batman”

Future – “Thought It Was a Drought”

Kanye West – “30 Hours”

Waka Flocka Flame – “No Hands ft. Okay …

So one night in March 2019, when “What’s Luv” came up on my Spotify shuffle and I imagined again that poor engineer having the worst day ever, I decided to make a quick seven-second video pretending to be her, and I posted it to Twitter that night. I made a few more videos, like Eminem needing more snare in his headphones in “Cleaning Out My Closet,” Future preparing a cup of lean near all of the expensive audio equipment, and Jay-Z telling the engineer to “release the flutes” in a song that does not include flutes in any way, shape, or form. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by @catiedelaney/TikTok

Since “What’s Luv” by Fat Joe was released in 2002, I had always felt offended on the engineer’s behalf when Joe yells, “Put the fucking mic on!” to kick off the track. Thankfully, Vulture offered to round up the videos, which I posted to TikTok, in one place for your viewing convenience. Where else am I going to post thirsty pics of Dev Patel and repeatedly beg him to be my husband? Like, Jesus, Fat Joe, how about a little courtesy in that request? But, tragically, in mid-July, over two years after I’d posted them, I had to delete them forever due to the ever-expanding reach of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). No, don’t sue me. Thanks Vulture! So, out of a deeply ingrained fear of powerful media corporations and their actions, I voluntarily deleted my most popular tweet thread I’ve ever twoten. Tags: I don’t have official guidance on this, but apparently once you get six strikes, your account is banned forever. A modern tragedy, if you ask me. Seems a little extreme to me, but, hey, I need my Twitter account! Prior to its deletion, it racked up over 340,000 likes and 9 million views on Twitter and was shared by celebrities and musicians alike, including Questlove. These videos have been fun to make and have garnered me a lot of nice followers and cool interactions on Twitter. Caitie Delaney.

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Go on a NYC Dream Date With Lorde As She Answers 73 Questions

Flowers are in bloom, the sun streams through the emerald canopy, but the only thing you’re looking at is pop sensation Lorde, guiding you along the stone paths and talking about … Jack Antonoff. “Don’t let me ruin your life more than I already have,” she laughed it off. Sorry, it’s not a fanfiction or your wildest dreams. Related

Lorde Has a Pretty, Existential Crisis on ‘Stoned at the Nail Salon’

What Makes Lorde’s ‘Solar Power’ So Divisive? Walking around the Bronx instead of letting any of us near her home (smart girl), Lorde answers q’s about her new album Solar Power, who she wants to collaborate with (Harry Styles, call her!), and the weirdest thing Antonoff has told her. Picture it: You’re strolling through the New York Botanical Garden on a warm, breezy July day. Tags: It’s Lorde’s 73 Questions With Vogue. “He’s a nut.” Lorde gives fans one other gift before ending her long-awaited 73 Questions — besides name-dropping Taylor Swift, that is. Like most of the answers on this series, it will not surprise you. She turned the camera guy around and revealed what the celebrity sees as he stalks them.

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Naomi Osaka’s Cinematic Perspective Is Also a Human One

I really appreciated the way in which Netflix came to me, because they didn’t actually have a pitch. That’s sort of your sensibility.I guess it is, yeah. I think it’s also a reflection of her generation and her generation’s demand for a new way of understanding what professionalism is and what transparency is. But again, it goes back to the intention of making something that a person, at a bare-bones minimum, couldn’t argue with, and then the hope is that they love it and that they feel seen. For instance, were there any times where she said, “You know what, let’s not film right now”?Not really. So much of my work has come to fruition from having preexisting relationships with my community and with people. I couldn’t have anticipated the perspective from which these things became relevant, but obviously her decisions are coming out of the environment that she’s in and the series really puts that on display. What is it that won’t necessarily be there in preexisting material? I’m just wondering what your reaction to that decision was, if that was surprising or if you were like, No, this is very much in line with what I’ve observed about her.I think when we were filming, she was very much figuring out the lay of the land. It’s about imagination, which is what creates change. It was to offer something that we hadn’t seen yet. It was actually a series of conversations and, for me, really thinking through it from a human perspective and a cinematic one, what I could really offer to her story in this moment. Did you have to establish any ground rules with Naomi? Tennis is so much of a mental sport, as she says herself. Open in 2019 and she was getting ready for that. As a filmmaker, I needed to find other ways to be present with her without leaning on dialogue or conversation. It’s not just physical. When Netflix approached you about working on this project, what was their pitch to you? I think it’s been really incredible for her and really affirming, actually, that there seems to be an outpouring of support, not just for her as a person, but even from other people talking through what strength looks like for them and what are the expectations of strength for them, the everyday person. Her environment was so crucial to understanding what was prompting her own inquiry about life. She had also been competing in those Games until earlier today, when she lost in her third round of singles play to the Czech Republic’s Markéta Vondroušová. Bradley recently chatted with Vulture about her approach to making the docuseries, what it was like to work with Osaka, and her views on Osaka’s relationship with the press. It was important for me, again, that the series felt like we were with Naomi and that we were going through her journey from her perspective. I think the series is really about her lead-up to those realizations, which then came to fruition after filming. Not everyone feels that way. I went into it actually with a few different kinds of questions, but it wasn’t a true agenda, because I couldn’t be looking for X, Y, and Z, because I needed to get to understand her and to know her before I could even formulate that. Even though you didn’t know any of that was going to happen after you finished the docuseries, it feels like the docuseries really does offer insight into how she presents herself.I think I’m always interested in the environment as a dual character. I’ve just been so honored to be able to spend time with her at this moment. So it wasn’t to dismiss the reality of that match. She says herself, there are some things that nobody can prepare you for. Obviously, there’s been a lot of dialogue around Naomi’s approach to the media since then. I mean, there isn’t a single film I’ve made with somebody where they weren’t a little intimidated by having to see themselves. Did Naomi sit down and watch the whole, completed series?Yeah. I think that Naomi is offering us, as have other athletes in the past, like Marshawn, an opportunity to question a new way of living, a new way of existing, and that’s happening almost on every level of society right now — politically, environmentally, on every level. Maybe there’s a better way of doing this.” That’s exactly right. It was actually really difficult. I don’t mean to sound like I’m trying to turn something into a franchise, but this series really is a time capsule of what’s gone on in her life during this two-year period. It actually wasn’t super-clear to me what the foundation of this was going to be until I spent more time with her and found that she was really in a place of contemplation and of asking herself huge life questions that ultimately radiated and echoed out into the world. Garrett Bradley, nominated for an Academy Award this year for her documentary Time, about a Black woman’s effort to get her husband released from a disproportionately long prison sentence, directed the series and spent a great deal of time in Osaka’s orbit, talking with and observing her in order to present an authentic sense of who Osaka is and is becoming. I mean, typically I spend enough time with a person so that I understand how they move through their own spaces and I can then make a decision about, my camera’s going to be here and I can be here confidently because I know how they inhabit this space. It was really about, There’s this opportunity, would it be interesting to you, why would it be interesting, and what can happen? When we want to use it is so crucial to the core of who we are. I think that Naomi is certainly bringing that to her own sphere. I’m really grateful for her trust and being able to get us there. It was actually really exciting. That was a defining moment for her that then really informed the next two years that we see in the series. While all of this activity and conversation has been swirling around the tennis star, an intimate docuseries that followed her journey over the past two years, Naomi Osaka, also landed on Netflix. When you look at somebody like Marshawn Lynch, we understand that forcing somebody to speak is another way of taking their voice away. Are you surprised that people are having that kind of reaction?I think any time you try to disrupt the system or disrupt the status quo, you’re going to have fear. What has impressed me about her is that it’s not that she doesn’t want to give answers. How much time did you get to spend with Naomi before you officially embarked on the project?Not much time at all. Tags: Earlier this year, when Naomi announced she was not going to do press at the French Open, at that point, were you still editing the documentary or was it completely finished?No, we were done. So far she has: kick-started a conversation about athletes’ relationships with the media after dropping out of the French Open because she chose not to do post-match interviews; penned an essay for Time magazine; become the first female Black athlete featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue; won the ESPY for best female athlete; insisted that “Megan” Kelly “do better”; and had the honor of lighting the cauldron to open the Tokyo Olympic Games. The summary of that doesn’t get into all the gritty details about Williams’s disagreements with the umpire and the code violations against Serena. I’m wondering what your impression is of her in those situations.Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. I think her actions and her decisions around how she wants to use her voice and when she wants to use her voice are a reflection of demanding a more empathetic and transparent world. I think that all we have in life is our voice. I want to ask you about a choice that was made in the first episode, where you retrace Naomi’s first U.S. Recently, Megyn Kelly was giving Naomi a hard time on social media, suggesting that she’s trying to manage her relationships with the press and doesn’t really have a problem with doing press, which is not a very nuanced take on what I think Naomi has been trying to say. Open win over Serena Williams. I think she was really in a place of observing and figuring out her footing in that and what would make her feel comfortable and how she personally wants to move through the space that she’s found herself in. You’re going to have people who, I don’t think in any kind of malicious way, but there are always going to be people who haven’t had the opportunity to imagine something outside of the current circumstances that have been given to us. I know it sounds really hippie-dippie, but I really try to connect with the spirit of somebody so that the visuals are in celebration of those things. Once we take a moment to understand how things make us feel, we then make decisions based on those realizations. I think her answers are actually very thoughtful and that she’s really absorbing what’s being asked of her. I’m just so excited to see where she’s going to go in her life, but I know that she’s going to continue to lead with her heart and create change in the world as a result of that. So there were moments where I was like, We may not get that, but it doesn’t matter because there’s a bigger goal. Photo: Netflix

It’s been quite a summer for Naomi Osaka. Part of what was required in being able to achieve that was to let go of a lot of the externalized moments and externalized understandings of what she has experienced. Anyone can watch the match and see what happened. And how do we think about the way in which we project these certain expectations, not only on celebrities and athletes, but also on women and on Black women and people of color in general. Why did you decide not to include that? I think her sharing her experience, coupled with her own voice outside of the ecosystem of the series, it’s really helped open up the space for a lot of people, and that’s always my hope. That allows us to feel like we’re really with a person as opposed to me chasing after them. I think that the biggest thing was understanding right before a match where her head was going to be, and really not wanting to be a distraction to her in any kind of way. I don’t believe, as a filmmaker, that the film comes first. What is it that they can’t look up, right? Anyone can read the drama that ensued afterwards in the press and go on Wikipedia. What you said earlier about generational differences is really apropos here because in situations like this, and others, it feels like older generations have this attitude of, “Well, I had to put up with this, so you do also,” as opposed to being more open to, “Maybe we should reimagine this. You spent some time filming her in the press-conference environment, specifically that one Australian Open press conference after she lost to Coco Gauff. I was getting used to what it means for everybody understanding where her headspace needed to be in order to prepare. What did she say after she watched it?She said, “It was intense to see myself on-camera.” It’s scary because when you bring yourself to something, you’re always worried about how it will be received and if people accept you for who you are. We’ll see. I was very much out of my comfort zone working with somebody I’d never met before. Garrett Bradley
Photo: Jim Bennett/Getty Images

That’s what I figured. I also wanted to be sensitive to what it would mean to make a documentary about somebody that was so young. It was like a day — it was actually at the U.S. I think the person always comes first. Have you thought about doing something similar with Naomi again, maybe later down the road to capture another chapter?[Laughs] You’ll have to ask Netflix about that. You took a very fly-on-the-wall, vérité kind of approach, which seems like that would be your approach regardless, right? But then how I’m moving through those spaces changes from one project to the next. That wasn’t actually something that was ever explicitly said to me; it was just intuition and putting myself in her shoes of what would be the healthiest, most respectful choice.

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Booker Prize Announces 2021 Longlist

See the 2021 Booker Prize longlist below:

A Passage North, Anuk ArudpragasamSecond Place, Rachel CuskThe Promise, Damon GalgutThe Sweetness of Water, Nathan HarrisKlara and the Sun, Kazuo IshiguroAn Island, Karen JenningsA Town Called Solace, Mary LawsonNo One is Talking About This, Patricia LockwoodThe Fortune Men, Nadifa MohamedBewilderment, Richard PowersChina Room, Sunjeev SahotaGreat Circle, Maggie ShipsteadLight Perpetual, Francis Spufford


In Rachel Cusk’s ‘Second Place,’ a Search for Connection Feels Claustrophobic

In Klara and the Sun, Artificial Intelligence Meets Real Sacrifice

Patricia Lockwood’s Infinite Scroll

Tags: The Booker Prize for Fiction is open to works by writers of any nationality written in English and published in the U.K. Photo: Geoffrey Swaine/Shutterstock

The Booker Prize announced this year’s longlist, and 13 books were chosen out of 158. The shortlist will be announced on September 14. The 2021 contenders were selected by this year’s judging panel: historian Maya Jasanoff (chair); writer and editor Horatia Harrod; actor Natascha McElhone; twice Booker-shortlisted novelist and professor Chigozie Obioma; and writer and former archbishop Rowan Williams. or Ireland. Nadifa Mohamed’s novel The Fortune Men was longlisted.

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Paul Schrader Takes Break From Facebook to Write and Direct The Card Counter

“There is a weight a man can accrue.” Oscar Isaac says this in voice-over at the top of The Card Counter trailer, before we see that he has covered every surface of his hotel room in white sheets, and he has sat down to do some moody journaling à la Reverend Toller. The latest of these is a thriller about an ex–military interrogator turned gambler (Isaac) who teams up with Tiffany Haddish and appears to confide in Tye Sheridan as he pursues some sort of revenge plot. Willem Dafoe appears to be his target, shown in disturbing blown-out black and white flashback at his most wild-eyed and sweaty. Isaac’s talking about his character’s past sins, but he could easily be talking about writer-director Paul Schrader’s accrued Facebook posts, the weight of which hangs over every non-status-update project he takes on. Related

Paul Schrader Does Not Have Much Hope for the Future of Movies

Tags: The movie hits theaters on September 10, giving Schrader’s PR team plenty of time to change his log-in info so we can just enjoy another one of his dark meditations on institutional evil as told through a tortured man.

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