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'Hamilton' star to perform at Boston July 4th celebration

Tony Award-winning actor and musician Leslie Odom Jr., who starred in the Broadway phenomenon "Hamilton," will be among the guest artists at Boston's iconic July Fourth concert and fireworks celebration.

The Boston Pops announced Wednesday that Odom, singer-songwriter Andy Grammer and Grammy Award-winning musician Melissa Etheridge will headline the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular this year under the direction of Pops conductor Keith Lockhart.

Organizers say a new work from composer Alan Menken, known for his scores in multiple Disney movies, and Tony Award-winning lyricist Jack Feldman will be premiered at the celebration.

The event typically draws about a half million people to the Charles River Esplanade. It will be broadcast on Bloomberg Television, which recently signed on as a media partner.

Media mogul Jerry Perenchio dies in LA at 86

Jerry Perenchio, a billionaire media mogul who helped produce hit TV shows and sporting events and turned Univision into a major Spanish-language network, has died. He was 86.

His wife, Margaret Perenchio, said Perenchio died Tuesday at his Los Angeles home from lung cancer.

Perenchio wore many hats during a half-century in the entertainment business. As a talent agent, his clients included Andy Williams and Glen Campbell.

He promoted sporting events such as the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight and the famous tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Perenchio and Norman Lear produced 1970s hits including "The Jeffersons" and in the 1980s he produced "Driving Miss Daisy" and other films.

He co-owned Univision, selling it for more than $1 billion.

Perenchio also was a major political donor and philanthropist.

Man arrested inside Bullock's home convicted of stalking

A man who broke into Sandra Bullock's home in 2014 and forced the Oscar-winning actress to hide in her closet while calling police has been sentenced to continued mental health treatment and probation after pleading no contest to felony stalking and burglary charges.

Joshua James Corbett entered the plea Wednesday and was also ordered to stay away from the actress and not attempt to contact her for 10 years. He was arrested inside Bullock's residence in June 2014 and authorities later uncovered a cache of illegal weapons at his home, but all weapons charges were dropped.

Corbett entered the no contest plea without having an agreement for sentencing with prosecutors, district attorney's spokesman Greg Risling said.

Bullock never personally appeared during the case, but her frantic 15-minute 911 call was a key piece of evidence that led a judge in 2015 to order Corbett to stand trial.

Corbett, 41, has received mental health evaluations while in custody and his attorneys had hoped to resolve the case with an agreement that ensured he received continued mental health treatment.

He lurked outside the gates of Bullock's home for several days before hopping the fence on June 8, 2014, according to court testimony. He rang Bullock's doorbell for several minutes before entering her home through a sunroom door. The actress caught a glimpse of him as he walked past her bedroom door, allowing her to lock herself in a closet and call police.

Corbett was unarmed but he had 25 pages of writings describing his obsession with the actress and describing himself as her husband when police arrested him inside the "Gravity" star's home.

Corbett's attorneys had challenged the basis for police searching his home and finding an arsenal of weapons that led to numerous felony firearms charges. Corbett was charged with possessing a machine gun, two counts of possessing an assault weapon and 10 counts of possessing a destructive device. The destructive devices were described as tracer ammunition.

He faced up to 12 years in prison if convicted of those charges. In February, a California appellate court ruled Los Angeles police detectives had violated Corbett's rights when they obtained authorization to search his home for guns.

During a hearing last year, Corbett described his feelings about the break-in at Bullock's house, saying he gave police the combination to his gun safe because he felt guilty about breaking into Bullock's home.

"I'd already hurt somebody that I didn't intend to," Corbett said while testifying during a hearing. "I did not want to affect my family with my actions."

Corbett's attorneys have suggested he was experiencing opiate withdrawal when he granted police consent to search his home for several legally purchased weapons. A judge rejected their attempts to overturn his consent for the search, which turned up the illegal arms and ammunition.


Anthony McCartney can be reached at

Writers Guild overwhelmingly ratifies new 3-year contract

Members of the Writers Guild of America have overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract with television and film producers.

The guild announced Wednesday that the new agreement passed by a 99 percent margin, with only 30 members voting no out of nearly 3,650 ballots cast. The agreement will remain in place until May 2020.

The ratification comes three weeks after a tentative deal was reached with producers, averting a costly strike that would have caused several popular television series to go dark.

The guild has said it won gains across the board, including contributions to the union's health plan and better pay for series with fewer episodes. A memo about the new contract stated members will net $130 million more over the contract's life than earlier proposals from producers.

Hannity says liberal fascists after sponsors; 1 is leaving

Sean Hannity says a media watchdog is guilty of "liberal fascism" for targeting advertisers on his Fox News Channel show, as one company announced Wednesday that it would no longer hawk its wares there.

The Chicago-based said that it had been "watching closely" and recently decided to suspend its backing of Hannity.

Hannity, the sole survivor from Fox's once stable and powerful prime-time lineup, has been a strong backer of President Donald Trump and believes the president is under attack from media and opponents who want to destroy him. On Wednesday, Hannity said he would no longer talk about a discredited story involving a murdered Democratic National Committee chairman after speaking to the man's family, and after Fox had earlier retracted an online story it had written about the case.

Uncertainty over whether Hannity would defy his network's bosses over the story led to big ratings on Wednesday. The show reached 2.5 million viewers, or 50 percent more than it had for the same night a year earlier, the Nielsen company said.

On Wednesday, Hannity sent a steady stream of tweets that targeted Media Matters for America, the liberal lobbyists who a day earlier had posted a list of his show's advertisers on its web site. Targeting a show's advertisers is a potent line of attack in television; the swift abandonment of Bill O'Reilly's advertisers last month after the revelation of settlements paid to women to quiet harassment charges was widely considered a factor in his firing by Fox.

Media Matters is "targeting my advertisers to silence my voice," Hannity tweeted. "They hope to get me fired. Rush (Limbaugh), O'Reilly, (Glenn) Beck, (Don) Imus and now me." He posted a series of links to articles about Media Matters' funding, and ties to figures reviled by many conservatives, like George Soros and Bill Clinton.

Media Matters denied that it was mounting a pressure campaign focusing on Hannity's advertisers. The organization's president Angelo Carusone said he hadn't spoken to any sponsors. He said he wanted advertisers to be aware of Hannity's "volatility" as part of a general Media Matters campaign to get them to think about advertising on Fox; Media Matters hasn't posted a list of sponsors for any other specific show.

Saying there's no boycott campaign may be a distinction without a difference, however. Media Matters listed on its website more than 150 companies that had run commercials on "Hannity" in May, ranging from Lexus to Reddi-wip to Comedy Central. Hannity tweeted Wednesday that he'd spoken to several of his advertisers and they said they'd been "inundated" with emails urging them to stop running commercials on his show. said in a statement that its decision to advertise on a show doesn't mean it agrees or disagrees with its content.

"We don't have the ability to influence content at the time we make our advertising purchase," the company said. "In this case, we've been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity."

The company did not make clear when it made that decision or what about Hannity's content influenced its executives. A company representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

By alerting his supporters about the list of advertisers, Hannity has played into his critics' hands, Carusone said.

"He has demonstrated that he's totally volatile and out of control," he said. "Hannity has done more to create pressure for his advertisers than I have."

Carusone suggested that Hannity is "acting out of fear and anxiety over the future of Fox News by preying on the fears and anxieties of his audience."

"We're not running a campaign to get him fired right now," he said.

Hannity was active on Twitter before his show Tuesday, saying that he would discuss the case of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich and his own future on Fox. It clearly paid off by drawing interest; his viewership was just under the 2.6 million reached by the current queen of prime-time cable television, Rachel Maddow, on MSNBC.

Hannity declined comment through a spokesperson Wednesday night. His show has an average viewership this year of 2.67 million.

Kim Kardashian deletes social media post on Manchester attack after fiery backlash

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian has removed a photo of herself and Ariana Grande from social media after an intense backlash over the posting, which was intended to show sympathy for the victims of the Manchester concert bombing and Grande, but instead caused a social media uproar.

>> Read more trending news

Kardashian posted the photo of herself and Grande having a good time and smiling at another concert event on Twitter and Instagram, with a caption that read, “Concerts are supposed to be a place where u can let loose & have fun. So scary to not feel safe in the world. @arianagrande I love you.”

>> Related: Ariana Grande cancels tour following Manchester attack

The pair are friends, but social media users questioned the use of the photo featuring a laughing Kardashian and a grinning Grande for a message about such a somber event.

The attack on the concert hall in Manchester Monday night as Grande was wrapping up her show killed 22 people and injured almost 60 others.

After breaking even, NY City Opera stays with reduced season

After breaking even in its first full season since emerging from bankruptcy, New York City Opera said Wednesday it will stick with a reduced schedule of four main-stage productions in 2017-18 and does not envision getting much larger.

Citing competition from events throughout the area and technology that makes performances around the world available on the internet, general director Michael Capasso said City Opera has to live with a new reality.

"The company sadly but realistically is never going to be 120 performances of a dozen titles," Capasso said. "Those days I think are really over. I think they may be over for the industry, but they're certainly over for City Opera."

Founded in 1943, City Opera emerged from bankruptcy last year with an abbreviated schedule of 14 performances. The current season includes 32 performances of four shows at Jazz at Lincoln Center plus several chamber operas and concerts at smaller venues. The 2017-18 season features four main-stage operas highlighted by the U.S. premiere on May 31 next year of Charles Wuorinen's "Brokeback Mountain," a work that City Opera commissioned in 2008.

Twenty-six performances are scheduled for next season with a budget of $7.5 million, about the same as this season. Before a financial collapse began a decade ago, City Opera typically presented 12-16 operas per season and a peak of about 130 performances.

Capasso budgets ticket sales at 65 percent of capacity. The current season was buoyed by a sold-out run of Bernstein's "Candide" in which four performances were added to the originally scheduled six.

City Opera hopes within five years to perhaps increase main-stage productions to six. It is eliminating Saturday-night performances, which it found was its weakest-selling day.

"There's a lot of entertainment available to the public. And what's even worse is it's available to them on demand. Whenever they want it, they can just open their computer or their device and watch whatever they want," Capasso said. "The challenge for us is to convince people next week to buy a ticket for something in April 2018."

"Brokeback Mountain" is based on the 1997 short story by Annie Proulx detailing a cowboy romance about two ranch-hand buddies who start a homosexual affair. "Brokeback" became the basis for a 2005 movie that won three Academy Awards, and Gerard Mortier took the commission with him when he left City Opera for Spain's Teatro Real in Madrid, where it premiered in 2014.

The season also includes the world premiere in October of a chamber version of Tobias Picker's "Dolores Claiborne," which debuted at the San Francisco Opera in 2013 and is based on the Stephen King novel.

The season opens with Puccini's "La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West)" on Sept. 6 and includes the New York premiere of Jose Martinez's mariachi opera "Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon)" on Jan. 25 and Montemezzi's "L'Amore dei Tre Re (The Love of the Three Kings)" starting April 12. There will be a chamber double bill of Donizetti's "Il Pigmalione" and Rameau's "Pigmalion" next May.

Rep: Ronnie Wood has lung lesion successfully removed

A spokesperson for Ronnie Wood says the Rolling Stones guitarist has had a lung lesion successfully removed and is expected to make a full recovery.

Wood, who turns 70 next week, says in a statement that he is grateful to doctors who found the lesion in its early stages.

He is not expected to require further treatment and the procedure will not affect the Stones' upcoming tour, which kicks off in Europe in September.

Wood joined the Rolling Stones in 1975.

Americans don't trust media, but feel better about favorites

While Americans have doubts about how much they should trust the "news media" in general, a poll by the Media Insight Project released Wednesday suggests they have a higher opinion of the sources they personally rely upon to follow the world.

The survey by the project, a partnership between The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and American Press Institute, echoed the phenomenon where people express distaste for politicians yet support their local representatives.

Only 17 percent of people judged the "news media" as very accurate but twice as many said the same thing about the news sources they visit most often, the poll found. Ask about other attributes and it's the same pattern: 24 percent judged the media as a whole as moral, while 53 percent said that about their favorites. Twenty-seven percent said the media was willing to admit mistakes, and 47 percent said that about their sources.

"The whole question of trust in the media is more complicated than we think," said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute.

Mistrust in the media has soared since the post-Watergate days when many journalists were seen as heroes. The fragmentation of media, the increase in partisan media outlets and an aggressive anti-media stance by some commentators and politicians have all contributed, he said.

Personal devices put news at the fingertips of most Americans today. Four out of five people say they check the news at least once a day, and 58 percent said they follow news several times daily, the poll found.

Fragmentation means many different sources to follow. The most-used outlet by both Democrats and independents is CNN, although it was able to get first place among independents with only 20 percent of citations. Forty percent of Republicans said that Fox News is their most frequently relied-upon source. The second most-used outlet for Democrats is The New York Times, for Republicans it's CNN and for independents it's Fox News.

Seventy percent of Republicans say the "news media" is too liberal, while 63 percent said their favorite source is "just about right."

News executives will likely be disheartened to learn that young people polled are much more suspicious of the media than their elders. Eleven percent of people under age 40 said they have a lot of trust about information they get from the media, while 22 percent of people 40 and over say that, according to the survey.

"These are folks that grew up entirely in this fragmented landscape," Rosenstiel said. "They're suspicious of any media that says, 'We're just telling the story as we see it, without any bias.'"

The survey also uncovered a significant number of people — one-third of those who responded — who said they have difficulty distinguishing between news and opinion. The percentage is higher among Republicans.

"It's very hard to distinguish what is a news show and what's not a news show when Rachel Maddow is co-anchoring news coverage with Brian Williams," Rosenstiel said.

The poll of 2,036 adults was conducted March 8-27, with funding from the American Press Institute. Half were asked about "the news media" and half were asked about "the news media you use most often." The poll used a sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for each set of respondents is plus or minus about 4 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.


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Ariana Grande cancels tour stops following Manchester explosion

Days after an explosion near Manchester Arena killed 22 and injured 64 others, Ariana Grande has suspended performances for her Dangerous Woman Tour through June 5.

The Associated Press reported that the singer’s management team made the decision in wake of the bombing.

>> Read more trending news

TMZ reported that Grande’s management issued the following statement:

“Due to the tragic events in Manchester the Dangerous Woman tour with Ariana Grande has been suspended until we can further assess the situation and pay our proper respects to those lost. “The London O2 shows this week have been cancelled as well as all shows thru June 5 in Switzerland. We ask at this time that we all continue to support the city of Manchester and all those families affected by this cowardice and senseless act of violence. “Our way of life has once again been threatened but we will overcome this together. Thank you.”

Grande is reportedly back in her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida, as she grapples with the incident that affected her fans. According to Entertainment Tonight, a source says the singer is “an absolute wreck” following the bombing. 

Related: Ariana Grande says she's 'broken' over deadly explosion after Manchester concert

“She cares more about her fans than anything,” the source said.

The Associated Press reported that the father of  Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old man who police said detonated a suicide bomb Monday night at Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom, has been arrested in Libya. A spokesman for Libya’s anti-terrorism Special Deterrent force told The AP one of Abedi's brothers was detained in Libya Tuesday.

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