Also trending on your Tuesday: 10-year-old girl dies of brain-eating amoeba contracted from Texas river, the family says, seventh vaping death reported in central California and missing Florida mother and children found dead.
‘SNL’ fires Shane Gillis after controversy over racist slurs
Comic Shane Gillis has been fired by “Saturday Night Live” without ever setting foot in front of the sketch-comedy show’s cameras.
Gillis, one of three new “Saturday Night Live” cast members announced Thursday by NBC, was immediately the focus of controversy over racist slurs — one, in particular, was aimed at Chinese people — that he used in recent podcasts.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” an NBC spokesperson said Monday in a statement on behalf of “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels.
“We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”
Gillis also made a statement Monday, via Twitter.
“I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away,” Gillis said. “Of course I wanted the opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction. I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a mad tv guy anyway.”
Sean Spicer is just the latest politico hoping to dance his way into your heart
On the season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars," the former White House press secretary danced a salsa to the Spice Girls. Spicer isn't the first politician to take on the dance competition.
(CNN) -- Tom DeLay in 2009, in the middle of his indictment on charges of campaign money laundering. Rick Perry in 2016, after his failed presidential bid. Now, Sean Spicer, after his brief and inglorious tenure as the White House press secretary for the Trump administration in 2017.
There's a long history of figures -- pop-cultural and political -- using ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" as a vehicle through which to sashay their way to redemption.
In some ways, Spicer's arc from a government official to a "DWTS" contestant isn't surprising -- after all, it's just the reverse of Trump's pivot from reality television to the presidency.
10-year-old girl dies of brain-eating amoeba contracted from Texas river, family says
FORT WORTH, Texas — A 10-year-old girl who contracted a brain-eating amoeba after swimming in a Texas river died early Monday morning, according to KWTX.
Lily Mae Avant, 10, was Brazos River near Valley Mills hospitalized for nearly a week in Fort Worth after swimming in the over Labor Day weekend, McClatchy news group previously reported. Her symptoms began with a headache and fever then her condition quickly deteriorated, leaving her “incoherent and unresponsive.”
She was placed in a medically induced coma, WFAA reported.
The family told KIII TV the girl died.
Loni Yadon, Lily’s aunt, posted to Facebook Monday morning that Lily had “gone to be with Jesus.”
“She fought the good fight and built an army of prayer warriors around the world doing it,” the post said. “This past week has been a true testament of the kind of girl she was and the tremendous affect she had on people. It was incredible to bare witness and I’m humbled to be a tiny part of her beautiful story. To see the outpouring of love and togetherness in a time where hate is the norm, has been refreshing.”
Lily’s cousin Wendy Scott posted on the #Lilystrong Facebook page — a platform where the family shared updates with supporters — imploring families to take precautions when swimming in freshwater.
“We started this platform because we wanted to bring awareness to amoeba in an effort to prevent any other family from having to go through this,” the post said. “Please wear nose plugs, if you insist on swimming in warm freshwater. If your child starts showing symptoms and has recently been swimming in freshwater, tell your doctor! The quicker they get treatment, the better.”
Scott thanked followers for their love and support, adding that the family feels “incredibly humbled by how many lives have been impacted by our sweet and sassy, Lily Mae.”
Valley Mills Independent School District, where Lily was a student, posted a statement to Facebook lamenting Lily’s death.
“Lily was an absolute blessing to our elementary school,” the post said. “She was an outstanding student, but more importantly, Lily was an incredible person and friend to all. She was loving, kind, respectful, and had a beautiful heart. This campus and community are beyond blessed for the time we shared with our Lily.”
The school says they’ll have counselors available to talk with grieving students and staff, adding: “We are, and we will always be Lily Strong.”
When Lily’s condition worsened last week, she was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, McClatchy news group reported. There she was diagnosed with amoebic meningoencephalitis, an infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba often found in “warm freshwater and soil.”
“It is extremely serious and almost always fatal,” Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman Chris Van Deusen said, in an e-mail to McClatchy news group. “Since it’s so rare, we don’t know why a few people get sick while millions who swim in natural bodies of water don’t.”
In the United States, 34 people have been infected over the last decade, McClatchy news group reported.
Vaping death reported in central California
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a central California resident has died from complications related to the use of e-cigarettes.
The announcement Monday by the Tulare County Public Health Office comes hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to spend $20 million on raising awareness about the dangers of vaping nicotine and cannabis.
The Fresno Bee reports the Tulare County resident died of severe pulmonary injury associated with vaping. Officials didn't release the person's name and age.
Hundreds of people nationwide have come down with lung illness related to vaping. The man is the seventh person to die from a vaping-related illness in the United States as the nation's leading health agency activates emergency operations to better investigate the outbreak of lung injuries associated with e-cigarettes.
Netflix acquires the global streaming rights to ‘Seinfeld’
Netflix has fired back in the battle for popular network sitcoms by landing the global streaming rights to “Seinfeld.”
The deal struck with Sony Pictures Television, which controls the distribution of “Seinfeld,” will be announced Monday, according to the companies.
Netflix will offer all 180 episodes of “Seinfeld” in the U.S. and to its 151 million subscribers throughout the world when the five-year pact takes effect in 2021.
“‘Seinfeld’ is a one-of-a-kind, iconic, culture-defining show,” Sony Pictures Television Chairman Mike Hopkins said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Now, 30 years after its premiere, ‘Seinfeld’ remains center stage. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Netflix to bring this beloved series to current fans and new audiences around the globe.”
Landing “Seinfeld” is a major comeback statement for Netflix, which recently lost the streaming rights to “The Office” and “Friends” to the media conglomerates that own those shows. “The Office” will be part of NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, while “Friends” will be offered on WarnerMedia’s upcoming HBO Max platform.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but since the rights are for worldwide distribution, Netflix paid far more than the $500 million NBCUniversal paid for “The Office,” and the $425 million WarnerMedia shelled out for “Friends,” people familiar with the deal said. Both of those five-year deals were for streaming rights in the U.S. only.
Hulu, which is majority owned by Walt Disney Co., has the current domestic streaming rights to “Seinfeld,” paying $150 million annually in a five-year deal that expires in 2021. Amazon had the streaming rights in most of the foreign territories that will be picked up by Netfilx.
“Seinfeld is the television comedy that all television comedy is measured against,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement. “It is as fresh and funny as ever and will be available to the world in 4K for the first time.”
The $400-million-plus reason your favorite TV shows are exiting Netflix and maybe Hulu
For the next five-year licensing period, Netflix topped bids from Hulu, Amazon, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and Viacom, which controls the CBS All Access streaming service since its merger with CBS Corp., according to people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to comment.
The move was a blow to NBCUniversal, which had a long association with “Seinfeld” and could have used the iconic show to help lure viewers to its upcoming streaming service.
But Netflix is said to have been particularly aggressive in pursuing “Seinfeld,” which is one of a handful of durable, long-running comedy series that appeal to several generations of viewers. “Seinfeld,” which stars comedian Jerry Seinfeld as himself going through single life in Manhattan with his solipsistic pals, ran from 1989 to 1998 on NBC and ended its original run while still ranking as the No. 1 show in prime time, according to Nielsen.
The other broad-appeal sitcoms available on the steaming market — Warner Bros. Televison’s “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men” — are both expected to go to parent company WarnerMedia’s HBO Max. Some TV producers believe it has become futile for Netflix to bid against companies that are pursuing the rights for their own shows and essentially paying themselves.
The ownership of “Seinfeld,” produced by the defunct studio Castle Rock, is spread among several entities, including WarnerMedia, CBS, Seinfeld and his co-creator, Larry David. All will share in the revenue from the Netflix deal after Sony receives a significant percentage as the show’s distributor.
Even 20 years after “Seinfeld” left NBC, the show’s repeats remain a popular attraction on local TV stations and cable network TBS and have generated billions of dollars in revenue worldwide.
Netflix is already the streaming home for Seinfeld’s current series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” and his stand-up comedy specials. The relationship was not a determining factor in “Seinfeld” going to the service, sources said.
In its recent earnings call for investors, Netflix executives downplayed the significance of losing “Friends” and “The Office.” The Los Gatos-based company has said it would have to eventually wean itself from outside program suppliers — a major reason why it invested $12 billion on content in 2018 and is investing $15 billion this year.
Missing Florida mother and children found dead
ORLANDO, Fla. — A Central Florida mother and her four children were found dead, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.
“We have finally located the remains of all four children,” Sheriff Billy Woods said late Monday afternoon, hours after confirming the body of their mother, Casei Jones, 32, was located near Brantley County, Ga.
Earlier Monday, authorities said Jones’ husband, Michael Wayne Jones Jr., 38, had been located in Georgia and was being questioned in connection with her death.
Casei Jones’ family reported her and her four children missing Saturday night. They had not seen or heard from her in six weeks, sheriff’s officials said.
The children are Cameron Bowers, 10, Preston Bowers, 5, Mercalli Jones, 2 and Aiyana Jones, 1. All had last been seen in the Ocala area four to six weeks ago.
“As a father, as a parent, it breaks my heart,” Woods said, his voice breaking during a news conference. “As a sheriff, it angers me.”
The Brantley County Sheriff’s Office said Michael Wayne Jones Jr. gave himself up quickly when he was found after a traffic crash.
Woods has sent detectives to Georgia to talk to the suspect.
“We may not know why, but we will do our damnedest to find out how it was done,” he said, adding shortly afterward: “That’s evil. And evil needs to pay for what he did.”
Jones currently faces charges of second-degree murder in his wife’s death.