'Sesame Street' welcomes Julia, new character with autism

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 2:27 AM

This image released by Sesame Workshop shows Julia, a new autistic muppet character debuting on the 47th Season of
This image released by Sesame Workshop shows Julia, a new autistic muppet character debuting on the 47th Season of "Sesame Street," on April 10, 2017, on both PBS and HBO. (Zach Hyman/Sesame Workshop via AP)(Zach Hyman/AP)

A character with autism is joining Elmo, Big Bird and the other familiar faces on "Sesame Street."

The iconic children's show, which airs on PBS and HBO, will introduce a new Muppet, Julia, to TV audiences April 10, according to The Associated Press.

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Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes" offered a closer look at Julia, who has appeared online and in print as part of Sesame Workshop's "Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children" initiative since 2015.

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"It's important for kids without autism to see what autism can look like," Julia's puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, who has a son with autism, told "60 Minutes."

Host Lesley Stahl met Julia and spoke to Elmo and Big Bird about their new friend.

"Hi, Julia," Stahl said to the red-headed Muppet, who remained quiet – the same reaction she'll have when meeting Big Bird in her upcoming debut episode.

"I thought that maybe she didn't like me," Big Bird told Stahl.

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"Yeah, but you know, we had to explain to Big Bird that Julia likes Big Bird – it's just that Julia has autism, so sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things," Elmo said.

Julia also will struggle with loud noises and make up a game with her new friends.

 "They decide to play tag together, but Julia's so excited that she's jumping up and down," writer Christine Ferraro told Stahl. "That's a thing that can be typical of some kids with autism. And then it turns into a game where they're all jumping like her. So it was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation, they can meet her where she is." 

Irwin family returning to Animal Planet 20 years after ‘Crocodile Hunter’

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 8:52 PM

What You Need To Know About The Irwin Family

The Irwin family is returning to TV and Animal Planet 21 years after “The Crocodile Hunter” premiered in 1996.

In a Wednesday news release, Discovery Communications said Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin will be working on TV projects on Animal Planet, which is owned by Discovery Communications.

The Irwins are carrying on the legacy of their late patriarch, Steve Irwin, who spent his life learning about and educating others about wildlife, particularly reptiles. He died in 2006 when a stingray’s barb pierced his heart.

“Steve Irwin was a champion for all wildlife and he and Terri’s excitement and enthusiasm brought viewers from around the world in touch with nature,” Animal Planet general manager Patrice Andrews said in a statement. “Their passion for animals, love for their family, and leadership in conservation awareness left a strong legacy that continues today.”

Soul mates - in this life and every other. True love lasts always.

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

Terri Irwin, Steve Irwin’s widow and mother of Bindi, 19, and Robert, 13, said in a statement that she and her children are excited to be returning to the network.

“We look forward to the year ahead as we embark on new projects and adventures with Animal Planet,” she said.

“The Crocodile Hunter” aired from 1996-2007. Husband and wife Steve and Terri Irwin co-hosted and their two children frequently made appearances. Other shows the Irwins hosted included “Croc Files” and “New Breed Vets.”

In addition to TV projects, the Irwins will be global ambassadors for Discovery Communications.

Family forever❤️

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

Playboy features first transgender Playmate

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 2:55 AM

French model Ines Rau is the first transgender Playmate in the history of Playboy magazine.
Nicholas Hunt
French model Ines Rau is the first transgender Playmate in the history of Playboy magazine.(Nicholas Hunt)

Ines Rau became the first transgender Playmate, as the French model is in a pictorial and centerfold for the magazine’s November/December issue, the magazine announced.

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Rau previously appeared in the magazine’s May 2014 A-Z issue.

“It’s how I celebrated my coming out, actually,” Rau told the magazine. “I took that chance, and then I signed with an agency.”

Although Rau is the first transgender Playmate, she isn’t Playboy’s first transgender model, Cosmopolitan reported. The first was Tula, who appeared in the September 1991 issue. 

Hugh Hefner, the founder and publisher of Playboy, died on Sept. 27. He becomes the first man to appear solo -- and 11th overall -- on the cover of the magazine. A 1965 photograph by Larry Gordon was used to pay tribute to Hefner, the magazine said. The first six pages of the November/December issue are dedicated to Hefner, who published the first issue of Playboy in December 1953..

In a tweet Wednesday, Hefner’s son Cooper Hefner, the magazine’s chief creative officer, said that the magazine and society “should be fighting for a more open world.”

Nickelodeon fires ‘The Loud House’ creator over sexual harassment allegations

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 6:44 AM

From left, producer Karen Malach, writer Karla Sakas Shropshire and executive producer Chris Savino speak during
From left, producer Karen Malach, writer Karla Sakas Shropshire and executive producer Chris Savino speak during "The Loud House" event presented by Nickelodeon n 2016. Savino was fired from the show after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced.(Vivien Killilea)

Nickelodeon fired the creator of its animated show “The Loud House” after he was accused of sexual harassment, CNN reported.

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Chris Savino was suspended earlier this week after several women came forward with allegations against the animator, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“Chris Savino is no longer working with Nickelodeon,” a network spokesman said in a statement late Thursday. “We take allegations of misconduct very seriously, and we are committed to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment that is free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct.”
A manager for Savino, Angela Cheng Caplan, did not respond to multiple requests for comment, CNN reported. A person who answered the phone at Caplan's office early Thursday told CNN they had "no comment" on the matter.
"The Loud House" is currently in its second season on Nickelodeon. The show revolves around the chaotic life of a young boy named Lincoln Loud, who is the middle child in a family of 11 children, CNN reported.
Cyma Zarghami, president of Viacom Inc.'s Nickelodeon Group, released a memo to staffers after Savino's firing, encouraging them to speak out if they experience or see mistreatment, CNN reported.
Nickelodeon said "The Loud House" will continue to air and proceed with production.
Season 3 is scheduled to premiere in early 2018.

Selena to receive Hollywood Walk of Fame Star on Nov. 3

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 12:46 PM

What You Need To Know: Selena Quintanilla

On the heels of a popular Google Doodle this week honoring Selena Quintanilla Pérez, the pop culture icon will now posthumously receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Nov. 3.

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“Before there was JLo, Shakira or Beyoncé, there was a transformative female artist called Selena,” said Otto Padron, president of Meruelo Media and sponsor of the tribute, in a statement. “Selena is one of the most influential music icons of the 20th century. Her music, style and smile are timeless, and now her star will grace (Hollywood, California) forever.”

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce last summer selected to honor Selena in its recording category, along with other performers including John Legend, Clarence Avant, Ice Cube, a posthumous honor for Jerry Goldsmith, Hall & Oates, *NSYNC and New Edition.

(PRNewsfoto/Meruelo Media)(PR NEWSWIRE)

On Selena’s Facebook fan page, music lovers expressed a similar sentiment that the honor was long overdue.

“A dream come true,” wrote fan Hadeer Sinawe. “She deserved this even before her death.”

Texas native Eva Longoria will join Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to proclaim Nov. 3 as official “Selena” Day in Los Angeles.

On March 31, 1995, Selena’s former fan club president Yolanda Saldivar fatally shot Selena at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi. But for many fans of the Tejano superstar, who was on the brink of crossing over to the English-language music market, Selena’s legacy lives on.

In honor of her Walk of Fame addition, check out our playlist of Selena songs: