From finding ways to help others cope to sheltering in place to canceling events, here’s a look at some of the ways the entertainment industry is reacting to the spread of the coronavirus, which most people recover from but can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions.
COLTON, COHEN TEST POSITIVE
Former star of “The Bachelor” Colton Underwood and talk-show host Andy Cohen have joined the growing group of celebrities who have tested positive for coronavirus.
Underwood posted a video on his social media pages saying he has been following all social distancing rules for a week, but tested positive on Friday.
The 28-year-old former football player who appeared as “The Bachelor” in 2019 says he began having symptoms, primarily exhaustion, a few days ago.
“The main thing is I can’t even walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath or going to the bathroom without having to sit down because I’m exhausted,” he said.
Underwood says he is recovering and self-isolating at his girlfriend’s family home in Huntington Beach, California.
Cohen the 51-year-old host of the long-running Bravo late-night show “Watch What Happens Live” said on Instagram and Twitter Friday afternoon that he has also tested positive, and will not do shows from home as he had planned.
“As much as I felt like I could push through whatever I was feeling to do #WWHL from home, we’re putting a pin in that for now so I can focus on getting better,” Cohen wrote.
Underwood and Cohen join other entertainers including Tom Hanks, Idris Elba and Daniel Dae Kim who have tested positive for the virus amid the global pandemic.
BROADWAY PRODUCERS AND UNIONS COME TOGETHER
Broadway’s unions and producers have agreed on emergency relief agreement that will provide Broadway employees with pay and health insurance during the current suspension of all Broadway shows.
Both sides issued statements late Friday applauding the agreement. The deal includes pay for the week that was cut short and then two additional weeks pay, including pension and 401 (k) benefits. Health benefits are guaranteed through April 12 and there is a commitment to discuss health care again the week of April 6.
Members of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds said, “We are grateful to be able to tell our members that the industry came together to provide some compensation during this terrible time.”
Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, echoed the positive vibe: “We are a community that cares about each other, and we are pleased that we can offer some relief.”
The news came just hours before it was revealed that Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “Hangmen” will suffer an early death and will not reopen on Broadway, the first casualty of the coronavirus on the Great White Way.
“Hangmen” was one of 16 shows that were scheduled to open this spring that were suspended when Broadway went dark on March 12. It was to officially open on March 19. The play won the Olivier Award in London for best new play but only managed 13 previews in New York.
McDonagh’s ferocious comedy centers on an executioner facing forced retirement as Britain abolishes capital punishment during the ’60s.
NETFLIX STREAMING FUNDS TO THE UNEMPLOYED
Netflix is establishing a $100 million relief fund for workers whose jobs in TV and film production have been brought to a halt by coronavirus.
The streaming service said Friday the majority of the fund will support the hardest-hit workers on Netflix’s own productions around the world, especially crew members.
In an effort to support the broader film and TV industry, Netflix says $15 million of the fund will be distributed to organizations providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where it has a large production base, including three nonprofits in the United States.
Pixar’s “Onward” will go from the top movie at the box office straight to digital release, as Hollywood continued to shuffle its recent releases from theaters into the home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Walt Disney Co. said Friday that “Onward” will be available for purchase on digital platforms for $19.99 beginning Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern. It will land on the studio’s streaming platform, Disney Plus, on April 3.
“Onward” had been the top movie at the domestic box office the last two weekends. But the wide majority of cinemas have closed in recent days to help limit large gatherings as the virus spreads. Other recently released films have also moved to on-demand or other home-viewing platforms, including Sony Pictures’ “Bloodshot” and Universal Pictures releases “The Hunt,” “Emma” and “The Invisible Man.”
LATIN STARS SING FROM HOME
Telemundo is offering a first-of-its-kind virtual music special on Spanish-language media, featuring stars such as J Balvin, Luis Fonsi, Alejandro Sanz and Gloria Estefan.
“Concierto en Casa” will air Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern on Telemundo Network, UNIVERSO and across all its platforms.
The star-studded line-up also includes Farruko, Prince Royce, Reik, Sofía Reyes, Carlos Vives, Wisin, Jesse and Joy, Alejandra Guzmán, Mau y Ricky, Camila, Emilia, Angela and Pepe Aguilar, Paulina Rubio, Raymix, Franco de Vita, Calibre 50, among others. All will appear from their homes or studios.
PAYING ARTS BACK
Ticketing outlet Goldstar focuses on live entertainment events. Now, with that industry crippled, the company is encouraging users to keep live events alive.
Subscribers are being asked to donate to live entertainment and arts organizations nationwide, giving the option of $10, $20 or $50 amounts.
The push is open to all genres, for profit and not, from the Center Stage Children’s Theater in San Diego to The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.
“We’re tapping into our audience of 10 million subscribers to encourage them to donate at this critical time to support the artists, the people behind the scenes and all who bring so much to our lives,” said Goldstar CEO Jim McCarthy.
DEPP SUIT ON HOLD
Johnny Depp’s libel suit against British tabloid The Sun has been put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.
Depp is suing the newspaper’s parent company over a 2018 article claiming he was violent and abusive to his ex-wife Amber Heard.
A trial had been due to start Monday at the High Court in London, with Depp, Heard and other celebrities due to give evidence. But judge Andrew Nicol said Friday that he had “reached the reluctant conclusion that the trial does have to be adjourned.”
Depp’s lawyer Jennifer Afia told a preliminary hearing that the star could not come to court because he was at a “remote location” in France and could not travel because of the pandemic.
But the newspaper’s attorney, Adam Wolanski, alleged Depp wanted to delay the trial “because he’s a coward and because he knows he’s going to lose.”
AP Writers Mark Kennedy, Jake Coyle, Jill Lawless and Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.
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