Rangers Sign Artemi Panarin, a Top Free-Agent Forward

The Rangers continued their roster revamp with their biggest splash yet on Monday, signing the high-scoring forward Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract.

Panarin, a 27-year-old Russian, was among the most-sought free agents. He had 28 goals and 59 assists for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season, his fourth year in the N.H.L.

The addition of Panarin continues a dramatic overhaul of the Rangers roster after they missed the playoffs for the second straight season.

John Davidson, the former president of the Blue Jackets, joined the Rangers in the same capacity in May. The Rangers have since acquired the elite defenseman Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets and drafted the Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko second overall last month. They also expect to have the Russian forward Vitali Kravtsov, a first-round pick last year, on the team next season.

The signing comes a day after the Knicks, with the same owner and arena as the Rangers, failed to land the N.B.A. free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who signed with the Nets instead. Panarin had also been courted by the Islanders, who share an arena with the Nets.

Panarin represents the type of pure scorer the Rangers haven’t had since Marian Gaborik registered two 40-goal seasons a decade ago. Panarin has 116 goals and 204 assists in four seasons with Chicago and Columbus. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie in 2015-16 and is one of three undrafted players in league history to record at least 70 points in each of their first four seasons. The other two are Wayne Gretzky and Peter Stastny.

The Rangers also traded forward Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round draft pick in 2021. Vesey, 26, was a coveted free agent out of Harvard in the summer of 2016. He had 40 goals and 50 assists in 240 games over three seasons with the Rangers.

Also on Monday, the former Ranger Mats Zuccarello, traded to Dallas in February, joined the Minnesota Wild with a five-year contract worth $30 million.

The top forward Matt Duchene, 28, signed a seven-year, $56 million with the Nashville Predators. He finished last season with Columbus after a trade from Ottawa, scoring a career-best 31 goals combined.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, Panarin’s former teammate in Columbus, signed a seven-year, $70 million deal with the Florida Panthers.

The former Anaheim star Corey Perry signed a one-year deal with Dallas after 14 seasons with the Ducks.

And the Toronto Maple Leafs signed the veteran forward Jason Spezza and completed a six-player trade with the Ottawa Senators acquiring defenseman Cody Ceci, a 2020 third-round draft pick, and defenseman Ben Harpur and forward Aaron Luchuk for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev, forwards Connor Brown and Michael Carcone.

The former Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid signed a one-year deal with Montreal.

Detroit signed 35-year-old forward Valtteri Filppula after he scored 17 goals in 72 games for the Islanders last season. Filppula spent the first eight seasons of his N.H.L. career with the Red Wings.

The Devils signed right wing Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5 million contract.

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Neil Patrick Harris Attends World Pride Parade with His Family!

Neil Patrick Harris is all smiles alongside husband David Burtka and their kids while attending the World Pride Parade on Sunday (June 30) in New York City.

The longtime couple brought their eight-year-old twins Gideon and Harper to the event.

“What a spectacular day. What a spectacular time. World Pride 2019 in NYC was an extraordinary experience, seeing literally millions of people spreading love and positivity,” Neil wrote on his Instagram account. “No conflict. No problems. Just love. So honored to share this with my husband @dbelicious and with our kids. Just an overwhelming outpouring of love. #grateful”

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Meanwhile, Not in France …

The focus of much of the soccer world this summer, understandably, has been on the Women’s World Cup in France. But while Megan Rapinoe, Lucy Bronze and Marta have been starring in that show, there has been plenty of men’s soccer action elsewhere that has been a little lost in its shadow. Shocking upsets. Lopsided victories. Even the looming renewal of a fierce international rivalry. Are there Rapinoe-level big names involved? Well, how about Lionel Messi?

South America: A Classic Copa Match

The biggest game in the Copa América this year will take place in a semifinal, when Brazil hosts Argentina on Tuesday.

Despite their historic dominance of the continent, neither team has shown its best in recent Copas: Brazil has not won the tournament since 2007, and Argentina since 1993. Messi has made it clear that finally lifting the Copa is a priority for him. But Brazil is playing a home Copa for the first time since 1989, and it has some ghosts of its own to exorcise.

It remains to be seen if Tuesday’s game reaches the heights of others in the long rivalry. The last major showdown between Argentina and Brazil was at the 2008 Summer Olympics; Argentina won that semifinal, 3-0, and went on to take the gold medal, the biggest international triumph of Messi’s career, but that is still an under-23 championship.

Argentina started this Copa slowly, losing by 2-0 to Colombia in an ill-tempered game, but rallied to reach the knockout stages. Messi has seemed sluggish, with just a single goal, a penalty, on his ledger. Instead, striker Lautaro Martínez, 21, of Inter Milan, has been one of several in the younger generation to impress.

Messi has criticized the quality of several of Brazil’s pitches. ““Sometimes it is hard to play, the fields are very bad, regrettably,” he told The Associated Press after a quarterfinal win over Venezuela at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana. “It doesn’t help us play, have a quick ball, pass and go. The ball bounces poorly, we can’t carry it.”

Brazil had two solid wins sandwiched around a draw with Venezuela. Its form, plus home field, make the team the favorite.

But the stadium for the semifinal may not bring comforting memories: The game will take place in Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, site of Brazil’s disastrous World Cup semifinal in 2014, a 7-1 loss to Germany.

And in the last round, Argentina was the sharper team, beating Venezuela, 2-0. The other three quarterfinals were dire, each ending in penalty kicks after 0-0 draws (though Brazil did outshoot its opponent, Paraguay, 25-5).

In the other semifinal, the two-time defending champion Chile will take on long shot Peru, which surprised Uruguay over the weekend.

Africa: An Island Nation Surprises

The biggest story of the Africa Cup of Nations, which has been shifted to summer this year, is the almost mind-boggling success of lowly Madagascar.

Madagascar had never previously qualified for the Cup of Nations, a tournament that dates to 1957. Two years ago, it finished last in its qualifying group, and it went into the latest qualification tournament ranked 46th of the 51 entered teams. But Madagascar split with Sudan and swept Equatorial Guniea to earn a surprise berth.

Not satisfied, with that, Madagascar came to Egypt, which is hosting the continental championship this summer, and after an opening draw with Guinea, beat Burundi and, stunningly, Nigeria to win its group and advance to the round of 16.

While many of the squads at the Cup are dotted with players from big club teams, like Liverpool (Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Sadio Mané of Senegal), Manchester City (Riyad Mahrez of Algeria) and Napoli (Kalidou Koulibaly of Senegal), Madagascar’s players hail from decidedly lower rungs on soccer’s ladder. Carolus Andriamatsinoro, who leads the team with two goals, plays in Saudi Arabia. Lalaïna Nomenjanahary plays in Paris, not for mighty P.S.G. but for Paris F.C., which fell short of promotion to the top league this past season.

“We remain Petit Poucet, and to say that we are Petit Poucet helps us a lot,” Coach Nicolas Dupuis told reporters in French, referring to a tiny fairy tale character.

North and Central America and the Caribbean: More Island Success

Everyone always expects a United States-Mexico final in the Gold Cup, the regional championship for Concacaf, and that is the expectation this year as well. But some island nations have created some excitement.

Curaçao, population about 150,000, beat Honduras to help clinch a surprise quarterfinal berth. Then it frustrated and at times outplayed the United States on Sunday night before falling, 1-0.

Even more impressive has been Haiti, which won all three games to top its group over Costa Rica, then came from 2-0 down to eliminate Canada, 3-2, to advance to the last four of the Gold Cup for the first time since 1977.

Next up is Mexico in Phoenix on Tuesday. The United States will play Jamaica in the other semifinal in Nashville on Wednesday.

Despite the reputations of the Americans and Mexico as the region’s Goliaths, one or the other has been knocked out in the semifinal of the last three Gold Cups.

Champions League: Yes, It’s Started

The UEFA Champions League, the world’s biggest club competition, will finish on May 30, 2020, in Istanbul. But it is already underway. Pristina, Kosovo, was the site of a four-team preliminary round last week featuring the champion clubs of Andorra, Gibraltar, San Marino and Kosovo.

KF Feronikeli of the host country triumphed on Friday, and earned the right to play the New Saints of Wales in the next round, which begins July 9.

If Feronikeli can win four more rounds, then survive the group stage, then win four more knockout rounds after that, it will be crowned club champions of Europe.

It’s possible, right? Ask Madagascar.



Victor Mather is a general assignment sports reporter and editor.  

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The ‘Les Misérables’ Revolving Stage Is Going. Fans Are in a Spin.

LONDON — For the past six months, a drama has been playing out in London’s West End with all the heightened emotions of a musical.

In January, Cameron Mackintosh, the theater producer, announced that “Les Misérables,” which has been running in the West End since December 1985 — and holds the Guinness World Record for the longest run of a musical in London — would close. The final performance will be July 13, and then the Queen’s Theater, its venue, will be shuttered for refurbishment.

The musical, set in revolutionary France, would reopen in December after a series of concert performances, Mr. Mackintosh added. But it would no longer be the well-loved original production featuring a revolving stage that spins as the actors sing, giving endless movement to the production and transporting viewers from the French countryside to the sewers of Paris in an instant.

Instead, the Queen’s Theater will now show the same stripped-down version that has toured worldwide since 2009. Directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, this drops the revolving stage and instead uses projections to make the production’s many scene changes. This new version has “nothing spinning around, except maybe the drunken revelers at the tavern,” wrote Charles Isherwood in a review for The New York Times when the show appeared on Broadway in 2014.

The announcement of the revolving stage’s demise didn’t sit well with some of the musical’s legions of fans. “The ‘new’ version does not have the power or magic that has kept audiences coming back for over 30 years,” said an online petition which called for the original to be maintained. More than 3,200 people have signed it.

“You can’t have the revolution without the revolve!” wrote one of the signatories.

The fans weren’t the only ones annoyed by the decision. In February, Trevor Nunn, who adapted and directed the original “Les Misérables” with John Caird, was asked what he thought of the change: “‘Don’t go there,’ is all I can say,” he told The Stage, a British theater newspaper.

Mr. Nunn, who turned down an interview request for this article, was more vocal in 2010, not long after the touring production was first revealed. “The most bewildering thing — and this is not vanity or hubris — is why something inferior has been created when something superior could have been,” he told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

John Napier, the musical’s original designer, who also designed the original sets for “Cats” and “Starlight Express,” said in a telephone interview that he was contacted about the touring production, “but only to be told I wasn’t required.” He was offered a buyout of his intellectual property, he added, but refused.

He had no problem with musicals being remade, he said. “Shakespeare is reinvented all the time, and people do amazing things with it,” he said, “but if you’re going to reinvent it, reinvent it. Really have a go at things.” The production was “a half-take,” he added. “It hasn’t let go of the original.”

Mr. Napier said he could only guess at the reasons the change was being made, financial or artistic. “I’ve never had an explanation,” he said.

Mr. Mackintosh said in an emailed statement that the decision to change the production was a “logical” one given the theater’s refurbishment. “Outside of London, this version is the only one that has played for the last 10 years,” he added.

In January, The Stage reported that negotiations were underway between Mr. Mackintosh’s company and the Royal Shakespeare Company, which co-produced the original, over how royalties from the new production should be shared.

Mr. Mackintosh’s spokesman would not provide details of the royalty splits for the original and new productions. The R.S.C. said in an emailed statement that negotiations were ongoing. “We will be sad to see the groundbreaking original production leave the West End,” the statement added.

To some, it may be surprising that the original “Les Misérables” lasted 33 days, let alone years. It debuted at the Barbican in London in 1985 to sneering reviews, many of which compared it disparagingly to Victor Hugo’s novel. The musical “stands in the same relation to the original as a singing telegram to an epic,” wrote Francis King in The Sunday Telegraph, adding it was “the reduction of a literary mountain to a dramatic molehill.”

But it proved a hit with the public. “Les Misérables” has now been seen by over 70 million people in 52 countries and 22 languages, according to its website, while the play has given the producers a return of “over 3,500 percent on their original investment.” (Cameron Mackintosh’s investment in the original London production was $450,000, with another $450,000 for the West End transfer, according to a New York Times article from the time.)

“It’s had a pretty good run, hasn’t it?” said Alun Armstrong, the British actor who played the comic role of Thénardier in the original production. “Everything changes. I don’t think it matters,” he added.

Colm Wilkinson, who played the first Jean Valjean — the musical’s hero, a petty criminal striving for redemption — said in an email that he loved the revolving stage. “Tough getting used to the motion, but well worth the effect,” he said. He had mixed memories of seeing the new production when it played New York, but said people who had no knowledge of the original could react differently.

“Les Miz was and is great show, but it also takes a very creative impresario to keep a show like Les Miz running for so long,” he added.

At a recent performance in London, audience members expressed mixed feelings about the change. Harrods Wong, a 22-year-old tourist from Hong Kong, said it was his second time seeing the production, and that he had come because he read the revolving stage was going to disappear. “I just feel it’s iconic,” he said. “It still has its value and its appeal.”

Isobel Smith, a secretary from North London, at the performance to celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday, said she thought the revolving stage added a lot of power to the production. But she could see the benefit of removing it for the actors, at least. “I suppose they won’t have to worry about falling over,” she said.

An earlier version of this article misidentified the name of a tourist watching "Les Misérables." He is Harrods Wong, not Harvard Wong.

Alex Marshall is a European culture reporter, based in London. @alexmarshall81

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Meghan Markle didn’t snub Trump during state visit, says royal source: ‘This wasn’t personal’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reveal Baby Sussex’s name

Baby Sussex’s name is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Their son was born on May 6.

Meghan Markle was noticeably absent when Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth II hosted President Trump and first lady Melania for lunch at the palace during a recent state visit — but it was nothing personal.

According to British royal expert and author Katie Nicholl, a source close to the Duchess of Sussex insists the media got it all wrong.

“Had Meghan not been on maternity leave, she would have been there alongside Harry,” claimed the source, Nicholl told Vanity Fair. “There was no snub, this wasn’t personal. She would never let personal feelings come in the way of duty.”

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex ride by carriage down the Mall during Trooping The Colour on June 8, 2019 in London. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

During the Trumps’ visit in early June, Harry, 34, attended the official functions while his wife stayed out of the picture. This quickly led to speculation she had intentionally avoided the U.S. president, who called her “nasty” for having once labeled him “misogynistic” and “divisive.”

However, the source told Nicholl the 37-year-old was still recovering after giving birth to her firstborn, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, on May 6. While Markle made an appearance at Trooping the Colour and, more recently, at the London Stadium for the first Major League Baseball game played in Europe, she won’t go back to work full-time until later in the year.

And one person who is impressed by Markle's work drive is Harry’s grandmother, the queen of England.

President Trump, left and Queen Elizabeth II toast, during the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, in London, June 3, 2019. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool Photo via AP)

“The queen has been astonished and very impressed by Meghan’s work drive,” a royal source told Nicholl. “There’s a feeling that Meghan likes to be busy and must be kept busy. She’s very driven."

In June, Trump sat down with Piers Morgan for ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” and clarified controversial comments concerning the former American actress.

Trump said he wasn't calling Markle nasty but rather was just surprised to hear her comments about him, including her assertion that if he became president it would force Americans to relocate to Canada.

"I wasn’t referring to 'she’s nasty.' I said she was nasty about me. And essentially I didn’t know she was nasty about me," Trump told Morgan in the interview.

President Trump and Britain’s Prince Charles outside Winfield House, the residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America to the U.K., in Regent’s Park, London, on June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

In an interview with President Trump, a reporter for U.K.’s The Sun read aloud to him comments from a 2016 interview in which Markle accused him of being “misogynistic” and “divisive” during his 2016 presidential campaign.

“I’m voting for Hillary Clinton, not because she is a woman, but because Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s painting,” Markle said in an interview on "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" while promoting her television series, "Suits."

“I didn’t know that," Trump said of her comments when asked about them, The Sun reported. "What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty."

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, outside Winfield House, the residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America to the UK, in Regent’s Park, London, on June 4, 2019. (Chris Jackson/Pool Photo via AP)

The president and first lady visited Britain on a three-day trip with Elizabeth, 93, hosting the two at Buckingham Palace. Trump and Melania, 49, toured the Churchill War Rooms and had dinner with Charles, 70, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 71.

Despite Markle's absence, Trump insisted that there was no tension between him and her husband Harry.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry greet the press as they debut Baby Sussex. The couple met reporters at Windsor Castle, where they also met with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
(Getty)

"I congratulated him and I think he’s a terrific guy," Trump told ITV. "The royal family is really nice."

"In fact, he spent a lot of time talking to [my daughter] Ivanka and talking to my family. I went up — he couldn’t have been nicer."

Trump went on to praise Markle, saying: “You know what? She’s doing a good job, I hope she enjoys her life. … I think she’s very nice.”

Fox News' Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.

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Showtime’s Fox News series launches with 10 major Roger Ailes talking points

The premiere of Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice,” the seven-part limited series that charts Roger Ailes’ controversial stewardship of Fox News Channel and pervasive influence on news and politics, offers its own version of history.

“Voice” (Sundays, 10 EDT/PDT) opens in 1995, with Ailes (Russell Crowe, rendered unrecognizable by prosthetics) getting fired from CNBC before Fox’s Rupert Murdoch (Simon McBurney) brings him aboard to create a conservative cable news network that differs in so many ways from mainstream TV news operations.

The miniseries, based on reporter Gabriel Sherman’s book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” charts Fox News’ rise to ratings dominance under Ailes, who became a power in both media and government circles. It also details his eventual demise, as he resigned under a cloud in 2016 amid sexual misconduct allegations, including a bombshell lawsuit by former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson (Naomi Watts, who appears later in the series). He died in 2017. 

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Obituary: Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes dies at 77, a year after being ousted

Russell Crowe plays Fox News chief Roger Ailes in Showtime's 'The Loudest Voice.' (Photo: JoJo Whilden, Showtime)

Here are 10 talking points from the first episode that Ailes fans and foes are sure to debate:

Did Crowe nail it or not? 

Crowe disappears under prosthetics, padding and makeup to become Ailes. Although he doesn’t emerge as an exact double, it’s a reasonable facsimile and you’re definitely not thinking of the star of “Gladiator.” Crowe’s heavyset Ailes, who moves with a waddling shuffle, has a quiet but commanding voice that makes his occasional outbursts all the more scary, powerful and domineering.

Change of appearance: See Russell Crowe transform into Fox News’ Roger Ailes in Showtime’s ‘The Loudest Voice’

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch (Simon McBurney), left, and his Fox News chief, Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe), argue in the Showtime limited series, 'The Loudest Voice.' (Photo: JoJo Whilden, Showtime)

Ailes’ undoing, foreshadowed

“Voice” drops plenty of bread crumbs relating to the sexual misconduct allegations that ultimately would lead to Ailes’ resignation. As he hires staffers at Fox News, he stares at women’s bodies and makes sexual comments. He tells one young female applicant, “If you want to be on air … you have to be prepared to go all the way.” He then moves uncomfortably close, puts his hands on her waist, touches her lips with his thumb and asks her to twirl.

The real Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in 1996. (Photo: USA TODAY)

Bad behavior: How Roger Ailes treated women stains his legacy

How ‘fair and balanced’ was born

Fox News’ “fair and balanced” slogan, employed as a shield and motto by employees and ridiculed as bogus by critics, catches fire in a dramatic 4 a.m. staff meeting in which Ailes both berates and pushes his employees to take on established CNN and fledgling MSNBC. (The network dropped the slogan in 2017.)

“For the last 50 years, the left side of politics in this country have attempted to control the narrative of news,” Ailes tells a rapt audience. “The mission is to sell to the forgotten American that their voice can and will be heard. … We reclaim the real America (and) we become the loudest voice. And we bring back to this country fairness and balance.”

Doc treatment: New Roger Ailes documentary reveals 5 things you never knew about the Fox News mastermind

Hannity: From sputtering to stardom

As Ailes is casting his news operation, he gets a clip of Sean Hannity, then a talk-radio host. Ailes assesses the video with the sound off, appreciating Hannity’s swagger and telling assistants to find more “real guys” like him. When Hannity flounders against a sharper liberal in a later tryout, Ailes gives him a pep talk, saying he wants him to be “loud, opinionated, a little bit obnoxious, tough guy.” The rest is history.

Patch Darragh plays Fox News host Sean Hannity in Showtime's 'The Loudest Voice.' (Photo: JoJo Whilden, Showtime)

An imagined birth of the “War on Christmas”

Early in the show, a lonely-looking Ailes sits in a diner surrounded by Christmas decorations. When a waitress wishes him “Happy Holidays,” he responds with a defiant, bah-humbug sounding, “Merry Christmas.” It’s the opening salvo in the “War on Christmas,” a supposed attack on the holiday by secular forces that would become an annual crusade for Fox News hosts.

For women, the no-pants zone 

Ailes, obsessed with TV’s visuals, famously wanted Fox News Channel’s attractive female anchors to wear dresses that highlighted their legs. In one pre-launch rehearsal, he disapproves of a woman wearing pants, making a homophobic insult and stating his preference for dresses: “I like legs.”

Bill Shine (Josh Stamberg), left, and Brian Lewis (Seth MacFarlane) serve as Roger Ailes' lieutenants at Fox News Channel in Showtime's 'The Loudest Voice.' (Photo: JoJo Whilden, Showtime)

A plan to attract conservatives

In early planning for Fox News, Ailes rejects other executives’ plans to reach a wide range of the public, as broadcast news operations did. He explains that cable is niche, dependent on “the loyalty of a passionate few. … In politics, it’s called ‘turning out the base.’ If we can do that, then they will never change the channel,” he says The base for Fox News? “I think it’s conservatives.”

‘Not a news guy’ who changed the news

As General Electric chairman Jack Welch is firing Ailes from CNBC, he says, “You’re a hell of a producer and you’re one of the best P.R. guys I ever met, but you’re not a news guy.”

Whatever his pedigree, Ailes arguably changed the concept of news – with great success and also to great criticism – and the episode shows his intense focus on TV visuals, public relations, marketing and branding. “People don’t want to be informed; they want to feel informed,” he says in one of the episode’s most chilling – and insightful – scenes. 

Fox News chief Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe), left, talks to his girlfriend and work subordinate, Elizabeth Tilson (Sienna Miller), in Showtime's 'The Loudest Voice.' They would eventually get married. (Photo: JoJo Whilden, Showtime)

Ailes’ hemophilia is revealed

A cut on his foot that won’t stop bleeding and a wastebasket full of tissues from a bloody nose reveal Ailes’ hemophilia, a condition in which a person’s blood doesn’t clot. Ailes’ hemophilia was cited as an aggravating factor after he hit his head in a bathroom fall and died in 2017.

Bill Shine: From ‘Mr. Magoo’ to the White House

Shine (Josh Stamberg) was a powerful Fox News executive who came to greater public prominence after lawsuits accused him of covering for Ailes with regard to sexual harassment allegations. He eventually left and moved on, temporarily, to become a Trump White House communications adviser. In the premiere, Ailes insults Shine in front of his colleagues, explaining how he rescued him from a miserable career in local news. Ailes tells him to take charge and stop acting like “Mr. Magoo.”

Sizable severance: Bill Shine got $15 million payout from Fox News before taking White House job, report says

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Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson picnic together to mark one-year anniversary

Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson had an emotional year. The two celebrated their one-year anniversary, and despite the heartbreak in the months that followed their nuptials, there is plenty to celebrate.

Last fall, Lauren Swanson suffered a miscarriage shortly after finding out she was expecting her first child. News quickly spread about the event after it was leaked following a confessional filmed for Counting On.

The most recent season of Counting On featured her pregnancy announcement and the revelation about the miscarriage.

Recently, Lauren Swanson and Josiah Duggar announced they are expecting again. Their rainbow baby is due sometime in November.

While they were not sure the sex of their first child, they named the baby Asa. Last week, the Duggar couple revealed they were expecting a little girl this time around.

In honor of their first wedding anniversary, Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson celebrated with a romantic picnic. It was something subtle to remind them of the year they have been through and what is still to come.

Not only did Lauren look happy, but she was also glowing.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzWod8SJgbB/

There is so much to look forward to in the upcoming months for Josiah and Lauren. Their little one will be born in roughly four months.

They will join Anna and Josh Duggar, Kendra Caldwell and Joseph Duggar, and Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth in the November new baby club.

Despite all of the heartbreak for Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson, they are continuing to live their lives and build a family.

Counting On is expected to return this fall on TLC.

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Here's Literally Everything You Need To Know About The Drama Between Taylor Swift, Scooter Braun, And Her Old Record Label

Yesterday, Taylor Swift wrote a lengthy post on her Tumblr account after it was announced Scooter Braun’s company, Ithaca Holdings, had acquired Taylor’s old record label, Big Machine Records, for $300 million.

Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Ellie Bate at [email protected]

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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Coronation Street spoilers: Weatherfield favourite to exit ITV soap after crushing news?

Emma Brooker (played by Alexandra Mardell) is one of Coronation Street’s most kind-hearted residents, ready and willing to help anyone in need of a pick-me-up.

The young Rovers barmaid even gave up her relationship with Chesney Brown (Sam Aston) so he could pursue a romance with Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell).

After over a year on the ITV soap, Emma will take centre stage in a new storyline in the coming weeks as a tragic sequence of events will see her discover Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) is her father.

Such life-changing news could see Emma make a rash decision about her future in Weatherfield, after laying the man who raised her to rest.

Questions regarding Emma’s paternity will arise when mother Fiona Middleton (Angela Griffin) returns to the cobbles, over 20 years after her departure from the ITV soap.

Fiona will tell Emma the man who raised her has passed away, before going on to drop the bombshell he wasn’t her father and Steve is.

Emma is usually a gleeful character, but such news is set to show fans of the show another side to her persona and it seems the barmaid will pack her bags.

Recent on-location filming pictures show Emma actress Alexandra Mardell, 25, possibly shooting her exit scenes in wake of her character’s ordeal.

The barmaid is seen with a large suitcase in hand, hinting she’s ready to move away from the drama unravelling on the cobbles.

If it turns out Emma is making plans to leave, can friend Maria Connor (Samia Ghadie) convince her to stick around and deal with the repercussions of the news?

It’s been reported Steve will initially be in denial over the prospect Emma is his daughter, but could a heart-to-heart with his daughter change her mind about leaving?

Emma was introduced to Coronation Street as an apprentice at Audrey Roberts’ (Sue Nicholls) hair salon, as well as being a flame for David Platt (Jack P Shepherd) after he was raped by Josh Tucker (Ryan Clayton).

Last year, the ITV soap announced Alexandra’s contract had been renewed for a further six months after her arrival went down so well with viewers.

Earlier this year, Alexandra won Best Newcomer at The British Soap Awards so has a legion of fans behind her kind-hearted character.

With more than six months having past since the contract was extended, is Emma’s time on the cobbles finally up and could fans be left in tears as she leaves for good?

Really important issue to highlight

A source

Elsewhere in Weatherfield, teenager Asha Alahan (Tanisha Gorey) is reportedly being lined up to take the spotlight in a new issue based storyline.

Asha is currently on a trip out in India with her father and Coronation Street stalwart Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) and on her return, the teenager will make an harrowing decision.

“In the coming months Asha will return from India and decide that she doesn’t want to be Indian any more,” a source told The Sun.

“This will lead to to Asha bleaching her skin in secret with a cream she has brought home from India.”

“Corrie bosses felt that this was a really important issue to highlight,” the source claimed, explaining the issue is becoming “increasingly prominent,” in modern society.

Coronation Street continues tonight at 7.30pm on ITV

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Leafs swing six-player deal with Ottawa

TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs have sent defenceman Nikita Zaitsev and forward Connor Brown to the Ottawa Senators for defencemen Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur.

The teams also swapped minor-league forwards with Michael Carcone going to Toronto and Aaron Luchuk heading to Toronto. The Leafs also collected Columbus’ third-round selection in the 2020 draft, which Ottawa had previously acquired.

Toronto has been searching for some salary cap relief as it looks to re-sign star forward Mitch Marner.

Zaitsev has five years left on a US$31.5-million, seven-year contract. Due a $3-million signing bonus Monday, his salary cap hit will be $4.5 million in 2019-20. The 27-year-old Russian had three goals and added 11 while averaging 20:28 of time on ice last season.

Brown, 25, had eight goals and 21 assists last season. His salary cap hit next season is $2.1 million.

“We’re bringing in two highly competitive players that we like as long-term fits for our team,” Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion said in a statement. “Both are the type of true professionals who match with the culture we want to put in place here in Ottawa.

“Nikita is a physical right-shot defenceman who defends hard, fills lanes and blocks shots. Connor has scored 20 goals in the league and is excellent on the forecheck and the penalty kill.”

The trade reunites Zaitsev with Ottawa coach D.J. Smith, a former Toronto assistant.

Ceci, 25, had seven goals and 19 assists in 74 games last season. An Ottawa native, he was taken by the Sens in the first round (15th overall) in the 2012 draft.

Harpur, 24, had one goal and four assist in 51 games last season.

Ceci is a restricted free agent. Harpur’s salary cap hit is $725,000 next season.

Luchuk split last season between the ECHL’s Brampton Beast and AHL’s Belleville. He had four goals and five assists in 27 games for Ottawa’s top farm team.

An undrafted free agent, the 23-year-old Carcone was signed by the Vancouver Canucks in July 2016. He spent parts of three seasons with the AHL’s Utica Comets before being dealt to Toronto last December in exchange for Josh Leivo.

The right-winger set career highs in goals (20), assists (24) and points (44) in 62 AHL games last season.

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