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Former WWE star Brian Christopher Lawler dead at 46

The son of famed Memphis wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler has died after going to a Tennessee hospital after an incident at the Hardeman County Jail.

>> Read more trending news 

Media relations for Regional One Health in Memphis confirmed that Brian Christopher Lawler, 46, died Sunday afternoon. He was taken to the hospital from the Hardeman County Jail.

Known as Brian Christopher and Grandmaster Sexay during his days wrestling professionally in the WWE, the younger Lawler teamed with Scotty 2 Hotty to become a popular tag team.

TMZ reported Brian Christopher Lawler tried to hang himself Saturday night in his jail cell and he's now on life support.

Brian Christopher Lawler was arrested July 7 on a DUI charge after leading police on a chase, according to TMZ.

‘The Conners’ will debut in October without Roseanne Barr, ABC confirms

The Conners family will return to ABC this fall -- without Roseanne Barr.

“The Conners” will debut Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m.

>> Read more trending news 

Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series, ABC stated.

The “Roseanne” spinoff will center on the rest of the family --John Goodman (Dan), Laurie Metcalf (Jackie), Sara Gilbert (Darlene), Lecy Goranson (Becky) and Michael Fishman (D.J.).

The launch of “The Conners” comes months after ABC made the decision to yank its top-performing “Roseanne” reboot after star Barr went on a well-publicized Twitter tirade.

>>Related: ‘Roseanne’ reboot canceled: ‘I'm not a racist,’ Barr says in tweet

Barr was heavily criticized after she tweeted that Valerie Jarrett, a black woman who served as a top aide for President Barack Obama, was the product of the “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” 

She later deleted the tweet and apologized for her comment, which ABC network officials condemned as “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.” 

During an interview on her YouTube channel last week, Barr said she believed her firing was the result of her vocal support of President Donald Trump in liberal Hollywood and reiterated her belief that she thought Jarrett was white.

After ABC swiftly canceled “Roseanne,” there was fallout over the loss of over 200 jobs and there were almost immediate talks about some kind of possible revival, CNN reported.

“Roseanne” co-stars were all interested in keeping the show going in some fashion.

“We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it’s clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience,” said the cast in a joint statement released by ABC. “We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter.”

“The Conners” will air Tuesdays 8 p.m. on ABC.

Georgia lawmaker who used racial slurs, dropped pants on Sacha Baron Cohen show resigns

The Georgia lawmaker who exposed himself and yelled racial slurs during an episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Showtime series is resigning his seat in the state Legislature, according to House Speaker David Ralston’s office.

>> On AJC.com: In Rep. Jason Spencer's Southeast Georgia district, disgust at his racist words, antics

State Rep. Jason Spencer faced increasing pressure to step down shortly after the episode of “Who is America?” aired Sunday night, and some politicians were urging a special session to oust him if he refused. He will step down at the end of the month, Ralston spokesman Kaleb McMichen said late Tuesday. 

>> On AJC.com: Ga. lawmaker urged to resign after using racial slurs, dropping pants on TV show

Spencer apologized for the “ridiculously ugly episode,” but initially refused to resign. Although he lost the GOP primary in May, he could have remained in public office through the November general election. 

“Sacha Baron Cohen and his associates took advantage of my paralyzing fear that my family would be attacked,” said Spencer, who added that he was told the techniques would deter “what I believed was an inevitable attack.” 

>> On AJC.com: Who is Jason Spencer, the Ga. lawmaker who yelled racial slurs on TV?

If he refused to step down, he faced potential repercussions: Georgia Republican leaders were researching ways to reprimand him, and two legislative leaders discussed filing a joint ethics complaint targeting Spencer’s behavior. 

But he also had financial incentive to stay. If he had remained in office through January, he would have logged eight years of service and become eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for life.

>> On MyAJC.com: Pranking of state Rep. Jason Spencer is a television tradition

The episode shows Cohen, who portrayed himself as an Israeli military expert, at a gym persuading Spencer to take part in what he was told was a counterterrorism video. 

Cohen gets Spencer to yell racial epithets, make offensive remarks about Chinese tourists and pull down his pants and shimmy his naked buttocks toward purported attackers while yelling “USA” and “America.” He was told these tactics ward off homophobic militants. 

In another clip after the show’s credits, Spencer returns to the camera with a “message to the terrorists.” He then repeats a racial slur and stabs a knife into the groin area of a dummy clad in a black burqa before shoving another item into the dummy’s mouth.

At the end of the segment, Spencer reminds the audience he’s an elected official serving in the Georgia Legislature. It ends with the Georgia peach logo flashing on screen. 

It was the most humiliating yet to air on Cohen’s new show, which last week featured several Republican lawmakers and gun rights supporters backing a fictitious program to teach kindergartners to use firearms.

Spencer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that he was considering legal action against the show’s producers, and he claimed they “took advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone” to persuade him to appear. 

>> Read more trending news 

“They exploited my state of mind for profit and notoriety,” said Spencer, who said he was denied the chance to have final approval over what will air. “This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected.”

Spencer has declined to comment further and couldn’t be reached late Tuesday. Showtime has denied that Cohen or the show’s producers acted improperly

Spencer was defeated by Republican challenger Steven Sainz after four terms representing a conservative southeast Georgia district, where he grabbed headlines that enraged lawmakers from both parties. 

He faced calls for resignation late last year after he warned a black former state legislator that she won’t be “met with torches but something a lot more definitive” if she continued to advocate for the removal of Confederate statues in South Georgia. 

And Republican leaders roundly criticized his legislative proposal that would bar women from wearing burqas on public property, forcing him to withdraw the legislation.  

This year, he shifted his focus toward a bill that would have allowed adult survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits. The bill didn’t pass amid powerful opposition from the Boy Scouts and some other nonprofit organizations.

Who is Jason Spencer, lawmaker who yelled racial slurs, dropped pants on Sacha Baron Cohen show?

Before Georgia state Rep. Jason Spencer dropped his pants on TV, he was an outspoken conservative at the center of heated debates over Confederate monuments, burqas and hidden predators.

>> On AJC.com: Lawmaker urged to resign after using racial slurs, dropping pants on TV show

Spencer, a Republican from the southeast Georgia town of Woodbine, is facing calls to resign after he shouted racial slurs and exposed his rear-end in an episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s TV series, “Who is America?”

>> On AJC.com: Lawmaker duped by Sacha Baron Cohen: This is why Trump won

Perceived threat

Spencer warned a Democrat in the Georgia House not to seek the removal of Confederate statues. Spencer told Rep. LaDawn Jones last year that if she came to his area, she wouldn’t be “met with torches but something a lot more definitive.”

Sexual assault

Spencer championed a bill that would have allowed adult survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits against their abusers. The bill didn’t pass this year amid opposition from the Boy Scouts and some other nonprofit organizations.

Outer space

The idea of building a spaceport on Georgia’s southern coast was a key issue for Spencer, who said it would boost the state’s economy. Spencer wanted to bring high-paying aerospace jobs to a commercial launching pad in the region.

>> Read more trending news 

Burqa ban

Spencer proposed legislation in 2016 that would have placed limits on where women could wear burqas in Georgia. The bill would have prevented anyone from wearing a burqa while driving or in driver’s license photos. Spencer said at the time the bill would have curtailed “radical elements that could pose a threat to public safety,” but he withdrew it following widespread opposition.

Ousted from office

Even if Spencer doesn’t resign, he has already lost re-election. Spencer, who was first elected in 2010, was defeated in the Republican primary election in May by a 58-42 margin. Spencer lost to Steven Sainz, the executive director of a community planning agency. There’s no Democratic candidate in the race.

Lawmaker who used racial slurs, dropped pants on Sacha Baron Cohen show urged to resign

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston demanded that state Rep. Jason Spencer resign after he yelled racial slurs and exposed himself in an episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Showtime series that aired late Sunday.

Spencer dropped his pants and repeatedly used the N-word in the episode of “Who Is America?” Spencer had earlier threatened legal action to prevent the network from airing footage of him.

In a statement shortly after the episode aired, Ralston said Spencer’s actions and language in the video are “reprehensible.” 

“Rep. Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately,” Ralston said. “Georgia is better than this.”

>> On AJC.com: Georgia lawmaker duped by Sacha Baron Cohen: This is why Trump won

Although Spencer was defeated in the Republican primary in May, he remains a state legislator until newly elected lawmakers take office after the November election. 

Cohen, who played an Israeli military expert, persuaded Spencer to take part in what he was told was a counterterrorism video. Cohen gets him to yell racial epithets and shimmy his exposed rear-end toward purported attackers screaming “USA” and “America” by saying it will ward off terrorists.

In the show’s closing minutes, Spencer returns to the screen with a “message to the terrorists.” 

He then repeats a racial slur, this time threatening to cut off an attacker’s genitals. Then it shows him stabbing a knife into the groin area of a dummy clad in a black hijab and shoving another item in the dummy’s mouth. The segment ends with him reminding the audience he’s an elected official  and a Georgia peach logo.

>> Trump tweets fiery warning to Iran's Rouhani: 'Never, ever threaten the United States again'

The New York Times called the segment the “most humiliating yet to air” on Cohen’s show, which last week featured several Republican lawmakers and gun rights supporters backing a fictitious program to teach kindergartners to use firearms.

Spencer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that the show’s producers “took advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone” to convince him to appear on the program. 

“They exploited my state of mind for profit and notoriety,” said Spencer, who said he was denied the chance to have final approval over what will air. “This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected.”

Spencer has declined further comment and could not immediately be reached late Sunday about Ralston’s demand for his resignation. Showtime has denied that Cohen or the show’s producers acted improperly

Spencer was defeated by a Republican challenger after four terms representing a southeast Georgia district, where he grabbed headlines that enraged lawmakers from both parties.

He faced calls for resignation late last year after he warned a black former state legislator that she won’t be “met with torches but something a lot more definitive” if she continued to call for the removal of Confederate statues in South Georgia. 

>> Read more trending news 

And Republican leaders roundly criticized his legislative proposal that would bar women from wearing burqas on public property, forcing him to withdraw the legislation.

This year, he shifted his focus toward a bill that would have allowed adult survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits. The bill didn’t pass amid stiff opposition from the Boy Scouts and some other nonprofit organizations.

As word spread about the footage early Monday, other groups echoed Ralston’s demand for Spencer’s resignation. Among them was the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has long tangled with Spencer. 

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the director of the group’s Georgia chapter, said “enough is enough.” 

“The ignorance and malice behind Islamophobia has led Mr. Spencer to not only pursue bad policy,” he said, “but engage in humiliating and hateful behavior unbecoming of anyone – especially a state legislator.”

Rugrats return: Nickelodeon green lights series, movie

Nickelodeon is bringing a part of our childhood back to the small, and big, screen.

The children’s television network has given the green light to bring back Chuckie, Tommy, Phil, Lil, Susie and Angelica, better known as “Rugrats,” E! News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Nickelodeon announced it will be producing 26 new episodes and a live action movie that will incorporate CGI characters, Variety reported.

No airdate or cast have been announced, but production has begun. The movie is set to be released on Nov. 13, 2020.

“Rugrats” originally aired starting in 1991 and ran for nine seasons over 13 years, E! News reported

It is the latest of a series of reintroductions of classic Nickelodeon shows. “Double Dare” has started new episodes. An “Invader Zim” TV movie is planned. “Blue’s Clues” is set to for reboot and a “Rocko’s Modern Life” movie is scheduled for later this year. 

Jason Momoa to star in Apple sci-fi drama 'See'

Actor Jason Momoa has been cast to star in “See,” a new Apple original series, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The series will explore a world in which people have lost their sense of sight and the chaos that ensues when a set of twins are born with the ability to see, Endgaget reported. Written by “Peaky Blinders” and “Dirty Pretty Things” writer Steven Knight, the show was described as “an epic, world-building drama set in the future,” according to Variety.

Momoa will star in the series as Baba Voss, “a fearless warrior, leader and guardian,” the entertainment magazine reported.

Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the four “Hunger Games” films, is set to direct the series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Apple has ordered “either 8 or 10 episodes” of the series, according to Engadget. It was not immediately clear when the series would be released.

Anthony Bourdain will filed, leaves bulk of $1.2 million estate to daughter

Anthony Bourdain had an estate valued at $1.2 million, according to the will filed this week in Manhattan’s Surrogate Court.

The will stipulates that the majority of the estate will be left to his daughter, multiple news outlets are reporting.

Bourdain’s had assets of $425,000 in savings and cash. He had another $250,000 in personal property and $35,000 in brokerage accounts, USA Today reported.

>>Read: Chef, author, TV star Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

He had another $500,000 listed from royalties and residuals, or what USA Today classified as intangibles, for his book and television shows.

>> Read more trending news 

Many believed he had higher wealth, estimated at about $16 million but he had said in an interview in 2017 that it was “10 times overstated.”

He may have had other money since the will stipulated for a trust to be set up. Details on trusts are private and not public record, USA Today reported.

>>Read: World reacts to death of Anthony Bourdain

The primary beneficiary of the trust is Bourdain’s 11-year-old daughter, Ariane Busia-Bourdain, but will be overseen by his estranged wife, Ottavia Bursia-Bourdain, until Ariane comes of age. She’ll get money from the account starting at the age of 25, then the remainder when she turns 35, USA Today reported.

Bourdain committed suicide last month in a French hotel room. The prosecutor for the city where he was found said that Bourdain died by hanging and that there was no foul play, The New York Times reported

He had no narcotics in his system when he died, Reuters reported.

>>Read: Anthony Bourdain toxicology report released

“No trace of narcotics. No trace of any toxic products. Trace of medicines in therapeutic does. Trace of alcohol,” the prosecutor said in his report according to Reuters.

Report: Keri Russell in talks for ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

“The Americans” and “Felicity” star Keri Russell may be going to a galaxy far far away.

Variety reported that Russell is in early talks for “Star Wars: Episode IX.”

>> Read more trending news 

The movie is being written and directed by J.J. Abrams. The two worked together on 2006’s “Mission: Impossible III.”

The role she is said to be in line for has action-heavy fight scenes, Variety reported

Production is slated to begin on “Episode IX” at the end of the month, according to Variety.

’My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ stars Nia Vardalos, Ian Gomez call it quits, 25-year marriage comes to end

The love story and wedding that inspired the sleeper hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” has come to an end as the movie’s writer and star filed for divorce, ending a 25-year marriage, USA Today reported.

Nia Vardalos filed for divorce from Ian Gomez last week. She claimed irreconcilable differences.

They issued a joint statement that said that they had been separated for more than a year.

>> Read more trending news 

“Our relationship became a friendship so the decision to end the marriage is completely mutual and amicable,” the former couple said in the statement, Entertainment Tonight and other media outlets reported.

They are both asking for privacy.

Vardalos is asking for joint legal and physical custody of their daughter, Ilaria, 11, People magazine reported. They adopted her in 2008, Entertainment Tonight reported. The couple had tried to conceive and had gone through 13 failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments and multiple unsuccessful surrogate tries and several miscarriages, People reported.

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