More than two years after he killed himself in his prison cell, former NFL star Aaron Hernandez's story still fascinates — and now it's heading back to the small screen.
Netflix is releasing "Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez" on Jan. 15. The three-part documentary examines the meteoric but troubled — and violent — rise and fall of the late New England Patriots tight end.
A teaser for director Geno McDermott's film opens with chilling audio of a collect call Hernandez made to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins. Hernandez can be heard saying: "My whole body's shaking right now." Jenkins asks, "What happened?" and Hernandez responds: "You know my temper."
In July, Hernandez's estate settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the families of two men he was acquitted of killing. Prosecutors alleged Hernandez fatally shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012 after a confrontation at a nightclub. Hernandez killed himself in prison in 2017 while serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.
Hernandez's death came just a few days after he was acquitted of most charges in the double murder case. After his death, doctors found the 27-year-old Hernandez had advanced chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to concussions and other head trauma commonplace in the NFL.
Transcripts the Bristol County sheriff released last year of more than 900 jailhouse telephone conversations Hernandez had with family and friends showed he expected to be released from jail and resume his football career shortly after his arrest for Lloyd's killing. Hernandez had a five-year, $40 million deal with the Patriots at the time of his arrest.
McDermott and producer Terry Leonard say the latest film will feature some of those phone calls as well as courtroom footage and interviews with those closest to Hernandez and Lloyd. The project, they said in a statement, "examines the perfect storm of factors leading to the trial, conviction, and death of an athlete who seemingly had it all."
Filmmakers and authors have had no shortage of material to work with in recounting the story of the handsome, polite athlete from Bristol, Connecticut, who was a high school standout and an All-American at the University of Florida before his three seasons with New England and subsequent fall from grace.
A state police report of the investigation into Hernandez's death said the player wrote "John 3:16," a reference to a Bible verse, in ink on his forehead and in blood on a cell wall. The verse says: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
A Bible was nearby, open to John 3:16, with the verse marked by a drop of blood. And authorities said Hernandez was a member of the Bloods street gang and had been disciplined for having gang paraphernalia in prison.
Hernandez's story has already inspired a documentary aired on Oxygen, a "48 Hours" special and books by bestselling author James Patterson and Hernandez's defense lawyer, Jose Baez.
Chinese TV series Journey to the West, based on a Chinese novel depicting the epic adventure of a Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuan Zang, is going to be aired in Nepali language for the third time.
The Nepali translation and dubbing of the TV series was done by Araniko Society, an alumni association of scholars and experts who have graduated from China.
At a press conference here on Wednesday, Araniko Society said the series will be broadcasted on two TV channels owing to its growing popularity among the Nepali audiences.
Addressing the program, renowned Nepali writer and scholar Satya Mohan Joshi said that the Chinese series will help Nepali people understand Chinese culture, art and philosophy.
"China is our neighbor. And we get to know about its culture from the series. It is a welcoming step. It will help in the promotion of cultural ties and friendship," Joshi said.
Hailing the monk for his contribution to the promotion of Buddhism, he said that the series based on Xuan Zeng's journey will help Nepali audiences embrace cultural diversity.
The series, which is of 25 episodes originally, has been divided into 50 episodes, each of 30 minutes in Nepali language. It will be aired on two TV channels Nepal Mandal and Indigenous TV from the upcoming weekend.
Journey to the West was aired for the first time in the South Asian country in 2016 on Nepal Mandal. The channel aired it for the second consecutive year in 2017, following the encouraging response from the audiences.
"Based on our data, nearly 1 million people had watched the series through our channel in the past. We got positive feedback from our audiences, thus we are happy to air it again," said Mahesh Maharjan, head of Nepal Mandal.
According to Araniko Society, the Nepali translation and dubbing of the series, through local artists, was completed four years ago. It took nearly two years for the completion of technical works.
Fifty-two-year-old Umesh Mayalu was one of the dubbing artists, who lend his voice in the series.
"I have given voice for both monkey and pig characters. It was very difficult during dubbing, but I am very happy to be a part of the work," Umesh told Xinhua.
"There's nothing I believe more than this, that laughter adds time to one's life," Norman Lear told an audience gathered to honor him and other four other television comedy greats.
"I believe that as much as I believe my mother loved me," the writer-producer added. "She said she did. But I wasn't sure."
Like the 97-year-old Lear, who made his name — and TV history — with groundbreaking sitcoms like "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," the other honorees at Thursday's Paley Center for Media ceremony proved that talent is ageless. Carl Reiner, 97; Bob Newhart, 90; Carol Burnett, 86, and Lily Tomlin, 80, each won over the room with their humor and memories.
"Guess this is a hell of a time to tell you no, we're not coming to your Christmas party," Newhart teased Conan O'Brien after the late-night host introduced him as "one of my all-time comedy heroes."
"He pulls off the hardest kind of comedy — timeless, human, clean and subversive. And he makes it all look effortless," O'Brien said of Newhart.
The onetime accountant became an instant sensation in 1960 with his debut album, the Grammy-winning "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart," scored sitcom hits with "The Bob Newhart Show" in the 1970s and "Newhart" in the '80s and won an Emmy as Professor Proton on "The Big Bang Theory."
The sentimental moments included Rob Reiner's introduction of his father, the writer-actor-producer whose TV career stretched from the 1950s variety series "Caesar's Hour" to creating "The Dick Van Dyke Show" to a recent role in "Angie Tribeca."
"This is the nicest thing, to be able to do this for my dad," said the younger Reiner, who gave him an arm for support as they walked onto the hotel ballroom stage at The Paley Honors: A Special Tribute to Television's Comedy Legends.
Carl Reiner, who credited a government-supported acting program with his childhood start in entertainment, charmed the audience by reciting lines from a Shakespeare soliloquy he learned as a kid and sharing an anecdote about another TV comedy force, Jack Benny. He called his children and grandchildren his greatest pride.
Carol Burnett was introduced by Kristin Chenoweth, who lauded the singer-actress-comedian as one of the few who can do it all and always "with such heart."
Burnett, who starred on Broadway, as well as TV, recalled what preceded the 1967 arrival of "The Carol Burnett Show."
"As a woman in this business, it wasn't always easy to do what the naysayers said couldn't be done," she said. When she sought to exercise a contract clause with CBS for an hour-long variety show, Burnett said executives told her, "and I quote, 'It's not for you gals.'"
She punctuated the story with a derisive "huh." Her long-running show won armloads of Emmy Awards on CBS.
Tomlin, whose parade of characters made her a hit on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" and who stars opposite Jane Fonda on "Grace and Frankie," was self-effacing, saying she couldn't match Newhart's "sterling one-liners." Instead, she delighted the audience by reciting some of her characters' catchphrases, including telephone operator Ernestine's "one ringy dingy."
"I'm so grateful for this great, great honor," Tomlin said.
Lear was introduced by "black-ish" star Anthony Anderson, who said Lear's work forced audiences to confront difficult issues while shedding light on common bonds, and by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who said the producer used laughter to challenge "us to make progress."
The night's last word went to Lear.
"Bless you all, thank you all. To be continued," he said, smiling.
Los Angeles, 30 Oct (AP/UNB) — HBO is green-lighting a new "Game of Thrones" prequel after reportedly canceling another that starred Naomi Watts.
The cable channel said Tuesday that it's given a 10-episode order to "House of the Dragon," set 300 years before the original series that ended its eight-season run in May.
The prequel is based on George R.R. Martin's "Fire & Blood," HBO said. The new drama was co-created by Martin and Ryan Condal, whose credits include "Colony."
It will focus on House Targaryen, made famous in "Game of Thrones" by Emilia Clarke's Daenerys and her fearsome dragons.
"House of the Dragon" was announced by HBO programming president Casey Bloys during a presentation for HBO Max, the streaming service launching in May 2020 . A spinoff of HBO megahit "Game of Thrones" would be a key attraction in the increasingly crowded streaming marketplace.
HBO declined comment on reports Tuesday that it had dropped another "Game of Thrones" prequel set thousands of years before the original. A pilot episode starring Watts had been filmed in Northern Ireland.
The straight-to-series order for "House of the Dragon," whether a sign of faith in the project or pressure to get it into production, avoids letting devotees of the fantasy saga down once more.
Casting and an air date were not announced.
San Francisco, Oct 26 (AP/UNB) — Actress Felicity Huffman was released Friday morning from a federal prison in California two days before the end of a two-week sentence for her role in the college admissions scandal, authorities said.
The "Desperate Housewives" star was released from the low-security prison for women because under prison policy, inmates scheduled for weekend release are let out on Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said.
Her husband, actor William H. Macy, dropped off Huffman — aka inmate No. 77806-112 — at the Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area on Oct. 15, with one day of credit already banked for the day she was originally arrested and jailed.
A federal judge in Boston last month sentenced Huffman, 56, to two weeks in prison, a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and a year's probation after she pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy for paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter's SAT answers.
The Emmy-award winning actress tearfully apologized at her sentencing, saying, "I was frightened. I was stupid, and I was so wrong."
A representative for Huffman did not immediately reply to a request for comment from the actress on Friday.
Huffman was the first parent sentenced in a scandal involving dozens of wealthy parents accused of bribing their children's way into elite universities or cheating on college entrance exams.
Other parents in the far-reaching scandal could face far stiffer sentences.
On Tuesday, a grand jury in Boston indicted "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannuli and nine other parents on new charges of trying to bribe officials at an organization that receives at least $10,000 in federal funding.
Loughlin and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty.
The charge of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The scheme, the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department, has shown how far some will go to get their children into top universities like Stanford and Yale.
Huffman's prison has been described by media as "Club Fed," making its way onto a Forbes list in 2009 of "America's 10 Cushiest Prisons." It has housed well-known inmates in the past, including "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss.
Representatives for the actress said when she entered that she would share a room and open toilet with three other inmates and would be subject to five bed checks a day while having access to a gym, library and TV room.
Prison officials would not provide specific information on Huffman but said she would follow all the same rules and guidelines as other inmates.