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New Fantasy Reality Series "The Quest" Premieres Thursday


ABC/Rick Rowell(NEW YORK) -- The creator of The Amazing Race and an executive producer of The Lord of the Rings have created The Quest, a new fantasy reality series debuting Thursday on ABC that requires 12 contestants to wear medieval warrior outfits and compete in physical competitions as they navigate a scripted mythology to vie for the title of One True Hero.

The contestants are transported to the mystical kingdom of Everealm, which is actually a location in Austria, where they must complete challenges to save the kingdom or face elimination one by one.

The Quest doesn't have a traditional host. Instead, the contestants, dubbed Paladins, interact with actors playing roles in an ongoing story.

The show also features an array of magical creatures that are brought to life through animatronics, special effects and prosthetic makeup.

The Quest
airs Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.

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Alicia Keys Is Pregnant Again!


ABC/Jeff Neira(NEW YORK) -- Alicia Keys is pregnant with baby No. 2!

The Grammy-winning singer, 33, announced the news on her Instagram account, with she and her husband since 2010, Kasseem Dean, known widely as Swizz Beatz, both wearing white and embracing her baby bump.

"Happy Anniversary to the love of my life @therealswizzz !! And to make it even sweeter we've been blessed with another angel on the way!!" she revealed.

Thursday is also the couple's fourth wedding anniversary.

Keys continued to gush, "You make me happier than I have ever known! Here's to many many more years of the best parts of life!"

Keys and Beatz have a 3-year-old son Egypt. Beatz also has three more children from previous relationships.

Last October, Keys told ABC News that she would wait a bit to have her second child. “That’s down the road, definitely down the road,” she said.

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Production on "The Big Bang Theory" Delayed as Contract Negotiations Continue


Sonja Flemming/CBS(LOS ANGELES) -- The CBS hit comedy The Big Bang Theory has been forced to delay production of the upcoming eighth season because the five main cast members still are without contracts.  Stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar have still not reached new deals with Warner Bros. Television, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

ABC News obtained a statement Wednesday from Warner Bros. Television that read, "Due to ongoing contract negotiations, production on The Big Bang Theory­ -- which was originally scheduled to begin today -- has been postponed."

The cast was scheduled to participate in their first "table read" of a new episode script on Wednesday. Deadline.com reports there will be no table read for The Big Bang Theory on Thursday as well.  Industry observes note production will likely be delayed until a new deal is secured.

Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco are negotiating together and are asking $1 million per episode along with a percentage of the show's profits.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the trio currently earns $325,000 per episode.  Helberg and Nayyar are negotiating together and are also asking for significant raises. Co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch have already agreed to new deals with Warner Bros. Television.

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Who Are the "Guardians of the Galaxy?" You'll Find Out, Says Director


Buena Vista(NEW YORK) -- Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters Friday, and the movie has been generating massive buzz -- and positive reviews.

Based on a relatively obscure comic that launched in 1969, the movie was considered a gamble, as its titular quintet of unlikely heroes -- Chris Pratt's Peter Quill, Zoe Saldana's Gamora, Dave Bautista's Drax, the Vin Diesel-voiced tree-man Groot, and Bradley Cooper's Rocket Raccoon -- aren't as familiar to most people as say The Hulk or Spider-Man.

Guardians director and co-writer James Gunn tells ABC News Radio, "Making a movie with characters that people weren't as familiar with was actually pretty freeing. Because I got to create them from the ground up for the cinematic universe. And yes I love Marvel comics, and so there was a lot of the spirit of those comics that I wanted to keep. But I also had the freedom to do what I wanted in film form."

While the summer box office numbers are down around 20 percent compared to last year, ABC News Radio asked Gunn if Guardians could rescue Hollywood's bottom line as well as the galaxy. It isn't a fair question, the filmmaker says.

"Disney's doing pretty amazingly well this year, that's who this movie's going to help. It's not going to help all the other studios that are out there making movies that aren't making any money."

The movie, which also stars Michael Rooker, Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Karen Gillan and Lee Pace, has already been given the go-ahead for a 2017 sequel.

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Penélope Cruz Clarifies Gaza Genocide Statement


ABC/RICK ROWELL(NEW YORK) -- Penélope Cruz has issued a statement in an effort to clarify an open letter she signed with husband Javier Bardem that described Israel’s military action against the Gaza Strip as “genocide.”

According to E! News, the open letter, which was published Tuesday in several Spanish newspapers and also signed by director Pedro Almodovar, stated that “Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air.”  The letter claimed Palestinians are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing.”  The letter called for an end to “the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza strip against Palestinian civilians.”

In her clarifying statement, Cruz explains, "I don't want to be misunderstood on this important subject. I'm not an expert on the situation and I'm aware of the complexity of it.”  She goes on to write, "My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. I am hopeful all parties can agree to a cease fire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace...I believe in a civilization that can be capable of bringing the courage to have a world where humans can live side by side."

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Kim Kardashian Blasts Adrienne Bailon for Comments About Rob K.


Timothy White/E!(LOS ANGELES) -- One thing's for sure, Kim Kardashian is protective over her only brother, Rob. After his ex-girlfriend, Adrienne Bailon blasted him in a Latina magazine interview, Kim decided to fight back.

Bailon, who dated Rob from 2007 to 2009 and appeared on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, said in the magazine that being "stuck with that Kardashian label, that was so hurtful to me and to my career. I probably realized that too late -- not that it would've affected my decisions in terms of who I dated, but it would've affected my decision to appear on the show."

Kim spat back Wednesday, tweeting: "Funny how she says being with a Kardashian hurt her career yet the only reason she has this article is bc she is talking about a Kardashian."

"#LetItGoooooLetItGoooooo (FROZEN VOICE)," Kanye West's wife continued, before adding, "So sad when people try to kick my brother when he is down #FamilyForever."

Bailon also said in Latina that people still aren't sure why her and Rob broke up. "It's common knowledge that he cheated on me," Bailon clarified. "It always bothered me that people were like, 'Pero, why couldn’t you forgive him?' Why are women always the ones who have to forgive? If you cheated on a man, he would be like, 'You're disgusting, and I want nothing to do with you.' But women, we're supposed to be like, 'He messed up. He made a mistake.'"

Bailon said she's now happily dating Roc Nation executive Lenny Santiago, whom she's been with for five years. The Real co-host added that she's even considering marrying him.

"If by some miracle we started taping The Real in New York tomorrow, I’d marry him, like, right now," she told Latina. "I want a family. I see my sister and she’s on her second baby, and I’m like, That’s success. Having a family -- I can’t wait for that."

The Real returns on Sept. 15.

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"The Bachelorette's" Andi and Josh Planning to Move in Together...Later This Year


ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Bachelorette star Andi Dorfman and fiance Josh Murray are planning to move in together, but not immediately.

The couple tells People magazine they're just "enjoying being engaged" and probably won't move in together until later this year. They both live in Atlanta.

"We pretty much have been living with each other for these two months," says Josh, a 29-year-old former professional baseball player. "We've been over at each other's houses all the time."

"That's important for us, especially because of how quickly we got engaged. I've learned so much about him in the past two months and I love him more now than I did when I got engaged," says Andi, a 27-year-old former assistant district attorney.

"It has definitely been a season of ups and downs, but just knowing that it's Josh and I in the end makes it all worth it," she added.

The couple plan to wed in spring...in front of ABC cameras, of course.  Andi is okay with having her nuptials on TV. "As long as I get to marry him...and they have to show the reception," she said.

"We'd have so much fun at the reception," Josh added.

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"Girls" Star Allison Williams to Portray Peter Pan in NBC's Live Musical


Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Girls star Allison Williams is set to star as Peter Pan in NBC's upcoming live musical production.

The network announced Wednesday that the actress, who is also a classically trained singer, will take on the titular character in Peter Pan Live!, which NBC will air on Dec. 4.
 
"I have wanted to play Peter Pan since I was about three years old, so this is a dream come true," the daughter of NBC anchor Brian Williams said in a statement. "It’s such an honor to be a part of this adventure, and I’m very excited to get to work with this extraordinarily talented team. And besides, what could go wrong in a live televised production with simultaneous flying, sword fighting and singing?"

Williams will star opposite Christopher Walken, who is portraying Captain Hook.

Peter Pan Live! is NBC's follow-up to its hit production of The Sound of Music, which starred Carrie Underwood.

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"Sharknado 2: The Second One" Takes a Bite Out of Twitter


Paul Drinkwater/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Sharknado 2: The Second One -- the sequel to SyFy's campy unexpected hit -- aired on the cable channel Wednesday night, and also made a splash, as expected, on social media.

While the original attracted plenty of attention from celebrities tweeting about the shark-filled shlock-fest, this installment was filled with famous names that joined Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Mark McGrath, and Vivica A. Fox in cameo roles.

Helping fight the carnivorous meteorological event this time around were Andy Dick, 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, Al Roker and Matt Lauer, Will Wheaton, Kelly Osbourne, Billy Ray Cyrus, Judd Hirsch, Shark Tank entrepreneur Damon Dash, and Jared Fogle from those Subway commercials.

[The 5 Most Ridiculous Moments in Sharknado 2: The Second One]

The sequel brought the sharks to New York City, and the snark back to Twitter. Here are some stars' reactions:

Luke Bryan - "Can't believe we are watching #Sharknado2"

Marlee Matlin - "OMG #Sharknado2TheSecondOne There are just no words..not even SIGNS. LOL"

Judah Friedlander - "Thank you @SharknadoSyfy the Academy just texted me. Just got a Best Supporting Actor nomination for 2015."

Will Wheaton - "If Tara Reid doesn't end this movie with a chainsaw for a hand, I don't even know why we got out of bed today." [Spoiler alert, she does]

Richard Roeper ‏- "Most unbelievable thing about this whole movie: Matt Lauer cutting to 'regularly scheduled programming' after slaying a shark on live TV."

Roger Corman - "The shark is a Jungian archetype. But not shark in a tornado. Jung has no idea what that means."


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Josh Murray Is Ready for Kids with Andi Dorfman


ABC/Todd Wawrychuk(LOS ANGELES) -- Bachelorette star Andi Dorfman and Josh Murray just announced their engagement, but the groom-to-be is already thinking about starting a family.

Dorfman? Not so much.

"We're waiting a little while, though he doesn't want to wait," she told ABC News. "I was like, 'When you can afford my push presents!'"

Meanwhile, Murray, said that he's ready for "a whole team of kids" and is "ready to start poppin' 'em out."

"[But] she's the boss when it comes to this stuff," he said, adding hopefully, they'll have four children. "We want a big family. We love kids."

First thing's first, however. Dorfman said that she and Murray are already starting to think about their wedding, which they hope will take place in the spring. Expect to see some of Murray's former competition from The Bachelorette on the guest list, they said, along with great food and solid entertainment.

"The vibe we would want is just fun," she added, before turning to her fiance. "I'll let you come to the tastings... unless you want to come pick out colors and everything?"

Clearly, they're already on the same page, because Murray didn't miss a beat.

"I'm gonna pass on that!" he said.

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Jesse Tyler Ferguson Discovers Dark Allegation in Family's Past


ABC/Lou Rocco(LOS ANGELES) -- Jesse Tyler Ferguson is the latest celebrity to make a dark discovery about his family's past, courtesy of the TLC show Who Do You Think You Are?

The Modern Family star learned early in his exploration into his family's history that his great-grandfather, on his father's side, was accused of murdering his own aunt.

"It was overwhelming, because when I've watched [Who Do You Think You Are?] as a fan, usually there's this big reveal, this important part of the puzzle, near the end of the episode," he told People magazine. "And here we are dealing with it in the beginning."

The murder case was never resolved but Ferguson, who was born in Montana and raised in New Mexico, still had a hard time reckoning the accusations against his great-grandfather.

"I knew he was the man who raised my grandmother, who I loved so much and I know what kind of woman she turned out to be," he said. "I can't imagine anyone who was bad who could raise such a wonderful person."

The murder accusation wasn't the only thing Ferguson, 38, learned about his father's family.

"I thought it couldn’t get any crazier than that moment, and it just kept getting more interesting as we went along," he told People. "It really does affect you in a very profound way. It's like a ball of yarn. It just keeps unraveling and you want to get to the end."

Ferguson’s episode will air Wednesday night on TLC.

In last week's premiere episode, Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon discovered that her great-great-great grandmother was an ax murderer and served time for killing her abusive husband.

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How Zac Efron Knew He Needed to Go to Rehab


ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) -- Last year Zac Efron quietly checked into rehab, though he didn't specify why. Now he's opening up a bit about the experience.

"The challenging part was never the work. That was never it," he told Bear Grylls in a clip for the show, Running Wild with Bear Grylls. "It was sort of the in-between work."

Efron, 26, who said in April that he now attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, explained that as an actor, he felt pressure everywhere he went because of the constant glare of the press. Calling it a "confusing" situation, he said he needed a "social lubricant" to be social and eventually, to go anywhere at all.

"It was getting to the point where I was caring less about the work and waiting more for the weekend," he said. "I couldn't wait to go out and sort of let loose and have fun, but then when Monday and Tuesday were difficult to get through, then I was like, 'This is bad.'"

Now sober, Efron said that he doesn't ever want to rely on an artificial substance to feel comfortable again. Now, he meditates as often as possible in an attempt to calm his mind.

"You don't realize when you're out here, when we're in it, but I haven't thought about one thing today apart from what [we're] doing," he noted of being outdoors with Grylls. "I think that's one of the most beautiful things about nature."

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Drew Barrymore's Half-Sister Jessica Found Dead


Drew Barrymore pictured. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)(SAN DIEGO) -- Drew Barrymore's half-sister has died.

Jessica Barrymore, who, like the actress, was the daughter of actor John Barrymore, would have turned 48 on Thursday.

"Although I only met her briefly, I wish her and her loved ones as much peace as possible," Drew Barrymore told ABC News. "I'm so incredibly sorry for their loss."

Drew Barrymore is the daughter of John Barrymore and his third wife, Jaid Barrymore.  Jessica was born to Barrymore and actress Nina Wayne.

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, Barrymore was found Tuesday in her car on the 900 block of Hoover Avenue in  National City, CA.  The fire department shortly thereafter confirmed she was dead.

A cause of death has not yet been determined.


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Richard Belzer's Brother Dead of Apparent Suicide


Richard Belzer pictured. (Art Streiber/NBC)(NEW YORK) -- Leonard Belzer, the brother of comic and longtime Law & Order: SVU actor Richard Belzer, died of an apparent suicide Wednesday morning in New York City.

Belzer, 73, the older brother of 69-year-old Richard, jumped to his death from his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side at around 6:45 a.m. ET, though there are reports he may have leaped from the roof. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

ABC News has learned that Belzer had been dealing with health problems, and reportedly left notes behind.

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Reports: Orlando Bloom Gets in Scuffle with Justin Bieber


Vince Bucci/Getty Images for Yari Film Group(IBIZA, Spain) -- Apparent bad blood between Justin Bieber and Lord of the Rings star Orlando Bloom boiled over at a restaurant in Ibiza, Spain, Wednesday morning, according to various gossip outlets.

TMZ cites two eyewitnesses who claim Bloom threw a punch at Bieber, who reportedly ducked and screamed in response, "What's up, b***h?"

According to TMZ, Bloom and Bieber were at a star-packed Cipriani. Diddy and Paris Hilton were reportedly dining there at the time too.

Sources tell the New York Post Bloom took a swing at Bieber after the 20-year-old singer made a rude comment about the actor's lingerie model ex-wife, Miranda Kerr. However, a source close to Bieber insisted that the comment was only made after Bloom took a swing, and missed.

Whatever started the static had apparently been in the works behind the scenes -- and in the pages of the tabloids -- for some time.  Bieber reportedly cozied up to Kerr at her Victoria's Secret show in 2012, and for his part, Bloom reportedly got close to Bieber's on-again-off-again girlfriend Selena Gomez in April, while she and Biebs were on one of their many breaks.

After the scuffle, TMZ says Bieber left the restaurant and the crowd inside applauded.

TMZ also reports that Bieber tried to get the last laugh after his hasty retreat by posting, then quickly deleting, a photo of Kerr in a bikini.

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