Emmys 2019 predictions: who will win, and who should win?

Another competitive year pits old favorites against critically acclaimed upstarts. Will there be a Game of Thrones victory lap? Will Fleabag upset Veep?

Awards and prizes

Outstanding Drama Series

The Emmys conversation is dominated, of course, by Game of Thrones, HBOs decade-defining, lavish fantasy epic that wrapped after eight sprawling seasons this spring. Thrones is an Emmys juggernaut it won for best drama series in its last three eligible seasons (2015, 2016 and 2018) and is nominated for 32 awards this year, the most for any single season of television, ever. (The show already won 10 awards at last weekends Creative Arts Emmys). The question this year, however, is whether the majority of the 24,000 Emmy voters will still reward Game of Thrones after a divisive, narratively uneven final season. Thats likely to be the case, especially with traditional rivals such as The Handmaids Tale, Stranger Things and The Americans no longer in the running. But younger, smaller shows could spoil the victory lap; HBOs other entry, Succession, received five nominations for its critically acclaimed first season, and BBC Americas Killing Eve could ride a solid second season and the wave of popularity for stars Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge to a win. Other nominees Better Call Saul, Pose, Ozark, This Is Us and Bodyguard all have sizable audiences and, for the most part, critical praise, but probably lack the momentum to topple Westerosi dominance.

Will win: Game of Thrones

Should win: Succession

Outstanding Comedy Series

Its a testament to the ever-expanding state of comedy in 2019 that despite a near-total turnover in nominees, last years most competitive category remains as tight and stacked this year. The only returning nominees from 2018 are HBOs critically adored Barry and the defending champion, Amazons The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. The 50s-set comedy, with 20 nominations, has broad support among Emmy voters, but as in outstanding drama, the sentimental favorite here is a beloved HBO series in its final season: Veep. Veep has won twice already, and though its final season was, like Game of Thrones, not of its previous caliber, the series could still win based on the popularity of its star, Emmys mainstay Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Phoebe
Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the second season of Amazons Fleabag. Photograph: BBC/Two Brothers/Steve Schofield

But both frontrunners contend with several strong, and popular, new entries. Barrys brilliant dark comedy Bill Hader as a hitman trying to become an actor could take home a win for its second season, as could the searing sophomore season of Phoebe Waller-Bridges Fleabag. And Russian Doll, shepherded by comedy veterans Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler, enjoyed a splashy, moment-seizing debut early this year. Schitts Creek and The Good Place, though broadly appealing, are long shots.

Will win: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Should win: Fleabag

Outstanding Limited Series

Its a year of strong entries for limited series: the moody, ephemeral Sharp Objects topped several critics lists (though its Emmys stock has dropped considerably since the show premiered in summer 2018), Showtimes Escape from Dannemora earned solid, if not overwhelming, positive interest, and Fosse/Verdon effectively revised the history of a storied Broadway partnership. But theres really just two options for the Emmy, both 80s-set historical dramas that mine famous tragedies for searing cultural and political relevance. Will voters go for HBOs meticulously crafted, expertly adapted Chernobyl? Or the wounding, pristine When They See Us, Ava DuVernays mini-series on the Central Park Five?

Will win: Chernobyl

Should win: When They See Us

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

Sandra
Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

With last years champion, Claire Foy, and Elisabeth Moss not in contention, the race for best dramatic actress is fairly wide open, though given her recent Golden Globe and SAG awards, Sandra Oh in Killing Eve is the favorite. Ohs most likely rival is her co-star, Jodie Comer, whose scene-stealing turn as the serial contract killer Villanelle only turned more heads in the second season. Emmy voters could, however, choose to reward Emilia Clarke, nominated four times but with no wins, for her nearly decade-long work and an especially heavy lift in the final season as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Theres an outside chance each for established awards favorites Laura Linney (Ozark) and Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder). Mandy Moores nomination is already a win for This Is Us, and it seems unlikely Emmy voters will pick Robin Wright (House of Cards) for a show that has faded significantly.

Will win: Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)

Should win: Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama

This could be Bob Odenkirks year the much-loved star of Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul has lost three previous nominations (to Jon Hamm, Rami Malek and Sterling K Brown). But Billy Porters electric performance in Pose could sway voters, and never count out a representative from Westeros (Kit Harington has never won for his portrayal of Jon Snow on Game of Thrones). Bateman, as the director-star of Ozark, has years of TV cred playing in his favor, while Sterling K Browns performance in This Is Us has already garnered him the award. Milo Ventimiglias nomination is, like his co-star Mandy Moores, itself a win for the lone network series represented in the category.

Will win: Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)

Should win: Billy Porter (Pose)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy

This year will mark either a triumphant return to tradition or a changing of the guard for best comedy actress. The obvious favorite is Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the final season of Veep. Louis-Dreyfus has won six (six!) times before for her role as Selina Meyer, though a year of ineligibility last year opened up the door for Rachel Brosnahan as the star of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. In any other year, Brosnahan could confidently assume a repeat, but competition this year is stiff, even outside of Louis-Dreyfus. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was luminous as the triple threat creator/writer/star of Fleabag. Natasha Lyonne had a breakout year in Russian Doll, and Catherine OHara who last won an Emmy in 1981 has decades of goodwill and a passionate fanbase for Schitts Creek on her side. Christina Applegate (Dead To Me) is unlikely to eke out a win, but crazier things have happened.

Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)

Should win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) or Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy

Bill
Bill Hader as a hitman turned struggling actor in Barry. Photograph: HBO

Last years winner, Bill Hader, returns again with a strong case for the second season of Barry, though he could be unseated by two popular TV veterans: Ted Danson, for network darling The Good Place, and Eugene Levy of cult-favorite Schitts Creek. If anyone outside those three were to score an upset, it would probably be Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method), a six-time nominee who last won in 2013 for Behind the Candelabra. Don Cheadle (Black Monday) and Anthony Anderson (Black-ish) have each delivered solid work beyond their respective TV seasons, but thats unlikely to stem the tide of support for Hader, Danson or Levy.

Will win: Bill Hader (Barry)

Should win: Bill Hader (Barry)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Yet another strong category pits industry favorites Patricia Arquette (Showtimes Escape from Dannemora), Michelle Williams (FXs Fosse/Verdon) against relative newcomers Joey King (Hulus The Act) and Aunjanue Ellis (Netflixs When They See Us). Williams likely has the edge, given the overwhelming critical praise for her portrayal of old Hollywoods Gwen Verdon. But awards regular Arquette, also nominated for best supporting actress in a limited series for The Act, might eke out the win. The prospects for Amy Adams, once a frontrunner, have dimmed in the more than year since Sharp Objects premiered. Niecy Nash is also a possible spoiler for When They See Us.

Will win: Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon)

Should win: Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

Jharrel
Jharrel Jerome in When They See Us. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

Benicio Del Toro (Escape at Dannemora), Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal), Sam Rockwell (Fosse/Verdon), and Mahershala Ali (True Detective) all achieved solid performances, but go up against the surging popularity for actors from the two defining mini-series of the year: Jared Harris of Chernobyl and Jharrel Jerome of When They See Us. The winner probably depends on the outcome of best limited series: the Emmys will want to reward When They See Us somewhere, and Jeromes turn, as the only actor to carry his character through the full series arc, was devastating.

Will win: Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us)

Should win: Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us) or Jared Harris (Chernobyl)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

At this point, all the nominated variety talk series either cover basically the same political material Trump and his headline-grabbing scandals, from Sharpie-edited maps to the Mueller report or riff on friendly celebrity chats and games. The two exceptions are the weeklies Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (TBS) and HBOs Last Week Tonight with John Oliver which have more time to select and dig deeper into larger, more opaque subjects. Emmy voters are more likely to reward John Olivers unabashed, absolutely no-bullshit HBO show, but the real outstanding star is Colbert, whose consistency five nights a week outpaces all the other hosts.

Will win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Should win: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

Anthony Carrigan (Barry)

Stephen Root (Barry) Will win

Henry Winkler (Barry)

Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method)

Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel) Should win

Tony Hale (Veep)

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

Sarah Goldberg (Barry)

Sian Clifford (Fleabag)

Olivia Coleman (Fleabag)

Betty Gilpin (GLOW)

Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel) Will win

Marin Hinkle (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel)

Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)

Anna Chlumsky (Veep) Should win

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

Peter
Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones. Photograph: Associated Press

Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul) Should win

Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul)

Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)

Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) Will win

Michael Kelly (House of Cards)

Chris Sullivan (This Is Us)

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series

Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) Will win, Should win

Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones)

Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)

Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve)

Julia Garner (Ozark)

Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or TV movie

Stellan Skarsgrd (Chernobyl)

Paul Dano (Escape at Dannemora)

Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal)

Aante Blackk (When They See Us)

John Leguizamo (When They See Us)

Michael K Williams (When They See Us) Will Win, Should Win

Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie

Patricia Arquette (The Act)

Marsha Stephanie Blake (When They See Us)

Patricia Clarkson (Sharp Objects) Will win, Should win

Vera Farmiga (When They See Us)

Margaret Qualley (Fosse/Verdon)

Emily Watson (Chernobyl)

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‘I got the guy!’ My 17-year manhunt for a $50m art criminal

For years, documentary-maker Vanessa Engle has been on the trail of a notorious swindler who escaped from prison and disappeared into thin air. Then one day, the phone rang …

culture

You probably havent heard of Michel Cohen. Do a search and you get Michael Cohen, the Trump fixer who went to jail. Wrong one. Though this one did go to jail, too. Hes French, born in 1953 on an estate in a poor suburb of Paris and his first job was to sell the Encyclopedia Britannica door-to-door, which he was very good at.

Cohen later went to the US and started selling French pat, then prints. He got into the art world, became a dealer, sold Picassos, Monets, Chagalls. For a while he lived the dream, drove fast cars, had a house in Malibu with his German wife and two kids, a chef, horses, everything. He got into the options market. That didnt go so well, so he got into debt. Cohen started to put loans and artworks that werent his into the market; the hole got bigger and bigger. In the end he disappeared, having swindled the New York art world out of $50m.

That was in 2001. Vanessa Engle, the documentary maker (The Funeral Murders, The Cult Next Door, Women, Jews, Lefties, loads of other brilliant stuff) was making arts documentaries at the time. She clocked the story as one to keep an eye on.

And she did for 17 years. Nobody knew where he had gone; he had just vanished with his wife and kids, she says. I thought it was an interesting story, but I didnt have a way in. The art world is very secretive, they dont like to talk, especially if they have just been ripped off to the tune of many millions. Its a world built on trust. Clients are not going to want to know a dealer of a gallery that could so easily be defrauded.

Were in a north London pub, and Engle is telling me about her manhunt: the search for Cohen. Ive searched his name online every two or three months for 17 years.

He
He just vanished … Cohen. Photograph: BBC/Top Hat/Michel Cohen

The first hit came in 2003: a small story in the US press. Cohen had been arrested, by Interpol, in Rio de Janeiro; he was in jail in Brazil. I thought OK, nows my chance, maybe the Brazilian authorities will let me into the prison, I can get the whole story, its going to happen, says Engle, reliving the excitement.

She was on another project, but there was no hurry because he would be in prison for a long time. Then, later that year, she searched again and he had escaped! The story just got better Papillon meets The Goldfinch meets The Great Train Robbery. But it had also gone cold. I thought: oh, Ive missed it.

The trail stayed cold for years, although Engle never forgot about Cohen. In 2017 she spoke to a commissioning editor at the BBC. She didnt think she would find him, didnt even know if he was alive, but she could talk to his friends, and people in the art world.

Ive often said I should have been a policeman because what we do is the same, she says. We gather clues to put together a plausible story, and find witnesses who can testify to that story.

Yet Engle argues shes not really the detective in this story. Im good at getting people on board, mapping the story, but if it was not for Billie Billie is Billie Shepherd, the producer Engle hired because she worked on Who Do You Think You Are? and knows how to find people. You dont want to fall out with Billie, says Engle. She will track you down.

They made a timeline of transactions, paintings, swindles and people; it ran to more than 100 pages. They called in legal documents from the US and Brazil, sometimes getting people to go to court and photocopy them.

Once they had names and addresses, they made a big drawing: Cohen in the middle, then his inner circle of family and close friends (people such as Richard Roy, who plays a big part in the film), followed by an outer circle of those he had done business with or ripped off.

Then Engle wrote letters to them. She had heard rumours there were people who wanted to have Cohen assassinated. There are people in the art world who have mafia connections, laundering money, says Engle. Its actually quite a dirty business. In the end, I was convinced there are people who would know where to get a hitman. Or he might just be dead; he would be in his mid-60s.

Vanessa
Vanessa Engle: I should have been a policeman. Photograph: Johann Perry/BBC/Top Hat

She concentrated on the outer circle first, fearful that someone near Cohen would tip him off and cause him to run. They got some hits: old acquaintances who agreed to talk, dealers, just about enough to make a film. Then we thought, weve got nothing to lose, and pressed go on that last lot of letters, including ones we hoped might get to his family and maybe him.

Engle waited. There was no response from Cohens sister, but they got Roy, Cohens friend and business partner, who had gone to the US with him and set up the pat business. When we got him, me and Billie were just screaming, says Engle.

Then, one day, Engle was at home when the phone rang. This woman said: My name is blablabla [she doesnt want me to know the womans name]. I was distracted, I didnt know if it was the wrong number, or someone asking if I was satisfied with my gas supply, she recalls. I can be slightly brusque, so I said: Sorry, who is this?

It was Cohens wife, who had also gone to Brazil with the two kids, had a third there, then had a really tough time after he was arrested. She was going to be able to fill in the missing pieces, perhaps even lead Engle to the man himself.

Cohens wife was very nervous. She said she couldnt really talk on the phone, didnt say anything about where Cohen was or whether he was still alive, but did agree to meet in a cafe. Not in London, but a different country and Engle was to come alone. The BBC werent happy about that, so a colleague went as well, pretending not to be there, tracking Engles phone.

Mrs Cohen, it turns out, was lovely, sweet and warm. She talked for hours. Now, would she do it on camera? Absolutely not. Uh oh. It is a shame, but not the end of the world, because … well, its in the film.

Which is fabulous; a stonkingly good romp. Not a million miles away from the Netflix Fyre festival documentary, but with more personality, motifs and metaphors running through it. And we got the guy! says Engle. There has been a whole spate of these films where you have a central protagonist whos done something really wrong, but its very rare to get the guy.

Oops, spoiler alert. Actually, not such a spoiler: hes there, right at the beginning of the film. He was there in that cafe, too. A small man shuffled up to the table, unshaven, his hair was quite long, wearing a scruffy sweatshirt, says Engle. I thought: is that the guy Ive been looking for for 17 years? And it was.

The $50m Art Swindle is on BBC Two on 23 September 2019 at 9pm.

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The Bachelorette Is The Worst Show On Television, So Why Do I Never Miss An Episode?

I’m about to make a bold statement, so hold onto your hats!

I love watching The Bachelorette.

I already know what you’re thinking. Yes, I know it’s generally degrading. I know it makes otherwise good folks look like imbeciles. I know I’m being emotionally manipulated by myriad producers and editors whose sole job is to secure ratings. I know, I get it. But, ain’t ya ever heard of a guilty pleasure afore?

Growing up, I watched only a handful of episodes from a couple seasons. I was first introduced to the show at 13, when I began to see Trista Rehn‘s face on the cover of every tabloid magazine at the grocery checkout. I remember being fascinated with the show’s concept. A bunch of dudes fight over one girl and then she has to pick her favorite ultimately making him the “winner.” But “winner” of what? Her heart? A game? Both? That sounds like fun!

Thankfully, as a young adult, I didn’t waste my time being sucked into Bachelor Nation (the title given to super fans, ya know like Dead HeadsLittle Monsters, or Beliebers). No, as a young person I spent my time on more important things. (Like watching every episode of  and)

It was until my mid-twenties that I officially joined the “Nation.” Now, the show has me dutifully plopped in front of a television set every Monday night.

And I’ve done a lot of thinking and asked myself some pointed questions: Why do I love this show so much? Why do I look forward to Monday nights with such fervor? Why do I ignore the unrealistic message it’s sending to folks about relationships and love? Am I morally obligated to denounce the show in the name of feminism while saving my own dignity?

While these are important and reflective questions to ponder, I already know the overarching answer is a blunt no. No, I won’t stop watching this show for the foreseeable future. But now, it’s time for my reasons…

Why do I love this show so much?

The simple answer (and arguably the most important): it’s entertaining. The folks who produce this show have gotten things down to a perfect science. They know exactly how to craft an episode or season’s trailer to leave you excited and salivating. Now, I’m not saying it’s great television. It’s trash. But like a crappy romance or dime-store novel, you just can’t help but turn the page. Or in this case, endure the commercials.

Why do I look forward to Monday nights with such fervor?

You know how folks love to get together for the Super Bowl? No matter who you are, how little you care about sports, or how much you hate Tom Brady, everyone LOVES to watch the Super Bowl. It’s a gathering. An excuse to get together with friends and family. A reason to pull out the old Crock-Pot and make Mom’s chili. A great opportunity to clink your beers and cheer on a team. Doesn’t matter which one, just pick a side.

You see where I’m going with this… Monday’s are an excuse to get together with my girlfriends and sisters. Drink rosé and predict what might happen after the commercial break. Will the cocktail party be canceled tonight? Is Luke P finally going the f*$% home? Then there are all the mid-week, post-show convos. Are you all caught up yet? What did you think of Jed? Yeah, I’m free for lunch on Thursday!

The Bachelorette is a really great excuse to hang out.

Why do I ignore the unrealistic message it’s sending to folks about relationships and love?

Let me rephrase this question: is it wrong for me to support a show that so inaccurately and unrealistically depicts relationships and love? I guess this question goes hand in hand with “Am I morally obligated to denounce the show in the name of feminism while saving my own dignity?” My answer to both is: no.

But let me tell you a secret: THIS SHOW DOES NOT ACCURATELY DEPICT HOW HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS FUNCTION!

There. I said it.

No, it’s not normal to date 30 people at the same time. No, it’s not normal to “need” to hear that someone “loves” you after 4 dates. And no, it’s not normal to truly and firmly believe that a man you’ve known for less than six weeks should propose to you. My biggest pet peeve with the show — other than repeatedly hearing Chris Harrison say “The most dramatic (insert noun) ever is about to begin!” — is how contestants seem to forget that other people exist on Planet Earth.

“No!” they say, “I want THAT ONE!” And we all know that has to do with the chase and competitive nature of the show. It’s not so much that they’re in love with the Bachelor or Bachelorette, they really just want to win. And then, maybe they can go on to do something really great with their lives, like use Instagram to promote products they don’t even use themselves. FabFitFun codes for everyone!

Here’s the thing, the people that decide to go on the show, know exactly what they’re signing up for. They know they’re going to get to meet cool people, grow their Instafollowing, travel all over, and hey, maybe they’ll get engaged to someone. If it’s truly real love, they’ll stick it out. If not, they’ll announce it in an Instagram post and then move on with their lives, FabFitFun commission check in tow.

Oh and as far as my own personal dignity goes, I’m pretty proud of its current state and not watching a vapid reality show isn’t going to make me “better than anyone else.”

Now, let’s all cross our fingers and hope Hannah B. picks Tyler C.

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John Humphrys to host his final Today programme

Image caption John Humphrys in the Today programme studio

Broadcaster John Humphrys is to present his final edition of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday.

The presenter’s departure will bring to a close his 32 years on the flagship show, during which time he built a reputation as a tenacious interrogator of politicians.

His last show will feature interviews with former prime ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair.

There will also be tributes from presenters past and present.

“Losing John in the mornings is a bit like Big Ben being silenced,” said Today editor Sarah Sands.

“I will miss his restlessness, his capacity for delight, his profound curiosity and his humanity.”

Humphrys has interviewed every prime minister on the programme from Margaret Thatcher to Theresa May, but has not grilled Boris Johnson since he came to power.

Sands joked that Mr Cameron, who is likely to be grilled about his decision to call the 2016 Brexit referendum, said he was coming on Thursday’s programme “to make sure he got the old bugger out of the building”.

“He doesn’t let go,” Sands said of Humphrys on Radio 4’s The Media Show. “He’s a terrier, so I think you should expect something exciting.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionHumphrys announced his departure earlier this year

Yet Humphrys does more than just give politicians a tough time, she added. “John is rather caricatured in that way,” she said. “He’s capable of that style of interviewing [but] he’s supple as well.”

Mr Blair will take part in a discussion about political interviewing.

Today will continue with four main presenters – Justin Webb, Mishal Husain, Martha Kearney and Nick Robinson – and will not directly replace Humphrys.

The 76-year-old will continue to present Mastermind on BBC Two.

Before joining Today in 1987, Humphrys worked as a BBC foreign correspondent in both the US and Africa, as a diplomatic correspondent and as a presenter of the Nine O’Clock News.

On the daily Radio 4 morning news programme, he became known for pinning down political leaders and public figures. On occasion, his interviewing style incurred the ire of both politicians and listeners.

Image caption Humphrys will stay behind the Mastermind host’s desk

When he announced his departure in February, Humphrys said: “I love doing the programme. I have always enjoyed it. That’s the problem. I should have gone years ago. Obviously I should have gone years ago.”

He is Today’s longest-serving presenter and has been one of the corporation’s highest earners.

His salary in 2016-17 was between £600,000-649,999, but he took a pay cut and went down to £290,000-£294,999 in 2018-19.

In a tribute in the Radio Times, Justin Webb said: “There are plenty who don’t like him, who think he’s gone on too long, who want him ‘pensioned off’ or ‘put out of his misery’ or whatever the phrase is they use to suggest that being a man in his 70s on air is somehow an affront.

“Most of these folks would see themselves as impeccable anti-sexists and anti-racists, but ageism is alive and well and apparently deeply acceptable in the anti-John movement.”

Image caption Humphrys after interviewing Tony Blair in 2005

Webb also told the magazine: “John doesn’t give a stuff what you think of him. He is bemused when Jon Snow of Channel 4 News talks of his followers online. Why would John want followers?

“John wants enemies, or at least for respect, when it is paid, to be paid only grudgingly.”

Speaking on Desert Island Discs in 2008, Humphrys said he did not think most politicians deliberately told lies on the programme.

But he said: “I do start with the assumption that they are there for their benefit, rather than necessarily for the benefit of the audience. And it’s my job often to try to get them to be a bit more candid than perhaps they intended to be.”

Image caption Humphrys with co-host Sue MacGregor in the Today production office in 1993

Six of Humphrys’ most memorable (and controversial) interviews

  • He said his first interview with a prime minister – with Margaret Thatcher in 1987 – was “a truly scary prospect”. But he showed his knack for getting insights into politicians’ characters when he asked about the link between her Christian faith and her politics. “How can you express unselfish love if you have no choice?” she said. “The fundamental choice is the right to choose between good and evil.”
  • Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken accused Humphrys of “poisoning the well of democratic debate” in 1995 after saying he had interrupted Chancellor Kenneth Clarke 32 times. But Humphrys got support from other ministers and the Daily Mail, which called him “one of the most brilliant journalists in the country”. The next time Clarke appeared on Today, Humphrys gave him a calculator to count how many times he was interrupted.
  • Labour director of communications Dave Hill spoke publicly of “the John Humphrys problem” after the presenter’s robust confrontation with social security secretary Harriet Harman about plans to reduce payments to single mothers in 1997.
  • An early-morning three-minute interview with correspondent Andrew Gilligan in 2003 led to a confrontation between the BBC and the government. Gilligan said he had been told by a reliable source that a government dossier about the threat from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been deliberately “sexed up”. This ultimately led to the suicide of the source, Dr David Kelly, and the resignations of Gilligan, the BBC director general and the BBC chairman.
  • Humphrys hastened the downfall of another director general, George Entwistle, in 2012 with a interview about how Newsnight wrongly implicated a former Conservative deputy chairman in a child abuse scandal. Entwistle, who struggled badly and appeared out of his depth, resigned soon afterwards.
  • Humphrys got into hot water for a leaked off-air exchange about the BBC’s gender pay gap with North America editor Jon Sopel in 2018. It followed the resignation of Carrie Gracie as BBC China editor over pay inequality. In what Humphrys described as a “jokey” exchange, he asked Sopel about “how much of your salary you are prepared to hand over to Carrie Gracie to keep her”.

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

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Mount Tambora Eruption Confirmed As The Cause Of The Year Without A Summer

In 1815, the volcano Mount Tambora exploded in what was probably the largest eruption of the last 1,500 years. The event has often been suspected of causing Europe’s so-called “year without a summer” as ash and sulfur-dioxide blocked out the sunlight. However, atmospheric scientists have not been certain how much the explosion contributed to the chilly, wet conditions the following year. Now, climate models have been used to show Tambora indeed caused the record-breaking cold and possibly the damp.

For the people of Indonesia, the enormous eruption of April 10 meant a tsunami that killed between 40,000 and 60,000 individuals, depending on your source. However, with the history of the era primarily having been written in Europe and North America, attention has focused on a possible delayed effect in those places.

Average temperatures worldwide in 1816 were 0.4º-0.7ºC (0.7º-1.3ºF) cooler than preceding years. The rainy conditions have been credited for giving Mary Shelley the time to write Frankenstein, thus launching the entire Science Fiction genre.

Dr Andrew Schurer of the University of Edinburgh has modeled what the year 1816 would have been like without the volcano, using what we know of the conditions prior to the eruption and the solar input. He reports in Environmental Research Letters that eruption or no eruption, 1816 Europe might have experienced an unusually wet year, but it was the volcano that made it so cold.

“Including volcanic forcing in climate models can account for the cooling, and we estimate it increases the likelihood of the extremely cold temperatures by up to 100 times,” Schurer said in a statement. “Without volcanic forcing, it is less likely to have been as wet and highly unlikely to have been as cold.”

When the year without a summer was underway, people had no idea of the causes. The possibility a volcano on the other side of the world affecting the climate only first became discussed after the similar cooling caused by Krakatoa’s eruption of 1883. Tambora was first connected to the year without a summer in 1913, and over the century since the link has become widely accepted.

Nevertheless, it has also been noted that 1816 lay at the end of a period of unusually low solar activity, causing debate about whether Tambora represented the whole story. It’s only now, with advanced global climate models and the collection of proxies from around the world, that we can answer this in more detail.

Tambora occurred when food supplies were unusually vulnerable from a combination of the disruption of the Napoleonic wars and several summers cooled by smaller eruptions. Hundreds of thousands of people died in the subsequent famines.

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This Is Life for Muslim-Americans 18 Years After 9/11

When you speak with the author of a new childrens book, you typically dont expect to hear words like neo-fascist movement or how the current U.S. president has unearthed bigotry.But that was the discussion I had with Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history in 2016 when she became the first American Olympic athlete both to wear a hijab and win a medal while doing it. (She won a bronze medal as part of the womens sabre team.)Her new book, The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family depicts an African-American Muslim girl wearing a hijab and confronting the challenges and celebrating the joys that brings.

Muhammad recalled that as a kid growing up in New Jersey before 9/11, she was taunted for wearing a hijab, with one kid calling her head covering a tablecloth, and said she hopes her book can help kids feel strong in the face of being made to feel different.

She added something that I know resonates with countless Muslim Americans today, I believe its a lot harder in this moment to be Muslimthan it was right after 9/11.

I heard that sentiment countless times over Labor Day weekend at the Islamic Society of North Americas annual convention in Houston.

It truly is a tale of two experiences for Muslims today. On one hand, Muslims in America are seeing our greatest successes ever in ways that can be objectively measured. There are now three Muslims in Congress, the most ever. Keith Ellison last year became the first Muslim American to win statewide office when he was elected attorney general for Minnesota. And more Muslim Americans than ever before now serve as elected officials from school boards to state legislatures, with historic wins in 2018 from New Hampshire to New Mexico to California.

In the world of entertainment there has also been never before seen success. In 2018, Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim American to win an Academy Award for acting, which he repeated in 2019 with an Oscar for his performance in The Green Book. For years, the Muslim American community longed for a TV series focused on a Muslim family. That finally happened in 2019 with the critically acclaimed Hulu Series Ramy, starring Ramy Youssef, about growing up Muslim in New Jersey. Theres also comedian Hassan Minhaj becoming the first Muslim American host of late-night show with his Netflix series, Patriot Act.

Yet at the very same time theres a growing a sense of unease and even fear that something horrible is waiting around the corner for us. And I mean that last part quite literally, given the spike in hate crimes directed against the Muslim community since Trump first called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States back in December 2015 through 2018.We have seen our mosques firebombed and self-professed Trump supporters plotting terror attacks to kill American Muslims in places from New York to Kansas. (I was even the subject of death threats and an organized smear campaign by Trump-supporting Neo-Nazis, causing me to sue them in federal court.)

And while it didnt occur in the United States, the white supremacist terror attack on a New Zealand mosque that killed over 50 Muslims sent shockwaves through the U.S. Muslim community, as did the man espousing white supremacist views who killed 11 Jewish Americans while they were in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

As one mental health professional explained to NPR recently about the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric, What is going to be the long-term impact of this persistent exposure to trauma that our kids are facing right now? No one knows for sure, but there has been a documented spike in bullying of Muslim students in recent years.

Consider for a moment what it would feel like to be part of a faith community that the man in the White House declares he wants to ban from our nation and that other GOP elected officials have demonized over the years amidst plots to murder people in your community. Add to that Trumps recent attacks on the two female Muslim members of Congress, Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, urging them to go back to their own country.How would that impact your sense of being an other? Your sense of being unwanted in your own country?

Despite the dreams of Trump and people like him, we as a community arent going anywhere. Muslims were here before the United States and literally help build this country, given that 10 to 15 percent of African slaves were Muslims. And we are a growing community; as Pew notes, by 2040 Muslims are expected to be the second largest faith group in the country, behind Christians and moving ahead of Jews.

The future for our community in the near term, however, will likely be more of what weve seen recently. The hope, though, is that in the long run the best of times will eclipse the worst.

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Twitter Went In On Sean Spicer’s ‘DWTS’ Debut Performance

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These Tweets About Sean Spicer On ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Don’t Hold Back

Well, everyone, the moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived. No, I’m not talking about the next Democratic presidential debate, I’m talking about former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s reality television debut. The year 2019 has brought a lot of great things into our lives, but nothing may be a greater gift than this moment. Safe to say, these tweets about Sean Spicer on agree. Say hello to your new favorite Monday night show.

News broke in August that former White House aide Sean Spicer would be part of Season 28 of the popular competition show Since a lot of people have been anxiously waiting to see Spicer strut his stuff and put his best foot forward. On Monday, Sept. 16, the time had finally arrived. It was revealed during the premiere that Lindsay Arnold would be his professional dance partner, and the two prepared for their first number, which was a salsa routine set to the Spice Girls anthem “Spice Up Your Life.”

The show’s judges gave the onetime White House press secretary a score of 12 out of 30 as he shimmied, pounded on a pair of bongo drums, and enthusiastically twirled around the stage. This is the kind of thing you really have to see to believe, and Twitter was ready at their keyboards as soon as Spicer appeared on stage in a neon ruffled shirt.

For his part, Spicer seemed to enjoy support from people like former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Clearly, Twitter was enjoying the show, but there’s been a lot of controversy regarding Spicer’s being a part of the new season. On Aug. 21, host Tom Bergeron addressed Spicer appearing on the show via Twitter, claiming he had “offered suggestions” on who to cast for upcoming season during a lunch with the program’s executive producer. A part of Bergeron’s statement read,

A few months ago, during a lunch with DWTS’ new Executive Producer, I offered suggestions on for Season 28. Chief among them was my hope that , in its return following an unprecedented year-long hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY political affiliations. I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement. Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, “go in a different direction.”

Bergeron isn’t the only crew member that’s seemingly upset with the decision. On Aug. 21, CNN Business reported that a number of staffers were extremely upset with the decision to cast Spicer, stating that it felt like “a slap in the face.” Another staffer told CNN Business that Spicer had been “horrible” to them in the past. “It’s disgusting to think he is getting on the show andgetting paid by our company,” a staffer told CNN Business. Elite Daily reached out to Spicer’s team for comment on the ABC staffers’ claims, but did not hear back in time for publication.

Despite the criticism, there’s a strong possibility that Spicer’s appearance on will boost ratings. Welcome to 2019 everyone, and try to enjoy the show.

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Cameron and Dame Edna join Humphrys’ final Today

BBC Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Humphrys [left] had an eclectic line-up of guests for his last show

John Humphrys was joined by ex-prime ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair – and Dame Edna Everage – for his last day on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

A characteristically tough interview with Mr Cameron began with the former PM thanking him for “striking the fear into politicians like me”.

Dame Edna penned a poem that said: “You won’t grow old, you’ll just get nicely mellow/So hug your trees, play Elgar on your cello.”

Humphrys is leaving after 32 years.

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The presenter made his career out of “asking us questions we don’t always want to answer, and calling us to account”, Mr Cameron said.

The former leader’s comments came after Humphrys put it to Mr Cameron that he had “misled the nation” by failing to deliver on the result of the 2016 EU referendum by leaving his post in government.

Humphrys has built a reputation as a tenacious interrogator of politicians, and said he had been “a seeker of truth” during his time on the programme.

In a discussion about the state of interviewing and politics, Mr Blair said: “The fact that I worry about doing an interview with you is a tribute to you, not a criticism.”

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Media captionHumphrys announced his departure earlier this year

Their interviews were “often a pleasure”, he said, adding: “It was occasionally not a pleasure but it was always worthwhile.”

Humphrys has interviewed every prime minister on the flagship programme from Margaret Thatcher to Theresa May, but has not grilled Boris Johnson since he came to power.

The fact Mr Johnson avoided Today “probably means that he is anxious about a sustained and forensic analysis of what he’s trying to do”, the former Labour prime minister said. “Otherwise he’d come on.”

Another guest on Thursday was the new chief executive of the Woodland Trust, Dr Darren Moorcroft. Humphrys asked about punishments for people who chopped down trees – but joked that he was dissatisfied with the answer.

“I was thinking of something a little more draconian – send them to jail if they chop down trees, that kind of thing,” the presenter said.

Dr Moorcroft replied: “That may be your next job John if you become a judge at the Supreme Court.” Humphrys added: “You’re on – accepted.”

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Thought for the Day, delivered by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, was also about Humphrys and his “fearless moral passion”.

BBC director general Lord Hall told him: “Thank you to you on behalf of all of us – the people who have loved working with you, the people who have put up with you at times as well.”

He added: “In all the stuff you read in the papers about the Rottweiler Humphrys and all that stuff, you are also someone who handles interviews with people who have been through traumas or disasters, or have something they want to get off their chests but don’t know how to do it, with amazing sensitivity.”

Today will continue with four main presenters – Justin Webb, Mishal Husain, Martha Kearney and Nick Robinson – and will not directly replace Humphrys. The 76-year-old will continue to present Mastermind on BBC Two.

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Image caption He will stay behind the Mastermind host’s desk

Before joining Today in 1987, Humphrys worked as a BBC foreign correspondent in both the US and Africa, as a diplomatic correspondent and as a presenter of the Nine O’Clock News.

On the daily Radio 4 morning news programme, he became known for pinning down political leaders and public figures. On occasion, his interviewing style incurred the ire of both politicians and listeners.

When he announced his departure in February, Humphrys said: “I love doing the programme. I have always enjoyed it. That’s the problem. I should have gone years ago. Obviously I should have gone years ago.”

He is Today’s longest-serving presenter and has been one of the corporation’s highest earners. His salary in 2016-17 was between £600,000-£649,999, but he took a pay cut and went down to £290,000-£294,999 in 2018-19.

Speaking on Desert Island Discs in 2008, Humphrys said he did not think most politicians deliberately told lies on the programme.

But he said: “I do start with the assumption that they are there for their benefit, rather than necessarily for the benefit of the audience. And it’s my job often to try to get them to be a bit more candid than perhaps they intended to be.”

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Image caption Humphrys worked with co-host Sue MacGregor in the Today production office in 1993

Six of Humphrys’ most memorable (and controversial) interviews

  • He said his first interview with a prime minister – with Margaret Thatcher in 1987 – was “a truly scary prospect”. But he showed his knack for getting insights into politicians’ characters when he asked about the link between her Christian faith and her politics. “How can you express unselfish love if you have no choice?” she said. “The fundamental choice is the right to choose between good and evil.”
  • Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken accused Humphrys of “poisoning the well of democratic debate” in 1995 after saying he had interrupted then Chancellor Kenneth Clarke 32 times. But Humphrys got support from other ministers and the Daily Mail, which called him “one of the most brilliant journalists in the country”. The next time Mr Clarke appeared on Today, Humphrys gave him a calculator to count how many times he was interrupted.
  • Labour director of communications Dave Hill spoke publicly of “the John Humphrys problem” after the presenter’s robust confrontation with social security secretary Harriet Harman about plans to reduce payments to single mothers in 1997.
  • An early morning three-minute interview with correspondent Andrew Gilligan in 2003 led to a confrontation between the BBC and the government. Gilligan said he had been told by a reliable source that a government dossier about the threat from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been deliberately “sexed up”. This ultimately led to the suicide of the source, Dr David Kelly, and the resignations of Gilligan, the BBC director general and the BBC chairman.
  • Humphrys hastened the downfall of another director general, George Entwistle, in 2012 with a interview about how Newsnight wrongly implicated a former Conservative deputy chairman in a child abuse scandal. Entwistle, who struggled badly and appeared out of his depth, resigned soon afterwards.
  • Humphrys got into hot water for a leaked off-air exchange about the BBC’s gender pay gap with North America editor Jon Sopel in 2018. It followed the resignation of Carrie Gracie as BBC China editor over pay inequality. In what Humphrys described as a “jokey” exchange, he asked Sopel about “how much of your salary you are prepared to hand over to Carrie Gracie to keep her”.
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Lewandowskis House Testimony Was Basically His Senate Campaign Launch

In calling in Corey Lewandowski to testify, House Judiciary Committee Democrats hoped theyd get a spectacle that might boost their impeachment efforts.

Its unclear whether that will happen. What they clearly did get, however, was a spectacle that cemented Lewandowskis brand as an unapologetic fighter for Donald Trumpfor better or for worse.

Tuesdays high-profile hearing was essentially a coming-out party for Lewandowskis long-teased, but still unannounced campaign for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire: he talked up his blue collar roots and service to President Trump while effusively praising his former boss and gleefully trolling his Democratic questioners. During a bathroom break, he tweeted out a link to a website supporting his possible Senate run; at another point, while answering a question from a friendly lawmaker, he fantasized about what hed do if he were in the upper chamber.

That performance didnt come as a shock to Democrats on Capitol Hill or back in New Hampshire, who said they expected that Lewandowski would seize on the hearing to boost his own profile.

Democratic lawmakers and aides did not admit to any second thoughts about Lewandowskis appearance in light of his explicit politicking and eagerness to gum up the hearing. And they predicted his testimony would damage whatever political hopes he does harbor.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) noted that in his testimony, Lewandowski admitted that Special Counsel Robert Muellers report found that Trump summoned him to the Oval Office in 2017 and directed him to send a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the president wanted Mueller reined in. Lewandowski had previously said he couldnt recall talking about Sessions with Trump.

Thats obstruction of justice, plain and simple, said Cicilline. Admitting that in this hearing, under oath, I think is not a way to begin a U.S. Senate campaign.

New Hampshire Democrats, meanwhile, have been salivating for weeks at the prospect of Lewandowski creating a televised spectacle, believing it to be a golden opportunity to define him to voters ahead of a possible bid. Party officials and activists in the state have been widely speculating that the former Trump campaign official would use his face time in front of the Judiciary Committee to leave little doubt in Granite Staters minds that he is preparing to launch a Republican challenge to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank pointed to Lewandowskis promotion on Tuesday of the website paid for by a new outside group backing him, called Stand With Corey. By ducking questions and promoting that dark money group during a Congressional hearing to which he was subpoenaed to testify, Lewandowski is demonstrating once again that he works for those shady clients and Trump, not the people of New Hampshire, said Marcus-Blank.

Thats perfectly in keeping with his character, one member of the New Hampshire Democratic state committee said on Tuesday afternoon. Everyone whos been following him in New Hampshire knows hes all about empty, shameless performances.

Lewandowskis stunts in New Hampshire have historically been well telegraphed. In 2010, he debated a cardboard cutout of former Gov. John Lynch on national tax day at the height of the Tea Party movement.

Its all performance, the New Hampshire Democratic state committee member added.

The 46-year-old Windham resident had been on a media tour in his home state in recent weeks, saying hes taking a very long look at a possible candidacy. After steering the early part of Trumps first presidential campaignbefore being ousted by the president in a dramatic fashionthe bombastic operative has since worked as a Washington consultant and television commentator, engaging in politics from the outside.

The Daily Beast previously reported that Lewandowski recently huddled with Trump after several administration officials encouraged him to enter the race. While some Republicans in the state explicitly said his entrance would help Shaheens chancesa sentiment that was bolstered by an editorial in the conservative newspaper the Union Leader advocating for a write-in over Lewandowskihis allies are convinced hes entering as the frontrunner.

Over the course of over five hours on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Lewandowski took every opportunity he could get to talk up his biography and his work in helping to elect Trump in 2016. In fact, he seemed to revel in injecting explicit politics into his testimony. I appreciate your comments about my ability to win in New Hampshire, he said, in response to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who mentioned Lewandowskis political ambitions.

It was just one more thing to enrage Democrats during an already infuriating afternoon during which Lewandowski refused to answer questions and generally stymied Democrats limited time questioning him. This is not a Republican primary campaign, admonished Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to Lewandowski. This is the House Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, Republicans on the panel seemed eager to serve softballs to Lewandowski that allowed him to expound on his patriotism, values, and character. "Do you think the Democrats will go to any length to undermine the president of the United States and influence the 2020 election?" asked Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ).

"I believe in this democracy of the United States and I love this country," responded Lewandowski, adding that his primary concern is that his children and grandchildren look back at the Mueller inquiry and say, "that never should have been allowed, never to a Republican and never to a Democrat."

Despite the muddled questioning and political maneuvering, Democrats said it was worth bringing in Lewandowski.

Besides, said one Democratic aide, Its not like he has a shot at winning.

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North now offers Focals smart glasses fittings and purchases via app

North’s Focals smart glasses are the first in the category to even approach mainstream appeal, but to date, the only way to get a pair has been to go into a physical North showroom and get a custom fitting, then return once they’re ready for a pickup and final adjustment. Now, North has released its Showroom app, which makes Focals available across the U.S. and Canada without an in-person appointment.

This approach reduces considerable friction, and it’s able to do so thanks to technology available on board the iPhone X or later — essentially the same tech that makes Face ID possible. People can go through the sizing and fitting process using these later model iPhones (and you can borrow a friend’s if you’re on Android or an older iOS device) and then North takes those measurements and can produce either prescription or non-prescription Focals, shipped directly to your door after a few weeks.

The Showroom app also includes an AR-powered virtual try-on feature for making sure you like the look of the frames, and for picking out your favorite color. Once the Focals show up at your door, the final fitting process is also something you can do at home, guided by the app’s directions for getting the fit just right.

Should you still want to hit an actual physical showroom, North’s still going to be operating its Brooklyn and Toronto storefronts, and will be operating pop-ups across North America as well.

Focals began shipping earlier this year, bringing practical smart notification, guidance and other software experiences to your field of view via a tiny projector and in-lens transparent display. North, which previously existed as Thalmic Labs and created the Myo gesture control armband, recognized that they were building control devices optimized for exactly this kind of application, but also found that no one was yet getting wearable tech like smart glasses right. Last year, Thalmic Labs pivoted to become North and focus on Focals as a result.

Since launching its smart glasses to consumers, it’s been iterating the software to consistently add new features, and making them more accessible to customers. An early price drop significantly lessened sticker shock, and now removing the requirement to actually visit a location in person to both order and collect the glasses should help expand their customer base further still.

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