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The Good, Bad and the Unknown of Apple’s New Services

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It took a while, but finally — and with the carefully curated help of Oprah, Big Bird and Goldman Sachs — Apple has at last unveiled a new streaming TV service, its own branded credit card and a news subscription product.

The moves have been largely expected and so far don’t appear to drastically alter the competitive landscape the way Apple has done with previous products such as the iPhone and the iPad.

Still, the announcements represent an important step for the company as it seeks to diversify how it makes money amid declining sales of the iPhone, even if by themselves they are unlikely to turn Apple’s big ship either way. But it’s a way to keep fans sticking with Apple even when they aren’t buying a new iPhone every year.

Monday’s announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service. Here’s a rundown on what Apple unveiled — what’s good, what’s not so good and what we still don’t know.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

APPLE TV PLUS

The good: Oprah, Jason Momoa, Big Bird, Steven Spielberg and a host of other stars have lent themselves to original Apple shows that range from documentaries to science fiction, drama and preschool television programming. The focus on “quality storytelling” is consistent with Apple’s image and analysts say is likely to produce some hit shows.

The bad: Even so, “it will lack the full range and diversity of content available through Netflix, Amazon and others, and that is set to limit its appeal,” said Martin Garner, an analyst at CCS Insight. Apple also joins a crowded market and it’s not clear how many more monthly subscriptions people have the money and the bandwidth for.

The unknown: Apple hasn’t said how much it’s going to cost.

APPLE NEWS PLUS

The good: The price, $10 per month, looks like a good deal compared to separate subscriptions for newspapers and magazines (Apple will include more than 300 of the latter, including The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated). Apple is touting “richly designed articles” that let people read publications tailored to Apple devices in all their glory. Apple has also included privacy protections, and says it will collect data about what people read in a way that it won’t know who read what — just how much total time is spent on different articles.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images,

The bad: While The Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal have signed on, other big-name news publishers, such as The New York Times, have not. Nor have, in fact, most other major U.S. newspapers.

The unknown: It’s not entirely clear how much news you’re getting for your money. The Journal, famous for its business and industry coverage and commanding nearly $40 a month, will make “specially curated” general-interest news available for Apple customers, for example. Other stories will still be there — but Apple says users will have to search for the articles themselves.

APPLE CARD

The good: Security and privacy, two areas Apple prides itself on, are a clear focus. The physical version of the card has no numbers, and the digital version lives in your Apple Wallet on your phone, where it’s protected by Face ID or Touch ID so even if someone steals your phone they won’t be able to use the card to buy things. Apple says it won’t get information on what you buy with the card or where or for how much. There are no late fees.

The bad: The rewards (2 percent cash back for all purchases using the digital version of the card, 1 percent using the physical version and 3 percent cash back at Apple stores) are nothing to write home about. The card is meant for Apple users, so if you aren’t, it’s probably not for you.

The unknown: What sort of credit score you need to get approved, as well as exact interest rates.

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APPLE ARCADE

The good: Apple’s new game subscription service, which will launch this fall, will be free of ads and in-app purchases, which can quickly add up and have become common in mobile games. Apple promises more than 100 games, and they will be exclusive to the service, so there will be plenty of fresh adventures.

The bad: The service will only be available on Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs. That could be frustrating for those who don’t own Apple products.

Unknown: Apple said all games would be available with one subscription, but did not say how much it would cost or when exactly the service will launch. It has partnered with a few well-known game creators, including Hironobu Sakaguchi of “Final Fantasy” fame, but it’s unclear how well all the new games will work or how fun they’ll be to play.

AP Technology Writer Rachel Lerman contributed to this story.

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Scarlett Johansson Gets Slimed by Colin Jost While Accepting MTV’s Generation Award – NBC4 Washington

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Scarlett Johansson got a surprise from husband Colin Jost during the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards.

The 36-year-old “Black Widow” star accepted the Generation Award with a pre-taped segment that aired during the awards ceremony on Sunday. She began her acceptance speech by thanking her co-workers from throughout her career, in addition to expressing appreciation for her fans.

“I never would have been able to continue to evolve as an actor for the last 30 years without the support and dedication of so many cast and crew members that make up the nomadic traveling-circus family that are movie sets, and the dedication and hard work of so many people that goes into making any movie continues to inspire me as a performer,” Johansson said.

“Thank you so much to my fans for riding the wave with me and for supporting my career so I can continue to have the good fortune to pursue the job that is my passion,” she continued. “I realize what an absolute gift it is to be able to have the opportunity to do what I love, and I couldn’t do it without your continued support.”

Things got wild as Johansson was in the process of introducing a previously unseen clip from “Black Widow” when Jost walked over to her in their home and poured a bowl of green slime over her head.

Scarlett Johansson’s Best Looks

“What the f—?” Johansson said.

“MTV! You got slimed,” Jost responded.

After the “Rough Night” actress explained that the 38-year-old “Saturday Night Live” star was thinking of Nickelodeon, he replied, “I’m very, very sorry.”

She fired back, “Just get a towel,” and then wouldn’t let him attempt to dab her face with it.

In introducing the star prior to the segment, Billy Porter quipped, “She’s the only Oscar nominee I know who can bench press more than Chris Hemsworth and look hotter doing it.”

Earlier this month, a press release announced Johansson would receive the award.

“The highly coveted ‘Generation Award’ celebrates beloved actors whose diverse contributions to both film and television have turned them into household names,” the statement said in part.

Previous recipients include Dwayne Johnson, Reese Witherspoon, Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler, Will Smith, Sandra Bullock, Tom Cruise, Chris Pratt and Robert Downey Jr.

Prior to the Generation Award, Johansson had been nominated for six MTV Movie & TV Awards prizes over the years. She nabbed the golden popcorn in 2013 for “Best Fight” for “The Avengers.”

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NowThis Editor Versha Sharma to Take Over at Teen Vogue After Controversy Over Previous Pick – NBC4 Washington

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Teen Vogue has chosen Versha Sharma, a top editor at NowThis, to replace Alexi McCammond as editor-in-chief after a swirl of controversy over McCammond’s past anti-Asian tweets.

Sharma takes over May 24 at the digital-only publication after McCammond and the Condé Nast title parted ways before her appointment took effect.

“I am incredibly excited and grateful for this awesome opportunity,” Sharma tweeted of Monday’s announcement.

Anna Wintour, the global editorial director of Vogue and chief content officer for Condé Nast, said in a statement that Sharma is a “natural leader” with a “global perspective and deep understanding of local trends and issues — from politics and activism to culture and fashion.”

Sharma was named managing editor of NowThis, a digital news site, in 2015. In 2012, she covered the U.S. presidential election for MSNBC.com. She is the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow award with the NowThis Reports team for a short documentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and she’s on the board of directors of the Online News Association.

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Sharma grew up in Louisiana and lives in New York.

McCammond, who is Black, was tapped in March at age 27 as the incoming editor in chief to replace Lindsay Peoples Wagner, but derogatory tweets from when she was a teenager and college student in 2011 caused a backlash after the appointment was announced.

Sharma said in the statement issued by Teen Vogue that she has long admired the magazine for “building and fostering a community of young people who want to change the world.”

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John Mulaney and Wife Anna Marie Tendler Break Up After 6 Years of Marriage – NBC4 Washington

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After more than six years of marriage, comedian John Mulaney and wife Anna Marie Tendler are splitting up.

Individual reps for each party confirmed the news in a statement to Page Six on Monday. E! News has reached out to reps for comment.

“I am heartbroken that John has decided to end our marriage,” Tendler expressed through her spokesperson. “I wish him support and success as he continues his recovery.”

A spokesperson for Mulaney also confirmed the news of the divorce to the outlet and added, “John will not have any further comment as he continues to focus on his recovery and getting back to work.”

The “Big Mouth” actor and accomplished artist tied the knot in July 2014 in Boiceville, New York. Friend and “Schitt’s Creek” actor Dan Levy served as the couple’s officiant at their wedding.

The 38-year-old comedian completed a stint in rehab in December 2020, where he stayed for 60 days to treat issues relating to cocaine and alcohol addiction. He moved to outpatient care in February 2021.

When Comedians Get Serious

Mulaney has been open when it comes to discussing his struggles with addiction, most notably in a 2019 interview with Esquire.

“I drank for attention,” he shared with the magazine. “I was really outgoing, and then at twelve, I wasn’t. I didn’t know how to act. And then I was drinking, and I was hilarious again.”

The “Saturday Night Live” alum is set to officially return to work on the comedy circuit after completing outpatient care — booking four mid-May shows at the New York City venue City Winery. Tickets for those shows are sold out.

Tendler, for her part, is pursuing a Master of Arts degree from NYU Steinhardt in fashion and textile studies.

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Los Angeles Lakers Nine-Part Docuseries Coming to Hulu in 2022 – NBC4 Washington

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Los Angeles Lakers Nine-Part Docuseries Coming to Hulu in 2022 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Los Angeles Lakers are getting their own version of “The Last Dance.”

A nine-part docuseries on the Lakers will be coming to Hulu in 2022, the team announced on Monday. Unlike ESPN’s highly popular “The Last Dance” — which centered around Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls — this series will detail the last four decades of the Lakers. That includes everything from Jerry Buss purchasing the organization, to Magic Johnson and the “Showtime” Lakers, to the Shaq-and-Kobe dynasty, to LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the team to its latest championship last season.

Those are some rather compelling Hollywood storylines.

The series will include new interviews with more than 35 members of the Lakers organization, including Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal, as well as never-before-seen interviews with the late Jerry Buss. It will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, whose Muhammad Ali documentary “What’s My Name?” won a Sports Emmy for outstanding long documentary.  

“When Dr. Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, he sat alone at center court of the Forum and thought of all the possibilities,” Lakers CEO Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “But even in his wildest dreams, my father could not have imagined what the next decades would bring for our organization, our league and our city of Los Angeles. I am thrilled that the true story of the Lakers will finally be shared with the world — and that we are in such capable hands with Hulu and Antoine, a director whose storytelling I’ve admired for years.”

The 1980s Lakers will also be the subject of a drama series on HBO, with a cast that includes John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson and Sally Field as Jessie Buss.

Mike Gavin contributed to this story

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Miss Mexico Andrea Meza Crowned Miss Universe 2021 – NBC4 Washington

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And we have a new Miss Universe.

After more than a year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Miss Universe competition was finally held Sunday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Mario Lopez and former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, who won the crown in 2012, co-hosted the show, which featured a special performance by Luis Fonsi.

Taking home the ultimate crown this year was Miss Mexico Andrea Meza, who wowed the selection community with her beauty and brains.

During the final statement round, Miss Mexico was asked to address the topic of changing beauty standards.

“We live in a society that more and more is more advanced and as we have advanced as a society, we have advanced with stereotypes,” she shared via translator. “Nowadays, beauty is not only the way we look. For me, beauty radiates not only in our spirits, but in our hearts and the way we conduct ourselves. Never permit someone to tell you that you are not valuable.”

And just minutes before, Miss Mexico also faced the final question round where she was asked to share how she would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miss Universe 2021: Swimsuit Competition

“I believe there is not a perfect way to handle this hard situation such as COVID-19,” she said. “However, I believe that what I would have done, was create the lockdown even before everything was that big because we lost so many lives and we cannot afford that. We have to take care of our people. That’s why I would have taken care of them since the beginning.”

Before the show, Paula M. Shugart, who serves as the president of the Miss Universe Organization, addressed the pandemic and how the pageant was staying safe.

“We have spent months planning and preparing safety precautions to develop this edition of Miss Universe – one that will be memorable, special and totally innovative,” she said in a statement.

Beauty queens from 74 countries and territories competed in the pageant, however just 21 contestants advanced to the final round. After first competing in the swimsuit contest, which you can see photos from here, 10 moved on to the evening gown competition. Five contestants were selected to participate in the question and answer round.

The last time the Miss Universe pageant was held was in 2019, when Miss South Africa, aka Zozibini Tunzi, took home the ultimate prize. Miss Puerto Rico Madison Anderson was the first runner-up and Miss Mexico Sofa Aragn was the second runner-up.

At the time, Tunzi really impressed the judges with her answer to the question, “What is the most important thing we should be teaching girls today?”

She replied, “I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It’s something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time. Not because we don’t want to, but because what society has labelled women to be. I think we are the most powerful beings in the world.”

Of passing the torch to her successor, Tunzi said in a statement, “I always knew that my reign as Miss Universe would be unlike any other. While it was nothing like what I had imagined my year to be, this year has opened doors for me I could never have imagined.I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect virtually with people all over the world and elevate the causes I care most about.”

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