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NBC documentary looks at images that propelled civil rights

Gruesome images of a lynched Emmett Till were seared into the minds of many black Americans in 1955 and helped lead to the modern civil rights movement. But few whites knew of their existence at the time.

That reality is at the top of NBC's two-hour documentary of how images propelled the civil rights effort. The documentary premieres Saturday on NBC as the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King's assassination approaches.

NBC compares the decision of the 14-year-old Till's mother to allow pictures of her son's body to be taken to the Minnesota woman who last year streamed the aftermath of her boyfriend's shooting by a police officer who had pulled them over for a busted car light.

NBC lands Indy 500 and promises IndyCar increased exposure

The Indianapolis 500, an American staple on ABC for 53 years, will have a new television home next season.

In fact, the entire IndyCar package is moving to NBC in 2019 in what could turn out to be an exceptional deal for the series because of promised increased exposure across multiple platforms.

That's secondary, though, to another network ending ABC's stranglehold on the "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

The Indy 500 on ABC is the second-longest partnership in television and sports events behind only the Masters, which has been on CBS since 1956. It's a jewel ABC did not particularly want to give up, and IndyCar wasn't unhappy with the network's production of its most important asset.

But IndyCar badly wanted its races on one network and made that clear in negotiations with both ABC and NBC. The networks have been sharing the series for several years, with ABC owning the Indy 500 and the broadcast rights. NBC got the leftovers and was allowed to air IndyCar only on cable.

IndyCar CEO Mark Miles worked out a three-year deal assigning all media rights to NBC. The agreement announced Wednesday comes with an increased number of races on broadcast (NBC) and a subscription-only channel for IndyCar's diehard fans.

"Mark Miles had a singlehanded focus in finding just one partner," Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports Group, told The Associated Press. "The opportunity to have the entire series was very important to us. Of course, to be able to do the crown jewel, the Indy 500 on NBC, really puts the icing on the cake for us."

NBC and ABC were in the bidding until the very end, with both networks interested in obtaining the whole package, Miles said. But negotiations apparently ended sometime late last week and ABC sent an internal memo to its stations notifying them the IndyCar package would end after this season. An employee at one of those stations revealed ABC's statement in a since-deleted tweet.

"We have had a wonderful and rewarding relationship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar, and it has been our distinct honor to be partners for so many years," said Burke Magnus, the executive vice president of programming and scheduling for ESPN, which like ABC Sports is part of Disney corporation. "We look forward to the rest of our events this season and wish them all the best in the future."

Both Miles and Miller were complimentary of ABC's job with IndyCar, especially with the 500 each May. ABC had such a stranglehold on the event that landing it was celebrated as a coup for NBC.

"This becomes one of the leading properties on our air," Miller said.

Under the new deal , eight IndyCar races will be broadcast on the network next season, up from five that ABC aired. The rest of the schedule will be on NBC Sports Network. The deal also puts IndyCar in the NBC Gold package, a direct-to-consumer product in which subscribers can purchase additional content that is not televised.

"As drivers, we're out there risking our lives to put on a good show. The more people that get to see it, get entertained by it, the better it is for us," said IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, who has a cross-over fan base because of a starring turn on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars." ''As athletes, we're all individual brands in and of ourselves. Getting ourselves in front of more people, it raises our value to our current partners and potential partners. From every element, this is a huge win across the board."

Especially for NBC and IndyCar because of the guarantees surrounding the Indy 500. It will be part of NBC's "Championship Season" marketing campaign. The network touts numerous high-profile championship events from May to July that include horse racing's Triple Crown, Premier League Championship Sunday, the French Open, the Stanley Cup Final and the Tour de France.

It's the package that heavyweight team owners Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi were openly lobbying for during the season-opening race earlier this month.

Penske said NBC Sports will "invest in the future of the sport" at a time when the series has positive momentum. IndyCar debuted a new car at its opener that drew rave reviews from drivers and fans in a race that set a record for on-track passes.

"We know that the ways our fans are watching races and viewing IndyCar content is rapidly changing, so staying ahead of the curve and the developing technology with our partners is important to the growth of our sport," Penske said. "We look forward to working with the NBC team to continue to build IndyCar and take the sport in new directions."


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French Montana celebrates opening of Uganda hospital 

French Montana is giving back to the country he visited a year ago.

Billboard reported that the 33-year-old rapper celebrated the one-year anniversary of his one-year trip to Uganda with a March 13 Instagram post. He also celebrated the opening of hospital in the east African country.

>> Read more trending news 

“Happy one year anniversary to my family in Uganda,” French captioned his post. “Can’t believe we got so much done in one year !! Thank u for the opportunity.”

The Source reported that the rapper was inspired to help after seeing the lack of health care in the county. He donated $100,000 to the Suubi Health Center, a nonprofit hospital that offers medical services to poor villages around Iganga, Uganda.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

French’s donation spurred action from others and was matched by Diddy, The Weeknd and others.

The hospital can now serve 300,000 people.

XXL reported that French has since partnered with Mama Hope, which works to equip local people in community led projects, and Global Citizen, an organization that aims to end poverty. In January, he was named a Global Citizen ambassador for his work, becoming the first inn hip-hop to do so. 

Court sides with Marvin Gaye family in 'Blurred Lines' fight

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a copyright infringement verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the 2013 hit song "Blurred Lines."

In a split decision from a three-judge panel, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals awarded $5.3 million to the family of Marvin Gaye, who said "Blurred Lines" is illegally copied from the late soul singer's "Got to Give it Up."

Two judges from the panel of three rejected the defense's request to overturn a jury verdict or order a new trial, saying that Gaye's copyright on the song is entitled to broad protection. They accepted a trial court judge's instructing the jury to decide based only on the sheet music to the songs, and not the recordings.

Dissenting Judge Jacqueline Nguyen offered a harsh dissent, saying that the songs resemble each other only in style not substance and that the decision was detrimental to the future of artists and creativity.

"The majority allows the Gayes to accomplish what no one has before: copyright a musical style," Nguyen wrote. "'Blurred Lines' and 'Got to Give It Up' are not objectively similar. They differ in melody, harmony, and rhythm. Yet by refusing to compare the two works, the majority establishes a dangerous precedent that strikes a devastating blow to future musicians and composers everywhere."

Howard King, an attorney for Williams and Thicke, seized on Nguyen's comments.

"We stand by the fact that these are two entirely different songs," King said in an email to The Associated Press. "The thorough and well-reasoned dissenting judge's opinion is compelling and enhances the prospects for success in a further review by the Court of Appeals."

An email to Gaye family's attorney Richard S. Busch wasn't immediately returned.

The trial over "Blurred Lines," the biggest hit of 2013, ended in March 2015 with jurors awarding Gaye's family more than $7 million. The verdict was later trimmed to $5.3 million.

The Gaye family also received 50 percent interest in ongoing royalties from the song.

Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr knighted by Prince William in Buckingham Palace ceremony

With a little help from a prince, Ringo Starr has a new title.

After this week’s knighthood ceremony at Buckingham Palace, he will now officially be known as Sir Richard Starkey, NBC News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Ringo, who used his real name for the honor, was knighted by Prince William during the ceremony Tuesday.

This isn’t the first time he’s been given honors by a member of the Royal family. 

It’s been 53 years since the Beatles were all given the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. They were given the MBE medals by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965, Ultimate Classic Rock reported.

The drummer said it was a bit different this time, missing the other three lads from Liverpool.

“I was a bit shaky today on my own,” Starr told the BBC.

He’s the second of the Beatles to be knighted, NBC News reported.

Sir Paul McCartney received his knighthood in 1997.

“I had dinner with him last week and we were both actually laughing about where we came from, and we’ve ended up in the palace and it’s now Sir Paul and Sir Richard,” Starr told NBC News.

>>Read: Ringo Starr, Barry Gibb to receive knighthood honor from Queen Elizabeth

Starr’s knighthood was announced late last year. Barry Gibb is also set to receive the honor.

Related video: 

Hearing postponed in Rose McGowan drug possession case

A preliminary hearing for actress Rose McGowan on a drug possession charge in Virginia has been postponed until May 3.

The hearing was originally scheduled for Wednesday. The Washington Post reports that the hearing was postponed after two prosecution witnesses were unable to get to court during a snowstorm.

McGowan's lawyers had been expected to argue for dismissal of the charge. They've suggested the drugs may have been planted by agents hired by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to discredit her for making sex assault accusations against him. Weinstein has denied the rape allegations.

McGowan was charged with felony drug possession after authorities said cocaine was found in a wallet she left behind on a flight to Dulles International Airport in January 2017.

Britney Spears lands 1st high fashion campaign with Kenzo

Britney Spears has landed her first high fashion modeling campaign as the new face of Paris-based Kenzo.

The 36-year-old singer said she had been waiting for the "right fit and the right opportunity" to represent a luxury brand.

Celebrity photographer Peter Lindbergh snapped Spears in relaxed styles that feature denim, baseball caps and florals, as well as the princess of pop's signature exposed midriff.

The campaign is for the denim-focused "Collection Memento No. 2" that Kenzo previewed last September.

The brand said "Lindbergh captured Britney in all her American dream glory and beauty."

Spears previously has been the face of her own fragrance line.

Bad weather forces Justin Timberlake to postpone NYC concert

Justin Timberlake's Wednesday night concert New York City is being postponed due to the spring nor'easter.

The pop star posted a video of himself in the snow on Instagram on Wednesday, telling his fans he's "so sorry to announce the show tonight at the Garden has been postponed due to the weather, as you can see."

Timberlake added that his Thursday night show at Madison Square Garden would still go on. Tickets for Wednesday's show will be honored at a new date, Timberlake said.

The singer's tour kicked off this month. It is in support of his new album, "Man of the Woods," released days before he headlined this year's Super Bowl halftime show.

Timberlake ended the video saying, "Happy spring everybody."

Actresses urge New York Gov. Cuomo to raise tipped wage

Sixteen actresses, including Jane Fonda, Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon and Natalie Portman, are urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to raise the wage paid to tipped workers.

The women signed onto a letter to the Democratic governor as his administration examines whether to eliminate the subminimum wage paid to restaurant servers and other workers who make tips.

The actresses invoked the #TimesUp hashtag and wrote that relying on tips forces many workers to endure widespread sexual harassment.

Others signing onto the letter include Lily Tomlin, Rashida Jones, Amy Poehler, America Ferrera, Jessica Chastain, Amber Tamblyn, Brie Larson, Debra Messing, Michelle Williams, Erika Alexander, Ashley Judd, and Sarah Silverman.

Cuomo has called for hearings on the tipped wage to be held around the state.

The Weeknd, Bruno Mars to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago

The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys will headline this year's Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago.

Travis Scott, The National, Vampire Weekend and Odesza also were among the performers announced Wednesday morning on Lollapalooza's website . More than 180 acts will play on eight stages Aug. 2-5 in Chicago's lakefront Grant Park.

Founder Perry Farrell launched Lollapalooza as a touring festival in 1991. It's been held in Chicago since 2005.

The lineup includes LL Cool J, St. Vincent, Logic, Khalid, Walk the Moon, Dua Lipa and Perry Farrell's Kind Heaven, which will feature guest musicians performing songs from the Jane's Addiction singer's upcoming solo album.

Last year's festival drew 100,000 people a day over four days. Organizers say it had a $245 million local economic impact in 2017.

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