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Vernon Davis cut from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ competition



Oct. 19 (UPI) — Retired NFL player Vernon Davis was voted off of Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars in Los Angeles on Monday night.

Davis was partnered with professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd for the ABC competition series.

Charles Oakley, Carole Baskin, Anne Heche and Jesse Metcalfe were previously eliminated.

Still in the running for the coveted mirror-ball trophy are Cheer coach Monica Aldama, The Bachelorette alum Kaitlyn Bristowe, Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause, actresses Skai Jackson and Justina Machado, reality TV stars Jeannie Mai and Nev Schulman, Backstreet Boys singer A.J. McLean, rapper Nelly and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.

Tyra Banks is the show’s host.

Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough are the judges this season.

The Bachelorette‘s Hannah Brown and her pro partner Alan Bersten won Season 28 in November.

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Interview: ‘The Other History of the DC Universe’ gives a ‘voice’ to diverse characters



Nov. 23 (UPI) — Writer John Ridley revisits signature moments from the DC Universe and re-examines them through a group of racially diverse characters in The Other History of the DC Universe, out Tuesday.

“This is less about changing the DC Universe. It’s really about embracing the DC Universe — embracing these characters,” Ridley said during an interview with UPI. “Giving a singular voice to these characters who oftentimes did not have very singular or particular voices.”

Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce), his daughter, Anissa (Thunder), Mal Duncan (Herald), his wife, Karen Beecher (Bumblebee), Renee Montoya (The Question) and Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro) are the main characters in the bimonthly series, which will run for five issues.

Artists Giuseppe ‘Cammo’ Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi and colorist José Villarrubia are working with Ridley on the series. Cammuncoli, Marco Mastrazzo and Jamal Campbell are handling the cover art.

Ridley said he chose these characters for the story because he grew up loving them and said he hopes The Other History of the DC Universe inspires a greater appreciation of them.

“These are stories of hope. This is not about victimization. This is not railing against the prevailing culture,” Ridley said.

Inspired by ‘History of the DC Universe’

Ridley is a fan of DC Comics’ History of the DC Universe, which was released in 1986, and said he was inspired by it.

“I thought it was a really interesting attempt to take lore and mythology and treat it like it was real — like it was an actual timeline,” he said. “I think it’s one of the great, interesting experiments in storytelling. It really did read like a brief Encyclopaedia Britannica.”

The Other History of the DC Universe looks back at big moments like the death of Superman, and Wonder Woman executing the villainous Maxwell Lord. Ridley teased other moments that may not have stuck with fans, but were important to the characters, and said he added more context to well-known stories.

“My desire was not to add things for the sake of adding things,” he said. “My desire was to try to, as much as possible, be beholden to things that did happen in the actual lore and actual cannon, and maybe excavating them a little bit more. Give a little bit more voice to these characters.”

The series also gives more time to characters who sometimes were lost in the background. Ridley discussed how Katana, a Japanese woman, was used in the 2016 Suicide Squad film.

“Katana, maybe she has three lines of dialogue. So here’s this character that is iconic enough to be included in the film, but not necessarily iconic enough to have any sense of who she was. She was a mother, she was a wife who lost her family in a horrific way,” the 55-year-old said.

He said comic book writers have worked decades to add more to the character.

“I just wanted to pull a little bit more out of that and say, ‘OK, if she lost her family, how would this really affect an individual? If she is a Japanese national arriving in America in the ’80s, how would she see this country? How would she fit in or not fit in?’ That’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

Ridley also expressed fondness for Renee Montoya, a Latinx gay woman who gives perspective on what police officers go through because she worked for the Gotham City Police Department. Montoya becomes Vic Savage’s successor as The Question, a character Ridley teased could be making a cameo appearance in the series.

The Other History of the DC Universe comes at a time where more women and characters of color are being used more frequently in comic books and beyond. Ridley said that things are getting better in terms of diversity, pointing to HBO’s Watchmen series as a standout example, but for things to continue improving, he said diversity behind-the-scenes is needed.

“It starts with the hiring. It starts with bringing in creators who are a little bit closer to the material in some ways. Also, remembering that if you are a Latinx, they, queer person, you can still write Superman,” Ridley said.

Ridley can’t predict how well The Other History of the DC Universe will do, but said recent comic books and other forms of media that are infused with real-life issues can be successful and make a real cultural impact.

Ridley says he has no expectation that every comic book or film has to contain commentary on race or gender, but the ones that do tend to be successful.

Ridley won an Academy Award as a screenwriter for 2013’s 12 Years a Slave. He has also penned DC Comics’ The American Way and its sequel, The American Way: Those Above and Those Below along with Batman: The Joker War Zone.

The future for DC and Ridley

Ridley’s next comic book is Future State: The Next Batman, which will feature a new character who takes on the Batman mantle from Bruce Wayne. The comic is a part of DC’s Future State line-wide event that will give a glimpse into what happens in the DC Universe in the near and far future.

In Future State, Batman has been killed and Gotham City is placed under control by the Magistrate, a villainous regime. An all-new Batman will rise along with a new group of Gotham heroes to fight back.

Ridley teased that Future State: The Next Batman will have new characters and relationships that reset and contain a focus on family.

“It’s about family and what we would do for family, what we have to do for family, what we consider to be family. As a father, as a husband at my age, it’s just really great to be able to take these fantastic stories and ground them in something that I relate to,” he said.

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WWE Survivor Series: Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre go to war, The Undertaker says goodbye



Nov. 23 (UPI) — Universal Champion Roman Reigns collided with WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, Raw and SmackDown battled to determine the best brand and The Undertaker gave his final farewell at WWE Survivor Series.

Reigns faced McIntyre in a Champion vs. Champion match in the main event on Sunday. Reigns, who was accompanied to the ring by his special counsel Paul Heyman, competes on SmackDown while McIntyre competes on Raw.

The Big Dog and McIntyre traded multiple haymakers against each other in the hard-hitting match. Reigns started to punish McIntyre by smashing him through the announcer’s desk with two Samoan drops followed by a Spear through the ringside barricade.

McIntyre, however, was still able to kick out of Reigns’ pin and survived a second Spear inside the ring. McIntyre was able to nail Reigns with a Claymore but the Universal Champion also bumped into the referee, knocking him out.

Jey Uso, who has been forced to serve his cousin Reigns, then arrived onto the scene to Superkick McIntyre after Reigns delivered a blow below the waist. Reigns finished off McIntyre with a Superman Punch followed by his submission hold the Guillotine, which caused McIntyre to pass out, making Reigns the winner.

Reigns and Jey Uso shared a hug at the top of the entrance ramp as they celebrated the victory.

The Undertaker said goodbye to WWE on the 30th anniversary of his debut at the 1990 edition of Survivor Series.

Triple H, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Shane McMahon, Big Show, JBL, Mick Foley, The Godfather, The Goodwins, Savio Vega, Rikishi, Kevin Nash and Booker T made appearances to show their respects towards The Undertaker. WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon also made a rare apperance to introduce The Phenom.

The Undertaker made a grand entrance to the ring and made a short speech before kneeling down before a hologram of the late Paul Bearer, The Undertaker’s former manager.

“My time has come to let The Undertaker rest in peace,” the seven-time world champion said.

The Raw Men’s and Women’s Survivor Series teams, despite being dysfunctional, were able to pull out victories against the SmackDown Men’s and Women’s Survivor Series teams.

AJ Styles, Sheamus, Keith Lee, Riddle and Braun Strowman of Team Raw dominated Seth Rollins, King Corbin, Otis, Kevin Owens and Uso of Team SmackDown, defeating them without any of their members being eliminated.

Rollins arrived to match looking despondent and after entering the bout, got down on his knees and allowed Sheamus to freely eliminate him with a Brogue Kick. The rest of Team SmackDown followed suit with Uso lasting the longest. Reigns was not happy with Team SmackDown or Uso’s performance, saying that losing made him look bad.

Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, Lana, Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce of Raw took on Bayley, Bianca Belair, Natalya, Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan of SmackDown. Jax and Baszler continued to bully Lana, demanding that she not tag herself into the match and only stand on the nearby steel steps away from the team.

Royce at one point was able to Suplex Bayley into all of the participants outside the ring.

Belair was left all alone on Team SmackDown after her other teammates were eliminated. Baszler was disqualified after she wouldn’t let go of her submission hold on Belair, the Kirifuda Clutch.

Belair was left against Jax and Lana who still stayed on the steps. Belair fought Jax outside the ring and was able toss Jax over the barricade, however, the referee reached a ten count which disqualified both grapplers. This made Lana and Team Raw the winner, with Lana earning the the title of Sole Survivor.

Other moments from Survivor Series included Mr. Money in the Bank The Miz of Raw winning a dual-brand Battle Royal; SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits defeating Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day; United States Champion Bobby Lashley of Raw defeating Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn of SmackDown; and SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks defeating Raw Women’s Champion Asuka.

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Michael Chiklis’ ‘Coyote’ to debut on Jan. 7



Nov. 21 (UPI) — All six episodes of Michael Chiklis‘ new drama, Coyote, will be available to stream on CBS All Access on Jan.7.

The cast also features Juan Pablo Raba, Adriana Paz, Kristyan Ferrer, Octavio Pisano, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams and Julio Cedillo.

Coyote is the story of Ben Clemens, who after 32 years as a border patrol agent is forced to work for the very people he spent his career trying to keep out of America,” the streaming service said in a news release. “Now exposed to life on the other side of the wall, Ben will start to question his black and white views of the world, challenging his ideology and his loyalties.”

David Graziano — whose credits include American Gods and Southland — is the show-runner.

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