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Julie Chen Officially Announces Exit from 'The Talk'

9/18/2018 12:13 PM PDT
Breaking News

Julie Chen just formally announced she's leaving "The Talk" and her departing message thanked both her fans and costars.

The longtime talk show host and CBS anchor appeared in a pre-recorded video Tuesday at the bottom of the show, where she said, in part, that she was leaving "The Talk" to spend more time with her husband, Les Moonves, and their young son.

Julie, who eventually became teary-eyed during her remarks, thanked all the hosts of "The Talk," singling out each one and quickly reminiscing on their friendship. She ended with "I love you all, and I know this show and the sisterhood it stands for will live on for many, many, many more years to come. You ladies got this, and I cannot be more proud to call you my friends. I love you." 

The camera eventually cut back to the main set where all the ladies were in tears. Sara Gilbert quickly thanked Julie for her contributions to "The Talk" and the program ended from there without further discussion.

As we reported ... Julie was slated to make the announcement that she would be off of "The Talk" effective immediately. No word on whether she's leaving her "Big Brother" hosting gig just yet, but it appears she'll be sticking it out for the short term. She's hosting again this week.

Julie returned to "Big Brother" last week without mentioning the sexual assault allegations against her husband, Les Moonves. She also didn't talk about his forced resignation from CBS in the wake of several women coming forward to accuse him of past sexual misconduct.

She did, however, sign off on Thursday's episode as Julie Chen Moonves ... clearly showing her support for her husband. 

No word yet on a potential replacement for Julie on "The Talk" ... but some people have already shown interest in the gig. However, 'DWTS' judge Carrie Ann Inaba did fill in for Julie as a guest host Tuesday .... and Julie indicated she looked great in that seat.

Bert and Ernie Show Writer Says They're Gay!!! ... Sesame Street Says They're Not

9/18/2018 11:43 AM PDT
Breaking News

11:40 AM PT -- A spokesperson for Sesame Workshop has countered Saltzman, telling TMZ ... "As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves."

They continue, "Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."

Frank Oz -- longtime puppeteer for the show and hands behind some of the beloved characters, including Bert -- also denounced Saltzman, saying, "It seems Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert & Ernie are gay. It's fine that he feels they are. They're not, of course. But why that question? Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only gay? There's much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness."

Bert and Ernie are finally out ... a "Sesame Street" writer is confirming the iconic characters are a gay couple. 

Bert and Ernie have been on the show since it started in 1969, and there's always been speculation about the true nature of their relationship. Mark Saltzman, who joined the "Sesame Street" crew in 1984, cleared it all up by telling Queerty he wrote Bert and Ernie as a gay couple.

He says the 'Sesame' duo is a reflection of his own same-sex relationship and not about pushing an agenda. 

Mark says he based Bert and Ernie on his relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman -- Mark was Ernie and Arnold was Bert. 

Of course, Bert and Ernie have shared a basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street for the last 49 years ... although they've always slept in separate beds. Still, their chemistry -- while playfully arguing and bickering -- was always palpable.  

Mark's revelation might be more of a formality -- the fact is, Bert and Ernie are longtime gay icons for many in the LGBT community. 

Originally published -- 9/18/2018 9:14 AM PDT

McDonald's Employees Stage Massive Walkout ... Over Sexual Harassment

9/18/2018 10:43 AM PDT
Breaking News

Scores of female McDonald's employees are staging a #MeToo walkout across 10 major cities ...  protesting the company's alleged mishandling of sexual harassment complaints.

The strike is slated to begin during the lunch rush in major cities, including L.A., Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco and Chicago. The walkout won't go down at all McDees, only some. It's the first-ever nationwide walkout in protest of sexual harassment.

McDonald's employees are protesting what they say is widespread sexual harassment by coworkers or superiors ... alleging they groped or propositioned them for sex. The employees -- in conjunction with an advocacy group fighting for a minimum wage of $15 per hour -- say they were either retaliated against or fired after reporting the alleged incidents to supervisors.

The employees are demanding, among other things, mandatory sexual harassment training for managers and a better enforcement of its "zero-tolerance" sexual harassment policy. 

Another advocacy group also plans to fly a plane over McDonald's corporate headquarters in Chicago with a banner that'll read, "McDonald's: Stop Sexual Harassment."

We reached out to McDonald's and a rep tells TMZ ... "We have strong policies, procedures and training in place specifically designed to prevent sexual harassment. To ensure we are doing all that can be done, we have engaged experts in the areas of prevention and response including, RAINN, to evolve our policies so everyone who works at McDonald’s does so in a secure environment every day."

Odell Beckham Jr. Shaq Was My Dad's Roommate At LSU ... The Big Roomie!

9/18/2018 12:39 PM PDT
Breaking News

There's a good chance Odell Beckham's dad came home to a Shaq-sized sock on his door in college ... 'cause the Giants superstar says the two were roommates at LSU!!

OBJ revealed the wild fact to Kevin Hart while taking an ice bath on K.H.'s "Cold As Balls" YouTube show ... admitting the room no doubt smelled "terrible."

It's a crazy story ... but did you also know Odell's dad also played football at LSU while Shaq was ballin' on the hardwood??

It's true ... dude scored seven touchdowns in three seasons!!

By the way, Odell's mom ran track at LSU as well.

It all makes sense now why OBJ's pretty good at football, huh? 

Michael Jordan Donating $2 Million ... To Hurricane Victims

9/18/2018 10:24 AM PDT
Breaking News

Hurricane Florence victims are getting a huge assist from Michael Jordan ... 'cause the NBA's best-ever is sending $2 MILLION to help anyone affected by the storm.

Jordan -- who owns the Charlotte Hornets -- says he's giving $1 mil to the American Red Cross and another million to the Foundation For The Carolinas' Hurricane Florence Response fund.

The Hornets are also donating food boxes.

The team says it's also created "Carolina Strong" shirts ... and says 100 percent of the profits will be donated as well.

By the way ... Jordan and the Hornets aren't the only big-league club pitching in on the relief efforts -- the Atlanta Braves handed out free tickets to those forced to flee last week.

If you want to follow their lead ... click here to donate.

Pittsburgh Pirates Moment Of Silence For Mac Miller

9/18/2018 8:50 AM PDT
Breaking News

The Pittsburgh Pirates held a moment of silence for Mac Miller before their game Monday -- honoring the late rapper with a tribute video on the PNC Park jumbotron.

Starling Marte, Colin Moran and the rest of the Pirates squad paused for a minute to honor Mac -- a Pittsburgh native who died of an apparent overdose earlier this month.

The Pirates' PA announcer said over the park's loudspeakers as a video of Miller in a Pirates jersey played, "Mac was a rapper, a singer, a producer and had a very bright future in the industry ahead of him."

"Locally, Mac is remembered as a hometown kid who sang about our city where his heart clearly remained."

"Our thoughts are with his parents, his grandmother and all of his family and friends who mourn his passing."

Mac was 26. RIP.

Iowa State Golf Champ Found Dead On Golf Course Man Arrested For Murder

9/18/2018 8:03 AM PDT
Breaking News

A 22-year old champion golfer from Iowa State University was found beaten and murdered on a golf course in Iowa ... and now cops have arrested and charged a man with her killing.

Celia Barquin Arozamena -- the Big 12 champ -- was found dead on the Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa ...near the university's campus.

Cops were initially called after golfers located an unattended bag on the course. Police searched the area ... and found Barquin Arozamena's body.

Officials say she had been assaulted ... and died as a result of the injuries.

A subsequent investigation led cops to arrest 22-year old Collin Daniel Richards ... and charged him with 1st-degree murder.

ISU released a statement ... “Celia had an infectious smile, a bubbly personality and anyone fortunate enough to know her was blessed."

"Our Cyclone family mourns the tragic loss of Celia, a spectacular student-athlete and ISU ambassador.”

Roseanne Barr 'The Conners' Writers Kill Me off With an Opioid OD

9/17/2018 4:21 PM PDT
Breaking News

Roseanne Barr's character on "The Conners" will be killed off by an opioid overdose ... so says the comedian herself.

Barr was on Brandon Straka's "Walk Away" when she revealed the gigantic spoiler. Barr tells Straka the pill addiction story line was her own from last season, and it appears the writers for "The Conners" decided to run with it. 

As we reported ... Barr got the ax from "Roseanne" just hours after she posted a tweet about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, comparing her to the "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes."

Barr has worked on various projects since the firing ... appearing on podcasts and even hosting a talk show of her own.

It's still possible writers for "The Conners" could change their minds on how to kill Roseanne -- or it wasn't an OD at all -- but she seems pretty serious and pretty pissed about the whole thing.

'Black-ish' Star Jenifer Lewis Rocks Nike to Emmys ... 'I'm With Kaep'

9/17/2018 3:30 PM PDT
Breaking News

Forget Dior and Chanel ... "Black-ish" star Jenifer Lewis was all about NIKE at the Emmys -- rocking a Swoosh sweatshirt to support Colin Kaepernick

"I am wearing Nike to applaud them for supporting Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racial injustice and police brutality," the actress told Variety. 

Lewis says she was swimming the other day when she started brainstorming fashion ideas that would be "meaningful" on the red carpet ... and that's when Nike came to mind. 

"I'll wear Nike to say 'thank you' ... thank you for leading the resistance. We need more of corporate America to stand up also."

She added, "Thank you, Colin. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for taking a knee. Thank you."

Nike signed Colin to a new deal recently -- and will be dropping everything from a new custom shoe to a Kaepernick-themed apparel line. 

Josh Gordon I'm with Brady Now! ... Traded to Patriots

9/17/2018 1:26 PM PDT
Breaking News

Talk about an upgrade -- Josh Gordon just got shipped from Cleveland to New England where his new quarterback is TOM BRADY!!!

The Browns announced they were parting ways with the embattled WR on Saturday -- after he injured his hamstring in a photo shoot. 

The Browns had felt they had reached their breaking point with Gordon -- after sticking with him through multiple suspensions stemming from substance abuse issues. 

Cleveland had initially (reportedly) planned to cut Gordon but then realized there was a market for the superstar wideout ... and eventually hammered out a deal with the Patriots. 

In exchange for Gordon, Cleveland will get a 5th round draft pick. 

As for Gordon's hamstring -- ESPN's Adam Schefter says he's healthy enough to play THIS SUNDAY if needed. 

Congrats!!!

Greg Hardy Down For Fight With Ex-NFL Star Let's Make It Happen!!

9/17/2018 8:44 AM PDT
Breaking News

Forget GGG-Canelo and Conor-Khabib ... the fight EVERYBODY wants to see just took a real step towards happening -- 'cause Greg Hardy is ALL IN on a fight with Shawne Merriman!!

Remember ... the ex-Chargers superstar told TMZ Sports he's down for a fight with Hardy if he wins his first tilt in the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation in November.

Well ... Greg just got word of the challenge -- and says he's DEFINITELY in for the match.

"All I’m saying is if you like entertainment as much as I do, you would deff enjoy this one," Greg says.

"Pro-Bowl battle royal. #iamthestorm let’s make it happen baby lol."

Of course -- Greg's been running through dudes in his transition from the NFL to the Octagon and has already earned a development contract with the UFC.

But, Merriman's legit serious about his fighting career as well ... having trained in the ring even during his NFL playing days.

Sooo ... will the fight actually go down?? Seems like it -- but Merriman's gotta come out of his Nov. 9 fight against Mike Bourke with a W first.

Josh Gordon Browns Don't Trust Me? ... HAHAHAHAH

9/17/2018 8:01 AM PDT
Breaking News

Josh Gordon is reacting to reports he's being shipped out of Cleveland for "breaking the team's trust" -- and he ain't exactly broken up about it.

The Browns announced on Saturday they're moving on from the troubled WR after he injured his hamstring during a photo shoot. 

Gordon was on thin ice with the team after racking up multiple suspensions over the years for substance abuse. The latest incident (though not substance-related) was clearly the breaking point for the Browns. 

Gordon couldn't help but laugh at the reports that Browns management couldn't trust him anymore ... though he hasn't exactly opened up about his side of the story yet. 

He did give a few shout-outs to some of his Browns teammates -- including Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and Tyrod Taylor ... calling them "Brothers 4 life."

So, what does it all mean? Seems Gordon doesn't think the reports are accurate or that he's getting a fair shake. 

Don't feel too bad for Gordon ... there are reportedly a bunch of teams licking their chops for a shot at signing him. 

Justin Verlander Wrecks Diamondbacks ... Celebrates With Kate, Jay & Bey!

9/17/2018 7:02 AM PDT
Breaking News

Who runs the world?!?!

Justin Verlander, apparently ... 'cause dude just did everything to prove he was better than you -- dominating the D-Backs and then hitting the Jay and Bey concert with his supermodel wife!!

The Astros superstar struck out 11 in Houston's huge win Sunday ... and celebrated with Kate Upton in some luxury box seats at NRG Stadium for the hottest tour on the planet afterward.

J.V. didn't seem to overexert himself after seven strong innings ... and a very pregnant Kate made sure to let everyone know the only thing she was drunk on was love (with Verlander).

Good times.

By the way ... the two have made postgame date nights a thing lately -- remember their victory dog walk after the World Series last year?!

Verlander ... FLAWLESS!!

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