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'Jeopardy!' Star James Holzhauer Total Domination ... On Another Game Show!!!

4/25/2019 11:13 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

James Holzhauer -- the "Jeopardy!" contestant winning prize money at a torrid pace -- has a history of breaking the bank ... 'cause he set records on another show called, "The Chase."

TMZ got details about the current "Jeopardy!" phenom's 2014 domination of 'Chase' ... a Game Show Network hit. As is his style, Holzhauer started out hot in the opening "cash builder" round, answering 12 questions correctly -- often before host Brooke Burns even finished asking them.

The 12 right answers for $60k broke the previous record and was never topped in 51 episodes of "The Chase" -- and, get this ... it could have 13 answers if he was a Jason Mraz fan. You gotta see it.

There's more -- James also set the high mark in "The Final Chase" round by answering 19 questions correctly for his team. This record also still stands.

When it was all said and done, Holzhauer's team of 3 won $175k and split it evenly.

What's interesting ... at one point, Holzhauer was offered a chance by the show's titular "chaser," Mark "The Beast" Labbett, to win more money, and he declined ... opting to take the conservative route.

If you've been watching him on "Jeopardy!" ... you know he likes to bet BIG. James later revealed he crunched the numbers and determined the larger payoff on 'Chase' wasn't worth the gamble.

Holzhauer became the second person in "Jeopardy!" history to surpass $1 million in winnings in non-tournament play Wednesday, and owns the single-show record of $131,127. He also now holds the top 7 daily totals, and is well on his way to catching Ken Jennings, who won a total of $2.5 million over 74 games.

James has done all his damage in just 15 games.

BTW -- "The Chase" aired from 2013 to 2015, and reruns can be seen daily at 3 PM on the GSN.

Jussie Smollett 'Empire' Future Looking Bright After NYC Power Lunch

4/25/2019 10:31 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

Jussie Smollett might have secured his return to "Empire" -- despite ongoing controversy over the alleged Chicago "attack" -- when he kicked it in NYC with a pretty powerful show exec.

TMZ got this video of the actor leaving lunch at a Lafayette restaurant Wednesday, and he told us he was feeling "pride" about his work on the show. Turns out, he may have been feeling optimistic as well ... because the guy he was lunching with was showrunner Brett Mahoney.

Sources close to Mahoney -- who's publicly voiced his support for Jussie in the past -- tell us the lunch Wednesday was a casual hangout, and not the first time the 2 have seen each other since Jussie wrapped on "Empire" amid his scandal.

We're told Brett's been telling his friends Jussie's future on the show is still up in the air, but it's unclear if the topic was broached during their lunch.

You'll recall, earlier this week, "Empire" creator and executive producer Lee Daniels said the same -- that they're currently considering bringing Jussie back.

Now, let's connect the dots ... seems unlikely that Mahoney would break bread with Jussie if he thought they were about to 86 him from the show.

Another strong sign for Jussie ... the letter his costars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard wrote imploring network execs to let Jussie stay on the show. They said he's innocent and "filled with integrity" and they want to "put this behind us and move forward.”

The NY Post first reported Mahoney was lunching with Jussie. We'll see how it plays out, but that meal might end up being the crucial moment "Empire" and its star smoothed things out. 

As we've told you, Jussie's still dealing with drama in Chi-town ... namely that civil lawsuit the city filed to get Jussie to pay for the investigation into the alleged "attack." Essentially, Chicago wants a trial to prove he lied to cover up a hoax.


TMZ Live Jussie Smollett: Return to 'Empire' Might Be in the Cards

4/25/2019 10:55 AM PDT

  • Blac Chyna: I'm a Harvard Gal Now!
  • John Cena is Getting Serious with New Girlfriend
  • Coachella Has a Huge Spike in Herpes Around Festival
  • Britney Spears Ending Stay at Mental Health Facility

Whitey Bulger Death Certificate Confirms Died From Blunt Force Injuries to Head

4/25/2019 10:16 AM PDT

Whitey Bulger died swiftly from blunt force injuries to his head during a prison attack ... this according to his death certificate. 

Whitey's death certificate was released Thursday and shows he was pronounced dead at 8:21 AM on October 30 ... just minutes after he was bludgeoned inside his cell at U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia. Bulger's death is listed as a homicide in the document.

As we've reported ... 4 inmates walked into the notorious Boston mobster's cell, where he was sitting in a wheelchair, and beat him with a lock in a sock. They also tried to gouge his eyes out with a shiv and attempted to cut out his tongue. 

As for the motive behind the hit ... our prison sources say prison officials believe it was mob retaliation because Whitey turned informant and ratted out other mobsters. We're told officials believe that's exactly why the attackers attempted to remove Bulger's eyes and tongue. 

The attack was not caught on video ... we're told the inmates who attacked Bulger wheeled him into a corner that can't be seen by surveillance cameras. 

The ex-crime boss was on the lam for years, and was one of the FBI's most wanted before being captured in 2011 living in Santa Monica.

Bulger was convicted in 2013 for a slew of crimes, including being linked to at least 11 murders, and was serving a life sentence. He had just been moved to the maximum-security prison before he was killed. 

Bulger was 89.

Coachella Herpes Spike!!!

4/25/2019 1:00 AM PDT

There was an unwanted guest running amok at Coachella this year ... herpes.

According to honchos at HerpAlert -- an online diagnosis and treatment website for the STD -- there's been a huge spike in folks looking to get treated for herpes in the communities surrounding the famous music festival.

HerpAlert's been in business for 2 years now, with doctors issuing prescriptions to pharmacies after people submit photos of their, umm ... situation, for medical pros to review. The turnaround time is blazing fast, it only takes about 2 hours. 

We're told the site has seen a massive surge in folks seeking prescriptions for herpes since Day 1 at Coachella. A whopping 1,105 cases have been reported in Indio, Palm Desert and Coachella Valley -- and also L.A., Orange and San Diego counties where most of the concertgoers live. 

HerpAlert tells us they typically handle 12 cases a day in Southern Cali ... but during the first 2 days of Coachella, the site serviced almost 250 patients!!! The biggest previous spike was during Oscars weekend 2018, when they got a mere 60 cases a day.

Bottom line ... what happens in Coachella might stay with you. For life.

Camille Grammer Victory Over Ex-BF ... Jury Says He Assaulted Her

4/25/2019 8:15 AM PDT

It took almost 6 years, but Camille Grammer's secured a legal victory over her ex-boyfriend ... in a case involving assault and claims of defamation from both sides.

"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star came out on top in her civil suit against Dimitri Charalambopoulos Wednesday, after a jury ruled he attacked her in a Houston hotel in 2013 ... and she did NOT defame him by reporting it.

The jury also determined Charalambopoulos defamed Grammer when he went on "Access Hollywood" a month after the incident and claimed she fabricated the story. According to legal docs ... Grammer was awarded $36,000 in damages for the assault.

She was also awarded $25 for injury to her reputation from the defamation. Not a ton o' dough, but a win's a win.

We broke the story ... Kelsey Grammer's ex-wife claimed Dimitri, her boyfriend at the time, brutalized her in October 2013 after the 2 had an argument over a late-night text. A grand jury decided there was not enough evidence to charge him criminally, and he subsequently sued her for defamation.

Camille countersued, claiming her story was true and she has more than enough photos, witnesses and other evidence to establish it ... while tacking on her own claim of defamation.

In the end, the jury sided with her.

Kings and NBA Launch Joint Investigation Into Luke Walton Accusations

4/25/2019 9:32 AM PDT
Breaking News

The Sacramento Kings have teamed up with NBA officials to launch a joint investigation into the Luke Walton sexual assault allegations. 

Both the Kings and the NBA have hired their own teams of investigators -- which are already working together to look into the accusations made by sports reporter Kelli Tennant

Tennant claims Walton -- now the head coach of the Kings -- sexually assaulted her in a hotel room back in 2014, when Walton was an asst. coach with the Golden State Warriors.  

The two women leading the Kings investigation are Sue Ann Van Dermyden and Jennifer Doughty -- who both have extensive experience conducting investigations. 

As for the NBA side, they've tapped NBA Senior VP Elizabeth Maringer -- who previously served 12 years as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The Kings and the NBA issued a statement saying they "take these allegations very seriously and will collaborate to conduct a complete and thorough investigation."

As we previously reported ... Walton adamantly DENIES assaulting Tennant and claims she's an "opportunist" looking for a quick buck. 

Tennant held a press conference earlier this week emotionally recounting her version of the incident -- saying she thought Walton was going to rape her that day. 

Walton has vowed to fight the case in court and says he will NOT settle for any amount of money. 

Britney Spears Leaving Mental Health Facility ... But Meds Still a Problem

4/25/2019 12:50 AM PDT

Britney Spears will be checking herself out of the mental health facility where she's been for 30 days -- as early as today -- but we've learned she's still dealing with a big, unresolved issue ... her meds.

Sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ, Britney's mental state is much better than it was when she checked in. As we reported, the singer was distraught over an illness her dad was battling ... made exponentially worse by the fact the meds she'd been taking for her mental illness stopped working. 

Doctors were trying to find a new combo of meds, but they couldn't get the mixture right and it was doing Britney more harm than good ... to the point she stopped taking them.

Our sources say doctors still haven't figured out the right formula and call it, "a work in progress." 

The sources are quick to say, Britney did NOT check into the facility to get her meds right ... it was to get her head straight. We're told she's doing "a lot better" in that department, but the doctors continue to work on the cocktail of meds.

A lot of people commented on the pic of Britney with her boyfriend, Sam Asghari, on Easter Sunday, where she looked a little off. Our sources acknowledge, she's still having difficulty, but nonetheless is in a better head space

We're told she could leave the mental health facility as early as today but definitely by week's end ... and she's almost certainly going home. Doctors will continue to work with her on getting the medicines right.

Short story ... mental illness is difficult, but she's doing okay

John Cena Kissing New GF ... Pulls Ultimate BF Move!

4/25/2019 5:00 AM PDT

As if you needed any more proof John Cena and Shay Shariatzadeh are "official" -- here's Cena DROPPING HER OFF AT THE AIRPORT ... and even giving her a kiss goodbye!

An eagle-eyed traveler spotted the WWE superstar at the San Diego Airport on Wednesday -- sharing a kiss and loving embrace with his rumored girlfriend before she caught a flight back home to Canada. 

But, c'mon -- look at these two!!! They're definitely serious now!!! 

We spotted the two out on a date last month -- and clearly, things have escalated, because what grown person takes someone to the airport these days if you're not romantically involved?! 

It's John's first serious relationship since things ended with ex-fiancee Nikki Bella back in July 2018. 

We're told John and Nikki are still on good terms -- and still talk every now and then, but nothing will ever go back to how it was. 

In other news...

Did Pete Davidson and Kate Beckinsale Call It Quits?

Just when we thought things were starting to get serious between Pete Davidson and Kate Beckinsale, it sounds like the flame fizzled out as quickly as it ignited earlier this year


'Storage Wars' Star Barry Weiss Hospitalized in ICU with Broken Bones After Motorcycle Accident

4/25/2019 7:46 AM PDT

"Storage Wars" star Barry Weiss is attempting to recover from a really bad motorcycle accident that landed him in the hospital with broken bones and other internal injuries ... TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the incident went down Wednesday around 2:30 PM in the Los Feliz area where he and another friend were each riding bikes.

We're told a car pulled out from a parking space, apparently without looking, and Barry and his friend slammed into the back of the car. Both went down.

We're told Barry was transported to an L.A. hospital, and he's currently in the ICU, but he's in stable condition. We're told drugs and alcohol are NOT a factor. 

Barry, the eccentric and lifelong antique collector, appeared in seasons 1-4 of "Storage Wars" ... often riding in classic cars. He left the hit A&E show and had a short-lived spinoff called, "Barry'd Treasure." BTW, he's also Jesse James' godfather.

It's been a tough year for OG "Storage Wars" cast members. Just last month ... Darrell Sheets was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.

Sylvester Stallone Gets Parking Ticket ... Offers Sage Advice

4/25/2019 8:19 AM PDT

Sylvester Stallone had a run-in with parking enforcement, and though he didn't come out with a Rocky-esque victory ... it could have been a lot worse.

Sly illegally parked his Mercedes-Benz SUV in an alley in Bev Hills while he ran into a jewelry store, and when he returned to his vehicle he was greeted by a parking patrolman ... waiting to hand him a ticket.

It's hard to hear, but the officer tells the famous actor he's glad he showed up ... because he was about to tow his ass!

Stallone appreciates it, and the 2 exchange pleasantries as he accepts his citation. The fellas apparently compare their whips too, because the officer can be heard joking ... "Well give it to me, and I'll give you my Toyota Camry, how 'bout that?"

In the end, Stallone drives off and delivers an important message to any potential lawbreakers.

Woodstock 50 Tickets Will Go on Sale Soon ... Just Ironing Out Wrinkles!!!

4/25/2019 8:04 AM PDT

Woodstock 50 will go down and fans WILL get a chance to buy tickets soon but event organizers insist they just need a little more time to take care of some logistical issues.

TMZ's learned event organizers are waiting to hear back from the New York State Department of Health after submitting a mass gathering permit application, which was submitted April 15. The DOH confirmed to us it did indeed receive the application and it's in the process of completing its review.

ICYMI ... Woodstock 50 was supposed to start selling tickets on Monday but all fans got when they went on Woodstock's website was a message ... "Tickets on sale soon. Subscribe below for updates."

Fans panicked thinking the event might become another Fyre Festival nightmare but that is NOT the case. A rep for Woodstock 50 tells TMZ has indeed delayed its sales as it refines logistical plans. What's more ... the rep tells us ticket sale information will be available through its website in the coming days. 

As we first reported ... the massive event slated for August in Watkins Glen, NY will feature a blend of new and old school ... from Jay-Z, Chance the RapperImagine Dragons and Halsey to Carlos Santana and Dead & Company.

Woodstock purists bitched about the lineup but the event's co-creator says they need to get over it.

Blac Chyna I'm A Harvard Gal Now ... And I Didn't Have to Fake Rowing!!!

4/25/2019 12:40 AM PDT

Blac Chyna is now part of the Harvard University community, and she didn't have to pull an Olivia Jade to get there.

Chyna has been accepted to take a course at the Harvard Business School -- well, the online version ... but hey, it's still Harvard. 

The reality star/former stripper got her admissions letter Monday, inviting her to take a course called Business Analytics ... teaching students how to interpret data and make savvy business decisions. The course is a substantial time investment -- 40 hours over 8 weeks.

Chyna posted a lengthy reflection on her life earlier this week, saying, "I am working to be the best me."  

Chyna tells us, "Where I'm at now is a stage of realization and growth! I want to be great for myself and my kids. School is going to help me take things up a couple of notches. People are always talking about me, might as well talk about the good. I'm excited for the next chapter."

As for the class -- the material seems daunting. Chyna will learn how to ...

-Recognize trends, detect outliers, and summarize data sets.

-Analyze relationships between variables. Develop and test hypotheses. 

-Craft sound survey questions and draw conclusions from population samples. 

-Implement regression analysis and other analytical techniques in Excel. 

As we reported ... Rob Kardashian and Chyna recently settled their nasty custody war over their 2-year-old daughter, Dream. Rob was paying $20K per month in support, but now he doesn't have to pay a dime ... and the couple splits medical and school expenses -- but not Chyna's school expenses.

So, in a few years, you can hire Kim to defend you, and Chyna to line your pockets.  

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