David Letterman Headed Back to Talk TV With Netflix Series

David Letterman, who said goodbye to his long-running CBS talk show two years ago, will say hello to TV again with a new show for Netflix.

Netflix announced Tuesday that the six-episode series has Letterman combining two primary interests: in-depth conversations, and in-the-field segments sparked by his curiosity and humor. In each hour-long episode, Letterman will conduct a long-form conversation with a single guest, and explore topics of his own outside the studio.

The as-yet-untitled series is set to premiere in 2018.

In 33 years on late-night television, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of NBC’s “Late Night” and CBS’ “Late Show,” and is the longest-running late-night broadcaster in American history. He stepped down from “Late Show” in May 2015. (AP)

Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry to perform at MTV VMAs

Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, the Weeknd and host Katy Perry will perform at the MTV Video Music Awards later this month.

MTV announced Monday that Lorde, Shawn Mendes, Fifth Harmony and Thirty Seconds to Mars will also hit the stage Aug. 27 at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

More performers will be announced at a later date.

Kendrick Lamar is the top VMA contender with eight nominations. His hit, “Humble,” will compete for video of the year with Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” DJ Khaled and Rihanna’s “Wild Thoughts,” the Weeknd’s “Reminder” and Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful.”

Sheeran is nominated for artist of the year along with Lamar, Mars, Ariana Grande, Lorde and the Weeknd. (AP)

Film Academy Invites 774 New Members

The film academy is inviting 774 new members to join its ranks, including actors Leslie Jones, Dwayne Johnson, Riz Ahmed, Chris Pratt and Anna Faris.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed its latest invitees on Wednesday.

The organization reports the new class of potential members is 39 percent female and 30 percent non-white. The film academy has been diversifying its ranks after two years of #OscarsSoWhite and criticism of its overwhelmingly white and male voting body.

Other invitees include directors Barry Jenkins, who was nominated for his film “Moonlight,” and composers Lin-Manuel Miranda and Justin Timberlake. “Hidden Figures” director Theodore Melfi and documentarian Ezra Edelman, who won an Oscar for “O.J.: Made in America,” also received invitations.  (AP)

LA Film Festival Features Diverse Slate of Films, Directors

While the rest of Hollywood lags behind, the LA Film Festival continues to break the mold with its robustly diverse programming.

The festival begins Wednesday and includes a slate in which 42% of the films playing are directed by women and 40% by filmmakers of color.

The festival includes the directorial debut of actress Lea Thompson, who directs herself and her daughters Zoey and Madelyn Deutch in “The Year of Spectacular Men” and Whitney Cummings’ ensemble relationship pic “The Female Brain,” with Sofia Vergara and James Marsden.

Festival Director Jennifer Cochis says the numbers are due to exhaustive outreach, a diverse programming staff and a shared goal of amplifying underrepresented voices.

The festival begins Wednesday in Culver City with the premiere of Colin Trevorrow’s “The Book of Henry.” (AP)

Private Service, Public Viewing for Cornell in Hollywood

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell is being laid to rest Friday at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Representatives for the late singer-songwriter say private memorial service Friday will be followed by a public viewing of Cornell’s burial site.

The 52-year-old was pronounced dead May 18 after he was found unresponsive in a Detroit hotel room after a concert performance. Coroner’s officials released say preliminary autopsy results show the singer hanged himself, but full toxicology results remain pending. The singer’s family has disputed the findings and claim Cornell may have taken more of an anti-anxiety drug than he was prescribed.

Cornell was a leading voice of the grunge movement in the 1990s. Besides Soundgarden, he scored hits with Temple of the Dog and Audioslave. He is survived by his wife and two children. (AP)

Faye Dunaway Speaks on Oscar’s Best Picture Fiasco

Actress Faye Dunaway says she thought co-presenter Warren Beatty was joking when he paused before showing her the envelope that should have contained the Oscar’s best picture winner.

Dunaway tells Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News she thought Beatty was stalling for effect.

Dunaway read “La La Land” as best picture winner rather than “Moonlight” after PwC partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed them the back-up envelope for Actress in a Leading Role instead of the envelope for Best Picture.

She says she read the movie’s title on the card but didn’t notice Emma Stone’s name.

Dunaway says she felt “completely stunned” and later felt guilty because she thought she could have done something to prevent the debacle.

Holt’s interview with Dunaway will air Tuesday on the “Today” show. (AP)

Kevin Spacey to Host 71st Annual Tony Awards

Kevin Spacey has been picked to host this year’s Tony Awards, putting the award-winning star of “House of Cards” in the unenviable position of steering a telecast surely facing a post-“Hamilton” hangover.

The telecast on June 11 will originate from the 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall and producers are sure to be keeping their fingers crossed that they avoid any technical or human snafus that have marred previous awards shows this year, including the wrong winner announced at the Oscars and sound issues at the Grammys.

Producers also hope Spacey will limit the audience erosion likely from the numbers last year when “Hamilton” drew 8.73 million viewers, up 35% from 2015. Last year’s host was James Corden and 2015 saw Kristin Chenoweth teaming up with Alan Cumming.

The nominations for the 2017 TONY Awards will be announced on Tuesday, May 2.

“I was their second choice for ‘Usual Suspects,’ fourth choice for ‘American Beauty’ and 15th choice to host this year’s Tony Awards. I think my career is definitely going in the right direction,” said Spacey. “Maybe I can get shortlisted to host the Oscars if everyone else turns it down.”

Spacey won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in “American Beauty,” and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in “The Usual Suspects.” Recently, he starred in “Elvis & Nixon.” Next, he will be seen in the feature films “Billionaire Boys Club,” “Baby Driver” and “Rebel in the Rye.” Through his former production company Trigger Street, he produced “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks, “The Social Network” and “21,” as well having produced the Emmy nominated television series “Recount” and “Bernard & Doris.”

For over a decade, Spacey served as the Artistic Director of The Old Vic Theatre Company in London. He recently stepped down from this role, but during his time appeared on stage in productions of “National Anthems,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Speed the Plow,” “Inherit the Wind,” “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” and the acclaimed production of the one-man show “Darrow.” Spacey won the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Actor for his role in “The Iceman Cometh,” as well as the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play in Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers.” Also, he starred in the Broadway and West End productions of “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” opposite his mentor Jack Lemmon, as well as the title role in the Sam Mendes production of “Richard III,” which toured 12 cities around the world as part of the three-year Old Vic/BAM/Bridge Project.

This year marks the 71st anniversary of the TONY Awards, which were first held on April 6, 1947 at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The ceremony is presented by Tony Award Productions, which is a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, which founded the Tonys.

(AP, CBS)