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January 24, 2023

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Ticketmaster was hit by a cyberattack last November, as fans trying to buy tickets to Taylor Swift's "Eras" tour faced website outages and increased wait times, Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold told Congress Tuesday.

Berchtold delivered the remarks in a hearing dubbed "That's the Ticket; Promoting Competition and Protecting Customers In Live Entertainment," aimed at examining a "lack of competition in the ticketing industry."

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mike Lee. R-Utah, the chairwoman and ranking member of the subcommittee on competition policy, antitrust and consumer rights, called the hearing following the incident that saw Ticketmaster's website fail as pre-sale tickets for Swift's tour went on sale.

"In hindsight there are several things we could have done better," Berchtold said of the ticket meltdown. "While the bots failed to penetrate our systems or acquire any tickets, the attack required us to slow down and even pause our sales, this is what lead to a terrible customer experience."

In a statement announcing the hearing, Klobuchar said the Swift incident made issues in the U.S. ticketing industry "painfully obvious."

"I believe in capitalism and to have a strong capitalist system you have to have competition, you can't have too much consolidation, something that unfortunately for this country, as an ode to Taylor Swift, I will say, we know all to well," Klobuchar said in opening comments at Tuesday's hearing.

Antitrust regulators approved the merger in 2010, but in 2019 the Department of Justice found that the companies were improperly requiring venues to use Ticketmaster to book Live Nation acts.

"Here we are almost 13 years later, faced with a flotilla of allegations and complaints that the merged entity has done exactly what it said would never happen," Lee said in his opening comments.

Berchtold dismissed claims that Ticketmaster was responsible for exorbitant resale prices saying the company did "not set prices," but Klobuchar said the company still held outsized influence over both ticketing and live concert venues.

"Today Live Nation doesn't just dominate the ticketing, it's about 70% of the big concert market, but also they own many of the major venues, and for the venues that they don't own, they tend to lock in on three, five, seven-year, agreement, which means the competitors that are out there aren't even able to compete when it comes to the ticketing," she said.

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'Everything Everywhere' leads Oscar nominations with 11

Everything Everywhere All At Once was nominated for a leading 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, on Tuesday at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.

All Quiet on the Western Front and The Banshees of Inisherin followed close behind with nine nods apiece.

Blockbuster sequels Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water earned Best Picture nominations, too. However, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever did not secure a slot in the top category.

The movie was not entirely overlooked, though.

Angela Bassett earned a mention for Best Supporting Actress, the first acting nomination for a Marvel movie, for her performance in Black Panther. The film also is nominated for several technical awards.

Everything Everywhere All At Once star Michelle Yeoh made history as the first Asian artist nominated for Best Actress.

2022 was a great year for women storytellers like Sarah Polley, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Maria Schrader and Charlotte Wells, but none of them were nominated for Best Director for their respective films Women Talking, The Woman King, She Said and Aftersun.

Instead, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shortlisted only men in the category after awarding the title of Best Director to women the past two years -- Chloé Zhao for Nomadland and Jane Campion for Power of the Dog.

Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams read the names of those who are up for Hollywood's most prestigious awards, which will recognize excellence in cinema for 2022.

The Academy Award winners will be announced March 12 at a gala at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel is set to host the ceremony for a third time.

The nominees are: CLICK HERE!

Chris Stapleton, Babyface among Super Bowl LVII pregame performers

4 Below 21The NFL has announced the pregame entertainment lineup for Super Bowl LVII.

This year's Super Bowl will be held Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., and air on Fox.

Country music singer Chris Stapleton will perform the national anthem. Stapleton is a Grammy-winning artist known for the singles "Tennessee Whiskey," "The Devil Named Music" and "Broken Halos."

Singer, songwriter and producer Babyface will sing "America the Beautiful." The 12-time Grammy winner has written hit singles for Madonna, Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and other artists.

"Truly excited and honored to perform America the Beautiful at Super Bowl LVII and to be a part of this pregame lineup," Babyface tweeted.

In addition, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph will perform "Lift Every Voice and Sing." The Emmy winner plays Barbara Howard on the ABC series Abbott Elementary, which was renewed for a third season this month.

Coda actor Troy Kotsur will perform the national anthem in sign language, with Colin Denny to sign "America the Beautiful" and Justin Miles to sign "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and the halftime show.

Rihanna was previously announced to headline the Super Bowl LVII halftime show. The singer was nominated for her first Oscar on Tuesday in the Best Original Song category for "Lift Me Up" from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Harley Quinn is getting an animated Valentine's Day special on HBO Max

Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine's Day Special is set to premiere Feb. 9 on HBO Max.

"As Harley goes to obsessive lengths to ensure that her first Valentine's Day with Ivy is the best ever, Bane's efforts to impress an unexpected date go horribly awry," the streaming service said in a press release Monday.

"Meanwhile, after an unfortunate online dating encounter, Clayface engages in some self-love."

The adult animated series is based on DC Comics characters.

Its voice cast includes Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Matt Oberg, James Wolk, Natalie Morales, Chris Diamantopoulos, James Adomian, Jim Rash, Vanessa Marshall, Janet Varney, Rachel Dratch, Leila Birch, Tyler James Williams, Josh Helman, Casey Wilson and Michael Ironside.

"Join @dcharleyquinn for a very #harleyivy Valentine's Day sex fest," Bell, who plays Poison Ivy, wrote on Instagram Monday.

She and the rest of the stars can also be heard on the animated show, Harley Quinn, which premiered in 2019 and has run for three seasons. Cuoco plays the titular villain.

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CBS orders Season 6 of Cedric the Entertainer's 'The Neighborhood'

CBS has renewed its Cedric the Entertainer sitcom, The Neighborhood, for the 2023-24 broadcast season.

"The Neighborhood has become a hit by not only delivering laughs but by telling stories of cultural impact," Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment, said in a statement Monday.

"From gentrification to Black Lives Matter, to addiction and pregnancy loss, the incredible writers and this amazing cast push boundaries and endlessly entertain us. As they film their 100th episode this week, directed by Cedric the Entertainer, we are thrilled to announce that we are welcoming this outstanding series back for a sixth season."

The cast of the Los Angeles-set series also includes Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Tichina Arnold, Sheaun McKinney, Marcel Spears and Hank Greenspan.