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Entertainment Industry Pushes for New COVID-19 Relief Package

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A letter to Congress on Monday from the Motion Picture Association, SAG-AFTRA and other groups calls for hiring incentives, changes to the tax code and a new federal insurance program.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise sharply in many states including California, Hollywood is demanding that federal lawmakers step up with new legislation to help save the entertainment business. In a letter that went out on Monday to Congressional leaders, prominent industry groups have outlined policies from hiring incentives to a federal insurance program they’d like to see enacted.

“These policies would help jumpstart domestic film and television production, encourage hiring and ameliorate the higher costs that must be undertaken to protect our industry’s workforce,” states the letter signed by the leaders of the Motion Picture Association, the Directors Guild of America, the Independent Film & Television Alliance, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and SAG-AFTRA.

The specific call comes as lawmakers get ready to debate a third major COVID relief package. Previously, the CARES Act provided direct payments to Americans earning below a certain income as well as forgivable loans to small businesses, among other facets.

This time, entertainment groups are supporting broad incentives to employers hiring workers. They say that work opportunity tax credits should also be available to employers who rehire workers who had previously worked for them.

The letter to federal lawmakers, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, also includes directed proposals that would be of particular benefit to the entertainment sector. For example, lawmakers are being called upon to modify an aspect of tax code pertaining to domestic production. Under Section 181, any production that meets certain basic qualifications can deduct the first $15 million of the cost against federal tax obligations. One idea thrown out is that this section be expanded with the cap changing to $15 million or 50 percent of overall production costs, whichever is greatest. Another option deals with Section 168(k), a full expensing allowance for bonus depreciation that is set to be phased out in the coming years. The entertainment industry puts this portion of the tax code on the table with proposed modifications like allowing production costs to be deducted as incurred (instead of when films are exhibited), eliminating a 44-episode limit for television production, and allowing application to acquisition of so-called “used” films.

The goal would be to quickly inject liquidity into the business.

Additionally, SAG-AFTRA and other industry groups have an eye on allowing performing artists to deduct their own unreimbursed employment expenses. At the moment, the tax code permits this only for low-income workers ($16,000 or less), but the letter states, “We ask Congress to pass the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act (HR 3121), which will raise the maximum income cap to $100,000 for individual filers and $200,000 for joint filers.”

Perhaps the biggest proposal pertains to the request for a new federal insurance program to cover pandemic-related losses. Although the letter doesn’t go into detail, it sets up a larger conversation.

“The ability of our industry to return to active production, whether on set or on location, is severely compromised by the inability to purchase insurance to cover losses stemming from communicable diseases amongst cast, crew, and others involved in the production,” states the letter. “This insurance has been available in the past and is essential to the decisions by banks and others to risk investment in a film or program that may be shut down while a single member of the cast recovers from illness or as a result of civil authority order unrelated to the specific production. Without it, production – especially independent production – cannot resume on a significant level. We urge Congress to develop a program of federal insurance (or guarantee to fill this gap) to cover pandemic-related business losses in the future.”

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Entertainment

WWE Announces Samoan Street Fight For SmackDown

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A Samoan Street Fight will take place as this week’s WWE SmackDown on FOX main event.

WWE and Sports Illustrated officially announced the match this afternoon, featuring Jey Uso and WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. King Baron Corbin and Sheamus.

This match will take place just over one week before the cousin vs. cousin match between Uso and Reigns at WWE Clash of Champions on September 27.

Below is WWE’s full announcement on Friday’s Samoan Street Fight:

Roman Reigns & Jey Uso to face Sheamus & King Corbin in Samoan Street Fight

The Bloodline will be back at it as Roman Reigns & Jey Uso battle Sheamus & King Corbin in a Samoan Street Fight this Friday on SmackDown.

As first reported by Sports Illustrated, the rematch has been set as Reigns & Uso will once again team up before their Universal Championship showdown at WWE Clash of Champions.

The Superstar cousins united last week against The Celtic Warrior & Corbin with Uso doing much of the heavy lifting. Uso showed grit in fighting off the attacks of both towering Superstars as The Big Dog laid in wait backstage. Reigns’ music helped slow down the onslaught from Sheamus & Corbin, as The Big Dog’s entrance allowed Uso to regroup.

A high-flying splash from Uso on Sheamus all but sealed the victory, but the Universal Champion cunningly tagged himself in to provide the exclamation point. Reigns then delivered a punishing Spear to The Celtic Warrior to secure the win. It wasn’t all smiles after the triumph, as the two cousins traded tenses glares while Uso attempted to raise their hands in victory.

Will Reigns use the help of Uso to “Wreck Everyone and Leave” once again? Or will Sheamus & King Corbin be able to capitalize on any friction lingering between the cousins?

Tune in to Friday Night SmackDown at 8/7 C on FOX to catch the Samoan Street Fight.

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Jordyn Jones Is Offering New Exclusive Content on Her Instagram

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With more than two million subscribers and more than 200,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, influencer Jordyn Jones is a multi-talented icon. Hailing from the midwest, Jordyn makes vlogs about her everyday life, shares sneak peeks into her current musical projects, and leads a pretty typical influencer lifestyle.

Jordyn Jones is now offering exclusive content on her Instagram.

In an effort to give fans a new opportunity to connect with her, Jordyn is now offering some exclusive content on her Instagram. Many other influencers have done similar things, though typically using other, more popular platforms.

Many other creators have Patreon communities, offering different services or exclusive content. Some, like Trisha Paytas, use their Patreon as an option for those who wish to see some of her NSFW content. Others, like Gabbie Hanna, use it to connect with their fan base.

Jordyn seems to be doing something similar with a new So Close subscription, which she started in September 2020. By following the link in her Instagram bio, fans have the option to subscribe to Jordyn’s close friends list on Instagram.

Instagram already offers a close friends feature, providing users with the option to curate a list of their followers who they can then create different stories for. If you’re on someone’s close friends list, you’ll know if their story has a green circle around it.

For only $7.99 a month, Jordyn is now offering her fans an opportunity to have access to her close friends stories. By subscribing through the link in her bio, you’ll automatically be able to see any story she posts to her close friends list.

While she hasn’t specifically stated what content she plans to share on her close friends story, some users who have already subscribed have shared some sneak peeks as to what the content looks like.

Some of her fans were hoping this was Jordyn’s foray into making adult content, but it appears that’s not the case for her close friends list.  

In a Reddit thread, one user said that much of the content she posts on her close friends list isn’t that different from what she posts on her regular story. This subscription offering from Jordyn is still new, but she’s said she plans to offer personal shoutouts to her followers on the list.

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You heard that right, ‘Big Brother’ fans: There’s a TRIPLE eviction on Thursday, October 1

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At the end of this week’s live eviction episode of “Big Brother 22,” host Julie Chen Moonves shocked America with an announcement: next Thursday’s episode will be a triple eviction. That’s right, the number of players will drop from nine to six in a special live two-hour episode airing October 1 on CBS. So how will the historic night play out?

Here’s our educated guess. The episode will begin with the elimination of jury member #3, following Ian Terry and Da’Vonne Rogers. Then there will be a Head of Household competition, a nominations ceremony, a Veto challenge, a Veto meeting and a second live eviction. The pattern will then repeat itself all over again, with a third person leaving at the end of the second hour.

SEE ‘Big Brother’ slop: What are the ingredients and rules?

That means the following nine players are all eligible to be voted out during the triple eviction, regardless of who might temporary hold the Head of Household key: Cody Calafiore, Enzo Palumbo, Tyler Crispen, Christmas Abbott, Memphis Garrett, Dani Briones, Nicole Franzel, David Alexander and Kevin Campbell.

Leading up to next Thursday’s chaos, the remaining players will interact with a “BB” legend who’s “moved in” next door: Dr. Will Kirby. He won Season 2 of CBS’s reality TV show in 2001 and returned for the first “All-Stars” edition in Season 7, which was won by his “Chilltown” alliance buddy Mike “Boogie” Malin. Will has been tapped to host the Head of Household and the Veto competitions throughout this week.

Be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the eviction episode airs live on CBS. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift card and a spot on our “Big Brother” Season 22 leaderboard. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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