Alyssa Milano’s protest over ‘heartbeat bill’: 9 entertainment stories that impacted Georgia in 2019


2019 was a year of triumph. And tragedy. One of hope. And heartbreak. Before we embark on 2020, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s content curation desk is taking a look back at the biggest stories of 2019 and their effects on Georgia and the rest of the nation. Today’s topic: Arts and Entertainment.

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

9. Atlanta cancels the Peach Drop

In November, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms shared the bombshell news with Majic 107.5/97.5’s afternoon host Ryan Cameron that there would be no Peach Drop this New Year’s Eve. The tradition has taken place in Atlanta for 30 years. Bottoms said logistics and a need to reevaluate the location, which was formerly the Atlanta Underground, was the cause of the cancellation.

“We’re going to take a break, reevaluate, reexamine the location and how we plan it out,” she said. “And when it comes back, I promise you it will be bigger and better.”

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

8. Steve Harvey loses his show

For a while, Steve Harvey’s face was broadcast to the world from morning to prime time on network television. He had hosted not only his own talk show the “Steve” but also the syndicated classic game show “Family Feud” and the kids’ talent show “Little Big Shots.” In May, it seemed America’s hardest-working personality hit a bump in the road. His talk show was canceled by NBC, and he lost his “Little Big Shots” hosting gig to comedic actress Melissa McCarthy. Harvey, who has a home in Atlanta, started his talk show in 2012 in Chicago.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

7. Jeff Dauler 94.1 ouster

Another big entertainment news story that happened in May involved radio personality Jeff Dauler. Formerly a sidekick on syndicated radio show “The Bert Show,” Dauler started his own show on Star 94.1 three years ago. The comedian was suddenly fired in May. Dauler hosted a show with fellow “The Bert Show” expat Jenn Hobby. Hobby remained employed with the radio station, and Dauler would later share he felt betrayed by his former cohost.

This is somebody that I truly loved and supported and championed every second I could ...

All this stuff was going on. I really could have used her as a friend and I feel like she turned her back on me." — Jeff Dauler

6. Time Warner, AT&T restructuring 

Turner Broadcasting has long been associated with one of the entities that set the stage for Atlanta’s eventual title as the Hollywood of the South. In March, media outlets began reporting that AT&T would merge with Time Warner, and that the Turner name, a reflection of founder and business tycoon Ted Turner, would be phased out. The merger reportedly led to significant staff reductions. The now WarnerMedia includes HBO and three Turner networks: TNT, TBS and truTV.

Credit: Prince Williams

Credit: Prince Williams

5. Rapper T.I.’s sister dies

Those who had grown to love T.I.’s older sister Precious from her appearances on the rapper’s reality show were reeling in February, when she died after a car crash. Precious, whose legal name was Antoinette Chapman, had become unconscious while driving her Dodge Avenger and crashed into a pole. A medical examiner in June confirmed the 66-year-old died from a combination of health issues, including hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease.

“Antoinette Chapman died as a result of cocaine toxicity which aggravated hypertensive cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure),” the report reads.

Precious Harris had regularly appeared on “T.I. and Tiny’s Family Hustle” on VH1 up until her death.

4. Lil Nas X rises, comes out as gay

Lil Nas X has taken his "horse down"a road few would have ever imagined during the last year. The Lithia Springs native went from an unknown rapper on social media to a Billboard chart record-breaking hip-hop star in a year. His hit "Old Town Road" remained in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 100 longer than any other artist in history. At the height of his success, the rapper, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, announced that he is gay. He made the announcement on World Pride Day via his Twitter account. Several fans and fellow artists applauded the "Panini" artist for his openness.

3. Alyssa Milano tells Hollywood to leave Georgia over 'heartbeat' bill

When the Georgia State Senate passed the “heartbeat” abortion bill, actress Alyssa Milano went into immediate protest mode. The bill calls for making it illegal to perform abortions if a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected, which happens around six weeks.

Milano rallied movie executives and actors to end their working and future projects in Georgia due to the support from Gov. Brian Kemp and others.

“There are over 20 productions shooting in GA & the state just voted to strip women of their bodily autonomy. Hollywood! We should stop feeding GA economy,” she wrote in a March tweet.

Several Hollywood actors including Jason Bateman, Bradley Whitford and Ron Perlman supported Milano’s message on Twitter. But the AJC reported in June that there was no  “immediate evidence that a Hollywood boycott of Georgia’s fledgling TV and movie industry is in the offing.”

Credit: WSB-TV WSB-TV Getty Images

Credit: WSB-TV WSB-TV Getty Images

2. R. Kelly saga

In January, a Lifetime documentary called “Surviving R. Kelly” made claims about Kelly’s sexual assault of girls and reportedly keeping young women at his home against their will. Spotify removed his music as a result of the documentary. And the once beloved R&B hitmaker would began seeing tour dates canceled. The troubled singer would eventually be charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse after an investigation into incidents from the 1990s.

In November, there were reports that one of his victims, Joycelyn Savage of Atlanta, was ready to share her story via the paid membership platform Patreon, but she later claimed her account was hacked.

Credit: Ryon Horne

Credit: Ryon Horne

1. Tyler Perry Studios grand opening

The reopening of Tyler Perry Studios in October became the hot entertainment, feel-good story of the year throughout the nation. Perry’s studios, which are housed at the site of a former Confederate army base, was expanded to more than 300 acres, making it larger than Warner Bros., Paramount and Disney’s combined. With it, Perry, who was once homeless, became the first African American to own a major film production studio outright. The gala celebrating this feat brought out Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee, Taraji P. Henson and dozens of other A-listers.

Check out the other stories in our year-end project:

9 for 2019: Top Georgia stories

9 for 2019: Top sports stories

9 for 2019: Top business stories

9 for 2019: Top national stories

9 for 2019: Top weather stories

9 for 2019: Top world stories9 for 2019: Notable deaths

9 for 2019: Top political stories