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‘Pond Stars’ from Chicago suburbs launch new series ‘Pond Stars’

Four guys from suburban Chicago are proud to be “Pond Stars,” water gardening experts from west suburban-based Aquascape as they create everything from backyard koi ponds and waterfalls to revamped wildlife habitats for wolves and birds at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Emmy voters give parting gifts for final ‘Breaking Bad’ season


LORI RACKL: Stars Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul are honored as Seth Meyers hosts a surprisingly entertaining ceremony.

Docu-series stars transgender rocker Laura Jane Grace

Since coming out as transgender in 2012, Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace has been open about her struggles with gender dysphoria and the decision to be herself.

Taylor Kinney, Jesse Spencer named grand marshals for Chicago Fire Festival


“Chicago Fire” stars Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer have been named grand marshals for the inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival, the free spectacle of fire that takes place Oct. 4 on the Chicago River.

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Chicago actors poised to claim lots of Emmy gold

LORI RACKL: Though he predicts defeat, former West Sider Andre Braugher is in winning form, as are Allison Tolman, Anna Gunn and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Emmy winners

Drama Series “Breaking Bad” Actor Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” Actress Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” SUpporting actor Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” SUpporting actress Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” WRITING “Breaking Bad” DIRECTING “True Detective” Comedy Series “Modern Family” Actor Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” Actress …

Longtime ‘Saturday Night Live’ announcer Don Pardo dead at 96


Don Pardo, one of TV’s best-known announcers for his work on “Saturday Night Live” and the original “Jeopardy!,” has died at the age of 96. “There was no greater thrill than hearing Don Pardo bellow your name for the first time in the opening credits of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ” said longtime cast member Tina Fey. With his death, Fey said, “Late night will never sound as cool again.”

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Father of ‘Homer Simpson’ voice actor dead at 99

Louis Castellaneta, who raised a creative family that includes son Dan Castellaneta, the voice of countless animated characters including Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown on TV’s “The Simpsons,” died Friday at his home in the Chicago suburbs. He was 99. Dan Castellaneta said his father was “a wonderful, creative and talented man” — and funny, too.

Neal Brennan, a vegan comic from Wilmette, chews the fat on TV


LORI RACKL: On his Sundance TV chatfest “The Approval Matrix,” the writer-director leads panel discussions on pop culture.

Uzo Aduba, Joe Morton, Jimmy Fallon among creative arts Emmy winners


Uzo Aduba was among the winners of creative arts Emmy awards announced Saturday. Aduba was honored for her breakout role as a prisoner known as “Crazy Eyes” in Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.”

South Side high schooler featured on CNN’s ‘Chicagoland’ series shot, wounded


A South Side high school student who was featured on the CNN series “Chicagoland” was shot and wounded Saturday, his family said.

‘American Idol’ contestant Michael Johns dead at 35


Michael Johns, the rock ‘n’ soul singer and Australian heartthrob who was a fan favorite on Season 7 of TV’s “American Idol” singing competition, has died. The Hollywood Reporter and other news outlets reported that Johns, 35, died Friday from a blood clot in an ankle.

David Suchet wraps up ‘Poroit’ series


British actor David Suchet has spent a quarter-century bringing to life a certain fussy Belgian sleuth with a mustache as impeccable as his intellect and crime-solving skills. For Suchet’s dedication to Hercule Poirot through 70 television adaptations of Agatha Christie’s works, he has been rewarded …

‘Dating Naked’ doesn’t faze La Grange man


Suburban programmer ‘all in’ as he strips down for relationship show

‘Naked’ ambition can help you make it in reality TV


The “Dating Naked” series is the latest example of reality television’s newest trend. Nudity is hot, no longer confined to late-night premium cable.

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‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

NEW YORK — Don’t worry about me. The Sharknado Evacuation map supplied by Syfy network places me, as a resident of Lower Manhattan, smack in the zone most in peril this sharknado season. But I’ll be ready. You might as well batten down the hatches, …