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Ask Stacy for Nov 18-19, 2017

Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith on

DEAR STACY: There is so much in the news about the drop in football ratings due to the national anthem protests. How bad is it, really? -- Micahglen

DEAR Micahglen; Put it this way -- it's doubtful that even if the protests stopped tomorrow the NFL's viewership slip would be over.

Looking over week after week of ratings in which multiple NFL games dominate the Top 10, one must realize that even if it is a somewhat smaller monster, football remains the monster of the fall season. But there is a decline.

As of the beginning of this month, overall ratings for NFL games were down about 5 percent from 2016. Only Monday Night Football on ESPN has seen an increase (6 percent up from last year, according to Sports Business Journal). This drop has been attributed to a number of factors -- not only the hot button issue of players taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of oppression of people of color.

Football figures from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to Fox CEO James Murdoch to Maury Brown of Forbes magazine point to oversaturation a probable culprit behind slipping ratings as football occupies more space in the view-o-sphere, including increased Thursday night and Sunday morning (London) games.

Cuban cites millennials' migration away from traditional TV as another factor in the trend. Then there are the sad stories of numerous players bedeviled with early onset Alzheimer's attributable to football concussions.

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DEAR STACY: Has anyone ever determined whether Brittany Murphy and her husband actually died due to toxic mold in their house? -- Beverly J., Paradise, CA

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DEAR BEVERLY: Although the late actress' mother, Sharon, became convinced that toxic mold was behind the deaths of her 32-year-old daughter and, five months later, 39-year-old son-in-law -- both of whom suffered pneumonia and anemia -- there has never been an official determination in that regard. Sharon eventually settled her lawsuit against the builders of the five-bedroom home, as well as another lawsuit against the legal team she claimed had not rightly apprised in regard to the possibility of suing for wrongful death. The L.A. county coroner's office determined that the 2009 death of the "Clueless" and "8 Mile" actress was due to a combination of pneumonia, anemia and medication. She had on hand an assortment of over-the-counter and prescription drugs (including hydrocodone) -- all of which were legal. Murphy's estranged father raised the possibility of foul play, but nothing concrete ever came of that.

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DEAR STACY: Kristen Bell and Dax Shephard are so cute. How long have they been together? Married? Besides the Samsung commercials, what have they been in together? -- HannahS

DEAR HANNAHS: The popular star couple met in 2007 at a birthday party for mutual friends, and married in 2013. They have two daughters, Lincoln, age 4, and Delta, 3. They co-starred in the 2010 film, "When In Rome," the 2012 film "Hit and Run," and this year's ill-fated "CHiPs".

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DEAR STACY: Whatever happened to the proposed film biography of Lena Horne? -- Lena Fan, Chattanooga, TN

DEAR FAN: Several projects about the brilliant, iconic performer, who died in 2010, have been announced, but so far, none have made it to production. There was the Janet Jackson planned TV biopic that was derailed after the pop star's breast-baring Super Bowl moment back in 2004. Lena and her daughter asked ABC not to allow Janet to portray her, and even though the network resisted, Janet willingly backed out. Then producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan left the project in solidarity with Janet. After that, Alicia Keys developed a movie about Lena with Oprah Winfrey, but it never got made. A couple of years ago, actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield ("Biker Boyz," "I Am Legend") launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a play with music called A Lady Must Live aimed at Broadway; she said she'd love to make a movie of it, too. That also seems to have stalled. It's too bad. With a dramatic life story that spans the heyday of Harlem's Cotton Club, Golden Era Hollywood, blacklisting, the Civil Rights Movement and on, the sensual singer-actress certainly warrants a biopic.

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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