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Analysis: New year, new content, new Pop Life newsletter

A version of this story appeared in Pop Life Chronicles, CNN’s weekly entertainment newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.


We are only a few days into 2023 and I already have mixed emotions about the new year.

On one hand, it’s supposed to be a fresh start and a chance to do better. On the other, some old specters from years past are continuing to haunt us – from Covid-19 to divisive politics.

I think we all could use a bit of a change.

To that point, I am remixing Pop Life Chronicles a bit.

Towards the end of last year, I asked you, my dear readers, what you most enjoyed about this newsletter – and overwhelmingly, you said it’s the section that gives you something to sip on. Cocktails first, of course.

So, while I’ll still be serving up suggestions on entertainment to watch, talk about and listening to, you’ll notice some new formatting and fresh flavors in this week’s letter and moving forward.

Let’s get it started with a toast to new beginnings, shall we?

Celine Dion performs at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada, on September 18, 2019.

Social media was made for outrage.

Seriously, where would Twitter be if we took away all the rage?

Granted, some of the things folks choose to argue about are ridiculous, but when it comes to Celine Dion, her supporters do not play.

The singer was recently left off Rolling Stone’s list of the 200 greatest singers of all time and Dion fans rose up in a fury.

Lists like this are often curated to spur debate, but Dion is indisputably one of the most tremendous singers ever to hold a microphone. And given her recent revelation that she’s unable to perform due to being diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder, the exclusion seemed all the more harsh.

Now, the cynic in some may say that her being snubbed was the best thing to happen to the ranking, as it has people talking. But if you want music audiences to take your judgments seriously, not including singers like Dion – or Dionne Warwick, also missing from the list – doesn’t seem like the best strategy.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the WellChild awards at Royal Lancaster Hotel on September 4, 2018 in London.

Are you growing weary of hearing from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex?

Count me among those who believe they have both been treated horribly, but I also understand the sentiment among some that “H” and “M” – as they lovingly referred to each other in their recent Netflix docuseries – might be a bit overexposed.

Prince Harry has new interviews airing this weekend with both Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” and British network ITV to promote his upcoming memoir.

There are more than a few Americans – I’m raising a hand to give a royal wave – who have a hunger for news on “the firm,” but how much of a good thing (or in the case of Harry and Meghan, a bad thing) is too much?

It can be a tough to maintain balance between controlling your own narrative and the sense that you’re telling the same story over and over again. Let’s keep in mind, however, that Harry has a book to sell – that necessitates doing press and making appearances.

What do you think? Drop me a line and let me know your opinion.

Dua Lipa performs at the Qudos Bank Arena on November 8, 2022 in Sydney.

No, Dua Lipa doesn’t have a new album out, but she does have an interesting podcast.

“Dua Lipa: At Your Service” is an interview-based series in which the singer has welcomed an array of distinguished guests, including former “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, civil rights leader Bryan Stevenson and famed director Pedro Almodóvar, among others.

Lipa is even planning to record a live episode at the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts this coming summer in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

“Dua Lipa: At Your Service” can be heard wherever podcasts are available.

Quinta Brunson in a scene from

‘Abbot Elementary’

School is back in session!

There may not be a more delightful show airing or streaming currently than “Abbott Elementary,” and it’s back after winter break for some new episodes.

Its creator and star Quinta Brunson has managed to craft a series that is funny, poignant and earnest; it’s an important homage to educators everywhere. And isn’t it lovely to have appointment sitcom viewing again?

The series returned to ABC on Wednesday and is also streaming on Hulu.

A scene from

‘Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street’

Invariably, whenever a new year comes around, I start looking at my finances and vowing to stick to a budget. (I do not actually stick to a budget.)

Now, my finances are hardly of the caliber that Bernie Madoff was interested in, but the rise and fall of his massive Ponzi scheme remains one of the most fascinating white collar crimes of all time – so I’m chips in for this Netflix docuseries about the disgraced financier, who died in 2021 while serving a 150 year prison sentence.

“Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street” is streaming now.

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