Taylor Swift is back in the recording studio

9:30 am EDT, February 18, 2014

Seven time Grammy winner and international superstar, Taylor Swift, is currently in the process of writing and recording her still untitled fifth studio album, the follow-up to 2012’s multi-platinum blockbuster, Red.

After writing 2010’s Speak Now completely on her own, Swift decided to spread her wings on Red and reach out to various collaborators that she had always admired. These collaborators included music industry greats Dan Wilson, Max Martin, and Johan Shellback, amongst others.

Red marked a musical departure for Swift and the sixteen song set marked her most musically diverse album to date. Swift has made it known that she always wants to be reinventing herself lyrically and sonically from album to album and from what we know so far, she is assembling an all-star team of collaborators for her new project.

Swift posted a photo on her Instagram account on February 14, 2014 and proclaimed “It was a studio Valentines Day with Max and Johan!” The photo features the singer with monster hit makers Max Martin and Johan Shellback, who Swift collaborated with on her #1 hits “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “22,” hanging out in a recording studio on Valentine’s Day. Swift has already stated that she will be doing “a lot more than three songs” with the hit making duo this time around after the huge success of the aforementioned tracks.

In an interview with Billboard.com (shared on YouTube), acclaimed songwriter Dianne Warren has confirmed that she has written a song with Taylor for the new record. Warren said that she is “excited about the song we did. It’s pretty cool.” Frontman of One Republic, Ryan Tedder, has also confirmed that he has done some recent work with Swift for her new album. He had this to say about working with her:

I did a little stuff with Taylor, who’s probably the fastest songwriter I ever met in my life. I can go on record saying that Taylor is genuinely the quickest songwriter I’ve ever – for anyone who doubts it she writes her own stuff. Any idea and you’re like “Yeah I don’t know if I like that lyric” and she’ll have three options, replaced within 10 seconds, she’s like bam bam bam. She’s bit of a prodigy, bit of a songwriting prodigy.

Swift is well known for her songwriting skills. She was a hired songwriter at the tender of age of fourteen (before she even signed her first record deal) with SONY/ATV Publishing. She has been awarded the Nashville Songwriter’s award six years in a row, recently set a record at the American Music Awards after winning Artist of the Year for the third time in November, and is the youngest person ever to win Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards (for Fearless in 2010). Her most recent effort, Red, was also nominated for Album of the Year at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Swift typically takes about two years in between albums, which she says allows her to live life and have a great pool of experiences to draw upon and write about. Swift recently told Billboard that “there are probably seven or eight songs that I know I want on the record. It’s already evolved into a new sound, and that’s all I wanted.”

Fans of the songstress will have to wait until sometime during the fourth quarter of 2014 to hear the new material that she has been working on — but don’t fret too much because it will surely be worth the wait.

When do you suspect we’ll hear Taylor Swift’s next album?

Starz has decided that their original programming can compete with the other hot shows airing on Sunday nights.

Network CEO Chris Albrecht has told THR that they are planning on moving all of their original shows including Outlander, Ash Vs Evil Dead, and Black Sails — which currently air on Saturdays — to Sundays. The move will begin July 17 with the Starz series Power. Outlander will likely not move to Sundays until next season.

“Sundays are a prestige night and we feel our shows are definitely going to be very competitive, not just in viewership but in the attention-getting business on Sundays,” Albrecht said to THR, “So it made sense to move.”

Outlander and Starz’s other original series will be going up against tough competition, including AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game of Thrones. Albrecht says part of the reason he wanted to move the shows was to make sure they were part of the watercooler talk on Monday mornings.

THR notes that Showtime’s original series typically get DVR’d, “growing 214 percent [in viewership] during the course of a week.” This would suggest that a lot of people aren’t sitting in front of a TV on Saturdays and want to watch the shows on a different day of the week. So, moving their programming to Sundays may not impact overall viewership numbers much.

Starz recently overtook Showtime as the second-most subscribed to cable channel. HBO still sits at number one, though all three are facing tough competition from Netflix.

Disney has set its sights on another live-action retelling of an animated classic: The Little Mermaid.

Deadline reports that the studio “recently heard a new take and are currently evaluating whether to proceed with the idea,” and “discussions have also taken place with some major producers, including some with a strong connection to the studio.”

That’s all we know for now. A “new take” makes it sound like they could be contemplating an alternate story than the one we saw in the 1989 animated classic, but I’d personally prefer a direct adaptation. I want to see live-action Ariel sing some of the Disney classics! Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book has spoiled me.

Like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid is one of Disney’s most beloved animated movies, so expectations for a live-action adaptation will immediately be set very high. With their recent adaptation of The Jungle Book hitting theaters to very positive reviews and the first trailer for their live-action Beauty and the Beast being very well received, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Disney start to look at other potential animated properties for source material. (But you would’ve expected to hear about a live-action Lion King before Little Mermaid after The Jungle Book’s success, wouldn’t you?)

The Little Mermaid is the latest in a long line of animated-to-live action projects in the works at Disney. Others include an Aladdin spinoff looking at the Genie’s origins, The Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson, Dumbo with director Tim Burton, Mary Poppins with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt, and Tinker Bell with Reese Witherspoon. And then there are sequels to the adaptations like Maleficent 2 and The Jungle Book 2.

Be sure to cross The Little Mermaid off your animated-to-live-action bingo card.

Do you think Disney can pull off a live-action ‘Little Mermaid’?

With Donald Trump’s presidency looking less and less like a joke, these high-profile authors and writers believe the time for silence is over.

Over 400 authors have signed a petition to keep Donald Trump out of the White House.

The petition, titled “An open letter to the American people,” was written by Andrew Altschul and Mark Slouka. It unequivocally states that Trump must not become President of the United States, and explains why writers in particular are worried about the power of his empty words and fear-mongering rhetoric.

Signed by the likes of Stephen King, Junot Diaz, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Cheryl Strayed, Colm Tóibín and Jennifer Egan, the open letter lays out reasons for openly opposing Trump’s candidacy, which they believe “appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society.”

The letter states:

“Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power;

Because we believe that any democracy worthy of the name rests on pluralism, welcomes principled disagreement, and achieves consensus through reasoned debate;

Because American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another;

Because the history of dictatorship is the history of manipulation and division, demagoguery and lies;

Because the search for justice is predicated on a respect for the truth;

Because we believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader;

Because neither wealth nor celebrity qualifies anyone to speak for the United States, to lead its military, to maintain its alliances, or to represent its people;

Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response;

For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.”

While there are plenty of arguments for why Trump should not receive as much media coverage as he gets, we have to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation when some of the country’s most respected artists take such a powerful stance as this.

The petition has been signed by over 7,000 people so far, and you can add your name to the list right here.

You can find out more about the group of writers who oppose Trump on Twitter, at @WritersOnTrump.