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Christopher Spata, Times Staff Writer

Christopher Spata

Christopher Spata is a web producer and features writer for the Tampa Bay Times, focusing on entertainment, pop culture, social media and things to do. He also contributes to The Feed blog. A lifelong Floridian, he previously worked as a web producer and entertainment reporter for the Tampa Tribune, and covered sports for the Ocala Star-Star Banner. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 2011, and joined the Times in 2016.

Phone: (727) 893-8719


Twitter: @spatatimes

  1. 'Wonder Woman 2' gets a release date


    The sequel to Warner Bros. massive superhero hit Wonder Woman has a release date.

    Wonder Woman 2 is set to hit theaters on Dec. 13, 2019, according to Variety. 

    Star Gal Gadot is set to return as Diana of Themyscira, and Patty Jenkins is still in negotiations for the director job, the Associated Press reported....

    'Wonder Woman' starring Gal Gadot was a box office smash hit.
  2. Val Kilmer says he's canceling his Tampa Bay Comic Con appearance


    Val Kilmer and the Tampa Bay Comic Con announced today that the Batman, Tombstone and Willow star has canceled his appearance at the convention in Tampa this weekend. 

    Kilmer was arguably the best-known celebrity guest in the lineup for this year's convention happening Friday through Sunday at the Tampa Convention Center. This morning Kilmer tweeted he was canceling the appearance due to "family stuff."...

    Val Kilmer has canceled his appearance at Tampa Bay Comic Con.
  3. People online are calling Snooty the 'new Harambe'


    The accidental death of Snooty the manatee, days after thousands attended his 69th birthday celebration, was incredibly sad, and there has been a genuine outpouring of grief, including a memorial at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.

    There also might be another thing happening. Call it the Harambe effect. Think all the way back to last year, when the genuine anger over the death of the Cincinnatti Zoo's gorilla Harambe began to subside, and his afterlife as a viral internet meme began to pick up steam....

    A Reddit user named Rachelguy72 posted this image to Reddit on Monday. It shows Snooty, David Bowie and Harambe in heaven together.
  4. Throwback Tampa Bay station 102.9 goes from R&B jams to WFLA-AM's conservative talk


    Talk radio station WFLA-AM (970) began simulcasting on 102.9 FM in the Tampa area this morning. 

    The local 102.9 frequency had previously been Throwback Tampa Bay, which played "throwback hip-hop and R&B" that was mostly 90s hits from artists like Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z. ...

    Tampa's 102.9 is going from Throwback Tampa Bay to WFLA-AM's news radio.
  5. Photos: Snooty the manatee remained lovable over the years


    Snooty, the world's oldest living manatee in captivity, and arguably the world's most famous, has died, the South Florida Museum announced on Sunday. 

    Snooty had just turned 69-years-old and had lived in Bradenton since the 1940s.

    Story: Snooty, oldest manatee in captivity, dies in accident...

    Snooty around the time of his 28th birthday celebration in 1976.
  6. William Shatner, 'Vampire Diaries' and 'Stranger Things' stars coming to Tampa for MegaCon


    If you were disappointed when William Shatner canceled his appearance at last year's inaugural MegaCon Tampa, cheer up: Star Trek's original captain is scheduled to appear at this year's MegaCon Tampa, running Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Tampa Convention Center, organizers announced this week.

    Shatner is among a group of celebrity guests that now includes John Scott Barrowman (Arrow and Doctor Who), Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries), plus Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin, who play Lucas and Dustin on Netflix's Stranger Things....

    William Shatner is scheduled to appear at Megacon Tampa.
  7. Report: Singer R. Kelly accused of holding Polk County woman in abusive 'cult'


    An aspiring Polk County singer is among half a dozen young women being kept, "brainwashed" and abused in a sort of "cult" maintained by music star R. Kelly, according to an investigation by Buzzfeed News that published today.

    The accusations come from the women's parents, as well as former members of the 50-year-old R&B star's inner circle, who say that Kelly has the women living in six properties around Chicago and Atlanta, where a "den mother" (a best friend of the woman who appeared on the infamous sex tape Kelly went to trial over) instructs them on how to please Kelly.  ...

    R. Kelly performs at a concert in Chicago in 2015.
  8. Video: BBC reveals thirteenth Doctor Who is a woman


    Actress Jodie Whittaker will be the first woman to play the iconic Doctor Who, the BBC announced Sunday.

    Whittaker, probably best known for her role in the movie Attack the Block, was revealed as the 13th Doctor in a YouTube video posted to the show's official Twitter account. 

    Watch it below: 


    The BBC released a video revealing the next Doctor Who.
  9. Knives, Chick-fil-A and flying tilapia: Here's the animal rights group behind it all


    A group of animal activists went on a protest through Pinellas County this week, causing a scene inside a local Chick-fil-A and later hurling a fisherman's catch back into the water.

    The incidents have sparked anger online from viewers who think the displays went too far. Activists from the group, Direct Action Everywhere, said members had been threatened. Addresses and personal information had been posted on Facebook and other public forums....

    Activists with Direct Action Everywhere enter a Pinellas Park Chick-Fil-A restaurant where a protest was held on Tuesday, July 11.  [Vimeo]
  10. ESPYs highlights: Peyton Manning at the retirement home, Michelle Obama honors athletes


    Host Peyton Manning drew big laughs at his own expense at Wednesday night's ESPY Awards. 

    The legendary former QB played up his retirement from the NFL in a retirement home sketch that pitted him against an elderly woman named Ruth, though it turned out he had reasons to dislike her that went beyond "taking all the good coupons."

    Manning also had jokes at other athletes' expense, including one about Kevin Durant that the NBA star genuinely did not seem to appreciate....

    Peyton Manning offered a glimpse at "retired life" in pre-taped videos that aired during the ESPYs.
  11. Bern's acquires ultra-rare $185,000 decanter, brings in a Netflix star to reveal it


    Bern's Steak House in Tampa is home to one of the largest and most respected wine collections on earth, and now it's also home to one of the world's rarest wine accessories.

    The restaurant announced today that it had "acquired" a Penfolds Aevum Imperial Service Ritual. Translation: a 3-foot-tall, 100-plus-pound, crystal decanter produced via a collaboration between famed French glassmaker Saint-Louis and the Australian wine producer Penfolds....

    Bern's revealed its Penfold wine and decanter on Wednesday.
  12. Chris Tucker and DL Hughley teaming up for Tampa show


    Chris Tucker has definitely slowed down the rate of his movie roles over the past few years, but he has a full slate of stand-up comedy performances coming up, including a big show in Tampa with comedian DL Hughley

    Tucker and Hughley will hit the stage at Amalie Arena on Sept. 8, the arena announced today. Tickets, priced at $41.75 and $61.75, go on sale July 14 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and the arena's box office....

    Chris Tucker will perform in Tampa this fall.
  13. Looking back, HSN brings celebrity star power to St. Petersburg


    HSN is one of the Tampa Bay area's largest public companies, and it's dedicated to selling things.

    Perhaps that's why it's easy to sometimes forget that it's also a TV network, and, as such, needs stars the kind of big personalities who make you stop flipping channels.

    Over the years the home shopping network has drawn all sorts of them here: actors, celebrity chefs, big-name designers and pop musicians from across genres....

    Tony Little, Emeril Lagasse, Mary J. Blige and Keith Urban are a few of the celebrities who come to St. Petersburg to appear on HSN.
  14. The internet's best jokes about QVC buying HSN


    You may have heard by now that QVC's parent company acquired the shopping network's main competitor, HSN, in a $2.1 billion deal today.

    And if you were paying attention to the comments on this story as it pinged around the interwebs, you'd see that people found a lot of humor in it Here are some of the funniest QVC-HSN jokes we spotted on Reddit and Twitter....

    Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, right, appeared on HSN in 2014.
  15. Actress Jane Seymour spotted in St. Petersburg


    Yes, that was actress Jane Seymour shopping on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

    Florida CraftArt shared photos of Seymour visiting the gallery, where she browsed the artwork and purchased a reversible handmade fiber jacket by Robin Pelsynski.

    "She's a member. It's not the first time she's been in, supporting local artists," gallery manager Liz Rogers said. "She's been working over at HSN, so she's been around."...

    Actress Jane Seymour at Florida CraftArt gallery in St. Petersburg.