Analysis: Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial and the return of ‘Succession’ are serving up rich content


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.


If you don’t think money can bring happiness, you may not be using it correctly.

Yes, I understand the sentiment is meant to teach us that wealth isn’t everything. But, personally, I think it’s a scam invented by rich people to keep the rest of us feeling content even as the bills pile up.

They can’t, however, keep us from dreaming. So this week’s newsletter is about our fascination with major money — and the people who have it.

We all love the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, and we deserve to revel in all the mess that seems to come with.

Gwyneth Paltrow in court on March 27, 2023, in Park City, Utah.

There’s no other way to say it: Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial proved to be quite the (ski) trip.

To catch you up, Paltrow was sued by Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist who alleges she crashed into him, causing lasting injuries and brain damage, while they were both skiing at the Deer Valley Park ski resort in Park City, Utah, in February 2016. He was seeking more than $300,000 in damages, according to court documents.

Paltrow denied these claims, and alleges it was Sanderson who skied into her. She counter-sued for a symbolic $1 and attorney’s fees. On Thursday, the jury found in Paltrow’s favor, deliberating for some two hours before returning their verdict.

“I am pleased with the outcome and I appreciate all of the hard work of Judge Holmberg and the jury, and thank them for their thoughtfulness in handling this case,” Paltrow said In a statement released afterward via her lawyers.

It had all the elements to get audiences hooked on trial live feeds: from fame to courtroom fashion to family drama to a Taylor Swift cameo of sorts.

As a matter of fact, at various points it appeared Sanderson’s defense team leaned into painting Paltrow as a privileged, wealthy celebrity, which tickled me given that anyone familiar with Goop knows that is literally her brand.

It’s also why the recent debut of the fourth and final season of “Succession” stirred a ton of conversation.

The HBO series — for those who haven’t queued it — focuses on the aging patriarch of a media company and the machinations in and around his family members facing off in consideration to be, you guessed it, his successor. (HBO is also owned by CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.) Naturally, they are stinking rich and that adds to the drama.

The new season premiere felt tailor-made for a viewer like me, who has spent so many hours watching high-end real estate shows like “Selling Sunset” and “Million Dollar Listing,” along with exotic travel shows like “Street Food.” I even watched “Only Murders in the Building,” in part, for the sumptuous New York City apartments.

Sure, it’s aspirational, but also participatory — you can get a taste of the good life from your couch.

Jennifer Coolidge in a scene from

There can be no talk of such content without mentioning “The White Lotus.”

Another wildly successful HBO series, “The White Lotus” sharply satirizes socioeconomic divides in ways you could not ever imagine, and yet wholeheartedly believe. Plus, how can you not love a show that finally gave Jennifer Coolidge her leading lady dues?

People are already craving season three, which Variety has reported will be set at a luxury resort in Thailand. I could not be more excited, and you should be too — all it’ll take is a quick Google Image search and you’ll be reveling in the architecture, food and locations we might be served up if the news is true. (HBO has yet to comment on the report’s veracity.)

Still, film quickly, you guys!

Tyler the Creator performs during the  Lollapalooza Music Festival on July 30, 2021, in Chicago.

Thank you, Tyler, The Creator, for dropping an album that fits neatly into this week’s theme: “Call Me If You Get Lost: The Estate Sale.”

An estate sale is, of course, often associated with the well-to-do. For Tyler’s fans, his tracks are golden — and this album is a particular gift, because it’s a collection of tracks that didn’t make it onto his previous album, “Call Me If You Get Lost.” Incidentally, that record won out in the best rap album category at this year’s Grammys.

“Call Me If You Get Lost was the first album I made with a lot of songs that didn’t make the final cut,” the rapper tweeted this week. “Some of those songs I really love… so I’ve decided to put a few of them out.”

“Call Me If You Get Lost: The Estate Sale” is out now.

From left: Condola Rashad and Paul Giamatti in a scene from

The insular world of fund management can actually be entertaining.

Case in point: the Showtime hit “Billions,” starring Damian Lewis as hedge-fund king Bobby Axelrod, among others.

If you haven’t been watching, you have time to stream the show’s first six seasons (I know, but it’s worth it) before its seventh. No official premiere date has been released as yet, but according to Lewis’ co-star Dan Soder, “Season seven, the final season of ‘Billions,’” is “on its way.”

At least that’s what he appeared to slip and tell Mike Berman this week on “Football Night in Chicago.”

“Am I not supposed to say that?” Soder said after his reveal. “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say that.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Berman quipped. “You just said it.”

Loose lips can cost, but we are still grateful for the heads up.

From left: Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin in a scene from the fourth season of

And of course I’ve got to end up with “Succession” because, well, refer back to all things above.

It’s on everyone’s must-watch list, after all, so I would be a poor observer of popular culture if I didn’t include it on mine.


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