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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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]
  5. 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.
  6. 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....

    DLynn Proctor from Penfolds assembles the decanter at Bern's Steak House.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. MTV's 'Siesta Key' reality series gets a premiere date (w/video)


    Details remain scarce about MTV's upcoming reality series filmed in Siesta Key, but the cable network this week announced that Siesta Key will premiere on Monday, July 31.

    The verified Siesta Key Twitter account posted its first-ever tweet to share the premiere news, along with the short teaser trailer that was first seen during the MTV Movie and TV Awards. ...

    A screen shot from the teaser trailer for MTV's "Siesta Key."
  12. The Rays DJ Kitty onesie is at once ridiculous and amazing


    Could this be the Tampa Bay Rays most coveted giveaway since the Zim Bear

    The DJ Kitty onesie, complete with a tail, a hood featuring a cat face and "DJ Kitty" written across the back, is coming to Tropicana Field on July 22. The first 15,000 ticketholders who arrive to the Rays-Rangers game will receive the fashion statement/comfy pajamas of the season....

    The Rays are giving away this DJ Kitty onesie on July 22.
  13. Guy Fieri in Tampa buying fireworks? Eating ramen in St. Pete? Food Network star spotted across Tampa Bay


    Perhaps you've heard that celebrity chef, Food Network host and hair icon Guy Fieri was all up in St. Petersburg last week.

    He was filming Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but apparently his Tampa Bay encounters went beyond the one he had with a steaming bowl of Buya's ramen....

    Guy Fieri holds a package of fireworks at Phantom Fireworks on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa.
  14. Why everything is the worst when July 4 is on a Tuesday


    Welcome back to the mid-week Fourth of July holiday.

    This year it's on a Tuesday, but settle in. Next up is a Wednesday and a Thursday. Independence day returns to a sweet, merciful Saturday in 2020.

    Want a long weekend for Independence Day before then? For those who work Monday to Friday, it's going to require burning a coveted vacation day or two, or planning that full vacation on this most busy and expensive of summer travel weeks....

    The Declaration of Independence (1819), John Trumbull.
  15. Watch the trailer for 'Mini Lights,' based on St. Petersburg's frightening urban legend


    Perhaps you've heard of the "mini lights." The tales can vary a bit, but generally, they're said to be nasty little creatures controlled by a witch that once lived near Booker Creek. They come out after dark to "get you."

    Plenty of locals have heard the creepy urban legend rooted in south St. Petersburg. Some even believe in it, as we explored in a 2016 story. And if local mural artist Johnny Vitale of the Vitale Brothers has his way, a lot more people will soon know about them too....

    A scene from the proof of concept trailer for a mini lights movie.