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Fox's Wallace extracts headline with follow-up question

Fox News' Chris Wallace worked hard Wednesday to keep the final presidential debate substantive with tough questions to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but it was the simplest of queries that extracted the biggest headline.

Noting Trump's claims that the election was being rigged against him, Wallace asked the Republican whether he would accept the results win or lose, noting that GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said that he would. When Trump answered that "we will look at it at the time," Wallace seemed incredulous.

The veteran newsman pointed out that a peaceful transition of power is one of the nation's longest traditions, no matter how tough the campaign.

"Are you saying you're not prepared to commit to that principle?" Wallace asked

Answered Trump: "I will keep you in suspense."

Wallace walked the finest of lines during a campaign where debate moderators received an intense focus. As the first-ever general election moderator of Fox News, he had the hopes of an organization in the midst of a tough year riding on him along as additional baggage. Fox critics worried that he'd go easy on Trump because of the GOP bent of Fox's prime-time lineup.

He kept things straight and issue-oriented and rode herd on the audience and candidates to keep control. Wallace promised he would not take on the role of fact-checker and largely adhered to that, although he had one nasty exchange with Trump in correcting the candidate on statements made in Syria in the last debate.

Wallace tended to open a subject area with a general question before boring in on specifics to each candidate. For instance, he asked each candidate about their philosophies in naming Supreme Court justices, then moved in to ask Clinton about partial-birth abortions and Trump about whether he sought to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

"It was a fair and balanced debate," said Megyn Kelly, Wallace's Fox colleague. "He pressed both sides."

Wallace asked Trump about the Republican's denials that he had groped or made unwelcome advances to women. Several women have come forward with stories following the release of a lewd "Access Hollywood" tape where Trump bragged of touching women against their will, after Trump denied that he had engaged in the conduct.

"Why would so many different women from so many different circumstances over so many different years, why would they all in the last couple of weeks ... make up these stories?" Wallace asked him.

When Trump claimed that "nobody has more respect for women than I do," some audience members in Las Vegas laughed — and Wallace was quick to scold them. "Please, everybody," he said.

While Trump twice made it a point to thank Wallace for questions posed to Clinton — including the former secretary of state's claims in a leaked email about free trade — the Republican seemed visibly angry when the newsman tried to correct him on points made about Syria in a previous debate.

"If I may finish the question," Wallace said.

His toughest exchange with Clinton came when he asked the Democrat about "pay-to-play" charges surrounding people who made contributions to the Clinton foundation. When Clinton answered by praising the work the Clinton foundation had done, Wallace interrupted her with a reminder to answer the question posed. She didn't get the chance, since Trump interrupted at about the same time, and Wallace turned to him for a rebuttal.

While occasionally wordy, Wallace's questions seemed designed to get the candidates talking and he mostly let them go at it. The candidates — typical for most debates — bulldozed past his questions at times but there seemed fewer interruptions than in the previous two debates.

The first debate, moderated by NBC's Lester Holt, reached a record-setting audience of 84 million people. Last week's second debate with CNN's Anderson Cooper and ABC's Martha Raddatz sharing the journalists' duties reached 66.5 million. Ratings for Wednesday's debate will be released on Thursday.


Associated Press Television Writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Wisconsin attorney general wants Dassey conviction confirmed

Wisconsin's attorney general asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to let stand the conviction of a man found guilty in a case profiled in the popular "Making a Murderer" series on Netflix.

A federal magistrate judge ruled in August that investigators tricked Brendan Dassey into confessing he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape, kill and mutilate photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. Dassey, who turned 27 Wednesday, was 16 at the time. The magistrate ordered that Dassey be freed unless prosecutors appealed or decided to retry him.

In a brief filed with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Attorney General Brad Schimel urged the appeals court to reject Dassey's claim that his confession was coerced.

"Substantial police coercion" is required for any confession to be ruled involuntary, Schmel said. And he said the Wisconsin Court of Appeals was right to affirm in 2013 that Dassey's confession was voluntary.

Magistrate Judge William Duffin held that investigators made specific promises of leniency to Dassey and that no "fair-minded jurists could disagree." He cited one investigator's comment early in the interview that "you don't have to worry about things," plus repeated comments like "it's OK" and that they already knew what happened.

But the magistrate's ruling "ignores both the facts and the law," the attorney general said. Investigators didn't promise leniency, he said, and specifically told Dassey they couldn't make any promises.

The teenager willingly spoke with investigators and was properly informed of his rights, Schimel said. The interview took a few hours in the middle of the day, while Dassey sat on a couch and drank a soda, the investigators spoke in normal tones, and did not threaten him or make false promises, he said. And Dassey confessed to most of the important details within an hour, in response to open-ended questions, he added.

"The state courts' conclusion that Dassey's confession was voluntary is not only reasonable; it is entirely correct. Accordingly, Dassey is not entitled to relief," the attorney general said.

Halbach was killed on Halloween 2005, after she visited the Avery family's salvage yard in Manitowoc County. Investigators allege Avery lured her there by asking her to take photos of a minivan. Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007. Court documents describe him as a slow learner who had poor grades and has difficulty understanding language and speaking. Avery was convicted in a separate trial and was also sentenced to life in prison. He's pursuing his own appeal.

Their cases gained national attention after Netflix aired "Making a Murderer" last year. The series spawned widespread conjecture about the pair's innocence. Authorities who worked on the cases said the series was biased, but it generated a myriad of calls from the public to free both men.

Comic Marty Allen is 94, but who's counting? He's laughing

The baby face and bug eyes were still in place. Ditto, the famous wasp's nest of hair.

"It's unbelievable to be 94 years old," Marty Allen told his audience. "My wife says, 'What do you want for your birthday?' I told her, 'An antique.' So she framed my birth certificate."

Allen — who, more precisely, is 94-and-a-half years old — is still making his audiences laugh six decades after hitting the big time touring with the great jazz vocalist Sarah Vaughan. He made 44 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" with his comedy partner Steve Rossi, and for more than 30 years has performed with his wife, singer-songwriter Karon Kate Blackwell, an able "straight man" in her own right who was by Allen's side Tuesday night at the cozy Metropolitan Room for the first of several scheduled New York appearances.

Allen told her he had flown to New York for the gigs — peasant-class.

"PEASANT-class?!" exclaimed Blackwell. "I don't know what that is."

"A seat by the window," Allen replied, "on the wing looking in."

That wasn't all. He described an odd encounter in an elevator that very morning.

"A woman keeps looking at me," he reported to the gathering. "She says, 'Oh, my God, I can't believe it. I saw you on "Hollywood Squares"! I saw you with the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show"! I saw you with Joan Crawford and Nat King Cole on "The Hollywood Palace"! But I can't remember your name.'

"I said, 'Brad Pitt.'"

While Allen's comedy is still as broad as his grin, the jokes were still gentle and, even when offered up as topical, they clearly qualified for landmark status.

During a bit where he pretended to be Blackwell's ventriloquist's dummy, she asked her husband, "Who would you like to see as your next president?"

"Me," Allen replied.

"But you're a dummy."

"I'd fit in!"

Allen's act has always been family-friendly, somewhat of a rarity in the Vegas universe where he has long flourished. His raciest wisecrack Tuesday: "I remember the first time I had sex. I kept a receipt!"

For the record, only once during his act did he voice his timeless catchphrase, "Hello dere!" And then it was delivered as a sunny, earnest greeting when he first took the stage.

"Hello dere," of course, has been Allen's signature for more than a half-century. And beyond that, those once were household words that even Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper radioed from space: "Hello, down dere!"

It was all a lucky accident for Allen, as he explains in his 2014 self-published memoir, aptly titled, "Hello Dere!":

During an engagement at a Philadelphia nightclub, he zoned out in mid-routine while Rossi was asking him a question.

Allen swiftly covered for his lapse with a wide-eyed "Hello dere!"

"What did you say?" persisted Rossi, milking the moment.

"Hello dere!"

The audience went wild, and, as Allen writes, "I felt like a prospector who had found gold."

After Tuesday's set, Allen dispensed his "Hello dere" greetings generously, voiced to each fan who stepped up to get a book signed or pose for a photo.

Here was a veteran entertainer and living link to the likes of John Lennon and Dean Martin; Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne and Elvis Presley. Allen, who has outlived so many stars he knew and worked with (including Rossi, who died two years ago at 82), had finished his nearly two-hour act looking not at all tired but, instead, refreshed.

"I feel like a kid," he said, trying to explain the unexplainable. "Kids look at me and they think I'm funny. They look at me and they laugh. So when I see kids, I laugh. I'm not one of these intellectual guys. I want to entertain."

For Marty Allen, a budding centenarian, entertaining is still child's play.


EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at and at Past stories are available at



For Suzy Nakamura, 'Dr. Ken' means diversity, 'gwishins'

As a child, Suzy Nakamura recalls, she was content to quietly observe and leave the talking to others. These days, the actress and comedian is making noise as a smart, self-possessed sitcom wife on ABC's "Dr. Ken."

It's a career milestone for Nakamura, co-starring on a successful series after being part of some 20 pilots and a few short-lived series — which, she says cheerfully, brought variety as well as paychecks to her life.

"I haven't gotten bored," she said. "And I'm very proud of that (the tally). It's difficult to get a pilot every year."

If she's finally in a durable show, she's glad it's "Dr. Ken." The comedy about an Asian-American family does more than use ethnicity as window-dressing, Nakamura said, which she's found to be the norm. Characters she played often were "my face with some white person's story," Nakamura said. "What we need is to have the stories be more diverse."

This Friday's Halloween-themed episode exemplifies just that, she said. "Dr. Ken," starring and produced by physician-turned-actor Ken Jeong ("The Hangover," ''Knocked Up"), airs at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

"We're doing a Korean ghost story and (the producers) researched the crap out of it" to make it authentic, she said, down to the look and contents of a Korean peasant hut. "It's not the money or the time given. It's the respect to someone else's story."

In the story, Nakamura's character frets that son Dave (Albert Tsai) is leaving childhood behind because he appears blase about the holiday that used to scare him. Ken's father, D.K. (Dana Lee) comes to the rescue with a tale about Korean gwishins, often-fearsome spirits that linger in the world, with the ghosts portrayed by the Park family and friends.

Watching the actress hold her own as psychiatrist Allison opposite the high-energy Jeong's Ken, or chatting easily during a coffee shop interview, it's hard to picture the child who was so soft-spoken in a grade-school production of "H.M.S. Pinafore" that the teacher told her she needed to scream to be heard.

Nakamura embraced dancing and then gave comedy a try.

"I wasn't funny, I don't think. But I wanted to be funny," she said, recalling her first attempts. "Lots of stand-ups say they use it (comedy) as armor or defense. I like to call it padding. It was a way to interact with people that wasn't as scary."

On an impulse, the Chicago native applied to fabled The Second City improv company and, to her surprise, was accepted to start with its touring company. That meant the end of her studies at Columbia College Chicago and, ultimately, joining a sphere that included Second City performers Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Tina Fey.

"It was bananas," Nakamura said, recalling everyone involved as "just normal, kind of weird, doughy losers like me" and the "nicest, funniest people" she'd ever met.

(For the record, the trim actress describes herself as "a little heavier back then.")

She says she could have remained happily in Chicago, but the expectation was that performers would "graduate" from Second City and use it as a calling card for their next career move. Just shy of five years, Nakamura headed for Los Angeles.

In her first pilot, a 1997 non-starter based on the movie "The Player," she was cast in a role written for a 40-year-old white man. "You just have to be the funniest," she explains. With the 1998 series "The Closer," her role as assistant to star Tom Selleck was originally envisioned as an Italian-American woman.

"I thought, 'They just want someone who can go toe-to-toe with Tom Selleck. They don't know who she is or what she looks like," Nakamura said. That confidence has helped the actress accumulate more than 100 credits, including recurring roles on "The West Wing" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and guest parts on "Veep," ''How I Met Your Mother," ''Castle" and "Grey's Anatomy."

Jeong is a big fan of his "Dr. Ken" co-star, who played his spouse in a deleted scene of filmmaker Judd Apatow's "Funny People."

"Our chemistry was so good I told her she has to play my wife again in the future. ... She has a unique ability to steal a scene and keep it grounded at the same time," Jeong said.

Although Nakamura is trying to wrap her mind around the possibility of sticking with one character season after season, she said she's proud of what "Dr. Ken" is bringing to network TV.

"I can't help think that if something like this Korean ghost story had aired when I was a kid, it would have changed my life. Even if my mother had said, 'We have Japanese ghost stories, too.' Or if a kid the next day had said, 'Are you Korean?' I would have said, 'I'm Japanese,' and that would have been a conversation, too."


Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at and on Twitter at

'Peanuts' corn mazes crop up for 50th anniversary of 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'

Get ready for a Halloween treat, Peanuts fans.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," Utah-based The MAiZE Inc. has designed "Peanuts"-themed corn mazes at more than 90 farms across the country, the Washington Post reported last month.

>> Read more trending stories

According to the Post, "several of the mazes will feature political slogans, such as 'Snoopy for Prez'" in honor of the upcoming presidential election. 

Guests also will get a chance to watch the iconic "Great Pumpkin" special, first broadcast in 1966, at the farms. (And if you can't make it to one of the farms, don't fret: The special airs at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on ABC.)

Read more here.

>> Click here to find a maze near you

Is Trump TV coming soon to a screen near you?

Is Donald Trump going to launch his own cable TV network? He may be on his way.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, has reportedly talked to the founder of LionTree, Aryeh Bourkoff, about starting the network if the Republican nominee loses the presidential election next month, according to the Financial Times.

>> Read more trending stories

Rumors have floated around for weeks that Trump would start a media company with Roger Ailes if he lost. However, Trump said in September that wasn’t true and told The Washington Post, “I want to win the presidency, and I want to make America great again. It’s very simple. I have no interest in a media company. False rumor.”

Politico's Mike Allen tweeted Monday that a source close to Bourkoff said "he never followed up" with the Trumps about the network and that Bourkoff has "no interest in being in business w/ Trump."

>> See the tweet here

Read more here.

Nielsen's top programs for Oct. 10-16

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Oct. 10-16. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.

1. "The OT," Fox, 15.38 million.

2. "NCIS," CBS, 14.77 million.

3. NFL Football: Denver at San Diego, CBS, 14.49 million.

4. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 14.41 million.

5. NFL Football: Indianapolis at Houston, NBC, 13.6 million.

6. "Bull," CBS, 13 million.

7. "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 11.37 million.

8. "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 11.01 million.

9. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 10.89 million.

10. "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.88 million.

11. "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 10.43 million.

12. "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.42 million.

13. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.22 million.

14. "This is Us," NBC, 9.87 million.

15. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 9.87 million.

16. "Empire," Fox, 9.27 million.

17. "Hawaii Five-0," CBS, 9.19 million.

18. "Madam Secretary," CBS, 9.1 million.

19. "Survivor," CBS, 9.06 million.

19. NFL Football: Tampa Bay at Carolina, ESPN, 9.06 million.


ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox; NBC is owned by NBC Universal.

Long-time business correspondent Ali Velshi joining MSNBC

Long-time business correspondent Ali Velshi is joining MSNBC.

The news network announced Tuesday the immediate appointment of Velshi, best known from his more than a decade as a CNN anchor and its chief business correspondent.

He joined the Al Jazeera America network in 2013, remaining there until it ceased operations earlier this year.

He has covered tragic events in Pakistan and Turkey and the debt crisis in Greece. As a business expert, he reported on the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. government's bailout plan, the automobile industry, and the debt ceiling and budget debates. 

Velshi's "sharp economic analysis will be a valuable asset to MSNBC," the network said.

NBC 'Today' show needs a host and Billy Bush needs job

The fallout over Billy Bush's lewd conversation with Donald Trump has left NBC's "Today" show unexpectedly looking for help in its third hour and Bush pondering how to resurrect his career.

Bush had been brought in only two months ago from "Access Hollywood" as "Today" looked for ways to bolster its 9 a.m. hour. The first two hours, hosted by Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, are the show's heart and the wine-drenched fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb has developed its own clear identity.

Tamron Hall and Al Roker were Bush's co-hosts; He came in this summer after Willie Geist moved to Sunday "Today" and Natalie Morales moved west.

NBC wasn't talking Tuesday about potential replacements. Harry Connick Jr., the musician who launched his own talk show this fall, filled in Monday and Tuesday. Actors Christian Slater and Eric Dane are booked as guest hosts later this week.

There's no word on whether any of them would be interested in a permanent job, although "Today" made a point Tuesday of giving Hall a trivia quiz on Connick's career — a getting-to-know-you step that seemed odd for a short-timer.

The third hour features lighter fare: interviews with actors Nick Offerman and Ethan Hawke on Tuesday, a segment on the hosts of HGTV's "Fixer Upper" and another offering style advice to married couples.

One of the show's competitors, "Live!" with Kelly Ripa, has been involved in a host search of its own since the departure of Michael Strahan in May.

The audience for the third hour of "Today" is 68 percent female, no doubt a factor in NBC's decision that Bush had no future there after wide dissemination of the "Access Hollywood" tape where Trump talked about groping women and Bush then asked an actress to give both men a hug.

Bush's exit settlement with NBC did not include a standard "no compete" clause, meaning Bush is free to seek employment elsewhere immediately. Some experts advised against that and suggested the settlement — Bush is widely believed to have received a sum of money from NBC because his contract with "Today" was new — would give him that luxury.

"Time is certainly on his side," said Tom Goodman, owner of the Manhattan public relations firm Goodman Media International. "He's young enough to make a comeback and reverse the current narrative about him, but at the right time."

Bush, who just turned 45, might be wise to start at an off-camera job, perhaps as a producer, he said. The internet could provide future opportunities, Goodman said.

Bush, nephew of former President George H.W. Bush, has a radio background. He hosted a nationally syndicated talk and music show that ended in 2014, an apparent victim of corporate restructuring. He did local radio in New Hampshire and Washington and hosted a short-lived "Let's Make a Deal" remake for NBC in 2003.

His years in Hollywood no doubt gave him a huge contact list, although there's some question about its usefulness. Two publicists took the unusual step last week of publicly criticizing Bush for his treatment of their clients.

Another veteran PR executive, Howard Bragman of Los Angeles' Fifteen Minutes, also said that Bush shouldn't hurry back. He said Bush should first offer an interview with a more contrite apology, perhaps shedding a tear or two.

When the tape became public, Bush apologized in a statement, saying he was ashamed and that it happened when he was younger and less mature.

"With the right apology and enough sincerity, I think people will forgive him," Bragman said.

It's a boy for Kerry Washington and ex-NFL player husband

Kerry Washington has given birth to her second child, but in typical fashion kept news of the arrival of her son under wraps for nearly two weeks.

A birth certificate obtained Tuesday shows the "Scandal" star her husband, former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha, welcomed their son Caleb Kalechi Asomugha on Oct. 5.

The couple also has a two-year-old daughter.

Washington and Asomugha are protective of their privacy. The actress jokingly denied she was pregnant in an interview with The Associated Press in August while promoting her work with a domestic violence charity.

Weeks later, she walked the Emmys red carpet in a custom black strapless gown with cutouts above her waist to accentuate her baby bump.

The birth was first reported by E! News .

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