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President of struggling MTV out after a year

MTV's president is out after only a year as the network once at the center of youth culture continues to struggle for relevance.

Sean Atkins, who came to MTV from Discovery, quit Monday after the network's parent company installed another executive over him. Chris McCarthy, who's had some success overseeing sister networks VH1 and Logo, will now supervise MTV as well.

MTV has fought for attention with a youthful audience whose allegiances change quickly. The network averaged 1.48 million viewers in prime time at the end of 2011, and was down to 550,000 for the three months that ended Sept. 31, the Nielsen company said.

During the past year, viewership declined 16 percent, and 23 percent among MTV's target audience of people aged 18 to 34, Nielsen said.

Its most popular shows — "Teen Mom," ''Teen Wolf" and "Are You the One?" — have been around for a few years.

Atkins said he'd stay on the job as a consultant until January.

McCarthy was given the promotion by Doug Herzog, president of the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group. As leader of VH1 since last year, McCarthy has seen ratings go up while targeting an audience of older millennials. VH1 is planning a cooking series co-starring Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, a series called "Daytime Divas" starring Vanessa Williams and a revival of "America's Next Top Model."

McCarthy has had a determined rise at Viacom, starting at the college network mtvU.

AMC Theatres to broadcast Nov. 8 election results

AMC Theatres and CNN will broadcast the Nov. 8 presidential election on the big screen at 50 theaters in 25 cities nationwide.

The event is free for members of AMC Stubs , a tiered perks program from the exhibitor chain, and their guests, AMC Theatres said Monday. Audience members can choose between "red" and "blue" locations, depending on party preference.

The broadcast, which will also include major national, state and local elections, will begin at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Hooch, an abused French mastiff, is Hero Dog of the Year

The human nearly lost his life to drug and alcohol addiction. The dog, well, he nearly lost his life to humans.

A French mastiff named Hooch, rescued by Zach Skow in Tehachapi, California, is the 2016 American Humane organization's Hero Dog of the Year, bestowed in a Beverly Hills ceremony taped in September for broadcast at 8 p.m. EDT Friday on the Hallmark Channel.

Hooch, among eight canine finalists, wore his best tuxedo collar, though he was reluctant to join Skow on stage.

Hosted by James Denton and Beth Stern, and featuring Dave Foley, Kym Johnson, Robert Herjavec, Marilu Henner and Greg Louganis, among other celebrities, this is the sixth year for the awards.

The finalists come in all shapes and sizes — and all were honored for the work they do. Some protect the vulnerable and comfort the sick. Others assist police, military veterans and rescue the lost.

Hooch, on the other hand, was nominated for surviving — and he was No. 1.

He was the "emerging hero dog," having been rescued about three years ago with the help of Skow, founder and operator of Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue in Tehachapi. Skow said the rescue goes the other way around as well.

Skow, from age 16 to 28, when he nearly died of liver failure, is a recovering addict, about eight years sober. As part of his rehabilitation, he went into dog rescue.

"Hooch has helped me stay in the moment — not only in the moment, but out of my head," Skow explained in a recent interview. "I need to be thinking about something other than me."

He calls the dogs he rescues his "hope." As for Hooch, he received a call one day from a local animal control officer about an ailing French mastiff who was emaciated, had a broken tail and had recently had his ears badly cropped. The dog refused to eat, instead batting his bowls around wildly.

Skow thought something was wrong with Hooch's jaw. When the dog was checked by a veterinarian, they discovered that his tongue had been maliciously cut off at the base, possibly to stop excessive barking or use him as "bait" to train fighting dogs.

The copper-colored Hooch can't chew and drools profusely. Skow had to figure out how to feed him. Hooch pulled out a feeding tube. Skow then found that softening dry food with hot water and putting it straight down Hooch's mouth worked, and the dog slowly regained his health.

Now, Hooch spends some of his time with non-verbal autistic kids, calming them as they learn social skills. Remarkably, Hooch trusts people, though loud noises like the cheering he received on the night of his big win tend to shut him down.

"He has every reason to mistrust every person he comes across and that has never crossed his mind," Skow said. "He exudes happiness."

The first spoken word for some of the autistic kids the two meet is "Hooch," added Skow, who is now 37.

Hooch does other work as well, as a companion to women in shelters who have been victims of domestic abuse, for instance.

"Everyone called for us to euthanize him," Skow said. "No one could fathom that he would have a good quality of life. He's a testament to all of those dogs that don't have a chance, that don't have hope. That's exactly what I was."

The other seven finalists for Hero Dog, all honored for their service, are:

— Law enforcement: Edo, a K-9 superstar with the Los Angeles Police Department, and handler Nhut Huynh. Edo, a Belgian malinois, was the first sent into a house where a shootout was underway. He pulled the armed man away from his weapon.

— Search and rescue: Kobuk, a German shepherd, and handler Elizabeth Fossett in York, Maine. He sniffed out an elderly woman with diabetes and dementia after she wandered off from a cabin in the wilderness.

— Service: Gander, a labradoodle rescue, and handler Lon Hodge. Hodge is an Army veteran in Great Lakes, Illinois, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and was once homebound for months at a time. The two are inseparable and travel the country helping others with disabilities. "Thank you for saving my life," Hodge told his beloved Gander on the show.

— Military: Layka, another Belgian malinois, and trainer/veteran Julian McDonald in Galena, Kansas. The dog lost a leg when she took fire while McDonald's Ranger unit was assaulting an enemy compound in Afghanistan. McDonald and his family adopted Layka.

— Arson: Judge and handler Lee Laubach Jr., fire chief in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Judge is a yellow Labrador who has worked more than 275 fire scenes and has found evidence leading to multiple arrests and civil penalties for insurance fraud.

— Hearing: Hook, a 12-pound, 10-year-old Chihuahua mix, and handler Joyce Herman. Herman, from Sacramento, California, is a hearing-impaired marriage and family therapist. He pulled Herman off some light train tracks as a train approached and once chased away a prowler in her office waiting room.

— Therapy: Mango, a paralyzed Cairn terrier rescue, and handler Judy Walter, a veteran in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Both dog and human had broken their backs. Mango uses a canine wheelchair to get around. "I healed her and she healed me," said Walter, who now routinely visits disabled vets with Mango.

Negan's victim revealed in 'Walking Dead' premiere

The sixth season wrapped up with Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, using a game of "eeny meeny miny moe" to determine his victim, and the episode closed with him swinging his barbed-wire laced bat.

Sunday night's premiere revealed the victim to be regular character Abraham Ford, played by Michael Cudlitz. Negan wasn't finished. He later took his bat to the head of Steven Yeun's character, Glenn Rhee.

The killing of two fan favorites on one of TV's most popular shows predictably became a trending topic on Twitter. One user even thanked Negan for helping cutting down on political chatter on the social media platform.

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg team up for cooking show on VH1

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg will star in a cooking show that will debut Nov. 7  on VH1.

>> Read more trending stories  

The 45-year-old rapper and the 75-year-old business woman and television personality will team up to bring viewers the "most ridiculous dinner party" in "Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party."

Can you guess what @SnoopDogg and @marthastewart48 are up to today? Hint: 🍴 #MarthaAndSnoop @VH1 A photo posted by Martha Stewart (@marthastewart) on Sep 10, 2016 at 2:01pm PDT <script async defer src="//"></script>

Other celebrities that will appear on the show include rapper 50 Cent, Keke Palmer, DJ Khaled, Robin Thicke and Bella Thorne, according to VH1.

A photo posted by DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) on Sep 11, 2016 at 4:01pm PDT

The program will show Snoop and Stewart crafting and serving food and drinks with the help of their guests. They'll also give tips on how to host a successful dinner party.

"My homegirl Martha and I have a special bond that goes back," Snoop said in a statement. "We're gonna be cooking, drinking and having a good time with our exclusive friends."

Snoop and Stewart, an unlikely duo, have appeared together on ABC's "100,000 Pyramid" and Comedy Central's "Roast of Justin Beiber," and the rapper has been a recurring guest on Stewart's long-running talk show.

"At our dinner party, we will exemplify America's fascination with food, entertaining and celebrity," Stewart said, noting that "Dinner Party" "will redesign the traditional food competition shows in a new, different and very funny way."

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Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

ABC's "This Week" — Eric Trump, son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump; Joel Benenson, adviser to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton; independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin; Defense Secretary Ash Carter.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.


CNN's "State of the Union" — Conway; Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook.


"Fox News Sunday" — Conway; Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

ABC's "This Week" — To be announced.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — To be announced.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.


CNN's "State of the Union" — Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.


"Fox News Sunday" — Conway; Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

TV legend Carol Burnett signed to ABC sitcom project

Carol Burnett fans: You'd be glad to have some more time together with this comedy legend, and she's likely headed back to series TV in a project Amy Poehler will executive produce.

Poehler publicist Lewis Kay and ABC have confirmed the project, a so-called "put pilot" deal for a multicamera sitcom.

Burnett, 83, has had a six-decade run on stage, in films and especially on television, where her "Carol Burnett" variety show aired for 11 seasons on CBS, wrapping in 1979. Although she's stayed busy on TV as both an actress and comedian, her most recent series, NBC's sketch-comedy "Carol & Company," aired a quarter-century ago.

Burnett has won a total of six Emmys. Earlier this year, she was presented with the SAG Life Achievement Award by Poehler and Tina Fey.

Kevin James couldn't wait: Long Island is his sitcom home

With "Kevin Can Wait," Kevin James has come home.

Home to the tried-and-true sitcom form with which he thrived for nine seasons on "The King of Queens."

Home to CBS, where "King" enjoyed its long run and where "Kevin Can Wait" arrived this fall (airing Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT).

And home to James' native Long Island, from where his new show originates.

Though set in the New York City borough of Queens, "The King of Queens" was filmed 2,500 miles away in Los Angeles. But for his return to series television, James wanted to be true to his roots. Not even a studio in nearby Queens would satisfy him.

"I said, 'If I can do my show on Long Island, then I'll do it,'" he explains.

As its robust audience already knows, "Kevin Can Wait" centers on a Long Island husband and father named Kevin who, newly retired from the police force, finds himself to be an unwitting invader on the home front.

"My wife (played by co-star Erinn Hayes) has already established what's going on at home," James laughs, "and when you're retired and back home full-time, you're disrupting all that. You can say, 'I'll set the rules now.' But the cement is dry!"

James, 51, was raised in the Long Island hamlet of Stony Brook, and now he's out to capture the feel of working-class Long Island life that, through his own disarming regular-guyness, he embodies both on- and off-camera.

"We want to make Long Island a character in the show, and we're using it for exterior shots," he says. And even though the majority of the action is filmed in multi-camera style on a Bethpage, Long Island, soundstage, James loves knowing that local folks who can readily relate to the show's zany dilemmas comprise each week's studio audience: "I love that energy."

Clearly, James has gained a measure of experience in how to be the boss yet still relax. This is in marked contrast to the rising young standup who scored his first sitcom back in 1998.

"On 'The King of Queens,' I showed up as this green kid who tried to control things," he recalls. "You get so panicked, constantly looking over your shoulder, checking if we're gonna get canceled. This time, my fingerprints are all over it — writing, wardrobe, everything — but I'm also having fun. I want this show to connect, because I love it. But I've done it already, and we had a great run."

Maybe history is repeating itself. In any case, CBS didn't wait long to give "Kevin Can Wait" a full-season order.

But even with popular acceptance, James knows better than to clear his shelves for Emmys and other shiny hardware. In 2006, James' portrayal of a parcel delivery guy sharing a Queens household with his wife and her aging father snagged the show its lone Emmy nomination.

James isn't betting on that to change now in response to this latest twist on the everyman persona he's also served fans in his hit 2009 film "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and in "True Memoirs of an International Assassin," his new Netflix action comedy where he stars as a mild-mannered novelist who gets mistaken for a killer-for-hire. (It premieres Nov. 11.)

"I'm not going to play too far away from myself," James declares, adding, "On this show, we aren't breaking ground. I know that. I'm not trying to. But that's not to say you slack off in the writing. I try to do great stories that we want to connect with an audience."

Though success has carried James far from a working-class existence, he still relates to the fundamentals: He visits Target, acknowledges he could lose a few pounds and expects no red carpets, especially at home: "With four kids and a wife, I know my place," he says with a grin.

Knowing his place helps account for James' appeal, especially in the face of such dismissive reviews for "Kevin Can Wait" as "squarely conventional, comfortably mediocre" (Variety), "a backward-looking relic of a bygone age" (The Hollywood Reporter) and "anemic" (The New York Times).

"When the critical love is not there, how do I feel? I can't say I'm guided by that," James insists. "The critics did the same thing when 'King of Queens' started, and nine years later I could say, 'Hey, guys — how's it goin'?'

"Besides, I like that classic sitcom feel. In a world where everybody's trying to be edgy, I think WE'RE different!"


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



Final debate is third most-watched presidential match ever

The final faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump reached 71.6 million television viewers, meaning two of the three most-watched presidential debates in history occurred during this campaign.

The debate from Las Vegas, moderated by Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace, exceeded the 66.5 million people who watched the second debate. The first time these two candidates met on stage in September, the audience of 84 million set a viewership record, the Nielsen company said.

The 1980 debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, the only time they met that fall, was seen by 80.6 million people. That was the only previous debate to compare to this year's matchups in popularity.

By contrast, both of the debates that Clinton's husband Bill had while running for re-election in 1996 against Bob Dole reached a little over 36 million people.

NBC may have been responsible for Wednesday's debate passing the one moderated by Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz in popularity. The network didn't televise the second debate, showing an NFL football game instead, but was back this time.

Wednesday's third debate had a subdued, substantive start with more fireworks as the evening went on. TiVo reported that the moment Donald Trump talked about how "nobody has more respect for women than I do" — and Wallace had to shush some audience members from laughing — was when more viewers stopped and rewound to take a second look than any other.

During the debate, the Republican candidate was mentioned in 3.9 million tweets, while his Democratic rival was mentioned in 1.9 million, Nielsen said.

With Wallace as the sole moderator, Fox News Channel led all networks with 11.3 million viewers during the debate. ABC had 11 million, NBC had 10.4 million, CBS had 10.1 million, CNN had 8.7 million, Fox broadcasting had 6.6 million and MSNBC had 5.5 million, Nielsen said.

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