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'Bull,' 'Designated Survivor' have promising ratings starts

Nielsen's first "most likely to succeed" list is out, and it includes Michael Weatherley, Mandy Moore, Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin James.

They are among the stars in new series that performed well during the first week of the new TV season, the Nielsen company said. The best performer was "Bull," CBS' series starring Weatherley as a trial consultant in a story loosely based on Dr. Phil McGraw's life. Its audience of 15.6 million made it the most-watched debut of the week.

Moore is in the ensemble cast of NBC's "This is Us," and James in the CBS comedy "Kevin Can Wait," which both finished among Nielsen's Top 25 for their debuts.

All three series, however, had the advantage of following more popular returning series on the schedule: CBS' "NCIS" and "The Big Bang Theory," and NBC's "The Voice." That's the television equivalent of beginning a 100-yard dash 50 yards ahead of your opponent.

Sutherland's critically acclaimed "Designated Survivor" on ABC, however, was the only one of the four newcomers to gather a bigger audience than the show immediately preceding it on the schedule. ABC's "black-ish" had 6.4 million viewers for its premiere, and "Designated Survivor" followed it with more than 10 million — a positive sign that many viewers specifically sought it out.

After finishing the summer months behind NBC in the ratings, CBS returned to the top spot last week. It also was the only one of the top four networks to gain in viewers compared to the first week of the 2015 season.

CBS averaged 11.2 million viewers in prime time for premiere week. NBC had 8.7 million, and won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic sought by advertisers. ABC had 5.9 million, Fox had 3.6 million, Telemundo had 1.7 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.1 million and the CW had 900,000.

ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 3.19 million people in prime time. Fox News Channel ad 2.33 million, TNT had 1.8 million, TBS had 1.44 million and HGTV had 1.31 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.2 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 8 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.7 million.

For the week of Sept. 19-25, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Chicago at Dallas, NBC, 20.62 million; NFL Football: Houston at New England, CBS, 17.55 million; "NCIS," CBS, 16 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 15.82 million; "Bull," CBS, 15.57 million; "NFL Pregame," NBC, 15.41 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.36 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 12.29 million; NFL Football: Philadelphia at Chicago, ESPN, 12.14 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 12.1 million.

___

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

___

Online:

http://www.nielsen.com

Nielsen's top programs for Sept. 19-25

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Sept. 19-25. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.

1. NFL Football: Chicago at Dallas, NBC, 20.62 million.

2. NFL Football: Houston at New England, CBS, 17.55 million.

3. "NCIS," CBS, 16 million.

4. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 15.82 million.

5. "Bull," CBS, 15.57 million.

6. "NFL Pregame," NBC, 15.41 million.

7. "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.36 million.

8. "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 12.29 million.

9. NFL Football: Philadelphia at Chicago, ESPN, 12.14 million.

10. "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 12.1 million.

11. "Football Night in America," NBC, 11.5 million.

12. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 11.12 million.

13. "NFL Pregame," CBS, 11.084 million.

14. "Kevin Can Wait," CBS, 11.08 million.

15. "Empire," Fox, 10.87 million.

16. "MacGyver," CBS, 10.73 million.

17. "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 10.72 million.

18. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.55 million.

19. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 10.34 million.

20. "Hawaii Five-O," CBS, 10.22 million.

___

ABC and ESPN are 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.

Naya Rivera shares why timing is everything in her new book

Naya Rivera writes about a number of personal subjects in her new book, "Sorry Not Sorry," but says one of the hardest was the death of her "Glee" co-star Cory Monteith, who died of a drug overdose in 2013.

"The Cory chapter really choked me up. I had (co-star) Kevin (McHale) come over and help me edit and we both had our moment," Rivera said in a recent interview.

For fans of "Glee," which aired 2009-2015, "Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up" (TarcherPerigee) is definitely worth a read to revisit the show's success from an insider's perspective. Rivera, 29, shares how the cast dated, partied and basically had the ups and downs of twentysomethings who spend a lot of time together.

She also shares her story of starting in showbiz at a young age, relationship drama and finally getting it right with her now-husband, actor Ryan Dorsey.

Rivera talks about opening up, her love of writing and passing on her love of books to 1-year-old son, Josey.

Associated Press: When it was announced that you were writing a book, it was billed like you were going to "go there" and not hold back on things in your life. Is that what happened?

Rivera: It was my intention to not hold back, but the way that I saw the media portray it was 'Oh, it's a slam book,' but that's not at all what it is.

AP: What was your intention?

Rivera: I talk about my passion for writing in the book. If I wasn't acting in some way, shape or form, I would be writing music, screenplays or books. I'm very bookish. I love reading.

AP: Is there anything you wanted to clear up in the book?

Rivera: A few years ago, it was a tumultuous year. (Rivera dated and quickly became engaged to rapper Big Sean. They broke up a few months later and took some of their disagreements public in social media and, for Big Sean, his music.) Those were things that I definitely wanted to be able to clear up on my own.

AP: You also write about how you dated your husband prior to Big Sean and got back together with him after that breakup and married a few months later. The media portrayed that as a rebound of sorts. Was it important for you to share your version of events?

Rivera: I consulted with my husband on it all along the way. ... I was like, 'Listen, to me, this is something so funny that nobody knows our history. ... Do you mind if I include this in the book?' He was supportive.

AP: From "Glee" to reuniting with Dorsey, it seems like a big takeaway from your book is the importance of timing.

Rivera: Everything in life is timing. I've grown up in this industry and there were a lot of projects that I really wanted and I would cry over and not understand why I didn't get them; had I gotten any one of those projects I wouldn't have gotten and been on 'Glee.' That was a game changer in my life.

AP: Since you're such an avid reader, do you like to read with your son?

Rivera: He's a boy in every sense of the word, but I'll go, 'Do you want to read a book?' and he'll say, 'Yeah,' and he sits down and we'll read a book. He literally has his own favorites. His favorite book is 'Dada' by Jimmy Fallon. It's a great book. We travel with it.

___

Follow Alicia Rancilio at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar/

'Will & Grace' stars reunite for pro-Clinton video

The stars of "Will & Grace" are back together in a video that delivers punchlines and a political message: Vote for Hillary Clinton.

Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes reunite in character for a nearly 10-minute video released Monday. It arrived online before the first debate between the Democratic candidate and GOP contender Donald Trump.

The video opens with McCormack's Will and Messing's Grace trading quips and fretting over the prospect of a Trump presidency. Mullally's Karen comes flouncing in with a pro-Trump sticker on her handbag, followed by Hayes' undecided Jack.

He becomes the target of a tug-of-war between the two sides after he drops the fact he's registered to vote in a battleground state.

"How can one unemployed white fella registered in Pennsylvania make a difference?" Hayes says, cluelessly.

Mullally warns about the dangers the country will face without Trump and Messing lists her reasons to vote for Clinton. But Hayes replies that he hasn't heard the one thing that will make him chose one candidate over the other.

"Katy Perry likes Hillary," McCormack tells him.

'Madam Secretary' star Carradine: 1 of many TV presidents

The president, impeccable in his blue suit, strides into the Oval Office in fine spirits. He's got a paper cup of coffee, a bit unpresidential but in keeping with his casual style.

He takes his seat at his impressive desk, facing a camera where he will deliver an address about a foreign-affairs flare-up.

Now looking grave, he is about to begin speaking when he glances at his desktop and sees his coffee cup still sitting there.

"You don't want THIS," he chuckles to the man behind the camera, and sets the cup out of camera range.

Welcome to the Oval Office of Keith Carradine, who plays President Conrad Dalton on the CBS political drama "Madam Secretary," which returns for its third season Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT, as they film a scene for a future episode not at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but on Stage F at Silvercup Studios East in Queens, New York.

It's one of many Oval Offices for TV presidents: They are sprinkled from just beyond the Beltway in Baltimore (where Kevin Spacey holds office on Netflix's "House of Cards" as conniving Francis Underwood) and just beyond the border in Toronto (where Kiefer Sutherland presides on ABC's new "Designated Survivor") all the way to Hollywood's Sunset Gower Studios (where Tony Goldwyn is bad boy President Fitzgerald Grant on ABC's "Scandal") and, just a few blocks away, the Paramount lot (home to HBO's zany "Veep," with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as addled President Selina Meyer).

Thus does television offer viewers something real-life democracy could never provide: a president for every taste.

Carradine is proud of his Oval Office. No wonder. Since the first Oval Office was installed a century ago for President William Howard Taft, it has reigned as a symbol of the president's business.

But President Dalton didn't have an Oval Office the first season of "Madam Secretary." As a recurring cast member, Carradine performed his presidential duties in scenes located elsewhere (including White House corridors that actually belonged to Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria hotel).

His Oval Office set, introduced for Season 2, is appropriately elegant.

"The desk is a replica of the one that JFK used," Carradine tells a reporter between shots, "made from the timbers of a famous frigate in the 1850s."

The 67-year-old Carradine is no stranger to playing real-life American heroes. In the HBO series "Deadwood," he was Wild Bill Hickok. On Broadway, he portrayed the rope-twirling, wisecracking title character in "Will Rogers Follies."

But, plopping himself in a wing chair near the Situation Room once the scene is finished, he says he has no president in mind in his depiction of Dalton.

"I'm just looking at the elements that I'm given," he explains, "and then imagining myself in each situation to find the truth of how this character would behave.

"One of the essentials of good drama is conflict," he adds, "and on this show you have to understand that our Madam Secretary is the driving force. What makes the show compelling is the obstacles that she has to face and overcome — and one of those obstacles is me!"

But even if President Dalton is a supporting character to Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni), he's a leader with presidential gravitas thanks to Carradine.

"On the set, I don't necessarily put that on, as much as I have it put on me," he insists. "This is a really fun work place for the actors and the crew, with Tea setting the tone and everybody playing make-believe."

That includes giving their proxy president a show of hail-to-the-chief respect.

"It adds immeasurably to my sense of who I am as this character," Carradine says.

Meanwhile, he keeps his distance from his fellow pseudo presidents.

"There are a lot of us out there, and I don't seem to have the time to catch what everybody else is doing," he says. "But I do think it would be fun to have all of us engaging in a presidential debate."

He grins at the thought.

"But maybe it's best to leave well enough alone and stay in my own universe. My own Oval Office."

___

A previous version of this story made an erroneous reference to "Madam Secretary" as "Madam President."

___

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

_____

Online:

http://www.cbs.com

Transgender child actor to guest star on 'Modern Family'

A transgender child actor will guest star on Wednesday night's "Modern Family."

Director Ryan Case has posted on Instagram a picture of herself alongside 8-year-old Jackson Millarker, who identifies as a boy. Case writes that Millarker will play a boy named Tom, who's a friend of Lily. Lily is the daughter of Cam and Mitchell, played on the show by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. A spokeswoman for ABC has confirmed Millarker's appearance.

Case says that Millarker is "just wonderful" and one of many reasons Case loves being a part of the show.

A synopsis of the episode titled "A Stereotypical Day" says Cam and Mitchell overhear Lily insulting Tom and use the moment to teach her a lesson about acceptance.

Moderator Lester Holt worked to keep control of debate

After initially taking a hands-off approach to the two strong-willed presidential candidates before him, NBC's Lester Holt more aggressively challenged Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the general election's first debate wore on and he warmed to the often-thankless role of moderator.

Holt asked questions about job creation and home-grown terrorism in Monday's first debate, and also hit on specific issues regarding the birther controversy, Trump's decision not to release his tax returns and Clinton's email scandal. The sole journalist onstage, Holt was responsible for the questions asked and for steering the conversation.

While some Republicans rushed online to accuse the NBC News veteran of being unfair to their candidate, Trump himself praised Holt for his work.

"I thought it was great," Trump said, adding that he thought Holt had done a very good job.

It was the NBC "Nightly News" anchor's first general election debate, after doing a Democratic forum during the primaries. Holt has been NBC's top anchor for more than a year, taking over from Brian Williams after Williams was caught lying about his role in news stories.

With an initial discussion about the economy and trade practices, Holt let the conversation flow and the candidates go after each other. It's a strategy many debate moderators prefer but left him vulnerable to charges that he had lost control of the action. The first subject area that Holt introduced, intended to last for 15 minutes, stretched for nearly 45 minutes.

He constantly needed to remind the candidates to stick to time limits, which was tough when they decided to steamroll over him. At one point he said, "20 seconds" when Trump tried to make a point, but it stretched to 55 seconds before Holt could get in another question.

Later in the debate, Holt interjected some fact-checking, raising Trump's ire in the process. That had been a major issue going into Monday evening, with the Clinton campaign arguing that fact-checking should be part of a moderator's job and the Trump campaign saying it should be left up to the candidates.

Holt's NBC colleague, Matt Lauer, was criticized for not challenging Trump at a forum earlier this month when the candidate said he had opposed the war in Iraq — when there is interview footage from 2002 that shows otherwise. The issue came up again Monday, with Trump saying it was "wrong, wrong, wrong" that he initially supported the war.

"I was against the war in Iraq," Trump said.

Replied Holt: "The record shows otherwise."

"The record shows that I'm right," Trump argued.

When Trump advocated for the "stop-and-frisk" police policy, Holt told him that it was declared unconstitutional in New York largely because it singled out black and Latino young men.

"No, you're wrong," Trump said, adding that he believed the court decision would have been overturned on appeal.

Holt later brought up the issue of Trump's questioning whether President Barack Obama had been born in the United States, and asked him what made him conclude this month that Obama was indeed a legitimate citizen. Trump twice did not address the question, and cut Holt off when he tried a third approach.

"What do you say to American people of color..." Holt started asking.

"I say nothing," Trump replied.

Republicans criticized Holt after the debate for bringing up more issues that were damaging to Trump and ignoring issues that would have reflected more poorly on Clinton.

"Lester Holt clearly heard cries of his colleagues in the liberal media to be tough on Trump and ease up on Hillary loud and clear," tweeted Brent Bozell, president of the conservative media watchdogs Media Research Center.

One media observer, columnist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, tweeted that "Lester Holt has done a fine job as moderator. Not too intrusive, moving things along, fact-checking when necessary."

In a reflection of the attention paid to Holt, his voter registration became an issue last week.

"Lester is a Democrat," Trump said in a Fox News Channel interview. "It's a phony system. They are all Democrats."

Holt, however, is a registered Republican, according to New York state voting records.

Asked about the misstatement on Monday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC that it wasn't a lie because Trump didn't know Holt's voter registration.

CNN's Anderson Cooper and ABC's Martha Raddatz will team up to moderate the second presidential debate, with Chris Wallace of Fox News in charge of the third.

___

Follow David Bauder at twitter.com/dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder

Moderator Lester Holt works to keep control of debate

NBC's Lester Holt struggled to keep control of the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, learning the dangers of fact-checking in the midst of a tense confrontation being viewed by tens of millions of people.

The NBC News veteran was moderating his first general election debate Monday night, making him solely responsible for the questions asked each candidate and for steering the conversation. He asked tough questions on the birther controversy, Donald Trump's decision not to release tax returns and Clinton's e-mail scandal.

His tensest confrontations came with Trump, and some of the Republican's supporters rushed to defend their candidate online.

At first, Holt let the conversation flow and the candidates go after each other. It's a strategy many debate moderators prefer but left him vulnerable to criticism that he had lost control of the action. The first subject area that Holt introduced, intended to last for 15 minutes, stretched for nearly 45 minutes.

He constantly needed to remind the candidates to stick to time limits, which was tough when they decided to steamroll over him. At one point he said, "20 seconds" when Trump tried to make a point, but it stretched to 55 seconds before Holt could get in another question.

Later in the debate, Holt interjected some fact-checking, raising Trump's ire in the process. That had been a major issue going into Monday evening, with the Clinton campaign arguing that fact-checking should be part of a moderator's job and the Trump campaign saying it should be left up to the candidates.

Holt's NBC colleague, Matt Lauer, was criticized for not challenging Trump at a forum earlier this month when the candidate said he had opposed the war in Iraq — when there is interview footage from 2002 that shows otherwise. The issue came up again Monday, with Trump saying it was "wrong, wrong, wrong" that he initially supported the war.

"I was against the war in Iraq," Trump said.

Replied Holt: "The record shows otherwise."

"The record shows that I'm right," Trump argued.

When Trump advocated for the "stop-and-frisk" police policy, Holt told him that it was declared unconstitutional in New York largely because it singled out black and Latino young men.

"No, you're wrong," Trump said, adding that he believed the court decision would have been overturned on appeal.

Holt later brought up the issue of Trump's questioning whether President Barack Obama had been born in the United States, and asked him what made him conclude this month that Obama was indeed a legitimate citizen. Trump twice did not address the question, and cut Holt off when he tried a third approach.

"What do you say to American people of color..." Holt started asking.

"I say nothing," Trump replied.

Republicans criticized Trump after the debate for bringing up more issues that were damaging to Trump and ignoring issues that would have reflected more poorly on Clinton.

"Lester Holt clearly heard cries of his colleagues in the liberal media to be tough on Trump and ease up on Hillary loud and clear," tweeted Brent Bozell, president of the conservative media watchdogs Media Research Center.

In an interview after the debate, however, Trump said he thought Holt "did a really good job. I thought it was great." He said he thought a lot of good and important topics were brought up.

One media observer, columnist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times, tweeted that "Lester Holt has done a fine job as moderator. Not too intrusive, moving things along, fact-checking when necessary."

In a reflection of the attention paid to Holt, his voter registration became an issue last week.

"Lester is a Democrat," Trump said in a Fox News Channel interview. "It's a phony system. They are all Democrats."

Holt, however, is a registered Republican, according to New York state voting records.

Asked about the misstatement on Monday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC that it wasn't a lie because Trump didn't know Holt's voter registration.

CNN's Anderson Cooper and ABC's Martha Raddatz will team up to moderator the second presidential debate, with Chris Wallace of Fox News in charge of the third.

___

Follow David Bauder at twitter.com/dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder

Martin Bashir returning to BBC as religion correspondent

The BBC says journalist Martin Bashir is rejoining the broadcaster as religion correspondent after many years in the United States.

Bashir said Monday he was "delighted" to return to the BBC as religious affairs correspondent, covering the major issues affecting different faiths in Britain and around the world.

Bashir gained fame for a 1995 BBC interview with Princess Diana in which she discussed the breakup of her marriage to Prince Charles.

His 2003 documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" aired on ABC in 2003 to a huge audience.

Bashir joined ABC in 2004 and in 2010 moved to NBC as an MSNBC anchor and a correspondent on the "Dateline" program. He resigned from MSNBC in 2013 after graphically disparaging a comment former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made about slavery.

Dustin Hoffman & Judi Dench receive Int'l Emmy nominations

Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench received International Emmy nominations Monday for their roles in the BBC One TV movie "Roald Dahl's Esio Trot."

Brazil had a leading seven nominations, followed by Britain with six, including best actor and actress for Hoffman and Dench.

The two Oscar-winning acting veterans were honored for their roles in "Esio Trot," based on Dahl's children's novel about a lonely aging bachelor who tries to woo the widow in the flat below, who is overly fond of her pet tortoise.

Germany had five nominations, including best TV movie/miniseries and best actor (Florian Stetter) for "Nackt Unter Wolfen (Naked Among Wolves)," an adaptation of the novel by East German author Bruno Apitz about prisoners in the Buchenwald concentration camp who risk their lives to hide a Polish-Jewish boy.

Canada and South Korea each had three nominations, while Argentina, France and the Philippines had two apiece.

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said 40 nominees from 15 countries will be competing in 10 categories for the International Emmys, which honor excellence in TV programming outside the U.S. The awards will be presented Nov. 21 at a gala at the Hilton New York Hotel hosted by Alan Cumming.

Brazilian nominees include Alexandre Nero (best actor) for "A Regra do Jogo (Rules of the Game)" and Grazi Massafera (best actress) for "Verdades Secretas (Hidden Truths)," ''Zorra (The Mess)" in the comedy category and "Adotada" for non-scripted entertainment.

The other British nominees are "Hoff the Record" (comedy), "My Son the Jihadi" (documentary), "Gogglebox" (non-scripted entertainment), and "Capital" (TV movie/miniseries).

Taiwanese actor James Wen was the only other best-actor nominee for "Echoes of Time" (Singapore). Other best-actress nominees are Jodi Sta. Maria of the Philippines for "Pangako Sa'yo (The Promise)" and Germany's Christiane Paul for "Unterm Radar (Under the Radar)."

Also competing in the comedy category are France's "Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent)" and South Africa's "Puppet Nation ZA."

Nominees for best drama series are Canada's "19-2," Argentina's "La Casa Del Mar," Germany's "Deutschland 83" and the United Arab Emirates' "Waiting for Jasmin."

Shonda Rhimes, writer, executive producer and creator of hit TV series such as "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," will be presented the honorary International Emmy Founders Award. Maria Rorbye Ronn, CEO and director general of the Danish Broadcasting Corp., will receive the honorary International Emmy Directorate Award.

____

Online:

www.iemmys.tv

__

This story has been corrected to Judi Dench from Judy Dench in overlines and story.

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