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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.



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.

Prosecutors charge men after Ryan Lochte protest on TV show

Prosecutors have charged two protesters who rushed the stage of "Dancing with the Stars" in a protest against Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.

The Los Angeles city attorney's office says Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi were charged Monday with interfering with a performance and leaving a spectator area and entering a stage, both misdemeanors.

The 59-year-old Sotoodeh and 25-year-old Soroudi were arrested Sept. 12 during a taping of the ABC ballroom dancing competition.

Satoodeh told ABC News they wanted to "get the message out that Lochte is a coward, a liar and, under Brazilian law, a criminal."

Lochte and swimming teammates faced criticism after lying about a drunken encounter during the Rio Olympics.

Arraignment is set for Oct. 4. Each man could face 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

Review: A Holocaust denier is brought to justice in 'Denial'

Based on Deborah Lipstadt's book "History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier," the film depicts when the unapologetically anti-Semitic historian David Irving brought a libel suit against Lipstadt for calling him a Holocaust denier in one of her books.

Because of the nature of libel cases in the United Kingdom (where Irving filed the suit), the burden of proof is on the defender, not the plaintiff. Hovering constantly throughout the trial — which ran eight weeks — is the question: Is it worthwhile to expend so much energy on such a loathsome liar?

It's a salient question with obvious relevance to a time where willful disregard for the truth increasingly runs rampant in national politics and social media streams, alike. Should trolls be taken to task or ignored?

"Denial" argues forcefully and convincingly for the vital necessity of confronting the perpetuation of dangerous falsehoods. It rises impressively to the wise and perhaps unpopular judgment that "not all opinions are equal." This is an honorable cause if not a particularly dramatic movie.

Just as the legal team behind Lipstadt's case brought a full array of firepower to the proceedings, so has Jackson in his film. The cast is littered with an impervious collection of British talent, in front of and behind the camera.

Rachel Weisz stars as the Queens-born Lipstadt. Her star-studded attorneys are barrister Richard Rampton (played by Tom Wilkinson) and solicitor Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott), famed for securing Princess Diana's divorce. Irving is played with snarling perfection by Timothy Spall. And the script is by playwright David Hare ("The Reader," ''The Hours").

Irving sets things in motion when he turns up a speaking engagement of Lipstadt's to heckle her from the audience. When he brings the lawsuit against her publisher, Penguin Books, the assembled legal team begins hashing out a strategy of how to argue history in a courtroom, how to prove the Holocaust.

What's partly on trial, though, is the notoriously byzantine British court system, itself. "Dickensian not Kafkaesque" is what Lipstadt says she's hoping for in her passage through its elaborate procedures.

Often, Lipstadt's experience is a frustrating one as she — more emotional than her lawyers — clashes with the stringently logical Rampton. They together visit Auschwitz where he reacts bitterly to the lack of an extensive forensics record. Despite Lipstadt's protests, the attorneys want neither her nor Holocaust survivors to take the stand to subject themselves to Irving's questions. (Irving represented himself in the trial.)

These strategic debates aren't much to hang a movie on, but the case doesn't supply much else in terms of suspense. "Denial" is carried less by the normal theatrics of courtroom dramas than a staunch sense of duty to protect the truth. It's an argument for the patient, methodical dismantling of fools.

"Denial," a Bleecker Street release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "mild action and some thematic elements." Running time: 110 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

In 'Deepwater Horizon,' an ecological disaster's human toll

The name Deepwater Horizon is synonymous to most with environmental catastrophe and corporate negligence. For Mike Williams, who survived the April 2010 oil-rig explosion by plunging into the Gulf of Mexico from several stories up, it was about something else.

"My 11 brothers that got killed were immediately forgotten," Williams said, speaking from his Sulphur Springs, Texas, home. "We understand the oil. It's bad, yes. The birds are dying and the shrimp and the crabs and all that stuff. But those aren't brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters. Shrimp can come back. People, you can't bring those guys back."

Peter Berg's "Deepwater Horizon," which opens in theaters Friday, puts the spotlight of a big-budget disaster movie on the human toll of a real-life tragedy. Mark Wahlberg stars as Williams, a central figure in an earlier "60 Minutes" segment that focused on the Deepwater Horizon workers.

"There are probably several different ways you could tell this story or any story, but I liked this approach," says Berg ("Friday Night Lights," ''Battleship"). "I was very moved by the fact that 11 men lost their lives and I didn't even know that before the '60 Minutes' piece."

Made for over $100 million by Lionsgate, "Deepwater Horizon" gives the true story the kind of action-film treatment usually reserved for caped crusaders. A mock oil rig, 85 percent to scale, was built at an old Six Flags in Louisiana out of more than 3 million pounds of steel — one of the largest film sets ever erected. The film, based on a New York Times article that detailed the events surrounding the explosion, burrows into the details and politics of life on the rig leading up to the chaos-inducing blowout.

"It's great that the studio would take the risk to make a movie that has no sequel potential," says Wahlberg. "At a time when we get bombarded with superhero movies and other stuff that's pretty mind-numbing, it's nice to have a really smart, adult movie that has action."

Though director J.C. Chandor ("A Most Violent Year") originally helmed the project, Berg ("Friday Night Lights," ''Battleship") came aboard to lend the film a more movie star-based approach. "This film works on many levels and I think one of them is just a big-ass action film in the best possible way," Berg says.

Berg's last film, "Lone Survivor," similarly sought to pay tribute to a hardened community (the Navy SEALS) with kinetic verisimilitude. Many of the rig workers have small roles in the film or served as consultants, including Williams.

"Once the family members and loved ones heard that they were making a movie, they were all completely against it because they assumed that Hollywood was going to make a movie about the environmental disaster and their loved ones would be overlooked again," says Wahlberg. "Once we were able to communicate to them what our intentions were, what the movie was going to be, then they all came onboard. We wanted to honor those people."

Some may take issue that one of the largest environmental disasters in history has been reduced to a fiery action movie. "Deepwater Horizon" spends little time on the millions of barrels of oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days after the explosion. Nor is there much scrutiny of BP, which was found primarily responsible for the spill by a federal judge in 2014. It has paid billions in cleanup costs, penalties and settlements.

"When it came down to who decided what, pointing figures, we didn't want to do that," says Wahlberg. "These guys do a very dangerous job."

The primary figure of corporate greed is encapsulated by rig supervisor Donald Vidrine (played by John Malkovich with a devilish Cajun accent), who was found guilty of a misdemeanor pollution charge for a shoddy pressure test that precipitated the explosion. In the film, a money-centric, behind-schedule BP is seen as recklessly rushing past safety regulations.

Williams, an electrician who has given up the oil business to homeschool his kids, says Berg told the story "right down the middle." He hopes the film makes people more aware of the "dirty, dangerous, potentially toxic business" that fuels their cars.

"More than likely, the people who see this film are going to get in a car and drive to the theater," he says. "Or even if they take public transportation, it still has to have some kind of fuel source. And even if it's electric-powered, it still has to have grease, it still has to have tires — all, of course, petroleum products. When they make that connection, it will be a deeper connection to the men that died."

"It's the least I can do to speak for them," says Williams, "because I'm still here and they're not."


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:


This story has been corrected to Sulphur Springs, Texas, from Sulfur.

Superfest moves to New Orleans during LSU renovation

A country music festival bumped from LSU's Tiger Stadium for two years by offseason renovations will be held next Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans, and the Superdome could become its permanent home, an official said Tuesday.

Next year's Country Music Superfest will have a new feature: a free outdoor concert Friday night, May 26, said Quint Davis, CEO of Festival Productions Inc.

If the two-day indoor festival that follows May 27-28 is a success, he said, it might not return to Baton Rouge in 2019.

"Everybody involved ... everything is designed and pointed toward a multi-year annual event," Davis said.

But, he said, it's too early to say where the 2018 festival will be, let alone the one in 2019.

"It's up to the people. Do they come? Do they embrace it, do they love it? Otherwise, if people don't come, it's like the world's greatest country music sound-check," he said.

LSU said in August that it will renovate bathrooms and concession stands and make other stadium improvements after the 2016 and 2017 football seasons, making it impossible for the music festival to use Tiger Stadium.

"If LSU had been able to host it ... we would have been there. We were talking about another three-year agreement," Davis said.

The Superfest has been held at the 102,000-seat stadium in Baton Rouge since it started in 2010. It expanded from two nights to three in 2014.

That year, George Strait and Reba McEntire helped draw a record 135,000 fans. Attendance fell to 125,000 in 2015 and 100,000 last year.

Davis said falling attendance isn't the reason for the change back.

He said the Fridays were added because "We had some extraordinary things — Taylor Swift starting her tour, George Strait making it one of the last concerts on his retirement tour. We had the flexibility to add the Friday. But traditionally from the beginning this was a two-night stadium festival."

Davis said the New Orleans Food and Wine Festival has had the 76,500-seat Superdome booked up for the Memorial Day weekend for a decade or more, but is moving to the city's convention center next year.

"So coincidentally or fate or whatever you call it — the year we need to go somewhere is the first year that the Dome is open on Memorial Weekend," he said.

The top 10 audiobooks on


1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, narrated Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey and India Fisher (Penguin Audio)

2. The Complete Sherlock Holmes: The Heirloom Collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, narrated by Simon Vance (Brilliance Audio)

3. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, narrated by Georgia Maguire (Macmillan Audio)

4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, narrated by Nick Offerman (Audible Studios)

5. Home by Harlan Coben, narrated by Steven Weber (Brilliance Audio)

6. Prophecy of a Noblewoman by Danielle Steel, narrated by Dan John Miller (Brilliance Audio)

7. The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter, narrated by Kathleen Early (Blackstone Audio)

8. The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R.S. Belcher, narrated by Bronson Pinchot (Audible Studios)

9. Furious by T.R. Ragan, narrated by Kate Rudd (Brilliance Audio)

10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, narrated by Rob Inglis (Recorded Books)


1. Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin, narrated by the author (Simon & Schuster Audio)

2. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, narrated by the author (Simon & Schuster Audio)

3. The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why it Matters by Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray, narrated by David Marantz (Audible Studios)

4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller (Tantor Audio)

5. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone, narrated by the author (Gildan Media, LLC)

6. Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, narrated by Robert Petkoff (Macmillan Audio)

7. Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story by Steve Kamb, narrated by Cassandra Campbell (Audible Studios)

8. The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being by The Great Courses, narrated by Professor Ronald Siegel (The Great Courses)

9. Love Warrior (Oprah's Book Club) by Glennon Doyle Melton, narrated by the author (Macmillan Audio)

10. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, narrated by Mike Chamberlain (Random House Audio)

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

'Deepwater Horizon' film stirs emotion in victims' families

Arleen Weise was apprehensive when she learned Hollywood was making a movie about the offshore explosion that killed her son, Adam, and 10 other men aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Watching an advance screening of the action film last month stoked her grief and anger, and the shock hasn't quite worn off yet. Weise said she's still struggling to decide how she ultimately feels about how "Deepwater Horizon" portrays the last day of her son's life before he died in the explosion off Louisiana's coast.

"The first viewing of it is shocking for a family member to see that," she said. "Hearing and seeing are always two different things."

While their reactions to the movie vary, Weise and other relatives of the 11 workers who died in the April 20, 2010, rig explosion hope it will remind people about the disaster's human toll. Many family members believe a focus on the catastrophic environmental damage from BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico unjustly overshadowed their loved ones' deaths.

"They just swept the 11 men under the rug," Weise said.

The movie, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, is scheduled for nationwide release Friday.

The filmmakers already have privately screened the movie for relatives of the workers who died in the explosion triggered by the blowout of BP's Macondo well. The screenplay is based in part on an article by New York Times reporters who interviewed survivors of the blast, which led to the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

Berg reached out to family members after news of the production surfaced.

"I know how personal this story is to you," he wrote in a letter to Shelley Anderson, the widow of Jason Anderson. "The film is meant to honor and pay tribute to all the men and women who worked aboard the Deepwater Horizon, especially the heroic men, like Jason, who lost their lives."

Anderson believes Berg succeeded in honoring the 11 men. She said the actor who plays her husband captured some of his mannerisms, like the ways he crossed his arms or told a joke. But she had to close her eyes at times, and she burst into tears at others.

Anderson, of Midfield, Texas, said her 7-year-old son, Ryver, who was 15 months old when his father died, recently saw a trailer for the movie on television and asked, "Is that when daddy died?"

"Now he's going to remember seeing it on TV. I don't like that," she said. "It is so real to us that it hurts to experience it over and over again."

Relatives said photographs of the 11 men are shown on screen at the end of the movie. Besides Anderson and Adam Weise, they were Aaron Dale Burkeen, Donald Clark, Stephen Ray Curtis, Gordon Jones, Roy Wyatt Kemp, Karl Kleppinger Jr., Keith Blair Manuel, Dewey Revette and Shane Roshto. All 11 men are portrayed by actors in the movie.

"I do feel honored that they called my husband a hero," said Courtney Kemp Robertson, Kemp's widow. "I feel very proud of that, but I was already proud of my husband before a movie was ever made."

The filmmakers invited relatives to visit the set last year. Weise said she inadvertently snubbed actor John Malkovich, whom she mistook for a BP employee. Malkovich was dressed in a shirt with a BP logo and playing the role of Donald Vidrine, one of two BP rig supervisors charged with manslaughter over the workers' deaths.

Federal prosecutors, who later dropped the manslaughter charges, accused Vidrine and Robert Kaluza of botching a crucial safety test before the explosion.

Vidrine pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor pollution charge and was sentenced to 10 months of probation. A jury acquitted Kaluza, who also is played by an actor.

Shaun Clarke, Kaluza's attorney, said his client isn't concerned about his portrayal in the movie.

"He knows what the truth is, and he was vindicated at trial," Clarke said.

Weise, of Victoria, Texas, said the movie stirred up anger she has tried to suppress while grieving for her 24-year-old son.

"BP looks awful (in the movie), and that makes me so happy," she said.

Keith Jones, Gordon's father, praised Berg for striving to present an accurate account of the disaster.

"It was a fair portrayal of BP's decisions, and it left the viewer to decide why BP made those decisions. But it's obvious to me that BP made those decisions to save money," said Jones, an attorney based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Billy Anderson, Jason's father, said the film "really shows what those men went through."

"It actually helped me, seeing the way they handled it. It gave me a little bit of closure," said Anderson, of Blessing, Texas.

Kevin Hart tops Forbes list of highest-paid comedians

Kevin Hart is literally laughing all the way to the bank. The funnyman tops the Forbes magazine list of the highest-paid comedians with earnings of $87.5 million.

Hart, who had roles in the films "Central Intelligence" and "Secret Life of Pets" as well as his lucrative "What Now?" comedy tour, dethrones longtime earnings leader Jerry Seinfeld, who made $43.5 million.

The magazine compiled the estimated income from June 2015 to June 2016.

Amy Schumer made her list debut, landing in fourth place behind Terry Fator with earnings of $17 million. Schumer is the only woman to ever make the highest-paid comedians list.

Jeff Dunham was in fifth with $13.5 million, Dave Chapelle was next with $13 million and Jim Gaffigan earned $12.5 million for seventh place.



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