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Viral video imagines Elmo getting fired over PBS budget cuts

The video shows an unseen man delivering the news to Elmo in a nondescript room. Elmo doesn't take the news well, complaining that he's worked at "Sesame Street" for 32 years. He also wonders what's going to happen to his medical insurance, given that he has a pre-existing condition.

The man suggests Elmo take pictures with tourists in New York's Times Square for his next job.

Elmo isn't the only "Sesame Street" character laid off in the scenario, the man mentions Cookie Monster and Telly have also been let go.

President Donald Trump's proposed budget seeks to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund PBS.

Fans pay tribute to 'Gong Show' creator Chuck Barris, dead at 87

"Gong Show" creator and host Chuck Barris, 87, died Tuesday at his Palisades, New York, home, according to The Associated Press.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

Barris' publicist said the game show magnate, who also created "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game," died of "natural causes," the AP reported.

>> Read more trending news

Fans flocked to Twitter to pay tribute to Barris. 

>> Click here or scroll down to see what they were saying

'Fox & Friends' the morning show of choice for Donald Trump

"Fox & Friends" has emerged as the morning television show of choice for President Donald Trump and his fans, although that may have backfired for Fox News Channel this week.

Like many cable news shows in the Trump era, "Fox & Friends" has seen ratings jump, and not just in the White House. Its average February audience of 1.72 million viewers was 49 percent over last year's, the Nielsen company said. The show usually has more viewers than MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and CNN's "New Day" combined.

President Trump's Twitter feed provides ample evidence of his devotion, too.

Like "Morning Joe," the political talk show whose love-hate relationship with Trump is clearly set on hate right now, "Fox & Friends" makes no secret of its opinions. Yet the episode with Fox senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano illustrated how news and opinion aren't always a smooth mix.

Napolitano used "Fox & Friends" as a venue for his discredited report that British authorities helped former President Barack Obama spy on Trump. The White House cited the report to buttress its view that Trump's predecessor was surreptitiously watching him, but after Britain dismissed it as "nonsense" and Fox said it could provide no evidence to back it up, Napolitano has been taken off the air indefinitely.

"Fox & Friends" was a frequent punching bag for Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" and one media critic, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post, called it "easily the worst in all of televised news" following the Napolitano episode.

Watching it, though, the show appears to capture a sense of discontent and patriotism that appeals to many Trump voters, certainly in a way that mainstream journalists, to a large degree, have been unable to grasp. Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, said he suspects many people "enjoy watching it for the thrill of outrage."

One day last week, the show had segments on "PC police" who were doing away with the designation of homecoming king and queen at a college, a man whose fiancee was killed by a drunken driver who was living in the country illegally, a congressman who received bureaucratic resistance when he tried to hang a portrait of Trump in a veterans' hospital, and "chaos" on college campuses when conservatives are invited to speak.

Alex French, a 32-year-old working in sales in Charlotte, North Carolina, said he appreciated the show's reporting on veterans and its interest in news away from the nation's coasts.

"They do a good job of trying to reach out to people in the small towns," he said.

Trump, who has declared ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC "the enemy of the American people," told the three "Fox & Friends" hosts that "you have treated me very fairly" during an interview on Feb. 28. He did a weekly call-in to the show from 2011 until he announced his candidacy, but still gave frequent interviews as a candidate.

"Maybe without those call-ins, someone else is sitting here," he said.

Since he's been president, 12 of Trump's tweets reference something that appeared on "Fox & Friends" moments earlier — far more than any other program, according to a compilation by CNN's "Reliable Sources."

After "Fox & Friends" had a segment with Nick Adams, author of "Green Card Warrior," on March 3, Trump tweeted within 25 minutes that the book was a "must read." On Feb. 25, Herman Cain cited statistics comparing changes in the national debt in the first months of Trump and Obama's presidencies; within a half-hour, Trump tweeted that "the media has not reported" the same statistics. Fox's Brian Kilmeade said that Russia "ran right over" Obama for eight years on March 7, and 10 minutes later Trump tweeted the same thing.

"Every minute of the show you can tell they are fully conscious of the fact that they know the president of the United States is one of their fans and is getting a lot of information from them," Syracuse's Thompson said.

Glenn Thrush, a reporter for The New York Times, tweeted recently that he was starting to watch "Fox & Friends" ''so I can get an early sense of White House policy messaging for the day. Not kidding!"

How the knowledge that the president is watching affects people putting together the show is unclear. Fox declined to make any of the show's producers, or hosts Kilmeade, Steve Doocy or Ainsley Earhardt available for interviews.

The morning after FBI Director James Comey told a congressional committee that the bureau was looking into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, "Fox & Friends" mentioned that development in passing. But it also belittled Comey with a rapid-fire clip package showing 20 instances in his testimony where he declined to answer a question.

Kilmeade said the "lack of curiosity" about leaks to reporters "really bothered me."

Doocy previewed that day's Senate confirmation hearing of Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, saying Democrats don't have a prayer of blocking him, "but that doesn't mean they won't try."

Earhardt interviewed the author of a book who said that the media's panic about Trump exposed the bias of many journalists.

"We expect journalists to be fair," Earhardt said. "That's their duty.

"Our duty," she added, quickly correcting herself.


This story corrects that Trump's weekly call-in ended with his candidacy, although he still gave frequent interviews with the show while running; corrects to Trump from Obama in 14th paragraph.

'Gong Show' creator Chuck Barris dies at 87

Chuck Barris, whose game show empire included "The Dating Game," ''The Newlywed Game" and that infamous factory of cheese, "The Gong Show," has died. He was 87.

Barris died of natural causes Tuesday afternoon at his home in Palisades, New York, according to publicist Paul Shefrin, who announced the death on behalf of Barris' family.

Barris made game show history right off the bat, in 1966, with "The Dating Game," hosted by Jim Lange. The gimmick: a young female questions three males, hidden from her view, to determine which would be the best date. Sometimes the process was switched, with a male questioning three females. But in all cases, the questions were designed by the show's writers to elicit sexy answers.

Celebrities and future celebrities who appeared as contestants included Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Martin and a pre-"Charlie's Angels" Farrah Fawcett, introduced as "an accomplished artist and sculptress" with a dream to open her own gallery.

After the show became a hit on both daytime and nighttime TV, the Barris machine accelerated. New products included "The Newlywed Game," ''The Parent Game," ''The Family Game" and even "The Game Game."

At one point Barris was supplying the television networks with 27 hours of entertainment a week, mostly in five-days-a-week daytime game shows.

The grinning, curly-haired Barris became a familiar face as creator and host of "The Gong Show," which aired from 1976 to 1980.

Patterned after the Major Bowes Amateur Hour show that was a radio hit in the 1930s, the program featured performers who had peculiar talents and, often, no talent at all. When the latter appeared on the show, Barris would strike an oversize gong, the show's equivalent of vaudeville's hook. The victims would then be mercilessly berated by the manic Barris, with a hat often yanked down over his eyes and ears, and a crew of second-tier celebrities.

Occasionally, someone would actually launch a successful career through the show. One example was the late country musician BoxCar Willie, who was a 1977 "Gong Show" winner.

He called himself "The King of Daytime Television," but to critics he was "The King of Schlock" or "The Baron of Bad Taste."

As "The Gong Show" and Barris' other series were slipping, he sold his company for a reported $100 million in 1980 and decided to go into films.

He directed and starred in "The Gong Show Movie," a thundering failure that stayed in theaters only a week.

Afterward, a distraught Barris checked into a New York hotel and wrote his autobiography, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," in two months. In it, he claimed to have been a CIA assassin.

The book (and the 2002 film based on it, directed by George Clooney) were widely dismissed by disbelievers who said the creator of some of television's most lowbrow game shows had allowed his imagination to run wild when he claimed to have spent his spare time traveling the world, quietly rubbing out enemies of the United States.

"It sounds like he has been standing too close to the gong all those years," quipped CIA spokesman Tom Crispell. "Chuck Barris has never been employed by the CIA and the allegation that he was a hired assassin is absurd," Crispell added.

Barris, who offered no corroboration of his claims, was unmoved.

"Have you ever heard the CIA acknowledge someone was an assassin?" he once asked.

Seeking escape from the Hollywood rat race, he moved to a villa in the south of France in the 1980s with his girlfriend and future second wife, Robin Altman, and made only infrequent returns to his old haunts over the next two decades.

Back in the news in 2002 to help publicize "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," Barris said his shows were a forerunner to today's popular reality TV series.

Born in Philadelphia in 1929, Charles Barris was left destitute, along with his sister and their mother, when his dentist father died of a stroke.

After graduating from the Drexel Institute of Technology in 1953, he took a series of jobs, including book salesman and fight promoter.

After being dropped from a low-level job at NBC, he found work at ABC, where he persuaded his bosses to let him open a Hollywood office, from which he launched his game-show empire. He also had success in the music world. He wrote the 1962 hit record "Palisades Park," which was recorded by Freddy Cannon.

Barris's first marriage, to Lynn Levy, ended in divorce. Their daughter, Della, died of a drug overdose in 1998. He married his third wife, Mary, in 2000.


The late Associated Press writer Bob Thomas contributed biographical material to this report.

Publicist: 'Gong Show' creator Chuck Barris dies at 87 at home in New York

Publicist: 'Gong Show' creator Chuck Barris dies at 87 at home in New York.

Wine, excited dogs send Ellen DeGeneres to hospital with broken finger

We’ve all been there, Ellen!

On Tuesday’s “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the host shared a story about how she accidentally broke the ring finger on her left hand.

“You know how in gymnastics when you do a one-handed cartwheel and you have to spread the weight evenly between all of your fingers?” DeGeneres said. “Well, I had two glasses of wine and fell into a door.”

>> Read more trending news

The audience roared with laughter as DeGeneres shared details of that night.

DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi,returned home after a dinner party, and their dogs excitedly greeted them at the door.

“I just caught the lip of the top step. I was just about a foot away from the door and I fell into the door,” she said. “It did something to my finger and I knew something was wrong.”

She shared a nasty picture of her finger post-fall.

“My first thought was no big deal Obamacare will cover this," she joked. “So, Portia drove me to the hospital.”

DeGeneres then shared a photo of her X-ray.

“It turns out I didn’t break it. I dislocated my finger, that’s what they call it,” she said. “Which is an incorrect term. I knew where it was located.”

DeGeneres said that before the doctors snapped her finger back in place, a nurse offered her a shot to numb her finger.

“And, I said, ‘No, I just had two glasses of wine and that’s what got me into this mess in the first place,’” she joked.

After some cursing and pain, her finger was back in place.

“It was a hard weekend for me, and I put on a brave face and I made it through,” she said.

Watch the host discuss her injury in the video below.

Cops: Woman used reality star's identity on $9K shopping spree

Police in Gwinnett County, Georgia, have issued warrants for an Atlanta woman they say shopped at the Mall of Georgia and other Buford-area stores with credit cards obtained with a former reality TV star’s stolen identity.

>> Read more trending news

Warrants have been issued for 43-year-old Alcie Almecoh Green, who was identified by a Crime Stoppers tipster, police say. Police are seeking Green on two counts of identity fraud and two counts of theft by deception.

The victim is former “Married to Medicine” star Kari Wells, according to a police report. Wells told WSBTV the $9,000 shopping spree made her feel “violated.”

"At first I was shocked," Wells told the news station. "I get a phone call out of the blue. And they say the account that you've opened, you've maximized your credit on this account and I say, 'Well, I haven't opened an account.'"

The lead detective on the case suspects Green may have sold high-end items purchased with the stolen identity, police said. The department is asking those who may have purchased items from Green to contact police, as the items are considered stolen and must be returned to the stores from which they were fraudulently purchased.

'This is Us' finale gets highest viewership of season

Those who believe it's impossible for a broadcast network to make new hits anymore probably isn't a fan of "This is Us."

The heartwarming NBC series was second only to CBS' "NCIS" for the most popular show of the week for its debut season finale last week. The show's viewership reached its highest this season with 12.8 million viewers on the night it first aired, with the audience swelling to 16.9 million when people who watched via time delay over three days is added in, the Nielsen company said.

The vast majority of new television series' fail, but "This is Us" also proved that there's still no matching broadcast television when it comes to finding the best chance of reaching the biggest audience.

Add in two editions of "The Voice," and NBC had three of last week's four most popular programs.

CBS still won the week in prime time, averaging 7.2 million viewers. NBC had 6.4 million, ABC had 4.6 million, Fox had 2.6 million, Univision had 1.6 million, Telemundo had 1.33 million, ION Television had 1.29 million and the CW had 1.1 million.

Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.48 million viewers in prime time. Bolstered by March Madness, TNT was second with 2.42 million, TBS had 1.98 million, MSNBC had 1.72 million and USA had 1.71 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.43 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" was second with 8.36 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.8 million viewers.

For the week of March 13-19, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 14.16 million; "This is Us," NBC, 12.84 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 12.18 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.71 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.85 million; "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 10.43 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 10.32 million; "Little Big Shots," NBC, 9.58 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 9.1 million; "The Bachelor," ABC, 8.41 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 March 13-19

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for March 13-19. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.

1. "NCIS," CBS, 14.16 million.

2. "This is Us," NBC, 12.84 million.

3. "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 12.18 million.

4. "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.71 million.

5. "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.85 million.

6. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 10.43 million.

7. "The Walking Dead," AMC, 10.32 million.

8. "Little Big Shots," NBC, 9.58 million.

9. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 9.1 million.

10. "The Bachelor," ABC, 8.41 million.

11. "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 7.91 million.

12. "Survivor," CBS, 7.87 million.

13. "Bachelor: After the Final Rose," ABC, 7.86 million.

14. "The Voice" (Wednesday), NBC, 7.63 million.

15. "Madam Secretary," CBS, 7.62 million.

16. "Criminal Minds," CBS, 7.5 million.

17. "Chicago Med," NBC, 7.35 million.

18. "Kevin Can Wait," CBS, 6.79 million.

19. "Scorpion," CBS, 6.61 million.

20. NCAA Basketball: St. Mary's vs. Arizona, CBS, 6.51 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.

The Latest: Not-guilty pleas in deaths tied to TV performer

The Latest on two men charged in a double homicide involving a burning car tied to a woman who often appears on "Real Housewives of New Jersey" (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

Two men have pleaded not guilty to murder charges stemming from a double homicide involving a burning car tied to a woman who often appears on "Real Housewives of New Jersey."

Clarence Williams and Gerry Thomas entered their pleas Tuesday during initial court appearances. Both are due back in court Friday for a detention hearing, where a judge will decide if bail will be set or if they will remain in custody until trial.

The two Paterson residents are charged with felony murder and other counts in the deaths of 27-year-old Aaron Anderson and 28-year-old Antonio Vega Jr. Their bodies were found Friday inside a burning car.

Anderson's mother has said he borrowed the car from the son of Kim DePaola, who has frequently appeared on the Bravo reality show.


10:50 a.m.

Two men are under arrest on charges stemming from a double homicide involving a burning car tied to a woman who often appears on "Real Housewives of New Jersey."

Paterson police charged 26-year-old Clarence Williams and 28-year-old Gerry Thomas on Monday with felony murder, conspiracy to commit felony murder, robbery, arson and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.

It's unclear if the Paterson residents have lawyers who can comment on the charges.

The bodies of 27-year-old Aaron Anderson and 28-year-old Antonio Vega Jr. were found Friday inside a burning car.

Anderson's mother has said he borrowed the car from the son of Kim DePaola. DePaola has frequently appeared on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" reality show.

Authorities have declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.

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