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MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell apologizes for off-air rant

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell has apologized after clips surfaced of him profanely yelling at staffers in between segments of his prime-time program.

The clips from O'Donnell's Aug. 29 show were published online by Mediaite on Wednesday. They show O'Donnell angrily reacting over the wrong sound being fed into his earpiece. He also demands someone put an end to hammering near the studio, calling on staffers to call MSNBC president Phil Griffin, if necessary.

O'Donnell's rant quickly became fodder for memes on social media. One widely-shared video spliced up O'Donnell's comments about the hammering with the music video for M.C. Hammer's "U Can't Touch This."

O'Donnell was contrite in a Twitter post Wednesday night, writing: "A better anchorman and a better person would've had a better reaction to technical difficulties. I'm sorry."

Milan fashion meets global crises with lightness

The Milan fashion world is responding to global crises with transparency and lightness.

Designers are choosing diaphanous textiles to create airy looks, often layering sheer trench coats and anoraks over form-fitting knit dresses or jumpsuits for contrast. It's about comfort, being nimble and joyous in times of uncertainty.

Milan Fashion Week womenswear previews for next spring and summer continued for the second day on Thursday with shows by Fendi, Max Mara, Prada and Moschino. Here are some highlights:

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FENDI FUTURISM

Backgammon in the tropics anyone? Karl Lagerfeld's Fendi collection for next Spring-Summer 2018 proposes futuristic looks with nods to yesteryear.

Plaids and skewed stripes give the collection an underlying order and discipline that also was reflected in the disciplined shoulders and cinched waistlines.

Shoulders often were left bare, courtesy of peek-a-boo cut-outs and asymmetrical ruching. Men's bowling shirts and rugby polos provided the inspiration for sheer tops that tucked prettily into diaphanous skirts.

"It is a very light collection, with an airy breeze that goes through the clothes," the brand's creative director, Silvia Venturini Fendi, said backstage.

Seafoam green, coral and sand dominated the color palette, "the colors of summer landscape," Fendi said.

Pretty detailing — tropical leaf cutouts and trailing grosgrain ribbons on hemlines and necklines adorned several designs. Materials included light cotton, nylon and netting, along with leather and the fashion house's trademark fur, some bearing the double F logo.

The celebrity model trio of Gigi Hadid, sister Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner took turns on the Fendi runway. Gigi indulged fashionista fans backstage with a few selfies as she left wearing a hot-pink plaid suit and wire frame sunglasses.

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MAX MARA EVOLUTION

Max Mara designs for next spring and summer were an evolution of the brand's trademark monochromes, logo plays and garden florals in pretty silhouette-revealing shapes.

The light-and-airy complemented the form-fitting, as in the sheer trench worn belted over a tight, ribbed knit dress. Creative director Ian Griffiths took a step toward deconstruction, cuffing slim dress trousers to the knee. Longer skirts featured trailing strips of cloth that resembled pleats freed from their usual geometry.

The collection segued into a new Max Mara logo spelling out the brand in floating letters and then into florals shown on suit, dress and trench combos and long billowing dresses worn over trousers.

The shoe of choice is a T-shaped high-heeled sandal, often in matching prints. Bags were worn strapped on the back.

As with last season's show, Max Mara featured a model wearing a Muslim hijab, part of the fashion world's embrace of inclusivity and the Mideast market.

Tom Cruise partially at fault for two pilots' deaths, families say

Tom Cruise is partially to blame for the 2015 plane crash that killed two men during the filming of the action movie “American Made,” the families of the deceased say.

>> Read more trending news 

According to new court documents obtained by The Blast and provided to People magazine, the estates of Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl claim that Cruise and director Doug Liman’s desire to film a “high-risk, action-packed motion picture” contributed to the circumstances that led to the accident.

A twin-engine Piper Smith Aerostar 600 carrying three of the pilots helping with the movie crashed in the mountains. Purwin and Berl died on the scene, and the third pilot, Jimmy Lee Garland, lost feeling in the lower half of his body.

“The demands of filming in Colombia, together with Cruise’s and director Doug Liman’s enthusiasm for multiple takes of lavish flying sequences, added hours to every filming day and added days to the schedule,” the documents state.

RELATED: New details on the extent of Tom Cruise’s injuries after a failed stunt attempt on “Mission Impossible 6”

The families of Purwin and Berl are both suing the producers of Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures for wrongful death and damages, People magazine reported.

“Lapses in planning, coordinating, scheduling and flight safety that were the defendants’ responsibility resulted in an unqualified and unprepared pilot being pressed into service for a dangerous flight in a vintage aircraft across an unfamiliar mountain pass in bad weather,” the documents state.

Cruise and Liman are not named as defendants in the lawsuit, but the families say the two men were “negligent” for having the flight go forward, given the conditions of the weather and crew.

The families also claim that Cruise could have piloted the plane himself, arguing that the star is “a well-qualified pilot very familiar with the Aerostar and the routing.”

Salma Hayek pledges $100,000 donation to Mexican earthquake victims

Actress Salma Hayek is giving back to her home country of Mexico in a big way.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard” star, 51, shared a video on Instagram Wednesday encouraging people to donate money toward relief efforts in Mexico City and surrounding areas after they were devastated by a huge earthquake on Tuesday. She also revealed that she has survived a previous natural disaster.

RELATED: Actress Salma Hayek thinks America can learn from and come together during Trump’s presidency

“After the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, I was evacuated from my building,” Hayek said in the video. “A lot of friends died, including an uncle that was very, very close to me.”

“I have lived through the aftermath of a disaster of this magnitude, and it’s horrific,” she continued. “I am starting a Crowdrise to try to raise money to help families who are going through this nightmare right now in Mexico.

“I implore to your hearts ... to your compassion to help,” she added. “Anything that you can give will make a big difference. I will match the first $100,000 that are donated.”

Hayek wrote on Instagram that her donated funds are going to UNICEF.

New Ondaatje novel 'Warlight' coming in May

Michael Ondaatje (On-DAH-Chay), author of the acclaimed novel "The English Patient," is once again writing about World War II.

Alfred A. Knopf announced Thursday that Ondaatje's "Warlight" will come out May 8. The novel is set in London in 1945 and tells of two young siblings who have been separated from their parents in the aftermath of the Nazi bombings. "Warlight" is Ondaatje's first work of fiction since the 2011 release of "The Cat's Table."

Ondaatje's other books include "In the Skin of a Lion" and "Anil's Ghost." He won the Booker Prize for "The English Patient," a 1992 publication later adapted into an Oscar-winning film of the same name starring Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche.

Anthony Rapp embarks, thrilled, on 'Star Trek: Discovery'

The original "Star Trek" was born into a world of hurt. The United States was embroiled in a war that wouldn't end. The president was increasingly embattled. Americans were polarized.

Now, a half-century later, "Star Trek: Discovery" lands in a nation that seems no less burdened, while the new show's mission is unchanged from the series that spawned it: to enter the future with hope and face the present with courage. It is an upbeat tone as much as a taste for adventure that has propelled the "Star Trek" franchise through so many TV and film iterations. Now comes the eagerly awaited "Star Trek: Discovery," which premieres on CBS on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. After the broadcast premiere, the series launches Sunday night on the CBS All Access subscription streaming channel, the exclusive home for the rest of the series.

"Even though this first season is set against the backdrop of a Klingon-Federation conflict, it's really about finding the Starfleet way to get OUT of the conflict," says Gretchen J. Berg, an executive producer and co-showrunner with Aaron Harberts. "How do you end the war and still maintain the ideals the Starfleet confederacy is all about? To that end, there will be hope, there will be optimism, there will be people trying to be the best version of themselves, which is something I think we really need to be focused on in this day and age."

Real-life current events on planet Earth "create a lot of story for us," she acknowledges, "and through our storytelling we're trying to help figure out a pathway to a brighter tomorrow. Talk about making lemonade out of some very bitter lemons!"

The new series, which begins a few years before the 23rd century time frame of the original Captain Kirk-led "Star Trek," boasts a large cast including Jason Isaacs, James Frain and Rainn Wilson, as well as fan-favorite Sonequa Martin-Green, late of "The Walking Dead" and now the first black woman in command of a "Star Trek" starship.

Always on the vanguard in promoting diversity and tolerance, "Star Trek" takes another step forward on "Discovery" by including in its crew an openly gay character played by an openly gay actor, Anthony Rapp.

Lt. Paul Stamets is an astromicologist (studying mushrooms and other fungi in outer space). With his scientific bent and sky-high IQ, he can be a little prickly, Rapp says, which only adds to the fun of playing him.

The 45-year-old Rapp, who landed his first professional job at age 9, won fame 20 years ago for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway hit musical "Rent," a role he reprised in the 2005 film. He also played Charlie Brown in the 1999 Broadway revival of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," and originated the role of Lucas in the musical "If/Then" in 2014.

"I've always been a nerd and fan of 'Star Trek' and all sorts of science fiction," he says, "but I never conceived of myself as being inside of it as an actor. This is like a childhood fantasy gone wild, actually doing it in real life."

On his first day at the vast Toronto soundstage, Rapp says he found himself on-set "walking through these corridors in my Starfleet uniform with my badge— like I'm in space! It's really, really thrilling."

Devout Trekkers have been less than thrilled that the new series, announced in late 2015 and promised a bit more than a year later, has been repeatedly postponed thanks to unforeseen complexities of production and casting.

"I can totally understand that it can be frustrating and mysterious to people who aren't inside the process," says Rapp. "But I can assure you the delays have resulted in something that is incredibly well-conceived and brought to life."

For the first time, this "Star Trek" will be serialized, with its narrative flowing from the premiere through episode 15, which concludes its second season.

"It's about culture clash," Rapp says. "I think that's a theme that's pretty relevant these days. But 'Star Trek' has always been grounded in philosophical and ethical questions, exploring what it means to be human and what do you do when you encounter another culture."

It's the sort of positive message Rapp has always sought to put forward, as both an actor and a human.

It prompted him to come out a quarter-century ago.

"Visibility matters," he explains. "It's so easy to denigrate or ignore someone you don't see and you feel different from. If there was any chance that whatever visibility I have could make a difference, I'd want to be on the right side of that."

Then Rapp reaches for his phone to share a message he had gotten minutes earlier, en route to this interview, which in three short sentences maybe says it all: "I'm Muslim but that doesn't mean I have a problem with you being gay," it reads. "In fact, you've helped me open my mind up. And I love science fiction and I love 'Star Trek' and I can't wait to see the show."

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Online:

https://www.cbs.com/all-access

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org

Kiss members Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley reunite on stage

Original Kiss members Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley have reunited for their first public appearance since their group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

But unlike that terse ceremony, the Star Tribune reports , they came to St. Paul's CHS field to play Wednesday night in their first show together in 16 years.

The event was a hurricane relief benefit that Simmons helped organize for the Minnesota-based charity Matter.ngo. The nonprofit focuses on feeding and aiding children worldwide, but after Harvey struck Texas in late August the concert's theme turned to assistance for Houston and surrounding areas.

Frehley took the stage about three-fourths of the way into Simmons' set, then tore into "Cold Gin" and "Shock Me" before the finale "Rock and Roll All Nite."

Annie Proulx to receive honorary National Book Award

The Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards didn't prepare Annie Proulx for her latest honor: a National Book Award medal for lifetime achievement.

"I was astonished when first I heard that news," Proulx told The Associated Press during a recent email interview. "I simply had not thought of my various writings as a body of work that might be considered as a contribution to American letters. It almost seemed that I had been negligent in writing what I considered discrete novels and stories instead of shaping a holistic something that might be regarded as a life work."

On Thursday, the National Book Foundation praised the author of "The Shipping News," ''Brokeback Mountain" and other fiction for her "impressive lyricism and wit that captivates readers of all ages." Anne Hathaway, who starred in the film version of "Brokeback Mountain," will present the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Proulx during a Nov. 15 dinner ceremony in Manhattan, when competitive prizes will be given for the year's best fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature books. Scholastic Inc. President and CEO Dick Robinson will be given the Literarian Award for "Outstanding Service" to the literary community.

Previous recipients of the Distinguished Contribution medal include Toni Morrison, Philip Roth and Joan Didion.

"Annie Proulx's ability to explore the nuances of the human spirit and render deeply moving reflections on rural life have solidified her place in American Letters," Lisa Lucas, the foundation's executive director, said in a statement. "In addition to her astounding literary accomplishments, film adaptations of Proulx's work have reached scores of viewers who may not have encountered her work on the page."

Proulx, 82, won the Pulitzer and National Book Award for "The Shipping News," and her novel "Postcards" made her the first women to win the PEN/Faulkner award. She has also expressed reservations about literary prizes, worrying that they overshadow the work.

"It is true that I have noticed awards sometimes affect writers negatively by encouraging them to weigh their succeeding works on a scale of notability rather than intrinsic verities in the work itself," Proulx told the AP. "That's badly put: I feel writing the thing on the worktable should have the focus, and that awards should come like shifts in a veering wind, as gratifying surprises."

Born Edna Ann Proulx, in Norwich, Connecticut, the author has lived everywhere from Vermont to Wyoming to Seattle, and set her work around the country and beyond. "The Shipping News" takes place in Newfoundland, "Brokeback Mountain" in Wyoming and her latest, the ecological epic "Barkskins," begins in Canada and journeys worldwide. "Barkskins" warns of climate change, which Proulx considers a defining issue of the moment and one "impossible to ignore" in her future work. But she is also known for her explorations of history, whether the haunting secrets of a Newfoundland community in "The Shipping News," or, in "Accordion Crimes," when she traces an accordion's journey from Sicily in the 1890s to Florida a century later.

"For reasons I have never understood the past has always had a hold on the way I look at events. I am attuned to long, slow change," she wrote to the AP. "Throughout my life I have slid in and out of gestalt reversals, imaging earlier times for almost every situation, not only when writing, but in the normal course of a day — the Viking presence in L'Anse aux Meadows, the peopled steeps of Chaco, the funerary rites of 19th C. Vermont, the lustrous eyes of unwary pronghorn, standing on the quivering false islands of Okeefenokee, spider-webs in Pacific Northwest autumn forests. If I met you I might briefly imagine you in 18th century clothing or the raiment of Utzi or pharaonic trappings. This habit of thinking/imagining is hard to explain, but it is a kind of automatic juxtaposition of specific present situations and people into the past. I do this constantly, in every social interaction and sometimes write about the past through that channel of imagination."

Lifetime achievement awards are a time for stepping back and looking at the impact of one's career — one's legacy.

"I usually write about rural places and situations and am drawn to socio-historical change as background (or foreground, depending on your perception)," she wrote in her email. "The French Annales approach to history through the lives of ordinary or working class people has guided my outlook. In the work structural backgrounds have included the disappearance of Vermont hill farms, immigration, homophobia, the shift from traditional rodeo, returning veterans, the incursion of hog farms, the collapsing Newfoundland cod fishery before the Moratorium, deforestation.

"How this all shakes out into a legacy I have no idea — it's more a defining characteristic of the way I look at the world I have lived in. I feel writers have a responsibility to nail down a piece of the time they inhabit."

4 detained in probe linked to film on Russian czar's affair

Russian police say they have detained four people suspected of an arson attack linked to a movie about the last Russian czar's affair with a ballerina.

"Matilda," which is set to be released in October, has sparked harsh criticism from hard-line nationalists and some Orthodox believers in Russia.

Two cars were set on fire earlier this week outside the office of the attorney for the film's director and signs reading "burn for Matilda" were reportedly found near the scene. Last month, assailants tried to set fire to the director's film studio.

Police spokeswoman Irina Volk said in a statement Thursday that three of the detained have been charged with arson. They include Alexander Kalinin, the leader of an obscure Christian Orthodox group who has publicly condoned the attacks.

12-year-old ventriloquist wins 'America's Got Talent'

A 12-year-old singing ventriloquist is getting a $1 million prize and her own Las Vegas show after taking the "America's Got Talent" crown on the season 12 finale of the NBC reality competition.

Darci Lynne Farmer, of Oklahoma City, beat out another youngster, 10-year-old singer Angelica Hale, for the 'AGT' title Wednesday by garnering the most votes from viewers.

Farmer told The Associated Press after the show that she was "overcome with joy and luckiness." Judge Heidi Klum said the girl "is the full package," adding that "she really touched people's hearts" and "made people laugh at home."

Farmer is the third ventriloquist to win the competition. Season 2 champ Terry Fator performed a duet with Farmer on the season finale and worked with her on her scripts.

Shaq to back Democrat after GOP Christie endorsement in '13

New Jersey native and former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal is backing Democrat Phil Murphy in this year's contest to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Murphy campaign spokesman Dan Bryan says O'Neal will formally endorse Murphy on Monday. He had no further details.

O'Neal backed Christie in his 2013 re-election bid, calling the governor a "great man" and even appearing in an ad for him. Christie cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Murphy is leading GOP Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in the polls ahead of the Nov. 7 election.

Guadagno's camp did not address O'Neal's decision to endorse a Democrat this year. Instead, her campaign criticized Murphy over his promise to hike taxes, including on millionaires. And her spokesman Ricky Diaz said, "The lieutenant governor is proud of the growing support she's receiving from hardworking taxpayers."

O'Neal isn't the first high-profile figure to get involved in the race.

This week, Murphy's campaign announced that former President Barack Obama would campaign for the Democrat. Former Vice President Joe Biden also backed Murphy and appeared with him before the June primary.

Guadagno got the backing of former "Saturday Night Live" star and actor Joe Piscopo, who had been weighing entering the race himself.

O'Neal was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. He was an instant box office draw during his career because of his mammoth frame and rim-shaking dunks. He also exhibited a personality that was as playful as it was engaging.

UK: Tate to reunite Picasso nudes for first time since 1932

An exhibition at London's Tate Modern will reunite three Picasso nudes painted days apart but not displayed together for almost a century, the gallery said Thursday.

"Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," ''Nude in a Black Armchair" and "The Mirror" are boldly colored depictions of the artist's lover Marie-Therese Walter, all painted in a five-day period of March 1932.

The paintings are held in private collections but are being loaned for an exhibit focusing on Picasso's work during a single year, 1932. They haven't been displayed together since Picasso's exhibitions in Paris and Zurich that year.Announcing details of the show, Tate Modern said that 1932 is now seen as the artist's "year of wonders," confirming him as a 20th century master who absorbed and transcended styles including Cubism and surrealism.

But curator Achim Borchardt-Hume said that at the time people were asking: "Is he still valid or is he over?"

"He was very aware of people asking that question."

"Picasso 1932 — Love, Fame, Tragedy" includes more than 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper by the Spanish artist, who at the time was 50 and living in Paris. Highlights include "The Dream," another portrait of Walter that is considered among Picasso's greatest works. It was once owned by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, who put his elbow through the canvas in 2006 just after agreeing to sell it for $139 million.

The show will explore the interplay between Picasso's work and his life — including a complicated love life which Borchardt-Hume said draws comparisons to the much-married King Henry VIII.

But the curator said it wouldn't reduce the artist to "salacious love affairs."

"One of the things we will try to do is actually go back to Picasso as an artist, who like any other artist faced the question every morning when he got up: What to do next?" he said.

The show was organized by Tate and the Picasso Museum in Paris, where it will run — without the three nudes — from Oct. 10 to Feb. 11.

The exhibit is scheduled to open at Tate Modern on March 8, 2018 and runs to Sept. 9.

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This story has been corrected to show that the three nudes will not feature in the Paris exhibition.

Businessman put on notice after rant against Kathy Griffin

One of the nation's biggest homebuilders is putting its top executive on notice after a vulgar rant against comedian Kathy Griffin was caught on tape and went viral.

KB Home CEO Jeffrey Mezger, who is a neighbor of Griffin's in California, was recorded by a security camera hurling slurs against Griffin while in a heated argument with her boyfriend. Mezger was angered after Griffin or her boyfriend complained to police over a family get together at Mezger's house.

KB Home said in a regulatory filing Thursday that while Mezger has been "a great leader," his behavior was unacceptable and that he would be fired for any similar incidents in the future. It also cut his annual bonus by 25 percent.

There were apparently a number of complaints since the couple moved in to the house beside Mezger's. Griffin and her boyfriend, in the incident that preceded the taped confrontation, appear to have called police over noise made by children playing in a backyard pool.

There has been some backlash against the executive since the vulgar, two-minute outburst was first aired by HuffPost.

TV host and financial adviser Suze Orman wrote on Twitter this week, "Disgraceful talk from the CEO of KB HOMES. You really want to buy a home from this man? Beyond Disgusting!"

KB Home and Mezger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

How much the incident will cost Mezger, who has been CEO since 2006, isn't clear. He was paid $9 million last year in salary and stock awards, but he hasn't received a bonus since 2014. In that year, Mezger received a bonus of $125,000.

Lady Gaga, Kevin Hart, America's Got Talent

Lady Gaga had to postpone the European leg of her tour, since sh'e dealing with intense pain from her fibromyalgia. She will open up about her struggle with fibromyalgia in her Netflix documentary Five Foot Two, which premieres tomorrow! New York Times

The Kevin Hart cheating scandal just opened up a little more! Montia Sabbag has come forward and confirmed that she is the woman in the video with Kevin (VIDEO). However, Mantia, who had her attorney present when she made her statement, claims that she had nothing to do with the video. 

"I'm not an extortionist. I'm not a stripper. I'm a recording artist and an actress and I have not broken any laws. I had nothing to do with these recordings. I hired Lisa Bloom solely to protect my legal rights. I am truly sorry for any involvement I had in this." CNN



Congrats to 12 year old singing ventriloquist, Darci Lynne, for winning this season of America's Got TalentThe honor comes with a $1 million prize! 

Fergie and Josh Duhamel separated a while ago, but only recently went public with the news. This meant that while promoting her album, Fergie had to respond to interview questions about their relationship as if they were still together, even though they weren't. 

“Honestly, it was just getting a little weird for us with all the romantic questions... There’s no perfect time, so we just decided to do it. We just wanted to get adjusted in private.” MORE HERE

Nobel Prize, JFK's chair, Trump wedding souvenir up for bid

A Nobel prize, a rocking chair commissioned by President John F. Kennedy and a souvenir from President Donald Trump's wedding to first lady Melania, are among the treasures up for grabs at a Los Angeles auction this fall.

Julien's Auctions says its "Icons & Idols: Hollywood and More" event will take place on Nov. 17. Available for bidding is a Nobel Prize medal for chemistry awarded to a pair of researchers in 1956. Presidential history buffs may be interested in a replica of Kennedy's Oval Office rocking chair that was commissioned by the president as a gift. Also available is a souvenir mini wedding cake from Trump's 2005 wedding.

Memorabilia from stars like Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Grace Kelly will also be up for bid.

Review: iTunes video upgrade makes the new Apple TV worth it

It might seem odd to review the new Apple TV streaming device — one specifically designed to display super-sharp video known as 4K — without actually owning a 4K TV.

But in a way, that's the point.

Most people still don't have 4K TVs, so the new Apple TV model doesn't offer them much. But if you're an Apple fan and already have 4K, the choice is clear. The new Apple TV 4K is out Friday starting at $179, or $30 more than the regular model. It's a small difference compared with the price of your TV.

It's worth noting that alternatives to Apple TV are cheaper and equally capable at a basic level. All of the devices connect to a TV so you can stream most major video services on a big screen. Roku and Amazon have 4K models for less than $100 and non-4K versions for even less. Both are even ahead of Apple TV in being able to stream Amazon video now; it's coming soon to Apple TV.

But none of the rivals will play movies or shows purchased from Apple's iTunes, at least without clunky workarounds. To watch those on a big screen directly, you need an Apple TV. And Apple has just sweetened the deal on that front.

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THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED

Apple's embrace of 4K is significant, despite the fact that Roku, Amazon and other rivals beat Apple to that milestone. Apple often waits until there's broad enough appeal for new technologies. That time is now, given growth in sales of 4K TV and more movies and TV shows released in 4K formats.

Parallel to that is the rise of high-dynamic range technology in television sets. HDR increases color range and produces brighter whites and darker blacks. Better contrast means details in bright scenes aren't washed out. Apple TV 4K supports HDR, too.

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PATH TO UPGRADES

4K is coming, just as high definition earlier replaced standard definition. The consulting company Futuresource says a third of TVs sold worldwide this year will be 4K capable, up from 25 percent last year. But people tend to keep TVs for many years, unlike high-turnover phones.

In demos with tech companies and visits to Best Buy, I find superior picture quality in 4K. Your couch needs to close enough to the screen to see the difference. My next TV will likely have 4K, but my 4-year-old Vizio HD TV still works fine (though I'm sure I just jinxed it).

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ITUNES UPGRADES ITS VIDEO ... AND YOURS

Many Hollywood blockbusters now have 4K versions of home video releases. Netflix and Amazon are also trying to make their original shows available in 4K. But many indie and older titles remain in HD; even older shows like "The Wonder Years" are still stuck in standard definition.

Fortunately, Apple isn't making you choose now. If you buy something in HD through iTunes, you'll automatically get the 4K version when it's out. And if a 4K version is available now, it will cost the same as its HD counterpart. It's never been clear why HD video is more expensive than SD when actors, directors and others behind the movies were paid the same.

Lots of people were peeved at how the music industry tried to get them to repurchase the same songs on cassette tapes, CDs and then digital files. I have a collection of DVDs and don't feel like paying again for higher-quality Blu-ray or digital versions.

So Apple's decision to treat 4K and HD the same is a good one. That only applies to iTunes, though. Netflix is charging extra for a plan that includes 4K, even when viewed on Apple TVs.

A word of caution: While the new iPhone 8 and iPad Pros unveiled this past June will support HDR, they won't display 4K. Even the upcoming iPhone X falls short in that respect.

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BEYOND VIDEO

The new Apple TV gets a faster processor, which should make high-end games better to play. A new remote offers more precise motion control and a raised menu button to make it easier to orient yourself without looking. These features alone aren't enough to justify an Apple TV 4K unless you're a gamer. The non-4K version is getting the new remote, too. Picture quality is the same for both versions on regular HD sets like mine.

In any case, Apple TV — with or without 4K — will be most useful if you're already tied into Apple's system with iDevices and iTunes. Given that rival devices are cheaper, what you're buying isn't the device, but an experience — integration and syncing with all your other Apple gadgets. For instance, 4K video taken on an iPhone will play easily on an Apple TV 4K.

If you're in that camp and are thinking of buying a new TV in the next few years, there's a good chance it will be 4K, so you might as well choose the 4K version of Apple TV now. But if it's longer, a better Apple TV will likely be out by then. The non-4K version will do just fine for now.

Jimmy Kimmel ramps up battle against GOP health care bill

Jimmy Kimmel used his late-night platform to continue his assault on the GOP health care bill, firing back at critics including U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and "Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade.

The ABC star on Wednesday was following up on his monologue from Tuesday, when he said the bill Cassidy is co-sponsoring failed the "Jimmy Kimmel test," a phrase Cassidy coined in May after Kimmel announced his newborn son underwent heart surgery for a birth defect.

The Louisiana Republican said Wednesday morning that Kimmel "does not understand" the bill. Kimmel mocked Cassidy's claim and called his proposal "the worst health care bill yet."

After Kilmeade labeled Kimmel a "Hollywood elite" pushing politics, Kimmel called Kilmeade "a phony little creep" who Kimmel says previously asked him to write a blurb for his book. Kilmeade disputed some of Kimmel's account on "Fox & Friends" on Thursday, saying he asked him to be a part of a sports book he wrote in 2003. He added that he hoped Kimmel's son gets better and told the host: "Continue to do a great job."

Martha Stewart, others to attend women's empowerment event

Some famous friends will be on hand for Mika Brzezinski's latest "Know Your Value" event.

Martha Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jane Pauley are among those expected Oct. 30 for an all-day conference at Manhattan's Grand Hyatt hotel.

"Know Your Value" is based on the best-selling book by the co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

The mission is to develop an "empowered community" for women in their personal and professional lives. Others who have appeared at "Know Your Value" gatherings include Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand of New York, Rachael Ray and Brooke Shields.

Brzezinski published her book in 2011 and started the "Know Your Value" movement three years later.

The Oct. 30 event is in partnership with NBCUniversal News Group.

Who won 'America's Got Talent'?

Ventriloquist singer Darci Lynne, 12, took the season 12 crown on “America’s Got Talent.”

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Ten-year-old Johns Creek, Georgia, singing phenom Angelica Hale couldn’t fend off Lynne’s combination of humor, ventriloquism skills and charm. But Hale’s exceptional sweetness and vocal prowess helped her finish second.

Based on polls, Lynne was the consensus favorite to win. Only Hale had a remote shot at upsetting her. Bottom line: America loves a good ventriloquist. Season 2 winner and fellow ventriloquist/singer Terry Fator is considered the most successful Vegas act to come out of the show. They even got to perform together during the finale.

Earlier in the finale, Angelica and Kechi did a trio with Kelly Clarkson on her hit song “Stronger.” Clarkson noted that the finalists all get the same amount of airtime on the show as the winner. 

Fifth place was the dog act Sara and Hero, which is a bit of a shocker but proof that Simon Cowell’s push for the act early on was worthwhile. Fourth place was deaf singer Mandy Harvey. In third? Dance/light act Light Balance.

Evie Clair didn’t finish in the Top 5. There were too many good singers splitting votes.

Japanese video gaming adapting new tech for familiar titles

The Japanese video game industry is finding its way out of the doldrums by adapting new technology for decades-old titles. And that energy was evident at the annual Tokyo Game Show, which opened to media Thursday before opening to the public over the weekend.

"Our old fans used to play Japanese games, and those people are excited those games are coming back and they recognize them as Japanese-style games," game creator Koji Igarashi told The Associated Press at the show in Makuhari Messe hall in Chiba, a Tokyo suburb.

"Truly game-like games" is the way Igarashi described the genres enjoying revival, including his side-scrolling role-playing games. His latest version will come with a 3-D movie section.

Although smartphones hammered the video-games market for some years, from about 2010, the companies have adjusted. After the dust settled, some of the games that stood the test of time turned out to be Japanese, such as "Monster Hunter" and "Resident Evil," known as "Biohazard" in Japan, both from Capcom Co., the "Super Mario" series from Nintendo and "Gran Turismo" from Sony, to name a few.

Also helping are new consoles from the Japanese makers, such as the PlayStation 4 from Sony Corp. and the Nintendo Switch. More than 60 million PlayStation 4, or PS4, consoles have been sold since they went on sale last year. Switch sales already total some 4.7 million globally. Switch went on sale in March.

Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. initially scoffed at the threat from smartphones but did an about-face and began offering smartphone versions of their flagship games like "Super Mario" since 2015. "Pokemon Go," featuring Nintendo's Pokemon characters and played on smartphones, became a global hit.

Games are also taking on more features, such as massive online communities, as well as immersive virtual reality, not only leading to new kinds of games but also helping revive interest in old-style genres.

Igarashi compared that to the way Japanese movie-making has endured along with Hollywood films.

"We are just offering what we find as fun," he said, noting that what he called his "Japanese idea of fun" can cross borders. "And we must never lose sight of that — what makes us truly us."

In his latest game, "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night," the player becomes Miriam, an orphan who awakens from a coma and battles demons as she tries to end a curse that is turning her skin to crystal.

Igarashi, known as "Iga" among game fans, produced the classic "Castlevania" vampire-action game series, which started in 1997, while at major Japanese game software maker Konami until he left three years ago to be on his own.

He has raised $5.5 million in pledged funding, mostly from the U.S., on Kickstarter for his Gothic-horror "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night." It is set to be playable on the Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Vita, when it launches in the first half of next year in seven languages, including Chinese and Italian.

Atsushi Morita, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan, Sony's game division, said Japanese culture is at the root of visual story-telling that began with manga comic books, went on to animation and films and now allows for an interactive element in games.

Many people used to play games, Morita added, but they have stopped as they got older. But with new technology like the virtual reality headset that Sony has developed and an array of software products coming out, the time may be finally ripe for the Japanese game industry to reap the rewards, he said.

"We want people to once again remember and rediscover the fun of games," said Morita. "We want people to re-experience that joy, that emotion."

Square Enix Holdings Co. President Yosuke Matsuda said his company is putting out the 15th game of the longtime hit "Final Fantasy" series. Long lines were forming at its giant booth at the Tokyo Game Show for a chance to try it out.

"Japanese games are loved by the world," he said.

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Kageyama can be reached at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama

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