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Conservative activist James O'Keefe to release CNN tapes

Conservative activist James O'Keefe has announced plans to release recordings Thursday morning that he says were made secretly inside CNN.

O'Keefe tells the network in an interview that the media is a "huge target" of his and he's targeting CNN specifically because it "has a very important role as an arbiter of news."

The network has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly labeled it "fake news."

A CNN spokeswoman didn't immediately return a request for comment on O'Keefe's announcement.

O'Keefe became well-known in 2009 after posing as a pimp in a video to embarrass community-organizing group ACORN. He has also made videos targeting National Public Radio and Planned Parenthood.

Some of his efforts have backfired. He was arrested and pleaded guilty in 2010 to entering the office of a Louisiana senator under false pretenses.

Jackie Evancho asks to meet with Trump about transgender rights

A performer at President Donald Trump's inauguration took to Twitter on Wednesday to speak out against the administration's move to withdraw guidelines rolled out by former President Barack Obama's administration on the rights of transgender students.

>> Trump administration withdraws Obama guidance on transgender students' rights

The Washington Post reported that Pittsburgh opera singer and "America's Got Talent" alum Jackie Evancho, who sang the national anthem at Trump's inauguration, tweeted that she was "obviously disappointed in the @POTUS decision to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide."

>> Read more trending news

Evancho's sister, Juliet, is transgender.

"@realDonaldTrump u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk #transgender rghts," Evancho, 16, added in a second tweet.

I am obviously disappointed in the @POTUS decision to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide. #sisterlove— jackie evancho (@jackieevancho) February 22, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

. @realDonaldTrump u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk #transgender rghts— jackie evancho (@jackieevancho) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Read more here.

Bill Maher takes credit for Milo Yiannopoulos' downfall

After booking Milo Yiannopoulos on his HBO program last week, TV personality Bill Maher was openly criticized for giving the alt-right provocateur a large platform.

Since Yiannopoulos' appearance, a video in which he seemed to condone men having sex with boys circulated online.

>> Leslie Jones on Milo Yiannopoulos: 'I was done the day I blocked him'

In the days that followed, Yiannopoulos was removed from the lineup of a conservative conference in Maryland, his book deal with Simon & Schuster was canceled, and he resigned from his position at Breitbart News.

And Maher is taking all the credit.

>> Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart amid controversy over pedophilia comments

“What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe, trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage,” Maher told the New York Times. “And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.”

Maher also responded to criticism that he went easy on Yiannopoulos during their segment.

>> Milo Yiannopoulos book deal canceled following remarks on pedophilia 

“It’s not my job to hold him accountable to everything he’s ever said or done,” Maher said. “I had eight minutes with him on the show itself. Sorry I don’t have time to go over everything everybody else would want to do.”

Though Yiannopoulos' interview with Maher seemed cordial, his panel appearance later in the program was not. After insulting the other people on the panel, Yiannopoulos was hit by big criticism from writer and former "Nightly Show" host Larry Wilmore.

>> Read more trending news

Read more here.

Ryan Eggold's Tom takes center stage in 'Blacklist' spinoff

Ryan Eggold is ready for more action in NBC's "The Blacklist: Redemption."

Eggold's character, Tom Keen, grew into a key part of mothership "The Blacklist." Now Tom and Famke Janssen's Susan "Scottie" Hargrave are front and center in "Redemption," two people with dark pasts who are intent on righting wrongs, not committing them.

Or so we are told as "Redemption" begins an eight-episode run 10 p.m. EST Thursday. But as "The Blacklist" viewers know, and Eggold helpfully points out, appearances can be deceiving in the complicated world of Keen, his wife and FBI profiler Liz (Megan Boone), and puppet master Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader).

A primer for the spinoff: Tom believes that Scottie, head of a covert mercenary group, is the mother he never knew. Scottie thinks her son died as a child. But there's more than that to untangle, Eggold said, with "varying conspiracy theories" pitted against each other.

Edi Gathegi reprises his "Blacklist" role as slickly dangerous Matias Solomon. Also on hand is Terry O'Quinn, the "Lost" star who knows something about complicated plot lines. While Eggold says he's been cautioned not to discuss O'Quinn's character, he suggests it's central to "this pursuit of the greater truth of what's really happening."

What Eggold can offer is that that the series plays, non-politically, off of headlines about refugees, Edward Snowden-type figures, cyberwarfare and Russia. And it has a touch of "Ocean's Eleven" camaraderie and humor, he promises.

He had more to say in a phone interview with The Associated Press from New York, where the series films.

AP: Taking Tom to a lead character in "Redemption" must be a welcome change.

Eggold: Acting-wise, I feel like I'm almost drawn to supporting characters in a way. If it's going to be the lead, I'm glad it's this character because he's so multi-faceted and almost contradictory. ... He's a spy, and he's an assassin and he's a con man. And now he's a husband, and a father, and an orphan, and trying to be a good father. And he's learning how to be a good person after years of killing people in the middle of the jungle somewhere for some sum of money.

AP: Why do supporting roles appeal to you?

Eggold: The hero is burdened with the responsibility of doing the right thing. The fun of this character is he was sort of an ancillary character who grew into himself, and we're now doing this show around him. It's a character I was excited to explore more and peel back the layers.

AP: Tom has embraced becoming a husband to Liz and dad to their baby, Agnes. How do you remain in their lives and on "Blacklist" as well as star in "Redemption"?

Eggold: In these first eight episodes, the goal is to launch a new story and a new world and a new cast of characters. That's the focus. And then Tom's relationship with Liz and Agnes becomes something we'll deal with if we're going to continue with more episodes. ... In the launching of the show, Liz gives him her blessing to pursue this mission and get at the truth of who he is, where he comes from, why he was orphaned, what really happened to him and led him to be where he is today.

AP: Janssen's Scottie looks very young to be Tom's mother, and there are hints she regards him in definitely non-maternal ways. How is that to play?

Eggold: As an actor it's very fun, because it's so ambiguous and strange and awkward and uncomfortable — but also perhaps alluring. Then, of course, there's the uncertainty that she is his mother. He's been told that, and that's the truth he's going on. But you know that's what 'The Blacklist' does: The ground is always shifting beneath your feet and we're always putting more pieces of the puzzle into place that shift the picture.

___

Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.

Nielsen's top programs for Feb. 13-19

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

1. "NCIS," CBS, 15.29 million.

2. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 13.51 million.

3. "The Walking Dead," AMC, 11.08 million.

4. "Bull," CBS, 10.64 million.

5. "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.35 million.

6. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 10.32 million.

7. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.14 million.

8. "Hawaii Five-O," CBS, 9.62 million.

9. "This is Us," NBC, 9.04 million.

10. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 8.61 million.

11. "The Great Indoors," CBS, 8.01 million.

12. "Mom," CBS, 7.87 million.

13. "Kevin Can Wait," CBS, 7.86 million.

14. "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 7.68 million.

15. "The Bachelor," ABC, 7.57 million.

16. "Criminal Minds," CBS, 7.35 million.

17. "Superior Donuts," CBS, 7.25 million.

18. "MacGyver," CBS, 7.239 million.

19. "Scorpion," CBS, 7.238 million.

20. "Man with a Plan," CBS, 7.20 million.

___

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; NBC is owned by NBC Universal.

CBS rules in prime time, claiming 16 of week's Top 20 shows

CBS had a gleam in its eye again last week as the network held on to its Nielsen crown. In prime-time viewership, CBS could claim the most-watched show, "NCIS," and another 15 of the Top 20 programs. (Remarkably, six of those CBS shows are freshman series.)

AMC's "The Walking Dead" placed third. NBC's "This Is Us" was ninth. ABC had a pair of entries with "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Bachelor" (14th and 15th, respectively).

CBS' broadcast launch of "The Good Fight," its spinoff of "The Good Wife" that will henceforth be available only on the CBS All Access pay channel, placed 21st with 7.2 million viewers.

The week's other premiere, CBS' Katherine Heigl-starring legal drama "Doubt," opened with a so-so 5.3 million viewers.

In late night, CBS had more good news: "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" was the most-watched show in that nocturnal niche for the third consecutive week, averaging 3 million viewers.

Overall in prime time, CBS averaged 7.55 million viewers, while runner-up NBC was far behind with 4.61 million viewers. ABC had 4.50 million viewers, Fox had 2.87 million, Univision had 1.89 million, Telemundo had 1.39 million, ION Television had 1.27 million, and the CW had 1.23 million.

Fox News Channel remained the week's most popular cable network in prime time, averaging 2.72 million viewers. TNT had 2.92 million, HGTV had 1.57 million and MSNBC had 1.55 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.68 million viewers, while NBC's "Nightly News" had 8.54 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.10 million.

For the week of Feb. 13-21, the top 10 prime-time shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 15.29 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 13.51 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 11.08 million; "Bull," CBS, 10.64 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.35 million; "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 10.32 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.14 million; "Hawaii Five-O," CBS, 9.62 million; "This is Us," NBC, 9.04 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 8.61 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

Baby on way for 'Little People' stars Jeremy, Audrey Roloff

"Little People, Big World" stars Jeremy and Audrey Roloff are expecting their first child together.

The pair tells Us Weekly that Audrey Roloff discovered she was pregnant after returning home from a gender reveal party for Jeremy's twin brother, Zach Roloff, and his wife, Tori, who are expecting a baby boy in May.

She says she "was so surprised" after seeing a positive result on a pregnancy test. The 25-year-old says it could be the start of a large family. She says she wants "at least four" children.

The baby is due on Sept. 1.

Leslie Jones on Milo Yiannopoulos: 'I was done the day I blocked him'

If there’s anyone who truly doesn’t care for Milo Yiannopoulos, it’s comedian Leslie Jones.

The self-described right-wing provocateur and his supporters targeted the comedian on Twitter last year, leading to the suspension of Yiannopoulos’ account.

>> Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart amid controversy over pedophilia comments

Over the weekend, a questionable video surfaced of Yiannopoulos seemingly excusing pedophilia. 

The viral video quickly sparked outrage as Yiannopoulos had initially been invited the keynote the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

>> Milo Yiannopoulos book deal canceled following remarks on pedophilia 

Without mentioning him by name, Jones tweeted Monday: "You guys are giving him (too) much energy. I was done the day I blocked him & got his (expletive) banned. Been done and moved on. He has no space here!"

Following vocal outrage over the video, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp announced on Monday that the offer to keynote CPAC was officially rescinded:

"@ACUConservative has decided to rescind the invitation of Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at #CPAC2017." pic.twitter.com/sVWGnPCW7C— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 20, 2017

Later Monday, publisher Simon & Schuster canceled Yiannopoulos' book deal.

>> Read more trending news

On Tuesday, Yiannopoulos resigned from his post as senior editor of Breitbart.

Break: MILO resigns from Breitbart pic.twitter.com/pSQnJ0b9vA— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) February 21, 2017

The daily commute's a killer in Mackintosh's 'I See You'

Zoe Walker's troubles creep beyond the financial woes on her desk, an overbearing boss, two aimless children who don't get along with her boyfriend and a boyfriend who's jealous of her ex-husband. Now she's dealing with a possible murderer on her trail in Clare Mackintosh's newest thriller, "I See You."

Zoe's commute is routine. She knows exactly where to stand on the Tube platform in London, just where to lean during the ride and which carriage positions her nearest the station exit once she's arrived. It's during this daily trip home from work one evening when Zoe discovers her picture is being used to advertise what appears to be a dating website in the back of a newspaper. Unable to trace the source, she attempts to brush it off. Each day, a new woman's photo appears in the ad, which seems odd but harmless, until one of them is assaulted and another is murdered. Someone is attacking the women in the ads, and the only thing the victims have in common is their daily commute on the subway.

Zoe shares narration with the police officer working the case and the killer, providing readers a 360-degree view of the crimes. While free of too many tangled side plots vying for attention, Mackintosh allots her characters the perfect amount of back story, allowing them to carry their own weight throughout the investigation. She also casts enough extras to keep readers guessing who could be behind these attacks.

With a theatrical ending, readers may find themselves wanting to reread this one, plugging in their newfound knowledge of the killer's identity into each twisted scene. It's easy to lock your doors, but what do you do if it's the person beside you on the train who's out for blood?

___

Online:

https://claremackintosh.com/

Fox News host Brenda Buttner dies at age 55

Brenda Buttner, host of Fox News Channel's "Bulls and Bears" has died after a battle with cancer. She was 55.

Buttner served as CNBC's Washington correspondent and hosted the network's "The Money Club" before joining Fox News in 2000.

Buttner graduated from Harvard University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

Fox News host Neil Cavuto paid tribute to Buttner on his show "Your World with Neil Cavuto." He praised her intelligence and sense of humor, saying "business journalism is never going to be the same."

Fox News announced her death on Monday.

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