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Fired Fox News executive proclaims innocence in lawsuit

A Fox News Channel executive fired because of a sexual-harassment case has proclaimed his innocence in a lawsuit, saying he was tricked into signing an agreement to keep quiet about the case.

The network announced earlier this year it was paying $2.5 million to settle an assault claim by former contributor Tamara Holder. But fired executive Francisco Cortes says he had a consensual relationship with Holder.

Cortes says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday he couldn't defend himself at the time of the settlement because he had signed an agreement he believed compelled all sides not to talk. He says he was made a scapegoat in Fox's effort to seem responsive to assault claims.

Cortes is seeking more than $36 million from Fox parent Twenty-First Century Fox.

Fox calls the lawsuit's allegations frivolous and without merit.

President (bleep): TV sitcom bars use of Trump's name

President Donald Trump's name is off limits on the upcoming season of Comedy Central's "Broad City."

Series creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson said Tuesday that Trump's name will be bleeped each time it's used in an episode — a move typically reserved for expletives.

Glazer told TV critics that talking constantly about Trump and his administration have made the sound of his name, as she put it, "so gross."

She said she and Jacobson decided Trump has enough air time and they didn't want to share theirs with him.

Glazer and Jacobson star in "Broad City," which returns for its fourth season in September on Comedy Central. The series is about the freewheeling lives of two New York City women.

Nielsen's top programs for July 17-23

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for July 17-23. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.

1. "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 12.57 million.

2. "Game of Thrones," HBO, 9.27 million.

3. "60 Minutes," CBS, 7.36 million.

4. "World of Dance," NBC, 6.91 million.

5. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 6.49 million.

6. "NCIS," CBS, 6.49 million.

7. "The Bachelorette," ABC, 6.22 million.

8. "Big Brother" (Wednesday), CBS, 6.19 million.

9. "Celebrity Family Feud," ABC, 6.02 million.

10. "Big Brother" (Sunday), CBS, 5.98 million.

11. "Big Brother" (Thursday), CBS, 5.95 million.

12. "Little Big Shots: Forever Young," NBC, 5.82 million.

13. "American Ninja Warrior," NBC, 5.78 million.

14. "Big Brother" (Friday), CBS, 5.45 million.

15. "Bull," CBS, 5.36 million.

16. Movie: "Descendants 2," Disney, 5.33 million.

17. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 5.325 million.

18. "The Wall," NBC, 4.95 million.

19. "Phelps vs Shark," Discovery, 4.78 million.

20. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 4.67 million.

___

ABC and Disney are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; HBO is owned by Time Warner; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox; NBC is owned by NBC Universal; Discovery is owned by Discovery Communications.

Colbert's shows from Russia are winners for CBS

Russia may represent bad news for President Donald Trump. But not for his late-night nemesis, Stephen Colbert.

The CBS "Late Show" host scored his largest margin of victory since his debut week nearly two years ago for shows that featured segments filmed during his recent trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The Nielsen company said the "Late Show" average 2.87 million viewers last week, topping Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight" show, which had 2.42 million. Jimmy Kimmel on ABC averaged 1.62 million viewers.

Behind its summertime powerhouse, "America's Got Talent," NBC won another week in the ratings.

NBC averaged 5 million viewers in prime time. CBS was second with 4.4 million, ABC had 3 million, Fox had 1.8 million, Univision had 1.7 million, Ion Television had 1.26 million, Telemundo had 1.25 million and the CW had 970,000.

Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 1.88 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.79 million, Disney had 1.61 million, HGTV had 1.48 million and Discovery had 1.44 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.5 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.2 million and the "CBS Evening News had 5.6 million viewers.

For the week of July 17-23, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 12.57 million; "Game of Thrones," HBO, 9.27 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 7.36 million; "World of Dance," NBC, 6.91 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 6.49 million; "NCIS," CBS, 6.49 million; "The Bachelorette," ABC, 6.22 million; "Big Brother" (Wednesday), CBS, 6.19 million; "Celebrity Family Feud," ABC, 6.02 million; "Big Brother" (Sunday), CBS, 5.98 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

Center devoted to director Zeffirelli takes shape in Italy

A center dedicated to Italian director Franco Zeffirelli is taking shape in Florence.

The Franco Zeffirelli International Center for the Performing Arts hosted a preview Tuesday of its exhibits, housed in a former Florence courthouse near Palazzo Vecchio.

Some 300 original sketches by the director and more than a dozen costumes used in his operas are displayed. The Inferno Room features a multimedia recreation of Zeffirelli sketches that were inspired by Dante's "Divine Comedy."

Music from some of the 94-year-old director's movies reverberated in the corridors.

Actor Franco Nero, who starred in Zeffirelli's 1988 film "The Young Toscanini," strolled through the preview.

Florence city officials said they hope the center will open to the public in September. It will hold books, photographs and notes, as wells as drawings.

Frank Sinatra's wife, Barbara Sinatra, dies at 90

Barbara Sinatra, Frank Sinatra’s fourth and final wife, died Tuesday, nearly 20 years after her husband’s death. She was 90 years old.

>> Read more trending news

According to a representative for the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation, she died at her home in California after her health had been on the decline for month.

“She died comfortably surrounded by family and friends at her home,” Children’s Center Director John Thoresen said.

RELATED: John Heard’s fellow “Home Alone” star shared an emotional tribute following the news of his sudden death

Barbara Sinatra married Frank Sinatra in 1976 and went on to stay married until his death 22 years later, making it the singer’s longest marriage. They do not share any children.

During her lifetime, Barbara Sinatra was an advocate for victims of child abuse and began her foundation in an effort to provide counseling and other services to victims.

“Barbara started raising funds for it in 1985 with Frank’s support,” said Thoresen. “It opened in 1986 and since that time, over 20,000 children have received beneficial therapy here. There are several child advocacy centers like it around the country, (but) this one is probably most recognized.”

Ruling lets Italy hunt abroad for new Colosseum chief

The international search for a new director for Rome's Colosseum will go forward after a legal challenge by the city that had halted it was dismissed by a national administrative tribunal, Italy's culture minister pledged Tuesday.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini hailed the ruling Monday by the national Council of State, which overturned the decision of a regional body that had blocked his plan to consider hiring non-Italians to lead some of art-rich Italy's museums, monuments and archaeological sites.

"We lost some time, luckily just a little," in the search for the Colosseum's next director, Franceschini said.

So far 82 applicants are seeking the post, 16 of them non-Italians, he said. The goal is to have the successful candidate start on Jan. 1, 2018, Franceschini said.

Bringing in experts from outside Italy is part of Franceschini's efforts to modernize Italy's museums, including the Uffizi in Florence. But the culture minister's stated goal of having foreigners run renowned Italian institutions and making them more user-friendly and innovative has faced resistance in Italy's entrenched art and archaeology communities.

The city of Rome this spring persuaded a regional administrative tribunal to block reforms planned for the Colosseum. As well as allowing a foreign director, the proposal would have made the ancient arena part of an archaeological park along with the Palatine Hill and the extensive ruins nearby of Emperor Nero's fabled palace, the Domus Aurea.

Franceschini said 30 percent of the Colosseum's revenues will help fund operations of museums and archaeology sites under Rome's jurisdiction. Rome officials had expressed concern that with the reform, the Colosseum's revenues would no longer help local museums.

The number of visitors to the Colosseum increased 12.5 percent during the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, while ticket sales and similar revenues increased by nearly 11 percent, the minister said.

Chrissy Teigen gets blocked by Donald Trump over ‘no one likes you’ tweet 

Model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen is one of the latest to be blocked by President Donald Trump on Twitter.

The Washington Post reported that the block came after Teigen responded to a tweet from Trump in which he expressed disappointment with Republicans

>> Read more trending news

“It's very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President,” he tweeted.

“Lolllllll no one likes you,” Teigen replied.

According to Teigen, that was the tweet that led to the block. She tweeted, “after 9 years of hating Donald J Trump, telling him ‘lol no one likes you’ was the straw.” UsWeekly reported that alongside the tweet was a screenshot that said, “You are blocked from following @realDonaldTrump and viewing @realDonaldTrump's tweets.”

Teigen has regularly been outspoken against Trump, as well as her husband, singer John Legend. On Monday, Legend said “Trump is our national embarrassment” and “the opposite of a role model for our young men” in response to Trump’s Boy Scout Jamboree speech. In the speech, Trump discussed politics despite saying, “Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?” He also bashed the media, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reported July 11 that some advocates of the First Amendment have sued Trump for blocking them and other critics on Twitter. The suit came after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in June Trump’s tweets “are considered official statements by the president of the United States.” The suit argues that it is unconstitutional to block critics from his Twitter page.

Tiegen joins other celebrities who have been blocked by Trump, including Stephen King, actress Marina Sirtis and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” writer Bess Kalb.

Barbara Sinatra, Frank's 4th wife and philanthropist, dies

Barbara Sinatra, the fourth wife of legendary singer Frank Sinatra and a prominent children's advocate and philanthropist who raised millions of dollars to help abused youngsters, died Tuesday. She was 90.

Sinatra died of natural causes at her Rancho Mirage, California, home surrounded by family and friends, said John Thoresen, director of the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center.

With her husband's help, she founded a nonprofit center in Rancho Mirage in 1986 to provide therapy and other support to young victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

In the years since, Thoresen said, more than 20,000 children have been treated at the center and hundreds of thousands more worldwide through videos it provides.

A former model and Las Vegas showgirl, Barbara Sinatra was a prominent Palm Springs socialite in her own right before she married her husband in 1976, when he was 60 and she 49. They remained wed until his death at 82 in 1998.

It was her third marriage, Sinatra's fourth and the most enduring union for both.

She met Sinatra through her second husband, Zeppo Marx of the famous Marx Brothers comedy team. The couple had been close friends and neighbors with Sinatra in Rancho Mirage until she left Marx for the singer in 1973.

Frank Sinatra, then single, had previously been married to his teenage sweetheart Nancy Sinatra, the mother of their children Nancy, Tina and the late Frank Jr.); Ava Gardner, who died in 1990; and Mia Farrow.

A notorious womanizer throughout much of his life, Frank Sinatra didn't ask his fourth wife to marry him until she threatened to leave if he didn't, she recalled in her 2011 memoir, "Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank Sinatra."

Both played prominent roles at the children's center after she founded it in 1986.

"Frank would come over and sit and read to the kids," Thoresen said of the sometimes volatile entertainer.

"But the best way she used Frank," he added with a chuckle, "was she would say, 'I need a half-million dollars for this, so you do a concert and I get half the money.'"

She remained active at the center until recently, pushing for creation of the video program just last year, raising funds and dropping by often to make sure the children had what they needed, Thoresen said.

Already a socialite in the Palm Springs area through her marriage to Marx, Sinatra mingled with such celebrities as Dinah Shore, Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis, raising money for numerous charitable causes before establishing the children's center.

Those years were a far cry from earlier, more modest ones she described in her memoir.

Born Barbara Blakely in Bosworth, Missouri, she recalled growing up poor and friendless.

She moved with her family to Wichita, Kansas, when she was 10 and to Long Beach, California, at 18. It was in Wichita where, like millions of other teenage girls in the 1940s, she fell in love with a voice on the radio.

"Frank Sinatra had always been part of my life — from when I first heard the singer everybody was talking about as a 15-year-old butcher's daughter," she said.

Her first marriage, to a Sinatra-style singer, was brief as he struggled to find work. They split shortly after the birth of her son and she married Marx in 1959.

She is survived by her son, Robert Oliver Marx, and a grand-daughter, Carina Blakeley Marx.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Taraji P. Henson to host Black Girls Rock honoring Issa Rae

Taraji P. Henson will host BET's 2017 Black Girls Rock Awards honoring "Insecure" creator and star Issa Rae and others.

BET said the Oscar nominee and "Empire" actress will host the Aug. 5 event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Rae, who is the also the writer behind "Insecure," will receive the Star Power Award. The HBO show launched its second season this week.

Other honorees include singer Roberta Flack (Living Legend Award); "black-ish" actress Yara Shahidi (Young Gifted and Black Award); financier Suzanne Shank (Shot Caller Award); and community organizers Derrica Wilson and Natalie Wilson of The Black & Missing Foundation (Community Change Agent Award).

The event will air on BET on Aug. 20.

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