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Public television chief says Trump budget would hit options

President Donald Trump's proposal to eliminate funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would most dramatically affect rural and minority communities, eventually forcing some local television and radio stations to close, the corporation's president and chief executive officer told Congress Tuesday.

The president's budget would eliminate $445 million in federal funds for the non-profit corporation, which supports programs such as Sesame Street, Frontline and documentaries from filmmaker Ken Burns.

Patricia de Stacy Harrison, the president and chief executive officer for the corporation, said federal funding generally represents 10 percent to 15 percent of a public broadcasting station's budget, but can represent as much as 80 percent of the annual budget for some stations.

Harrison said stations serving rural and minority communities don't have the kind of in-depth donor base that would allow them to overcome the loss of federal funding.

"There would be a domino effect and it would start with rural stations," Harrison said.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting distributes its federal funding through grants to more than 1,400 radio and television stations around the country. The corporation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the law that created it. Funding for the parent organization of the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio has remained flat for several years.

On Capitol Hill, Harrison was generally greeted with a supportive audience. Rep. Tom Cole, the Republican chairman of the panel reviewing the president's budget request, told Harrison that "this is an agency we all admire."

"We do have tough decision ahead of us, but I think you make your case very well," said the Oklahoma lawmaker.

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said in Washington, bad ideas never die. She called the effort to cut funding another effort to "give Bert and Ernie a pink slip."

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., said that in a time of shrinking resources, he had questions about how the Corporation for Public Broadcasting could support programs such a Kumu Hina, a story of a transgender native Hawaiian teacher.

"I beg you, please remove the agenda from education," Harris said. "This has to be neutral content."

"Maybe we don't get it right 100 percent of the time but I'm willing to bet we get it right 90 percent," Harrison said.

She said the corporation can prove it makes a difference, particularly for those families that can't afford cable.

"But 1 percent poisons the well," Harris said.

O'Reilly says he's distracted by congresswoman's wig

Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly said Tuesday he had a hard time concentrating on California Rep. Maxine Waters during a speech because he was distracted by her "James Brown wig."

He said that during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" after a clip was shown of the Democratic representative speaking in the House of Representatives. O'Reilly, as he watched, appeared to mouth the words "right on" and give a clenched-fist salute.

After the clip, he said, "I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig." Fox's Ainsley Earhardt defended Waters, saying O'Reilly shouldn't go after a woman's looks.

O'Reilly said he thought Waters, who is black, is a sincere individual and that he admired her. He said she should have "her own sitcom."

Reality show contestants left abandoned in woods after show canceled

A reality show set in the wilderness was canceled because of poor ratings, but no one told the contestants.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Guardian, a group of 23 strangers “were brought to the remote west Highlands of Scotland to build a self-sufficient community away from technology and modern tools.” The show, called “Eden,” was to document their year-long experience.

But only four episodes of “Eden,” which debuted in July 2016, were aired before the show was pulled. 

At the time the show was pulled, 10 contestants remained. But according to E! News, no one informed those contestants of the news, and they were left abandoned with the belief that their experiences were being showed on television.

Those 10 people spent the year in the woods and continued to film their lives on handheld cameras.

The contestants missed important events that occurred during their isolation, including Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the deaths of many celebrities, including British singer George Michael.

The show’s creator said the footage will air in some form later this year.

Read more at the Guardian. contributed to this report.

'Cash Me Outside' teen signs reality TV deal

Danielle Bregoli is Hollywood-bound and it’s time to get your TV remotes ready. 

The “Cash Me Outside” teen just signed a deal with a major production company, according to TMZ.

>> Read more trending news

Danielle, the Boynton Beach, Florida, native who just turned 14, will star in loosely formatted reality TV show. While nothing has been filmed yet, producers are confident that they can sell networks on the series, TMZ reported. 

That’s because no one is worried about Danielle producing content.

From her start on Dr. Phil to the past couple of months, Danielle has made headline after headline, yet fans can’t seem to get enough of her.

Now the only question is when can we expect “cash” her on our TVs? 

Read more at TMZ.

Abby Lee Miller quits 'Dance Moms' before fraud sentencing

Miller posted on Instagram on Sunday that she will no longer take part in the show. She says that she has asked for creative credit for her ideas for the show for six years, but hasn't received it. She says she has been "manipulated, disrespected and used."

A&E Networks, which includes Lifetime, declined to comment on the post.

Miller pleaded guilty in June to hiding about $775,000 from a bankruptcy court after filing for Chapter 11. She's set to be sentenced in Pittsburgh on May 8.

Will Smith, 'Fresh Prince' cast enjoy brief reunion

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Smith's Tom Jones-loving cousin Carlton on the 1990s sitcom, posted a picture on Instagram on Monday of the cast getting together. Joined by Smith and Ribeiro were Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Daphne Reid and Joseph Marcell. James Avery, who had the role of Smith's Uncle Phil, died in 2013.

Ribeiro writes in the caption that it's "always amazing to spend an afternoon with my Fresh Prince family." He says he wishes that Avery were there "to make this complete."

Fans of the show may not want to get their hopes up for a series revival. Smith told E! News last year that a reboot of the series that aired for six seasons on NBC will happen "pretty close to when hell freezes over."

Hannity angry at treatment by CBS in interview

Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity is calling on CBS News to release the full tape of his interview with Ted Koppel for "Sunday Morning," in which the veteran "Nightline" anchor answered "yes" when Hannity asked if Koppel thought he was bad for America.

The exchange between two different generations of television news personalities continued to resonate Monday: It was the lead "hot topic" that hosts of "The View" kicked around on their talk show.

Hannity was interviewed for the Sunday show's cover story about partisan media, and sensed some unease by Koppel when he discussed his role as an opinion host. Hannity is a fervent supporter of President Donald Trump and has attacked his opponents and traditional media outlets for how they report on the president.

"You're cynical," Hannity said.

"I am cynical, Koppel replied.

"Do you think we're bad for America? You think I'm bad for America?" Hannity asked.

"Yeah," Koppel said.

Koppel said he lumped Hannity in with other opinion shows and that while he thought Hannity was "very good at what you do," his audience feels ideology is more important than facts.

It was one of two excerpts of Koppel's interview with Hannity that was included in the broader 10-minute story, and it quickly attracted attention. CBS News fanned it, breaking out a 45-second clip of their exchange for its website and writing a story about it.

Hannity, in a series of tweets, criticized the report as "fake edited news. I did about a 45-minute interview with CBS. They ran less than two. Why did Ted cut out my many examples of media bias?" He called on CBS to release the unedited interview so people could see the "games" being played by editors.

Hannity didn't indicate that his words were edited to make them appear misleading; he just seemed upset that so much got left on the cutting-room floor.

CBS News didn't respond to Hannity's request Monday. Koppel said he was content to let the story speak for itself.

Koppel has expressed similar opinions before. In an appearance on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor" last year, Koppel told host Bill O'Reilly that he had changed the television landscape by taking news from being objective and dull to subjective and entertaining. When O'Reilly said that Koppel believed that "people like me have ruined the country," the former ABC newsman answered, "That's right."

In 2012, Koppel also took MSNBC's liberal host Rachel Maddow to task in a speech at the National Press Club.

"I don't want to know what she thinks about these issues," he said. "I really don't. I want to hear her informed reporting. I want to hear her interview people with that sharp mind of hers."

CBS News released a lengthier outtake of Koppel's interview with Hannity online Saturday, before the television report aired. Hannity discussed his working class background, criticisms of former President Barack Obama and his attitudes toward liberals and journalism.

"We are stuck in an ideological rut and programs like yours, popular as you are, haven't helped," Koppel said.

Barry Jenkins' next project? 'The Underground Railroad'

"Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins will follow up his Oscar-winning film with a drama series for Amazon based on Colson Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad."

Amazon announced Monday that it will develop the TV series, with Jenkins writing and directing the adaptation of the 2016 National Book Award winner. Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad" is a part-historic, part-surrealistic novel about a slave who escapes on an actual railroad.

"Going back to The Intuitionist, Colson's writing has always defied convention, and The Underground Railroad is no different," said Jenkins in a statement. "It's a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation's history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way. Preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking and in Amazon we've found a partner whose reverence for storytelling and freeness of form is wholly in line with our vision."

Jenkins has already been at work on the series, though how many episodes are planned was not announced. He is to write and direct.

"Moonlight," which last month won best picture, was Jenkins' second film following 2008's well-regarded but little-seen "Medicine for Melancholy." Made for just $1.5 million, "Moonlight" has grossed more than $56 million worldwide. It also won Academy Awards for Jenkins' screenplay, based on Tarell Alvin McCraney's play, and for Mahershala Ali's supporting performance.

"The Underground Railroad" will reunite much of the team behind "Moonlight." Like that film, it will be produced by Adele Romanski and Brad Pitt's Plan B.

Will Cabinet follow Tillerson's lead in media access?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has famously declared himself "not a big media press access person," isn't alone in President Donald Trump's Cabinet. But it's too early to call him a trendsetter, either.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, both with extensive private sector backgrounds, have similarly been press-averse at the beginning of their tenures. Others seem to be following the leads of predecessors. In some cases, it's just too early to tell.

Tillerson's decision not to make room for reporters on the plane for his first major overseas trip earlier this month drew scrutiny because his job is generally considered the most important in the Cabinet and there's a rich tradition of secretaries of state keeping the public informed of foreign policy objectives. He's had little visibility so far and the plane decision is more than symbolic; many of his predecessors and their staffs used that time to answer reporters' questions.

In an interview with the one journalist allowed on the trip, from the right-leaning web site Independent Journal Review, Tillerson said he personally doesn't need media attention.

"I understand it's important to get the message of what we're doing out," the former Exxon Mobil CEO said, "but I also think there's only a purpose in getting the message out when there's something to be done."

With attention paid to Trump's declaration of some media organizations as enemies of the American people, and reporters' jousting with White House press secretary Sean Spicer a near-daily television event, access to Cabinet-level officials can be overlooked.

Precisely because they don't get as much attention, it's important for journalists to understand and explain the work being done, said Nikki Usher, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.

"These offices have tremendous power and most people don't know what goes on in there," she said.

Cabinet secretaries with a private sector background need to understand that they now work on behalf of the people, who have a right to know what these officials are doing in their names, she said.

"Corporate folks are used to not having to account for any kind of public conversations or talk to reporters with the exception of crisis communications or quarterly earnings calls with assessments of the health of their corporations," Usher said. They're used to being insulated.

The billionaire philanthropist DeVos' background is more private sector than public. She was the chairman of Michigan's Republican Party and her husband is the co-founder of Amway. Her lack of education background and support of school choice made her the most controversial Cabinet pick, and she needed the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence to be confirmed.

Perhaps as a result, she's not been shy about avoiding the media.

The department did not announce it when she visited her first school as education secretary. Reporters showed up anyway, tipped by advocacy organizations, but were not allowed in the school. DeVos does not take reporters' questions after speeches and her few interviews were with conservative news outlets. Her public schedule is often not released ahead of time.

Chao has both a public and private sector background, as a banker, former Labor Secretary, director of the Peace Corps and CEO of United Way. She hasn't held a meeting or news conference with reporters since her Jan. 31 Senate confirmation, and hasn't spoken to reporters following public appearances.

Ray LaHood and Anthony Foxx, the two transportation secretaries under former President Barack Obama, met frequently with reporters.

How the Trump appointees interpret their boss' attacks on the press will be watched closely. "The press is not the enemy," said Peter Cook, a former reporter and spokesman for the Department of Defense during the Obama administration.

It's also common for top executives in many fields, for reasons of ego or message control, to keep a tight rein on underlings. Requests to speak to agency heads in the administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, have to go through the governor's office.

Here's how some of the other Cabinet offices have been working:

— Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other senior defense and military leaders continue to take media contingents with them overseas. Mattis and the others hold media availabilities on the trips, although Mattis has not yet gone to the Pentagon briefing room.

—Trump's Homeland Security Department has operated the way others have in the early stages. Its Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch uses Twitter to defend enforcement actions; under Obama, the feed was largely confined to news releases.

—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs manager, took reporters on his plane to the Group of 20 meeting with finance officials in Germany earlier this month. He's done interviews with business news networks, the Wall Street Journal and the news site Axios.

— The Justice Department under Jeff Sessions, a U.S. senator before his appointment, has handled media interactions much like prior administrations. Sessions' public events are disclosed ahead of time to reporters, and he usually takes questions afterward. He appeared before reporters on the most significant day of his tenure, when he recused himself from any investigation into Russia's influence on the presidential election.

— Former presidential candidates Rick Perry, the new energy secretary, and Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, also are accustomed to dealing with the media. It remains to be seen how being used to — or needing — media attention will play into their new roles.

—Trump imposed a media blackout on the Environmental Protection Agency after taking office that has since been lifted. Top administrator Scott Pruitt has generally tightened media access, although he made news in a CNBC interview this month when he questioned the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change.


Associated Press reporters Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Lolita C. Baldor, Michael Biesecker, Alicia Caldwell, Martin Crutsinger, Maria Danilova, Sadie Gurman, Laurie Kellman, Josh Lederman, Joan Lowy and Paul Wiseman in Washington, and David Klepper in Albany, N.Y. contributed to this report.

'American Horror Story' stars discuss potential Trump plot

The cast of "American Horror Story" is opening up about rumors of a season of the series centered on President Donald Trump.

Series creator Ryan Murphy told Bravo's Andy Cohen last month that the seventh season of the FX drama would be focused on the presidential election and mentioned the possibility of a Trump character.

When asked ahead of Sunday's "AHS" event at the Paley Center in Los Angeles, Sarah Paulson told The Associated Press a Trump-themed season doesn't fit what the show has done so far, but "anything is possible if it's what the audience craves."

Cuba Gooding, Jr. adds that he doesn't know for sure, but thinks the rumors are a "red herring."

Kathy Bates says she's OK with it, as long as she's not cast as the president.

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