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British actor Peter Wyngarde dies in London hospital aged 90

Longtime British television and stage star Peter Wyngarde, best known for his role as the detective Jason King in the 1970s, has died. He was 90.

His manager Thomas Bowington said Thursday the actor died Monday in Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London after an illness that lasted several months.

"His mind was razor sharp until the end," Bowington told The Associated Press. "He entertained that whole hospital. He was funny until the end."

The stylish Wyngarde and the characters he portrayed have been cited by the creators of the "Austin Powers" films as one of the inspirations for the fictional 1960s spy with a flair for flashy outfits and a taste for carousing.

Wyngarde was best known for his sleuthing role in the popular "Department S" television series but played numerous other parts, appearing in shows and movies including "The Avengers, "The Saint," ''Flash Gordon" and others.

His manager said Wyngarde had not retired from performing and that plans for further stage work and personal appearances had been cut short by his death.

"He was a mentor on everything you can think of, from sports cars to how to make a good cup of tea and how to do a tie and shirt," Bowington said.

Wyngarde's father was a diplomat. The actor was born in France and educated in several countries before starting his career in Britain.

Country stars from Vegas festival to perform Grammy tribute

Three performers at last year's Route 91 Harvest Festival where a gunman opened fire on fans will perform a tribute at this year's Grammy Awards to honor victims killed at live music events this past year.

Eric Church, Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne, who performed at the three-day country festival prior to the mass shooting last October, will collaborate on a special performance at the 60th annual Grammy Awards, airing live on CBS from New York on Jan. 28.

The shooting in Las Vegas was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. modern history. It came in a year when 22 people were killed in a bombing outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, in May.

Church headlined the first night of the festival, which was the last night of his tour. A gunman perched in a window of a hotel-casino overlooking the outdoor festival opened fire on the crowd during the final night of the festival as Jason Aldean was performing, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.

"In all honesty, there's not a day that goes by since that day that I have not thought of it and thought of the people and the victims," Church told The Associated Press. "That being our last show of the year, I took it in differently than I have maybe taken in other shows. I savored it. I remember everything about it."

Church, who wrote a song called "Why Not Me" immediately after the shooting, said he knew some of the victims because they were members of his tightknit fan club and said he appreciates that the Grammy producers wanted to reserve time in the show to remember those music fans who had been lost.

"Mass shootings, they happen every year, unfortunately," Church said. "But this year was a little bit unique in that you had two happen at music events and one of those was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. It's been a tragic year."

Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the Grammys, said the country artists will perform a classic Grammy-winning song, which hasn't been announced. "We considered a number of songs. We wanted something that is universal. We wanted something that spoke to the subject, which certainly this song does," he said. "When you listen to the lyric, this one certainly stood out."

Morris, a nominee for best country solo performance, performed the night before the shooting. She said she's heard directly from fans that the attacks have left them scared to go to shows, and said that it has affected artists as well.

"As an artist and a performer, I don't want to be afraid to walk out on a stage each night," Morris said. "I know that we've all been reckoning with that for the last several months."

Morris said it felt right to have performers from that festival lead the tribute. "It reinforces even more the strength of music and the community that we all share together, artists and fans alike."

Church said the attacks shattered the sense of safety and comfort that music can sometimes bring. He said that's been the hardest thing for him as an artist to deal with, but added that those attacks can't stop musicians or their fans.

"You don't let it kill the music and you don't let it destroy the moment," Church said.

__

Online:

www.grammy.com

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Follow Kristin M. Hall at twitter.com/kmhall

UK media: Police probe 3rd Spacey sex assault allegation

Britain's media say police in London are investigating a third allegation of sexual assault against two-time Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey.

The Metropolitan Police force said Thursday it had received an allegation "that the man sexually assaulted a man (Victim 3) in 2005 in Westminster."

The force didn't identify Spacey as the alleged perpetrator, as authorities in Britain don't name suspects until they are charged. But it said the same man was accused of an assault in 2005 and one in 2008, both in the south London borough of Lambeth. The suspect in those cases has been widely named in British media as Spacey.

The 58-year old Spacey was artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre, located in Lambeth, between 2004 and 2015.

USA Gymnastics says it will not fine McKayla Maroney if she speaks out against team doctor

USA Gymnastics said Tuesday evening it will not fine gymnast McKayla Maroney if she speaks publicly about the alleged abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Maroney, who signed a nondisclosure agreement for $1.25 million with USA Gymnastics in in December 2016 in exchange for her silence, is currently suing USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University with the claim that the nondisclosure agreement she signed after claiming Nassar molested her was illegal. 

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Chrissy Teigen offers to pay McKayla Maroney's possible $100K fine to speak out about team doctor

USA Gymnastics said in a statement it has not and will not seek retribution if Maroney speaks about alleged abuse by Nassar during his four-day sentencing.

As of Wednesday morning, Maroney was not expected to speak at Nassar’s sentencing.

"USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing,” the statement to USA TODAY read. “This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them."

In response to reports Tuesday that USA Gymnastics could fine Maroney up to $100,000 if she spoke out against Nassar at his sentencing like nearly 100 other alleged victims, model Chrissy Teigen offered to pay the fine.

>> Read more trending news 

“The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla,” Teigen wrote.

After Nassar pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in November, his sentencing on seven sexual assault charges began Tuesday. 

The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges.

Is it news? Ansari story triggers media ethics debate

What makes a private sexual encounter newsworthy? A little-known website raised that very question after publishing an unidentified woman's vivid account of comedian Aziz Ansari's sexual advances while the two were on a date.

The story on Babe.net threw a wrench into the #MeToo movement, with some feminist writers dismissing the incident as a bad date that should have remained private. Others welcomed the piece for spurring a debate over deeper cultural attitudes that normalize aggressive behavior toward women.

Media ethics experts say it's not easy to determine what constitutes a legitimate story of sexual misconduct in the midst of a social movement that has emboldened people to speak out on subjects once considered taboo.

"What takes this out of the realm of a really bad date and into the realm of something that is publicly significant?" asked Ed Wasserman, dean of the journalism school at the University of California, Berkeley. "It's a little borderline."

  The story, which appeared Saturday, offers a detailed 3,000-word account of a night out between Ansari and a 23-year-old Brooklyn photographer that ended at the comedian's home. The woman told the site that the actor repeatedly initiated sexual activity despite what she later called "clear non-verbal cues" indicating her discomfort and lack of interest. She also reportedly told Ansari that she didn't want to "feel forced" in the encounter.

The woman told Babe.net that she eventually decided the incident was a sexual assault and said she was angered when she saw Ansari wearing a "Time's Up" pin at the Golden Globe Awards. The pin referred to a movement against sexual misconduct in Hollywood.

The website published screenshots of what it said were text messages between the two the next day. The woman told Ansari the encounter had made her uncomfortable; he texted back with an apology. The story was initially published with no comment from Ansari because, the website said, his representatives did not get back to them by its deadline.

Many major news organizations reacted cautiously. The Associated Press and other media outlets did not report on the story until Ansari issued a public statement addressing the claim the next day. The actor, who stars on the Netflix hit "Master of None," acknowledged that he apologized to a woman last year when she told him about her discomfort during a sexual encounter in his apartment that he believed to be consensual.

Feminist writers, other actors and media commentators were left to debate the public value of an anonymous tale about a confusing encounter at a time when more women are speaking publicly about sexual assault.

Some prominent women, including Whoopi Goldberg and Ashleigh Banfield, a host on the CNN spinoff HLN, concluded that the story didn't describe sexual misconduct of any kind and lacked newsworthiness. The feminist writer Jill Filipovic, in a column for The Guardian , said the piece touched on the need for more stories about "how pervasive power imbalances benefit men and make sex worse for women." But she said Babe.net squandered that opportunity by failing to "tell this particular story with the care it called for" and muddying the line between sexual assault and misogynistic behavior.  

The story's reporter and editors at Babe.net, which is less than two years old and says it has 3 million readers, have publicly defended their news judgment. "We stand by our story," said site editor Amanda Ross. Babe.net is published by Tab Media, a company that has received funding from Rupert Murdoch.

Helen Benedict, a Columbia journalism professor, said the story's one-sided, anonymous account was difficult to judge. But that, she said, encapsulates the tension between the public's need to know and the obligation of the media to protect sources, particularly people who say they are victims of sexual assault and request anonymity.

Benedict said the story didn't sufficiently press the woman on her motivations and took a flippant approach as to whether the incident constituted sexual assault. "I don't feel that the reporters asked enough about what the goal was," she said. "What does she want?"

Ryan Thomas, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, said the piece lacked the rigor of other stories that used multiple sources to establish a clear pattern of abuse by prominent men like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K.

"Most of the journalism has been very methodical in identifying a catalog of incidents to build a picture of a pattern of behavior," Thomas said. By contrast, he said, the Babe.net story "focuses on a single case against a named individual by an anonymous individual," thus raising questions about its newsworthiness and the care with which it was reported.

Few have called into question the veracity of the report, particularly because Ansari himself did not dispute it.

Wasserman, the Berkeley professor, said he finds it difficult to criticize the piece for crossing any lines of journalistic integrity. After wrestling with the question of whether the article addressed an issue of legitimate public concern, he said, he "reluctantly" sided with Babe.net.

Ex-Ataris bassist indicted, accused of telemarketing fraud

The former bassist of the rock band The Ataris awaits arraignment after he and a woman were indicted on federal conspiracy and fraud charges.

Michael Sean Davenport was arrested last month at a Little Rock, Arkansas, airport on a warrant issued by a southern Illinois federal court accusing him of running a telemarketing business in Santa Barbara, California, for eight years. The indictment alleges the business advertised houses and apartments it didn't own at low prices.

The 49-year-old Davenport is accused of defrauding more than 100,000 people out of $27 million.

Davenport and Cynthia Rawlinson, his sales manager, are charged with wire and mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Davenport's attorney, Alan Karow, said in an email Wednesday night that he will "assert a vigorous defense" and that he believes Davenport is innocent. Rawlinson has no attorney listed in court records.

Is it news? Ansari story triggers media ethics debate

What makes a private sexual encounter newsworthy? A little-known website raised that very question after publishing an unidentified woman's vivid account of comedian Aziz Ansari's sexual advances while the two were on a date.

The story on Babe.net threw a wrench into the #MeToo movement, with some feminist writers dismissing the incident as a bad date that should have remained private. Others welcomed the piece for spurring a debate over deeper cultural attitudes that normalize aggressive behavior toward women.

Media ethics experts say it's not easy to determine what constitutes a legitimate story of sexual misconduct in the midst of a social movement that has emboldened people to speak out on subjects once considered taboo.

"What takes this out of the realm of a really bad date and into the realm of something that is publicly significant?" asked Ed Wasserman, dean of the journalism school at the University of California, Berkeley. "It's a little borderline."

  The story, which appeared Saturday, offers a detailed 3,000-word account of a night out between Ansari and a 23-year-old Brooklyn photographer that ended at the comedian's home. The woman told the site that the actor repeatedly initiated sexual activity despite what she later called "clear non-verbal cues" indicating her discomfort and lack of interest. She also reportedly told Ansari that she didn't want to "feel forced" in the encounter.

The woman told Babe.net that she eventually decided the incident was a sexual assault and said she was angered when she saw Ansari wearing a "Time's Up" pin at the Golden Globe Awards. The pin referred to a movement against sexual misconduct in Hollywood.

The website published screenshots of what it said were text messages between the two the next day. The woman told Ansari the encounter had made her uncomfortable; he texted back with an apology. The story was initially published with no comment from Ansari because, the website said, his representatives did not get back to them by its deadline.

Many major news organizations reacted cautiously. The Associated Press and other media outlets did not report on the story until Ansari issued a public statement addressing the claim the next day. The actor, who stars on the Netflix hit "Master of None," acknowledged that he apologized to a woman last year when she told him about her discomfort during a sexual encounter in his apartment that he believed to be consensual.

Feminist writers, other actors and media commentators were left to debate the public value of an anonymous tale about a confusing encounter at a time when more women are speaking publicly about sexual assault.

Some prominent women, including Whoopi Goldberg and Ashleigh Banfield, a host on the CNN spinoff HLN, concluded that the story didn't describe sexual misconduct of any kind and lacked newsworthiness. The feminist writer Jill Filipovic, in a column for The Guardian , said the piece touched on the need for more stories about "how pervasive power imbalances benefit men and make sex worse for women." But she said Babe.net squandered that opportunity by failing to "tell this particular story with the care it called for" and muddying the line between sexual assault and misogynistic behavior.  

The story's reporter and editors at Babe.net, which is less than two years old and says it has 3 million readers, have publicly defended their news judgment. "We stand by our story," said site editor Amanda Ross. Babe.net is published by Tab Media, a company that has received funding from Rupert Murdoch.

Helen Benedict, a Columbia journalism professor, said the story's one-sided, anonymous account was difficult to judge. But that, she said, encapsulates the tension between the public's need to know and the obligation of the media to protect sources, particularly people who say they are victims of sexual assault and request anonymity.

Benedict said the story didn't sufficiently press the woman on her motivations and took a flippant approach as to whether the incident constituted sexual assault. "I don't feel that the reporters asked enough about what the goal was," she said. "What does she want?"

Ryan Thomas, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, said the piece lacked the rigor of other stories that used multiple sources to establish a clear pattern of abuse by prominent men like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K.

"Most of the journalism has been very methodical in identifying a catalog of incidents to build a picture of a pattern of behavior," Thomas said. By contrast, he said, the Babe.net story "focuses on a single case against a named individual by an anonymous individual," thus raising questions about its newsworthiness and the care with which it was reported.

Few have called into question the veracity of the report, particularly because Ansari himself did not dispute it.

Wasserman, the Berkeley professor, said he finds it difficult to criticize the piece for crossing any lines of journalistic integrity. After wrestling with the question of whether the article addressed an issue of legitimate public concern, he said, he "reluctantly" sided with Babe.net.

"Is this news? It really does come out of an area of activity that is normally considered to be pretty private," he said. "But on balance, the entire question of sexual misconduct arises from interactions that we should consider private."

'Fire and Fury' about Trump's White House sells big 2nd week

Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" sold more than 190,000 hardcover copies last week, the book's first full week of publication, a company which tracks the retail market told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

In less than two weeks since its release, combined e-book, audio and hardcover sales now top 500,000 for Wolff's sensational account of a dysfunctional Trump administration.

NPD BookScan, which compiles about 85 percent of hardcover and paperback sales, told the AP that about 220,000 hardcover copies have sold in all. That number is expected to go much higher. The book caught on with so many people that publisher Henry Holt and Co. has struggled to keep copies available. Amazon.com, where "Fire and Fury" has been No. 1 throughout its publication, is advising customers that shipments may take 2-4 weeks. NPD BookScan does not register a sale until the book has actually been sent.

Meanwhile, "Fire and Fury" also has been a hit in other formats. Last week, CEO John Sargent of Holt parent company Macmillan told the AP that "Fire and Fury" had sold more 250,000 copies as an e-book and more than 100,000 in audio. More than 1 million hardcover copies are in print.

"Fire and Fury" is among the fastest selling nonfiction books in recent years, likely helped by President Donald Trump's denunciations and threats to sue. It also was last week's dominant seller. According to BookScan, no other release even reached 30,000 copies.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashes into tree after helping car stuck in snow

It could be said that former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. has some of the best driving skills ever, having made a living out of going more than 200 miles an hour on some of our country’s toughest racetracks.

Yet, with snow involved, Earnhardt got into some trouble while trying to help other people stuck in the weather.

>> Read more trending news 

“(North Carolina) stay off the roads today/tonight. Five minutes after helping these folks I center punched a pine tree,” Dale shared on his Twitter page on Wednesday shortly after stopping to help some stranded travelers on the road. “All good. Probably just needs a new alignment,” he added.

Fans were were thankful Earnhardt was OK, but the tweet didn’t come without some NASCAR jokes. 

“Jr. did you attempt to turn right? Gets ya every time,” one Twitter user said.

Earnhardt’s accident comes a day after the former NASCAR driver, voted the sport’s most popular driver for 15 consecutive years, announced the day before that he would be covering the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl in the coming weeks as part of his new deal as a contributor to NBC Sports.

Unfortunately, Dale Jr. was not the only driver to find himself in harm’s way thanks to the snow, as NASCAR driver Daniel Suarez found himself stuck in the snow on the side of the road in his sports car Wednesday.

Michael Waltrip decided to drive in snowy conditions in North Carolina, and appeared to do so safely in his Ford and later in his Toyota Tundra.

Driver Kevin Harvick thought better of it, making the decision to stay in and enjoy the snow off the main roads.

Football's divisional round viewership down 16 percent

Television viewership for the NFL's divisional round playoff games was down 16 percent compared to last year, offering ammunition to critics of the football league, but there are a couple of compelling explanations.

The weekend's four games averaged 30.43 million viewers, off from 36.22 million the year before, the Nielsen company said. The NFL has received some blowback from President Donald Trump and his supporters for protests involving the National Anthem, with some suggesting that had something to do with the audience being smaller for games this season.

Last year had a blockbuster game between two rivals with national followings, Green Bay and Dallas, which reached more than 48 million viewers. Nothing came close this year, with the most-watched game, involving the furious finish between Minnesota and New Orleans, reaching 35.64 million people.

Two of last year's games were also in prime-time, which naturally boosts the audience. This year only one of the games — Tennessee at New England — was in prime-time, and that was non-competitive.

CBS easily won the week in prime time, averaging 10.7 million viewers. Fox had 6.7 million, NBC had 4.6 million, ABC had 4.3 million, Univision had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 1 million.

ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 4.52 million viewers in prime-time. Fox News Channel had 2.15 million, MSNBC had 1.93 million, HGTV had 1.48 million and USA had 1.3 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.9 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 9.7 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.3 million.

For the week of Jan. 8-14, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: College Football Championship: Alabama vs. Georgia, ESPN, 27.7 million; NFL Playoff: Tennessee at New England, CBS, 26.69 million; "NFL Playoff Post-Game," Fox, 23.44 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 15.93 million; "College Football Championship Pre-Game," ESPN, 15.66 million; "NCIS," CBS, 14.24 million; "Young Sheldon," CBS, 14.17 million; "College Football Championship Post-Game," ESPN, 13.59 million; "Bull," CBS, 10.5 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.17 million.

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ABC and ESPN are 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

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