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Fonda and Tomlin savor senioritis as 'Grace and Frankie'

The message of "Grace and Frankie" is: There's life after 70.

And also your own brand of vibrator, according to this Netflix comedy's just-released new season.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin press on as the title characters whose longtime husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) abruptly left them for each other at the series' inception.

"When our law-partner husbands tell us they've been having an affair for 20 years, we're bereft and cast adrift," says Tomlin.

"What happens when you're in your late 70s and the rug is pulled out from under you?" poses Fonda.

The answer they and their show are promoting: "There can be a third act that's pretty robust and pretty fun," as Fonda puts it. "Don't write us off just because we're over the hill. 'Cause there's a lot of other hills still to come that are pretty exciting."

As the third season begins, the often-fractious friendship shared by uptight Grace and free-spirited Frankie has steered them into marketing a product designed to meet the special needs of women of their vintage. It's a vibrator with thoughtfully large-print directions and a swiveling head that won't aggravate the user's carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis. Its brand name: Menage a Moi.

Thus does "Grace and Frankie," between generous laughs, continue to explore growing older while thumbing its nose at Father Time.

Fonda and Tomlin (today hale and hearty at, respectively, 79 and 77) are the best advertisements for what the series is about. They first worked together in a certain hit film nearly four decades ago.

Fonda had attended a live performance by Tomlin "and I fell in love with her. I was preparing a movie called '9 to 5' that was kind of serious. But after I saw her show, I thought, 'I CAN'T do a movie about secretaries if Lily Tomlin isn't one of them.' And we had to totally redo the movie so it was funny."

Tomlin says she came to the project "totally in awe" of Fonda, and, referring to Fonda's Oscar-winning performance in the 1971 thriller "Klute," confides, "I had already worn a 'Klute' hairdo for a couple of years."

With their on-screen reunion for "Grace and Frankie," Fonda says Tomlin, once again, is "good for me to be around. I come from a long line of depressed people, and Lily's humor is right close to the surface. I tend to depression, and she finds laughter in everything. We have fun together."

Even so, the series presents challenges.

In the first season, Fonda unexpectedly identified with the abandonment issues her character was going through. "It kind of shatters" Grace, she says, and "it did for me, Jane, as well. It triggered something in me. It was really hard to be playing somebody going through that."

Thinking back on it seems to bring Fonda to the brink of tears.

Or not, she argues with a smile. "I just have something in my eyes."

And there are other demands besides the emotional. Like "working 16 hours a day when you're almost 80," Fonda says. "And we have to be learning our lines. Some of us," she adds with a comically knowing eye in Tomlin's direction, "have QUITE a challenge that way."

"I have NO problem learning lines!" Tomlin chortles. "She is just so full of it!"

"Lily stumbles around and forgets her lines," persists Fonda, "then, when it's all put together, it all turns out perfectly. She somehow makes it seem so fresh. When I forget MY lines, I just feel sort of like I'm a dud."

"This is just crazy talk," Tomlin counters, then reports that, a few days before, she watched a couple of episodes, "and — oh, I'm sorry — you're really GOOD."

"You think?" says Fonda, as if caught by surprise.

"Oh, yes. Just terrific."

"Aw, thanks," says Fonda, clearly touched.

But it all begs the question: How do these veteran actresses do it?

Fonda: "You've got to get enough sleep."

Tomlin: "You've got to squat."

Fonda: "Squat over WHAT?"

Tomlin: "Just squat. So that you stay flexible."

Fonda: "I get eight or nine hours of sleep. Which means when I get home I go right to sleep."

Tomlin: "I don't go right to bed. But I SHOULD."

Fonda: "I can only have one martini, or not even any if I have to work the next day."

Tomlin: "I could have a glass of wine if I'm going out to dinner — but who can go out to dinner?"

Fonda: "Dinner?! I don't even eat after 3 or 4."

Tomlin: "Don't make it sound so stringent!"

Fonda: "I WANT to make it sound stringent, so people will feel sorry for us and resent us less for being our age with such good jobs. I feel so lucky!"

Sure, but all those people who don't have a TV show "can go to bed a little later," Tomlin points out. "And only squat halfway."

_____

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

_____

Online:

https://www.netflix.com

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' cast reunites for 20th birthday

Buffy Summers and her old pals from Sunnydale High are reuniting to celebrate the 20th birthday of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Series creator Joss Whedon talks with stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan and 10 other cast members on "EW Reunites: Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which premieres Wednesday on the streaming People/Entertainment Weekly Network .

"This is like a high school reunion, but much worse because they all still look really great," Whedon says.

He and series stars including David Boreanaz, Nicolas Brendon, Charisma Carpenter and Michelle Trachtenberg share memories of their days on the show and reflect on its enduring impact.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" premiered in 1997 and ran through 2003. Its title character battled vampires, demons and other dark forces while navigating everyday teenage struggles. Whedon was nominated for an Emmy for his writing on the show in 2000.

The show was "the ultimate metaphor," Gellar says.

"It was utilizing the horrors of adolescence manifested through these actual monsters," she says. "And I think that (for) everyone going through it, that's the hardest time of life and to understand that you're not alone through that."

The interview was filmed earlier this month in Los Angeles. The reunited "Buffy" cast also appears on the cover of the upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine, available Friday.

SEE IT: 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' cast reunites on Instagram

This reunion should bring a smile to the faces of '90s kids everywhere.

>> Read more trending news

More than 20 years after "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" came to an end, the cast was pictured "chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool" Monday night in a photo shared to Instagram by Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton Banks.

>> Is Will Smith becoming Uncle Phil? Internet freaks out over bungee-jumping selfie

"Always amazing to spend an afternoon with my Fresh Prince family," Ribeiro wrote in the post, which has more than 50,000 likes. "Wishing that James Avery was still with us to make this complete."

>> See the snapshot here

The photo features, from left, Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks), Will Smith, Daphne Reid (Aunt Vivian) and Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey). Avery (Uncle Phil) died in December 2013.

TLC’s ‘Trading Spaces’ is headed back to television

TLC is bringing back its popular show “Trading Spaces” 10 years after it went off the air.

>> Read more trending news

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network announced it will bring the show back in an upfront presentation to advertisers on Tuesday.

“I am excited to announce that TLC's most successful and most iconic series ... ‘Trading Spaces’ is coming back.” TLC’s 

president and general manager Nancy Daniels, said at the presentation, according to Fox News.

In the original version, which rain from 2000-2008, two sets of neighbors swapped houses and were given 48 hours to completely transform a room with a $1,000 budget.

Related: HGTV to air 'Fixer Upper' and 'Flip or Flop' spin-off shows 

EOnline reported that the first season was hosted by Alex McLeod. By the second season, Paige Davis took over until 2005, when the show aired without a host until TLC asked Davis to come back in 2008, when the show went off the air for good.

The Discovery Communications networks also announced it will be bringing back “Cash Cab” on the Discovery Channel, and last year THR reported the Science Channel was looking to revive “MythBusters.”

Daniels said the “Trading Spouses” revamp will be on TLC in 2018.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Trump's lawyers: 'Apprentice' contestant can't sue president

Republican President Donald Trump's lawyers say he's immune while president from defamation claims brought by a former contestant on his reality TV show "The Apprentice" who accused him of unwanted sexual contact.

The lawyers said in a state Supreme Court filing Monday they'll formally ask for a dismissal or a suspension of the January claims by Summer Zervos until he leaves office. They said the Constitution immunizes Trump from being sued in state court while he's president.

The lawyers said their position is supported by a long line of U.S. Supreme Court cases requiring courts to show deference to the president and his schedule.

Zervos was a contestant on Trump's reality show in 2006. She sued after Trump dismissed as "fabricated and made-up charges" her claims at a news conference that he made unwanted sexual contact with her at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2007.

The lawsuit sought an apology and $2,914.

Trump's lawyers said in Monday's filing that the president denies "these unfounded accusations" and was prepared to show that they were "false, legally insufficient and made in a transparent politically-motivated attack." They said the allegations have been disputed even by a member of Zervos' family.

Zervos was among several women who made sexual allegations against Trump when he was the Republican nominee during the presidential race last year. Trump has strenuously denied their allegations.

After appearing on Trump's show, Zervos said she later asked him for a job. She said they met and he kissed her on the lips and asked for her phone number. She said at a later meeting at a California hotel he became sexually aggressive, kissing her and touching her breasts.

During the presidential campaign, a tape of Trump talking about fame enabling him to grope and try to have sex with women emerged. On the 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape, Trump says when he's attracted to beautiful women "I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet." He says when you're a star, women let you.

"Grab them by the p----," Trump adds. "You can do anything."

Trump later said in a presidential debate that he never did any of the actions heard on the tape, which he described as locker room talk.

Trump's wife, Melania Trump, blamed "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush for what Trump said. She said they were involved in "boy talk, and he was led on, like egged on, from the host to say dirty and bad stuff."

A Zervos attorney, Gloria Allred, said she doesn't believe the president of the United States enjoys legal immunity from a defamation lawsuit. She said the Supreme Court addressed the legal immunity issue in a case involving Democratic President Bill Clinton and "determined unanimously that no man is above the law, and that includes the president of the United States."

"We look forward," she said, "to arguing this issue in court."

Nielsen's top programs for March 20-26

1. "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.7 million.

2. "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 12.09 million.

3. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 11.71 million.

4. "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.84 million.

5. "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 10.74 million.

6. "The Walking Dead," AMC, 10.54 million.

7. NCAA Basketball: UCLA vs. Kentucky, CBS, 10 million.

8. "Little Big Shots," NBC, 9.81 million.

9. "NCIS," CBS, 9.36 million.

10. NCAA Basketball: Kansas vs. Oregon, TBS, 9.31 million.

11. "Madam Secretary," CBS, 8.77 million.

12. "Survivor," CBS, 8.1 million.

13. "Empire," Fox, 7.95 million.

14. "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 7.8 million.

15. "Criminal Minds," CBS, 7.47 million.

16. "Chicago Fire," NBC, 7.21 million.

17. NCAA Basketball: Michigan vs. Oregon, CBS, 7.13 million.

18. "Bull," CBS, 7.02 million.

19. NCAA Basketball: Purdue vs. Kansas, CBS, 6.62 million.

20. "NCAA Studio Show," TBS, 6.52 million.

___

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox; NBC is owned by NBC Universal.

'60 Minutes' tops ratings for first time since 2008

CBS' "60 Minutes" returned this week to a familiar place it hadn't been accustomed to visiting that much lately: first place in the prime-time television rankings.

The venerable newsmagazine hadn't finished as the most-watched program of the week since November 2008, when newly elected Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, sat down for the first TV interview since their election.

In its glory years, that was a familiar spot for "60 Minutes." It finished the entire 1979-80 season as television's top-ranked show, a feat that it achieved five times. The first week that it topped the ratings came in November 1978 — likely making it the show with the longest gap between the first and most recent first-place showing.

This week's show featured Scott Pelley's story about fake news, Anderson Cooper's report on the Islamic State's first attack on U.S. soil and Sharyn Alfonsi's feature about a chess program in rural Mississippi. The content was less important than the show's lead-in: The newsmagazine started a half hour later than usual because of North Carolina's regional final victory over Kentucky in men's basketball, a game that came down to a last-second shot and was watched by 22.1 million people during its final 15 minutes.

It has been a positive season for "60 Minutes," which is up about 2 percent in viewership over last year.

CBS easily won the week in prime-time, averaging 7.4 million viewers. NBC had 5.6 million, ABC had 4.4 million, Fox had 2.8 million, Univision had 1.7 million, Telemundo had 1.31 million, the CW had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1.2 million.

TBS was the week's most popular cable network, reaching 3.27 million in prime-time with the help of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Fox News Channel had 2.51 million, MSNBC had 1.77 million, HGTV had 1.63 million and USA had 1.62 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 7.8 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.4 million viewers.

For the week of March 20-26, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.7 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 12.09 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 11.71 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.84 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 10.74 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 10.54 million; NCAA Basketball: UCLA vs. Kentucky, CBS, 10 million; "Little Big Shots," NBC, 9.81 million; "NCIS," CBS, 9.36 million; NCAA Basketball: Kansas vs. Oregon, TBS, 9.31 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

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 apologizes for jest about Maxine Waters' hair

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

O'Reilly said that his jest about her hair was dumb. "I apologize," he said in a statement.

He had made his statement during an appearance earlier 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 also said that Waters, who is black, should have "her own sitcom."

In his apology, O'Reilly said that "as I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs."

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.

MyFoxBoston.com contributed to this report.

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