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Nielsen's top programs for Jan. 9-15

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Jan. 9-15. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.

1. NFL Playoffs: Pittsburgh at Kansas City, NBC, 37.11 million.

2. NFL Playoffs: Houston at New England, CBS, 29.82 million.

3. NFL Playoffs: Green Bay at Dallas, Fox, 28.86 million.

4. College Football Championship: Clemson vs. Alabama, ESPN, 24.42 million.

5. "NFL Pre-Game," NBC, 23.08 million.

6. "College Football Championship Pre-Game," ESPN, 14.48 million.

7. "NFL Post-Game," Fox, 13.95 million.

8. "This is Us," NBC, 10.48 million.

9. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 10.475 million.

10. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 10.26 million.

11. "NCIS," CBS, 10.09 million.

12. "Hawaii Five-O," CBS, 9.69 million.

13. "College Football Championship Post-Game," ESPN, 9.44 million.

14. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 8.584 million.

15. "The Big Bang Theory" (Monday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 8.581 million.

16. "MacGyver," CBS, 7.64 million.

17. "Modern Family," ABC, 7.59 million.

18. "Criminal Minds," CBS, 7.54 million.

19. "Madam Secretary," CBS, 7.54 million.

20. "60 Minutes," CBS, 7.45 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.

'Blacklist' producers: Tom will be part of original, sequel

Tom Keen will remain part of "The Blacklist" as he steps into "The Blacklist: Redemption," the spinoff's producers said.

"He's always going to be part of 'The Blacklist' family," producer John Eisendrath said of the character played by Ryan Eggold in both NBC dramas.

The spinoff, which debuts Feb. 23 with eight episodes, stars Eggold and Famke Janssen as mercenaries who have joined with others trying to make amends for the havoc they've caused. Janssen plays Susan "Scottie" Hargrave, the group's leader and Tom's mother. He knows their relationship but she's in the dark, believing her son is long dead.

While Tom is tugged away from his original "Blacklist" life with wife Elizabeth (Megan Boone) and baby Agnes, he loves his family and isn't "going away lightly," Eggold told a TV critics' meeting Wednesday.

He'll have three powerful women in his life now, Eisendrath said. Even at a year old, "Agnes is very strong," the producer joked.

Janssen's Scottie certainly is, and Janssen is willing to concede she's "ruthless and unpredictable." But she balked at labeling her a cold woman.

"She has this incredibly soft and broken side to her that's so beautiful and relatable," the actress said.

Janssen, an exceptionally youthful-looking 52, is playing mom to Eggold, who's 32. With Scottie unaware of their relationship, there were hints in their previous "Blacklist" scenes of a possibly misplaced attraction on her side.

Will that be suggested in the sequel?

"It's very PG" rated, Janssen said. "We're on network television."

New 'Star Trek' delayed again? Either way, James Frain joins

"Star Trek: Discovery" may or may not land on CBS All Access in May, as previously announced.

If not, it would be the second delay for this latest TV edition of the "Star Trek" franchise, which originally was promised for delivery this month.

On Wednesday, CBS Television Studios and CBS All Access weren't conceding to a further delay. But they seemed to claim wiggle room by stating, "We will be flexible on a launch date if it's best for the show."

Production starts next week, they said.

They also said James Frain has been added to the cast. Frain ("Gotham" and "Orphan Black") will play Sarek, father of Spock.

After the premiere airs on the CBS broadcast network, further episodes will be available only to subscribers to CBS All Access.

'Will & Grace' 10-episode revival set for 2017-18 season

"Will & Grace" is making a comeback.

NBC said Wednesday that 10 new episodes are set to air during the 2017-18 season. The series will feature original stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are aboard as executive producers, and series director James Burrows also will be back, NBC said.

In a statement, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt called the series groundbreaking for its witty approach to social issues including gay rights.

Discussions about reviving "Will & Grace" began immediately after the stars appeared in an election-themed reunion video last September, said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment.

"Will & Grace" aired from 1998 to 2006 and won Emmy Awards as best comedy series and for its stars.

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Online: https://youtu.be/wDe934lJlqY

'Will and Grace' returning to television

Hit television series "Will and Grace" will return to television for a 2017-2018 season.

>> Read more trending stories  

NBC announced the show's 10-episode revival Wednesday.  

THEY'RE BACK! Your favorite foursome is returning to NBC!#WillAndGrace pic.twitter.com/Xoz4lSHSgM— NBC (@nbc) January 18, 2017

"We're thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest and most defining comedies in NBC history is coming back," said NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt. "This groundbreaking series for everything from gay rights to social and political commentary -- all disguised as a high-speed train of witty pop culture -- is coming back where it belongs."

"All four of the original stars were excited about getting back into production ... a testament to the joyful experience they had doing nearly 200 episodes for eight seasons," said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment.

According to Entertainment Weekly, "Will and Grace" was one of the highest-rated sitcoms for adults aged 18-49 from 2001-2005 and attracted more than 18 million total viewers for its series finale in 2006.

Cast members Debra Messing, Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes shared their excitement about the Emmy-winning show on social media. 

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/will-and-grace-returns/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/will-and-grace-returns.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "Will and Grace returns" on Storify]

'Orange is the New Black' actress denies quitting show

"Orange Is The New Black" star Taryn Manning and Netflix are shooting down a report that the actress quit the show.

In Touch magazine reported Wednesday that Manning was leaving the show because she needed to get away from her character and was planning to move from New York, where the show is filmed, to Los Angeles.

Manning responded to the report on Instagram on Wednesday , writing "quit never maybe fired but No."

A Netflix spokesperson tells The Associated Press that the story is not true and Manning remains on the show.

In Touch has removed the story from its website.

Manning plays inmate "Pennsatucky" on the prison dramedy.

Kevin O'Leary to run for Conservative leadership in Canada

Canada is getting its own reality show politician.

"Shark Tank" cast member Kevin O'Leary announced Wednesday that he is running for the leadership of Canada's opposition Conservative Party.

O'Leary is a businessman and television commentator who has drawn comparisons to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. He said the party needs a candidate who can beat Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and bring jobs back to Canada.

"Shark Tank" is an American reality show in which entrepreneurs try to convince a cast of tycoons to invest in their ideas. Mark Burnett, who created "The Apprentice" with Trump, also produced "Shark Tank."

O'Leary is best known in Canada as a former bombastic judge on CBC's "Dragons' Den," a Canadian equivalent of "Shark Tank."

"We need a leader that can actually deal with Trump," O'Leary told CTV television.

O'Leary declined to hold a news conference for his leadership announcement, preferring social media and interviews with select media.

He's competing against 13 lower-profile candidates. Former Conservative ministers such as Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney have declined to run for the leadership.

O'Leary has no political experience. He gained marketing experience at Nabisco before founding software company Softkey in the mid-1980s. The company was eventually acquired. He also ran a mutual fund company, O'Leary Funds Inc, until it was sold in 2015.

O'Leary said he differs with Trump on immigration.

"I'm being compared to Donald Trump on this issue all the time and it's true that we both got famous on reality television," O'Leary said. "I'm the son of an immigrant of from Ireland and Lebanon. There are no walls in my world. I wouldn't exist if Canada had walls."

Trudeau remains popular in polls, though O'Leary said Trudeau is "destroying" Canada with debt. He said he needs to rid Canada of Trudeau and said there will be an "exorcism" in the 2019 election.

"It was a big surprise when Donald Trump got elected in the U.S. He's changed all the rules with Canada's largest partner. I would have expected that Justin Trudeau would have waited to find out what the policies were going to be," O'Leary said.

O'Leary said Trudeau should have changed course and made Canada competitive on taxes and regulation, but instead is charging ahead with a carbon tax that will make Canadian companies uncompetitive compared to American companies.

"It shows he doesn't understand what the driving force is of Canada, its jobs," O'Leary said.

"We can't provide all the things we have promised in education, health care, in the military, unless we have growth in our economy and its ground to a halt."

O'Leary also said Canada should be paying more to support NATO — something Trump has said America's allies should do.

He also said Canada's needs to reduce its reliance on oil from Saudi Arabia.

"We spend $12 billion a year on Saudi oil coming up the St. Lawrence because we can't get our oil to from the west coast to east coast," O'Leary said. "We're giving $12 billion to a country that beats women with a stick."

O'Leary said he can win the leadership because he can attract young voters who know him for his celebrity.

"Those are the people that voted for Justin. They are disappointed that they are still in their parents' basements looking at the ceiling, no jobs. I'm going to win them all back for the Conservative Party because that's my army of entrepreneurs. That's who know me from 'Dragon's Den' and 'Shark Tank,'" he said.

Former "Dragon's Den" colleague Arlene Dickinson, a Canadian businesswoman, said O'Leary is in the race for fame and attention and never saw O'Leary show compassion in the years she worked with him. She sees a lot of similarities to Trump including bravado and narcissism.

"What's different is the countries in which they are trying to exert themselves in," Dickinson told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "I believe Canadians are much smarter and are looking for something far different."

Ex-'Apprentice' contestant Summer Zervos files defamation lawsuit against Trump

On Tuesday, former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos held a press conference with lawyer Gloria Allred to announce that she is filing a defamation lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump.

One month before Election Day, Zervos claimed that she was subjected to “unwanted sexual touches” by Trump during a business meeting in 2007. While she did not immediately go public with the information or take legal action against him at the time, she claimed she did tell family members about the encounter soon after it occurred.

“In October 2016, that all changed,” read Zervos’ lawsuit, indicating that she decided to come forward with her accusation after hearing the leaked audio tape of Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush, in which he describes grabbing women in a sexual manner without their permission. Soon after, Trump said he had never actually done the things he described during a presidential debate.

>> Read more trending stories

It was then that Zervos saw Trump’s behavior “for what it was” for the first time, saying that she realized what happened to her was “not a mistake or an isolated incident.” Trump, however, denied her claims, calling them “made up events that never happened,” “100 percent fabricated and made up charges” and “totally made up nonsense.”

As a result, Zervos is filing a defamation lawsuit against him for using his “national and international bully pulpit” to denigrate and verbally attack her and several other women who had made similar accusations, saying she has even received threats since going public. She indicted during the press conference that she is willing to dismiss the lawsuit without monetary compensation, should Trump retract his statements about her claim and admit that she “told the truth about him.”

“I want to make it clear that even though it is hard and painful to speak up against the world’s most powerful man, I will continue to speak the truth and I refuse to be intimidated into silence,” Zervos said.

“Truth matters. Women matter. Those that allege they were victims of sexual assault or sexual misconduct by Donald Trump matter,” Allred said.

Andy Cohen's near-clash: Joan Rivers, Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Andy Cohen revels in his free-wheeling talk show, but Joan Rivers' last appearance on his Bravo series almost led to a clash with another guest.

About six weeks before her death, Rivers and Maksim Chmerkovskiy of "Dancing with the Stars" were to appear together on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," the host told a TV critics' meeting Tuesday.

But Rivers told Cohen that, after meeting with Chmerkovskiy before going on air, she made it clear that "it wouldn't be fun for her," Cohen said, without elaborating.

Despite her reservations, the Ukrainian-born dancer "turned it around" with Rivers, he said. The guests found common ground discussing Israel, series executive producer Deirdre Connolly said.

The 81-year-old comedian died in September 2014, days after she stopped breathing during a routine medical procedure.

Asked to recall the toughest question he's asked on his show, Cohen said it was his query to Selena Gomez about Justin Bieber, with whom she'd been linked romantically. "I don't think she loved it," he said.

CNN's documentary 'The End' tracks end of Obama presidency

Less than 48 hours before President Barack Obama leaves office, CNN will air an intimate tribute told through the workdays and accounts of key White House staff members.

          But however worthy it may be, this two-hour documentary, airing Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST, may face a wary reception.

          For those who have disagreed with Obama's policies and even questioned his citizenship the past eight years, this film is unlikely at such a late date to stir a reappraisal of his legacy or character.

         Meanwhile, for others, the film will be yet another painful reminder of what will soon be over and what might have been.

         Presumably without meaning to plumb the depths of despair gripping Obama's supporters, the program strikes an elegiac chord with its title: "The End: Inside the Last Days of the Obama White House."

         Spanning the past two months, "The End" ends, fittingly, with Obama's farewell address last week in Chicago.

         It begins on election day, as Hillary Clinton's electoral-college defeat by Donald Trump is received at the White House with shock and grief.

         But then we see Obama bucking up his thunderstruck staff.

         "Everybody is sad when their side loses an election," the president says. "But we all have to remember we're all on one team."

           Chief speechwriter Cody Keenan, one of the figures followed through the documentary, crafted the president's magnanimous remarks. In his windowless office in the White House basement, he concedes those words are "obviously not the ones I wanted to be writing."

           Another recurring character, press secretary Josh Earnest, gathers his crew to prep for a news conference as they scramble for grounding in the flood of events.

           "Just don't look at Twitter," cracks one of his fellow writers and they all laugh.

           Nothing in particular is cited from the tweets Trump has made part of his routine.

           "That's a good rule for life," Earnest replies instead.

           Along with tying up the many loose ends of Obama's presidency, these busy last weeks are devoted to arranging an efficient, secure handoff to his successor.

           "Our job is to turn it over to them in as good a shape as possible," says Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. (All agree that the transition team of President George W. Bush set a high standard for cooperation and comity that the Obama administration aspires to meet as it vacates.)

        But there are other, less weighty tasks. Keenan and his staff must hatch a collection of puns for Obama's eighth annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkeys (the Chief Executive can't be expected to wing it).

         Then, in a welcome antic moment, the fortunate fowl — Tater and Tot — are seen prior to the ceremony in their luxe DC accommodations: a suite at the Willard Intercontinental hotel.

         As the days count down, the film's participants reflect on what they've experienced in bittersweet terms.

         Keenan recalls the nation's crisis state in 2009 when Obama took office. He confides that many White House newbies were alarmed.

         "The president was the one with the cool head who told us all, 'Read some FDR (whose administration confronted the Great Depression and World War II, among other challenges). See what he told people when it was bleak and when they were scared.'"

         Counting their victories, the film's subjects note with pride the Affordable Care Act — and think back on the brawl that nearly derailed it.

         "What I learned," says Jarrett, "was how willing people in this town were to put their short-term political interests far ahead of what's good for the country."

         Of course, even as this show premieres, the President-elect and other foes of Obama's health care law are already rallied as never before to carry out their vendetta.

         Little wonder that "The End," despite its good intentions, will strike some of its viewers as being less about the Obama era it recognizes than about the two-month run-up to a change they dread that starts with Friday's swearing-in.

          For those viewers, "The End" spells the end of the Obama presidency, and the end of so much more.

          _____

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

_____

Online:

http://www.cnn.com/shows/last-days-of-the-obama-white-house

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