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Showtime: 'Masters of Sex' at an end after 4 seasons

Showtime says "Masters of Sex" is at an end after four seasons.

The channel said Wednesday that the recently concluded season will be the final one for the drama series. "Masters of Sex" was inspired by the lives and groundbreaking work of sex researchers Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson.

Showtime is proud to have shared the exploration of America's changing sexual mores with "Masters of Sex," the channel said in a statement.

What turned out to be the series' final episode aired in mid-November and included Masters and Johnson, played by Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, getting married.

Nielsen: Football helps NBC rush to a ratings win last week

Football helped loft NBC to a ratings win last week, according to the Nielsen company.

Its Thursday night clash between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts was the week's most-watched show, scoring nearly 21 million viewers. The runner-up was NBC's Sunday sportscast of the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Denver Broncos, seen by 18.44 million viewers.

But CBS was close behind with "60 Minutes," ranked third with more than 17 million viewers, and, in fourth place, the seemingly indomitable "NCIS," logging nearly 15 million viewers.

Overall for the week in prime time among broadcast networks, NBC averaged 9.25 million viewers. CBS averaged 7.93 million viewers. ABC averaged 5.84 million viewers, Fox had 2.90 million, Univision had 1.73 million, Telemundo had 1.50 million, ION Television had 1.38 million and the CW had 1.33 million.

Among cable networks, the Hallmark Channel led with 3.00 million, while ESPN had 2.89 million and Fox News Channel had 1.94 million. Cable news rival CNN averaged 698,000 viewers, while MSNBC averaged 648,000.

"NBC Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average 9.61 million viewers while ABC's "World News Tonight" had an average of 9.22 million viewers. The "CBS Evening News" had 8.01 million.

For the week of Nov. 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, NBC, 20.88 million; NFL Football: Kansas City at Denver, NBC, 18.44 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 17.27 million; "NCIS," CBS, 14.86 million; "Thursday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 14.69 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-kick," NBC, 13.14 million; "Dancing With the Stars" (Monday), ABC, 12.08 million; NFL Football: Houston vs. Oakland, ESPN, 11.79 million; NFL Thursday Pre-game, NBC, 11.73 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 11.39 million.

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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. ESPN is owned by ESPN Inc.

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Online:

http://www.nielsen.com

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This story has been corrected to show "NBC Nightly News" with the week's winning viewership, not ABC's "World News Tonight."

Nielsen's top programs for Nov. 21-27

1. NFL Football: Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, NBC, 20.88 million.

2. NFL Football: Kansas City at Denver, NBC, 18.44 million.

3. "60 Minutes," CBS, 17.27 million.

4. "NCIS," CBS, 14.86 million.

5. "Thursday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 14.69 million.

6. "Sunday Night NFL Pre-kick," NBC, 13.14 million.

7. "Dancing with the Stars" (Monday), ABC, 12.08 million.

8. NFL Football: Houston at Oakland, ESPN, 11.79 million.

9. NFL Thursday Pre-game, NBC, 11.73 million.

10. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 11.39 million.

11. "Dancing with the Stars" (Tuesday), ABC, 10.98 million.

12. "Bull," CBS, 10.89 million.

13. "The Walking Dead," AMC, 10.40 million.

14. "Football Night in America," NBC, 9.86 million.

15. "The Voice," NBC, 9.64 million.

16. "The Voice' (Tuesday), NBC, 9.47 million.

17. "This Is Us," NBC, 9.00 million.

18. "Madam Secretary," CBS, 8.97 million.

19. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 8.50 million.

20. "Survivor" (Special), CBS, 7.74 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; NBC is owned by NBC Universal; AMC is owned by AMC Networks.

TV channels the holiday spirit with Frosty, Elf and Mariah

The spirit of the holidays is an elastic concept when it comes to both commerce and TV programming.

Endlessly varied gift possibilities are equaled by what's on the small screen, with Taraji P. Henson's "White Hot" special and a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert both making the cut.

There's also the old — "It's a Wonderful Life," again! — and the new, including Amazon's now-streaming animated specials "If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie" and "The Snowy Day," based on the children's books.

For an ongoing blast from the past, catch holiday-themed episodes of shows ranging from "Lassie" to "Quantum Leap" to "Frasier" on the Cozi TV channel from Dec. 12 to 25.

Here's some other fare that may fit with your traditions or provide a fresh twist. All times EST.

ANIMATION:

— "A Charlie Brown Christmas ," 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, ABC. Upset by the season's materialism, Charlie ends up learning the true meaning of Christmas from Linus in this digitally remastered 1965 special.

— "Albert," 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, Nickelodeon. Tiny Douglas fir tree Albert aspires to be the Christmas king of New York City. The voice cast includes Bobby Moynihan and Sasheer Zamata of "Saturday Night Live."

— "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, CBS. Rudolph really glows in this color-corrected version of the 1964 special featuring Burl Ives' memorable voice.

— "Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, NBC. In this stop-motion animated special based on the movie and stage show, Buddy (Jim Parsons) travels to meet the dad he never knew. Ed Asner narrates.

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MOVIES:

— "Holiday Joy ," 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, repeats Dec. 9 and 15, Freeform. A new TV movie in which teen Joy Hockstatter (Bailee Madison), struggling after her mom's death, finds life mysteriously transformed.

— "It's a Wonderful Life," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, NBC. In Frank Capra's enduring 1946 fable, George Bailey (James Stewart) learns what's important in this world with help from angel Clarence (Henry Travers).

— "A Christmas Story ," 24-hour marathon starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, TBS and TNT. All 9-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder air rifle. Watch, smile, repeat.

— "A Nutcracker Christmas," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, Hallmark Channel. Ballerina Lily (Amy Acker) missed the chance to perform in "The Nutcracker" and, some eight years later, must confront her past in this new TV movie.

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TUNES:

— "VH1 Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night ," 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, VH1. It's a family affair with Patti LaBelle joined by her goddaughter, Mariah Carey. Also aboard: Chaka Khan, Vanessa Williams and Teyana Taylor.

— "Taraji's White Hot Holidays," 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, Fox. The "Empire" star welcomes Pharrell Williams, Taye Diggs, Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and other guests in a special featuring classic holiday songs.

— "A Pentatonix Christmas Special," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, NBC. The Grammy-winning a cappella group performs their favorite holiday songs, with guests Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson.

— "Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Laura Osnes and Martin Jarvis," 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, PBS (check local listings for times). Broadway star Osnes and British actor Jarvis team with the choir and orchestra in this concert taped last December.

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STOCKING STUFFERS:

— "I Love Lucy Christmas Special," 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, CBS. A package deal with two colorized half-hours, the December 1956 "Christmas Episode" and 1955's "Lucy Gets in Pictures," with Lucille Ball navigating a staircase under the burden of a feathered headdress.

— "Rock the Troops ," 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, Spike. Dwayne Johnson salutes the U.S. military with a celebrity-filled special featuring Nick Jonas, Flo Rida, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and others.

— "Lidia Celebrates America: Holiday for Heroes ," 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, PBS (check local listings). Chef Lidia Bastianich meets veterans and cooks a holiday dinner at the Naval Station Norfolk for the crew of the USS George Washington.

— "A Home for the Holidays," 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, CBS. Adoption and foster care are the focus of this special that includes inspirational stories and celebrity guests.

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Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.

Retired Dallas Police Chief hired as contributor by ABC News

Retired Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who stepped into the national spotlight after a sniper killed five law enforcement officers at a July protest, will step back into the spotlight as a contributor for ABC News.

A news release posted on ABC News' website Wednesday morning quotes a note to staff sent by company President James Goldston announcing Brown's hiring. The note says Brown will start Jan. 1 as a contributor on topics such as economic inequality, gun violence, race relations, policing and social justice.

A network spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for more information.

Brown announced his retirement after 33 years on the force about two months after the attack. He officially retired on Oct. 4.

Netflix enables offline access to content

What began as a mail-order rental outlet has gone almost entirely digital. Netflix has moved into making its own shows and feature films. And with growing mobile consumption, Netflix conquered the app world as well. 

>> Read more trending stories  

Though the streaming service has not previously let users download programs to watch offline, that's all about to change.

The California-based company announced in a news release Wednesday that it will begin allowing customers to download shows to watch on the go. 

Eddy Wu, Netflix's director of product innovation, wrote, "While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we've often heard they also want to continue their 'Stranger Things' binge while on airplanes and other places, where internet is expensive or limited."

Netflix will soon roll out a new version of the app with the download feature available, and several shows, including "Narcos," "Orange is the New Black" and "The Crown," are already available for download.

The new feature is included in all plans and available for phones and tablets on Android and iOS.

Read more at Netflix

'Hawaii Five-O' actor Keo Woolford dies at 49 after stroke

"Hawaii Five-O" actor Keo Woolford has died three days after suffering a stroke. He was 49.

Publicist Tracy Larrua announced Woolford's death on social media . She said he had a severe stroke on Friday and died Monday at a hospital in Hawaii.

Woolford played detective James Chang in CBS's reboot of "Hawaii Five-O." Co-star Daniel Dae Kim paid tribute to Woolford on Twitter on Tuesday , writing, "As talented as you were, I will remember you most for your kindness. Thank you for sharing your light with us."

Woolford had small roles in several films, including 2014's "Godzilla" and "Act of Valor" in 2012. He also wrote and directed "The Haumana," a 2013 independent film based on his one man show.

'Just riding a wave': 'Queen Sugar's Kofi Siriboe soars

Even though Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey were both involved in the creation of "Queen Sugar," Kofi Siriboe didn't really know how big the OWN Network show was going to be when he auditioned a year ago.

"I had high expectations, but at the same time I didn't want to like, think too deeply into what it would be. I was just really open to letting it happen, so I'm just riding a wave," says the 22-year-old.

The wave is showing no sign of cresting. Siriboe has drawn rave reviews for his portrayal of Ralph Angel, the formerly incarcerated young father struggling to do right on the family drama, produced by DuVernay and aired on OWN. "Queen Sugar" has also made Siriboe, with striking model-like looks, a fawned-over sex symbol, a status that makes the actor laugh.

"I love when the women are like, 'God is so good, girl, God did its thing,'" he says, chuckling. "It could be one thing, it could be all that ego, and validation, or it could just be, 'I love that you see God when you see me.'"

Before "Queen Sugar," which airs its season finale on Wednesday, Siriboe was best known for smaller parts, including a stint on the TV show "Awkward."

"Prior to this, I had 10,000 followers ... and now it's nearly 100,000 people watching my every move," he said. "They're watching, they actually care, there's a resonance there. That to me is what's like, mind-blowing. You couldn't prepare for something like that."

But Siriboe has been preparing for this moment since he was 5 years old. The Los Angeles native, who is of Ghanaian descent, recalls starring in his first commercial at age 5. It wasn't too long ago that he was waiting for callbacks after auditions in New York City — and getting lots of rejections. Siriboe said the worst part of that time was "just the lack of validation.

"You start questioning yourself. Like, that doubt is real, and we're so marginalized as a community already. To be a black artist in the entertainment industry is already such a hassle," he said. "(But) for me it was just me knowing that this was my truth."

"Queen Sugar" is heading to hiatus (it's been renewed for a second season), but Siriboe will be busy. He's playing Jada Pinkett Smith's love interest in the film "Girls Trip," due out next year, and has written, produced and starred in his own movie, "Jump," about suicide awareness. Shot in the Bronx, Siriboe hopes to release it sometime soon to the public, not necessarily in theaters.

"I like to think of myself as an independent actor, I don't really work for any system," he says. "I want to put out my projects, I want to share it with the people and I want to give it to them direct. I don't need all these channels and all these filters just to do what I want to do, which is just share and bring awareness to things and just have conversations."

NBC boss, 'Mary Tyler Moore Show' producer Tinker dies

Grant Tinker, who brought new polish to the TV world and beloved shows including "Hill Street Blues" to the audience as both a producer and a network boss, has died. He was 90.

Tinker died Monday at his Los Angeles home, according to his son, producer Mark Tinker.

Though he had three tours of duty with NBC, the last as its chairman, Tinker was perhaps best-known as the nurturing hand at MTM Enterprises, the production company he founded in 1970 and ran for a decade.

Nothing less than a creative salon, MTM scored with some of TV's most respected and best-loved programs, including "Lou Grant," ''Rhoda," ''The Bob Newhart Show" and, of course, the series that starred his business partner and then-wife, Mary Tyler Moore.

"I am deeply saddened to learn that my former husband and professional mentor Grant Tinker has passed away," Moore said in a statement. "Grant was a brilliant, driven executive who uniquely understood that the secret to great TV content was freedom for its creators and performing artists. This was manifest in his 'first be best and then be first' approach."

Tinker summed it up with typical self-effacement in a 1994 interview with The Associated Press: "I just had the good luck to be around people who did the kind of work that the audience appreciates. The success just rubbed off on me."

In 1981, Tinker flourished with that low-key approach in a last-ditch effort to save NBC, which was scraping bottom with its earnings, ratings, programs and morale. Five years later, when Tinker left to return to independent production, the network was flush thanks to hits such as "The Cosby Show" and "Hill Street Blues."

Tinker, who had come to NBC as a management trainee in 1949 with legendary founder David Sarnoff still in charge, left the company for the last time at the end of an era, as NBC, along with its parent RCA, was about to be swallowed by General Electric.

In 2005, he won a prestigious Peabody Award honoring his overall career. In receiving his medallion, he called himself "a guy of no distinct or specific skills (who) always needed a lot of help." He also had received the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

"Grant Tinker was a great man who made an indelible mark on NBC and the history of television that continues to this day," said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, sole owner of the network since 2013. "He loved creative people and protected them, while still expertly managing the business. Very few people have been able to achieve such a balance."

"His level of class set him apart from everyone else in our business," said Bob Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, "and all of us at this company owe him a debt of gratitude. In fact, TV watchers everywhere do."

Bob Newhart said in a statement that MTM created "this magical place where creativity and individuality (were nurtured). I was one of the people who was lucky enough to enjoy that freedom for 14 years on television."

He "set the bar high both as a television executive and as a father," said Mark Tinker. "I'm proud to be his son, and especially proud of the legacy he leaves behind in business and as a gentleman."

Born in 1926, the son of a lumber supplier, Tinker had grown up in Stamford, Connecticut, and graduated from Dartmouth College before his first short stint at NBC.

Then he moved into advertising. At a time when ad agencies were heavily responsible for crafting programs its clients would sponsor, Tinker was a vice president at the Benton & Bowles agency when he helped develop "The Dick Van Dyke Show" for Procter & Gamble. There he met, and fell for, the young actress the whole country was about to fall in love with: Mary Tyler Moore.

Soon after the new CBS sitcom had begun its five-season run in fall 1961, Tinker returned to NBC, this time as vice president of West Coast programming.

Meanwhile, he and Moore became TV's golden couple and, in 1962, they wed. (His first marriage had ended in divorce.)

Tinker stayed at NBC until 1967, after which he had brief stays at Universal and Twentieth Century Fox.

Then, with an itch to run his own shop, Tinker founded MTM and began developing its first series: a comedy to revive the flagging career of his wife.

The pilot for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" rated poorly with test audiences. The heroine was dismissed for being over 30 and unmarried. Neighbor Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) was deemed too annoying, best friend Rhoda (Valerie Harper) "too New Yorky and brassy (read: Jewish)," as Tinker wrote in his 1994 memoir, "Tinker in Television."

But the show, which premiered on CBS in fall 1970, was a critical and popular smash for seven seasons and became the flagship series of a studio whose mewing kitten (parodying the MGM lion) came to signify some of TV's best.

Along the way, MTM became an incubator for some of TV's best writers and producers, many of whom — like Steven Bochco, James L. Brooks and Tom Fontana — continue to excel in TV and films.

By 1981, Tinker's stewardship of MTM had ended (as had his marriage to Moore) when he returned to NBC, where, he recalled in his book, "the company had lost its credibility with every important constituency — affiliates, advertisers, the press, the general public and its own employees."

Under Tinker's regime, NBC enjoyed a remarkable recovery. "The Cosby Show" was an overnight hit, but thanks to Tinker, slow starters such as "Hill Street Blues" (which was from MTM), "Family Ties" and "Cheers" were allowed to find their audience and became hits, too.

"Our practice was to make a judgment about a show," Tinker recalled, "and, if we deemed it worthwhile, to really stay with it until it succeeded."

Tinker left NBC in 1986, shortly after the announcement of its purchase by G.E.

He formed another independent studio, GTG Entertainment, in partnership with Gannett Newspaper Corporation, but its few series flopped and the company was dissolved.

Later, in somewhat of a reluctant retirement, Tinker spoke out against much of what he was seeing on television, particularly "reality" fare.

"These guys used to be corporate good citizens," he told The AP in 2003, referring to TV programmers, "and I don't see how they can close their eyes and turn their backs on things that air on their networks."

Tinker is survived by his wife, Brooke Knapp, sons Michael, Mark (an executive producer of NBC's "Chicago P.D.") and writer-producer John, and daughter Jodie DiLella.

No national TV exposure for Atlantic City on New Year's Eve

When the new year arrives in Atlantic City, the eyes of the nation will be elsewhere.

An anticipated big-name concert at Boardwalk Hall that was to be featured in ABC's national New Year's Eve broadcast won't happen.

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority says the show, which had been envisioned as part of the agency's $11.9 million deal to keep the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, could not be finalized due to scheduling and financial concerns.

The agency's deputy executive director, Chris Howard, said the kind of A-list entertainers it wanted for Atlantic City weren't available.

"The big-name artists we were looking for — we didn't want some small opening act, we wanted a true difference-maker — they're typically not on tour this time of year," he said. "The cost associated with bringing that kind of act when they're not on tour was prohibitive compared to what we were anticipating."

Live Nation, the nationwide concert promoter that was to book the show, declined to comment, referring inquiries back to the casino agency.

It's the latest embarrassing slight to Atlantic City, which can't seem to catch even a small break.

Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration took over Atlantic City's assets and major decision-making power, determining that the seaside resort, struggling with a half-billion dollars in debt, was unwilling or incapable of making the difficult choices needed to get its finances in order.

Five of the city's 12 casinos have shut down in the last two years, including the most recent, the Trump Taj Mahal on Oct. 10. Real estate mogul Donald Trump, who's now the Republican president-elect, built it in 1990, but his friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn closed it after a lengthy labor dispute with its main union.

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority collects state-mandated casino payments and approves them for redevelopment projects designed to improve the city.

In February, it signed a contract with the Miss America Organization to keep the pageant in the city for the next three years. As part of that deal, Dick Clark Productions was to feature an Atlantic City show on its "New Year's Rockin' Eve" broadcast for the next three years. Dick Clark Productions is the broadcast production partner of the Miss America pageant, and its willingness to tout Atlantic City was seen as a sweetener to the deal to renew the pageant's run in the city.

"It was very important to us that Miss America and Dick Clark promote Atlantic City as a destination resort," the development authority's executive director, John Palmieri, said at the time.

But with no big-name show happening in the resort, that won't be happening. And most of the casinos have not announced headline entertainers for New Year's Eve, opting instead for parties and in-house entertainment. Resorts Casino Hotel is hosting The Spinners, the 1970s R&B group, not exactly the demographic ABC is looking for in a national broadcast.

Howard said Dick Clark Productions is not to blame for the absence of a show, adding the development authority is looking to offer a similarly big concert as soon as possible next year. He also held out the possibility Atlantic City could be publicized during the broadcast.

Publicists for Dick Clark Productions did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

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Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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