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'Saturday Night Live' writer suspended for Barron Trump tweet

Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on one thing about criticizing the President Donald Trump's family: Leave the kids out of it. That especially goes for Barron Trump, who is 10 years old. 

>> PREVIOUS STORY: 'SNL' writer under fire for Barron Trump tweet

Last week, a writer from “Saturday Night Live” joked that Barron would kill his family. Now, NBC has announced consequences for Katie Rich, who tweeted that Barron would be the "first homeschool shooter."

>> Chelsea Clinton defends Barron Trump: He deserves 'to be a kid'

The tasteless joke drew swift and widespread backlash. A petition called “Fire Katie Rich” on Change.org attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

>> Read more trending stories

Rich, who has been writing for “SNL” since 2013, will be suspended “indefinitely,” the network said. She tweeted an apology Monday afternoon, resurrecting her Twitter account after initially deleting it.

>> Read the apology here

I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I'm so sorry.— Katie Rich (@katiemaryrich) January 23, 2017

Alec Baldwin to host SNL for record 17th time, smashing previous record

Actor Alec Baldwin is scheduled to host “Saturday Night Live” next month for the 17th time, in an appearance that will break comedian Steve Martin’s record for most times hosting the late-night comedy show.

>> Read more trending stories 

Baldwin's impression of President Donald Trump has garnered rave reviews and plenty of late-night laughs, as he played Trump throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and beyond.

The actor’s portrayal of Trump even provoked a response from the president himself via Twitter, with Trump calling "Saturday Night Live" "unwatchable." Baldwin responded by tweeting back, "Release yor tax returns and I'll stop. Ha."

Just tried watching Saturday Night Live - unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016

...@realDonaldTrump Release your tax returns and I'll stop.Ha— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 4, 2016

Trump did appear on “Saturday Night Live” in Nov. of 2015, but that was before Baldwin began performing his hilarious spoof of him.

Baldwin will host the show on Feb. 11.

White House press secretary: 'Our intention is never to lie'

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told a roomful of reporters that "our intention is never to lie to you," although sometimes the Trump administration may "disagree with the facts."

Spicer's first full press briefing was closely watched Monday following a weekend statement about President Donald Trump's inauguration audience that included incorrect assertions. After White House counselor Kellyanne Conway received wide social media attention for her explanation that Spicer had presented "alternative facts," Monday's briefing was televised live on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and, for a time, even ABC.

Meanwhile, ABC announced that anchor David Muir would interview Trump for a one-hour prime-time special to air at 10 p.m. EST Wednesday.

Spicer tried to defuse tension by opening with a self-deprecating joke about his lack of popularity, and his 78-minute session was wide-ranging and mostly substantive. He corrected one disputed statement from Saturday, defended another and expressed some frustration regarding how the new Trump administration feels about its news coverage.

Asked for a pledge not to lie, Spicer assented, saying, "I believe we have to be honest with the American people." He said he had received incorrect information about Inauguration day ridership on the Washington Metro system when he initially claimed the system was used more Friday than for Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration.

"There are times when you tweet something out or write a story and you publish a correction," he said. "That doesn't mean you were trying to deceive readers or the American people, does it? I think we should be afforded the same opportunity."

Spicer didn't back down from his claim that Trump's inauguration was the most-seen ever, clarifying that he was including people who watched online. The ceremony didn't have the highest TV ratings and aerial photographs indicate the live crowd wasn't as big as it was for Obama's first swearing-in, but there are no reliable crowd estimates or numbers indicating how many people across the world watched the ceremony online.

He expressed frustration about an erroneous report, later corrected, stating that a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from a room in the White House following Trump's inauguration.

"Where was the apology to the president of the United States?" Spicer said. "Where was the apology to the millions of people who thought that it was racially insensitive?"

One reporter said Spicer had accepted an apology from the news outlet that made the mistake in a pool report.

Spicer would not say whether he was ordered by Trump or other staffers to make Saturday's statement, but explained some of the thinking that went into it. Like countless White House staffs before them, the Trump team is exasperated about "negative" and "demoralizing" coverage.

"When we're right, say we're right," he said. "When we're wrong, say we're wrong. But it's not always wrong and negative."

Spicer broke with the White House tradition of opening briefings with a question from The Associated Press. The AP was traditionally given the first question because it is a broad-based news cooperative that represents the largest swath of American newspapers, broadcasters and other kinds of news organizations.

Instead, Spicer initially called on a reporter from the New York Post, and he took questions from several news organizations that were rarely called on during the previous administration. He said four seats in the briefing room would be kept open for out-of-town reporters to participate via Skype.

The new press secretary — who took no questions Saturday — drew a laugh when he said he'd stay at the podium for as long as the reporters wanted him there, and he nearly did.

"I want to make sure we have a healthy relationship," he said.

Stephen Colbert to host Emmys on CBS in September

Stephen Colbert will host the annual Emmy Awards telecast, this year to be shown on his home network of CBS.

The annual awards show honoring the best in television will take place on Sept. 17 in Los Angeles.

Colbert is host of the "Late Show" on CBS, and the former host of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report." In talking about hosting the 69th Emmy telecast, Colbert made sly reference to the Trump administration's unprovable assertion that Trump's inauguration was the most watched ever.

Said Colbert: "This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period. Both in person and around the globe."

'SNL' writer suspended for tweet about Barron Trump

A "Saturday Night Live" writer has been suspended indefinitely after tweeting a poorly received joke about Donald Trump's 10-year-old youngest son, Barron.

A person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly told The Associated Press that Katie Rich was suspended immediately after writing an offensive tweet about the child. An outcry on social media followed, with many calling for a boycott of the TV show.

Rich later deleted the tweet, deactivated her account but then reactivated it Monday, saying she wanted to "sincerely apologize" for the "insensitive" tweet and "deeply regret" her actions.

NBC had no comment.

Barron found support from Chelsea Clinton, with the former first daughter saying he "deserves the chance every child does — to be a kid."

This isn't the first time "SNL" has gotten in trouble for joking about the president's children. In 1993, then-cast member Mike Myers had to write an apology letter to the Clintons after a skit that mocked Chelsea Clinton.

"She's a kid, a kid who didn't choose to be in public life," ''SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels said at the time. He also acknowledged that said his show treated then 9-year-old Amy Carter "a little rougher" during the 1970s when Jimmy Carter was in the Oval Office.

The current controversy over Barron Trump comes as President Trump has lashed out at the way "Saturday Night Live" has lampooned him, with the president saying Alec Baldwin's semi-regular portrayal of him "stinks" and calling one of the skits a "hit job."

Alec Baldwin to host 'Saturday Night Live'

Alec Baldwin is scheduled to host to "Saturday Night Live" on Feb. 11 amid his ongoing battle with President Donald Trump.

>> Read more trending stories

Ed Sheeran will appear as the night's musical guest.

Baldwin, who has played the president multiple times in the run-up to and since the election, will host the show for the 17th time. He holds the record for the most times hosting the sketch comedy hour, trailed by comedian Steve Martin, who has hosted 15 shows, and actor John Goodman, who has hosted 13 episodes.

>> Related: Trump blasts 'Saturday Night Live,' Alec Baldwin on Twitter – again

Baldwin has frequently been the target of attacks by Trump, who has criticized the actor for his portrayal of the business mogul-turned-politician.

President-elect Donald Trump only wants to talk about what is really important in this country. #SNL pic.twitter.com/1rSIJydIIJ— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) January 15, 2017

In an early morning tweet on Dec. 3, Trump called "Saturday Night Live," "totally biased" and "unwatchable" after Baldwin portrayed him as too preoccupied with Twitter to pay attention to a security briefing.

*retweets* #SNL pic.twitter.com/SmNcJ09mWa— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) December 4, 2016

"The Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse," Trump wrote. "Sad."

Just tried watching Saturday Night Live - unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016

Baldwin responded on an account dedicated to his Alec Baldwin Foundation.

"Release your tax returns and I'll stop," he wrote.

...@realDonaldTrump Release your tax returns and I'll stop.Ha— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 4, 2016

Alec Baldwin to host 'SNL' for record-setting 17th time

At the dawn of the Donald Trump administration, "Saturday Night Live's" own Trump — Alec Baldwin — will be back as the show's guest host for the 17th time.

The NBC show said Monday that Baldwin will host the Feb. 11 show. Baldwin, who has been portraying Trump on a semi-regular basis this season, has hosted the venerable comedy show more times than any other person.

SNL said that actress Kristen Stewart will debut as a host on the Feb. 4 show.

Alessia Cara will be the musical guest on Stewart's show, with Ed Sheeran performing on Baldwin's show.

'Every Minute Counts' in drive to find Alzheimer's treatment

In 2004, PBS aired a film about Alzheimer's disease.

           The grim takeaway:

            — It's incurable and deadly.

— With the aging of the U.S. population (especially by the outsized baby-boom generation) the number of cases is skyrocketing accordingly.

           — The cost of this coming epidemic is destined to be financially ruinous, not only on an individual basis, but also as a public-health crisis nationwide.

           That was then, in 2004. But the situation has grown only more dire, says an important new documentary, "Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts," which airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. EST on PBS.

            According to this program, there are now more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease, with the number projected to soar by 55 percent by 2030, while future costs associated with it threaten to bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid and the life savings of millions of Americans.

            "Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts" was produced and directed by Elizabeth Arledge, who a dozen years ago produced the Emmy-winning "The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's."

            That report mainly focused on the human tragedy of a degenerative brain disease that sentences each victim to a progressive loss of memory and sense of self and, over time, an inability even to swallow and breathe.

             For her new documentary, Arledge has taken a different tack.

             "This is not another examination of the heartache," she explained recently from her Cambridge, Massachusetts, base as an independent filmmaker specializing in medicine and public policy. "Instead, it's more about how this personal tragedy is now going to become a tragedy for the whole country if nothing changes in the trajectory of the disease. We look at the epidemic as a main character in the film."

             She recites a few of its harsh bullet points:

             — The sixth-largest cause of death in the U.S., Alzheimer's is the only disease among the top 10 with no prevention, no treatment and no cure.

             — Given the number of people it affects — victims and caregivers — as it drags on for years, "it's the most expensive disease in the country."

             — While research has uncovered what Arledge says are "so many promising leads, so many intriguing clues," funds allocated for research are at a level far below those for many other diseases.

            Battling Alzheimer's, she sums up, is "100 percent about money."

            That said, "Every Minute Counts" puts human faces on this dollar-and-cents dilemma — and not just faces of victims, but also those of researchers, health officials and loved ones of the afflicted.

            Perhaps most memorable is Daisy Duarte of Springfield, Missouri. Now 45, she used to own a sports bar, but for five years has served as a full-time live-in caretaker for her mother, who can no longer dress, bathe or feed herself — or recognize her daughter.

           "I lost my first mom five years ago," says Duarte. "Alzheimer's is my second mom."

           Then things get worse. Aware that an early-onset Alzheimer's gene runs through her family, giving Duarte 50-50 odds of having it, she decides to learn her fate. The results from the test aren't what she was praying for.

            Guaranteed to get Alzheimer's, she continues to look after her declining mother knowing this is where her own path will take her in as little as 15 years.

            The bad news galvanizes Duarte to become an advocate for Alzheimer's research. In the film, she is seen lobbying members of Congress for increased funding, where she gets a warm reception: Alzheimer's hasn't spared their families either.

            But Duarte's activism points up one of the hurdles for getting out the word about this scourge: Unlike victims of most other plagues, Alzheimer's patients can't lobby for themselves.

             All in all, "Every Minute Counts" is an alarming hour. But it isn't without hope.

            "There are a lot of promising things in development," says Arledge. "With enough support to bring them across the finish line, they could make a difference in the next five or 10 years.

            "It's just a matter of money and focus."

_____

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.pbs.org/tpt/alzheimers-every-minute-counts/home/

http://www.alz.org

The Latest: 'Sister Wives' family says it won't end fight

The Latest on the Supreme Court's decision against hearing an appeal from the family on TV's "Sister Wives" challenging Utah's law banning polygamy (all times local):

10:35 a.m.

An attorney for a TV's "Sister Wives" family says the U.S. Supreme Court decision not to hear an appeal of Utah's law banning polygamy won't end the larger fight by plural and unconventional families for equal status.

Lawyer Jonathan Turley said Monday in a statement posted on his blog that he and the Brown family are disappointed but not surprised by the decision that was issued by the high court without comment.

Turley emphasized that an appeals court ruling that stands wasn't made based on the merits of the Browns' assertion that Utah's law violates their rights of speech and religion. That court found Kody Brown and his four wives can't sue over the law because they weren't charged under it.

The family says it wanted to challenge the law because the threat of prosecution still looms over them.

Utah's law forbids married people from living with a second purported "spouse," making it stricter than anti-bigamy laws in other states.

The Utah Attorney General's Office declined comment.

The high court is on a pace to hear less than 1 percent of the 7,500 appeals it is likely to receive this term.

____

7:40 a.m.

The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from the family on TV's "Sister Wives" challenging Utah's law banning polygamy.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that said Kody Brown and his four wives can't sue over the law because they weren't charged under it.

A federal judge sided with the Browns and overturned key parts of the state's bigamy law in 2013, but an appeals court overturned that decision last year.

The Browns claim the law infringes on their right to freedom of speech and religion. The family wanted to challenge the law even though they've never faced criminal charges because they say the threat of prosecution still looms over them.

Fox cutting ties with Stacey Dash, George Will, 2 others

Fox News Channel is cutting ties with some of its paid contributors, including former "Clueless" actress Stacey Dash and veteran conservative columnist George Will.

The network said Monday that it had also declined to renew the contracts of political strategist Ed Rollins and columnist Cal Thomas.

Dash hasn't appeared on Fox since September. She attracted a lot of attention in a short time, instigating a feud with BET by saying the network promotes segregation and being suspended for using a profanity on-air to refer to former President Barack Obama's views on terrorism.

All of the commentators were hired when Roger Ailes led Fox. The former chairman left Fox left summer amid accusations of sexual harassment, which he has denied.

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