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    The Big Bang Theory' is picking up ratings steam in the final stretch of its 12-year run. The CBS sitcom was last week's most-watched entertainment show as total viewership ticked up to a 2018-19 season high of more than 13 million. That's according to Nielsen figures out Tuesday, and a welcome sign for CBS: Viewership for last fall's season debut episode of 'Big Bang Theory' fell 30 percent from the fall 2017 opener. While audience interest is likely to grow as the sitcom draws to its conclusion this spring, 'Big Bang Theory' also is benefiting from the wrap-up of competing Thursday night NFL broadcasts. Football still dominated the week, as playoff games or related programming counted for six of the 10 most-watched shows. Top-rated network Fox was the big beneficiary.
  • Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took a major step toward announcing a 2020 presidential bid Tuesday, saying she is launching an exploratory committee for a White House run. 'It's an important first step, and it's one I am taking because I am going to run,' the New York senator said on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.' She listed a series of issues she'd tackle as president, including better health care for families, stronger public schools and more accessible job training. Gillibrand, 52, has already made plans to campaign in Iowa over the weekend, more than a year before the leadoff caucus state votes. She joins what is expected to be a crowded primary field for the Democratic nomination that could feature more than a dozen candidates. Already, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has announced her own exploratory efforts, and decisions by a number of other senators are expected in the coming weeks. Gillibrand, who was appointed to the Senate in 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, has been among the Senate's most vocal members on issues like sexual harassment, military sexual assault, equal pay for women and family leave, issues that could be central to her presidential campaign. 'I'm going to fight for other people's kids as hard as I would fight for my own,' said Gillibrand, a mother of two sons, ages 10 and 15. As she works to distinguish herself from likely rivals, Gillibrand will be able to draw from the more than $10.5 million left over from her 2018 re-election campaign that she can use toward a presidential run. Gillibrand pledged during her Senate campaign that she would serve out her six-year term if re-elected. She will use Troy, New York, where she lives, as a home base for her presidential efforts. Near the end of their interview, Colbert presented Gillibrand with a basket of campaign gifts, including an ear of yellow corn to wave in Iowa, a piece of granite for New Hampshire and a one-of-a-kind button that reads 'I announced on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
  • Like Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, Drake could be the next major artist to take his act to Las Vegas, according to some reports. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that sources familiar with XS bookings said the rapper agreed to 12 shows over two years, which would make him a standout on the strip among so many women in pop music. According to The Blast, a residency deal could net him $10 million.  >> Read more trending news  Drake performed at the nightclub last week during the Consumer Electronics Show, where he hinted about a residency on the strip, the Review-Journal reported. The show earned him a reported $2 million. “Vegas! When I came back, I thought it’d be back at T-Mobile Arena or some (stuff),” Drake said. “But I’ll be back here at XS all year. You’ll have a lotta chances to see me.” The Source reported that Drake may have also hinted at the deal in a Saturday Instagram post. The image shows Drake performing at the nightclub with XS and Wynn tagged in the photo and the caption reading, “New home.” There has been no confirmation of a residency.
  • Just one day after leaving office as governor, John Kasich has signed with CNN to be a commentator. >> Read more trending news  On Tuesday, CNN announced that he would be “the newest addition to the network’s stable of commentators.” His first appearance will be on CNN tonight on Cuomo Prime Time.  In the midst of Gov. Mike DeWine’s inaugural address on Monday, United Talent Agency announced it will represent Kasich for speeches, news and broadcast appearances and more. California-based UTA represents other high profile media figures and politicos, including CNN’s Jim Acosta, former assistant U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, CBS News’ Nora O’Donnell and rapper Pitbull. “It is an incredible honor to represent one of the nation’s most unifying and inspirational political voices,” said UTA Co-president Jay Sures in a written statement. “We’re thrilled to work with Gov. Kasich as he looks to the future by brining his unique experience, wisdom and perspective to an even wider array of audiences.” The company issued a press release for 12:30 p.m. Monday — the same time DeWine was expected to holding his ceremonial swearing in.  >> Related: Kasich sees opening for a third party run for president Kasich, who lives in Westerville, Ohio, spent 18 years in Congress, eight years as governor and twice ran for president and he has written four books.
  • Bruce Springsteen made an unexpected visit to a Boston pub last week. Tommy McCarthy, owner of The Bebop, says Springsteen walked into the bar with his wife and another woman to spend some time listening to a local performer playing Friday evening. McCarthy tells The Boston Globe that Springsteen enjoyed the music and had a few drinks before he went on his way. McCarthy says the Boss told him he'd like to stop by again sometime. It was unclear why Springsteen was in Boston, although his son once attended Boston College. The Bebop is close to Berklee College of Music and McCarthy says Springsteen's visit was 'pretty amazing.' ___ Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com
  • Rihanna is suing her father over his use of their last name for a business. In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Los Angeles, Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, says that her father, Ronald Fenty, and his partner have violated her trademark and falsely suggested that their business, Fenty Entertainment, is affiliated with her. The 30-year-old singer says in the lawsuit that she has used the name for her cosmetics brand and other businesses since 2012. Fenty Entertainment, which advertises itself as a talent and production company, was founded in 2017. The lawsuit asks the court to order Ronald Fenty to stop using the brand name, and it seeks damages to be determined later. An email sent to Fenty Entertainment seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.
  • Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray will reunite 16 years after the Oscar-winning 'Lost in Translation' in the splashiest feature film yet announced by Apple. A24 said Tuesday that Coppola's 'On the Rocks' will be the indie studio's first project under its joint deal with Apple, which is pushing into original content. The New York-set film stars Rashida Jones as a young mother who reconnects with her larger-than-life father, to be played by Murray. 'Lost in Translation' earned Coppola an Oscar for best screenplay and numerous nominations including Murray for best actor. Coppola also directed Murray in the Netflix holiday special 'A Very Murray Christmas.' Apple and A24, the boutique studio behind films like 'Moonlight' and 'Lady Bird,' last November signed a multiyear production deal. Neither company has yet said if their films together with have traditional theatrical releases or debut directly on Apple's planned streaming platform. The iPhone-maker has previously acquired two documentaries: 'The Elephant Queen' and 'Wolfwakers.' Production on 'On the Rocks,' which Coppola also wrote, will begin this spring in New York.
  • As the fifth-season adventures of 'Grace and Frankie ' begin, viewers can rest assured there's more to come. Series creator Marta Kauffman and Netflix said Tuesday that the series starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin has been renewed for season six, due in 2020. Kauffman said she was hopeful the comedy would keep going, given that 'we certainly feel the love' from streaming service Netflix. But the decision announced before Friday's season-five release 'is greatly appreciated,' she said. 'I don't take it for granted.' When last seen, Grace and Frankie were fleeing a retirement community in a golf cart to resume life in their oceanfront home — only to find a 'sold' sign in front of it. What's in store for the mismatched pals, who were thrown together when their respective husbands Robert and Sol (Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson) declared they were longtime lovers and moved in together? 'Everybody said, 'Oh, that was a real cliffhanger when you lost the house last season,'' Tomlin, who plays Frankie, said. 'Well, wait until you see this season.' Kauffman also weighed in, carefully, on how Grace and Frankie will fare in the upcoming 13 episodes. 'Without spoilers, they're going to spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to get their house back,' she said. 'But honestly, what they get to very quickly about life at that age is the idea you can finally just say (expletive) it.' 'Friends' creator Kauffman had such an epiphany of her own two years ago, at age 60, that she describes as a 'startling discovery.' It spoke volumes. 'I don't have to finish every book I start,' she said. 'There are too many books in the world. I mean that's a very small piece of it. But that that is my version of it. ... I am at a certain age and I don't have to put up with anybody's (expletive).' She was mum on how that plays out on the series, sharing only that romance may lie ahead for the women and the men will have experiences separate from the world of their exes. For Tomlin, happiness is a given. 'I'm always excited for the show. Because I love Jane, I love playing with her. We have a great family on the set,' she said. ___ Online: https://www.netflix.com/title/80017537 ___ AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.
  • Former major-league pitcher John Wetteland was arrested on a child sex abuse charge Monday in Texas, The Dallas Morning News reported. >> Read more trending news  Wetteland, 52, who spent 12 years pitching in the majors for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, is accused of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14, according to Denton County jail records.  Wetteland, who lives in Trophy Club, Texas, was booked and released from jail after posting a $25,000 bond, WFAA reported. Wetteland spent most of his baseball career as a closer, earning 330 saves and compiling a 2.93 ERA. He was the closer for the Yankees’ 1996 World Series champions and was named the series’ most valuable player. He had an American League-leading 43 saves in 1996. Wetteland is a member of the Rangers' Hall of Fame, the Morning News reported. The case was being investigated by police in Bartonville, according to the newspaper.
  • Fans of Sports Illustrated’s iconic swimsuit issue will have to wait a few weeks longer to take a look at the suits that are on display in the yearly special issue. MJ Day, editor of the swimsuit issue, told The Associated Press, that the magazine will be on newsstands in May instead of February because it makes sense to feature swimsuits when people are actually considering buying them. “This is where it works, this is where it’s great,” Day told the AP. “It’s always hard to think about buying a swimsuit when it’s 18 degrees out.” >> Read more trending news  It also allows the publication access to other locations to feature their models. The photographs have to be taken eight weeks before publication, the AP reported. “There’s been a whole set of places that have been off the table for us because their summers are when we’re not shooting,” Day explained. The special edition was originally published in February 1964 to fill a spot in the sports calendar, Day told the AP.

News

  • A woman in Maitland, Florida, said an otter charged at her, bit her calf and scratched her while she was walking her dog last week at Lake Lily Park. >> Read more trending news Ann-Christine Langselius said the encounter happened Jan. 8 while she was walking on a bridge that traces the lake's eastern shore. She said she visits the park daily, but she had never before seen an otter at the lake. 'I saw an otter coming ... just looking at me. It went straight for me,' Langselius said. 'It went for the calf and then it bit first; once in my Achilles. And then it got a really good hold a little further down.' >> Photos: 25 ways Florida could kill you Langselius said she started running and the otter held onto her until she was off the bridge. 'It was so fast,' she said, when asked how large the otter was. 'Maybe like a dog (in terms of size); short legs and very wet.' On Wednesday, the city of Maitland posted flyers, warning visitors to keep their distance, to not feed wildlife and to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission if they spotted any aggressive otters.  The Maitland Police Department said it had received several complaints about an aggressive otter attacking people and pets. The agency said a police officer fatally shot an otter Thursday near Lake Maitland. The Florida Department of Health said the otter tested positive for rabies. Langselius said she suspects it is the same otter that attacked her. The virus is almost always fatal if left untreated. The health department said it has treated three people for rabies in connection with aggressive otters.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has taken a major step toward announcing a presidential bid, saying she is launching an exploratory committee for a White House run. The 52-year-old New York Democrat said Tuesday on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert': 'It's an important first step and it's one I am taking because I am going to run.' Gillibrand joins what is expected to be a crowded primary field for the Democratic nomination that could include more than a dozen candidates. Already, Gillibrand has plans to travel to the leadoff caucus state of Iowa later this week. She also has more than $10.5 million left over from her 2018 re-election campaign that she can use toward a presidential run.
  • A day after travelers waited nearly 90 minutes in snail-speed security lines at the world's busiest airport, Atlanta's mayor is concerned about the waits that could result when the city hosts the 2019 Super Bowl. The ongoing partial government shutdown is 'uncharted territory' amid planning for one of the world's biggest sporting events, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Tuesday. 'Obviously, we are in uncharted territory with the shutdown that's gone on this long, and we are preparing as best we can from our vantage point,' Bottoms said. The mayor and others at a Tuesday news conference said two years of planning have them well-prepared to protect the public. 'Our goal is for our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe, be safe, and be able to position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with,' Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. 'I think that with anything you can go in with a spirit of confidence if you have prepared, and we have prepared well.' But the government shutdown is a wild card that arose relatively late in that planning process. 'Certainly there are factors that we don't control such as what's happening with our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines,' Bottoms said. 'We are continuing to encourage people to get to the airport very early.' The expected crush of travelers is significantly more than normal. On a typical day, 60,000 to 80,000 passengers are screened at Atlanta's airport before departing, airport statistics show. On Feb. 4, the day Bottoms calls 'Mass Exodus Monday,' about 110,000 passengers are expected to be departing from Atlanta's airport one day after the Super Bowl. The partial government shutdown has meant missed paychecks for Transportation Security Administration screeners at airports nationwide. TSA workers have been calling in sick at a rate that's been more than double what it normally is, the agency has said. That's led to a shortage of screeners at some airports across the country. No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday. The TSA had a national absence rate of nearly 7 percent Monday, compared to 2.5 percent on a comparable day a year ago, the agency reported Tuesday after getting complete numbers on the absences. A chaotic scene unfolded at Atlanta's airport on Monday, the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time. Mondays are typically busy for the airport as Atlanta business travelers depart for the work week, and some security lanes went unstaffed as lines backed up. Atlanta passengers led the nation Monday in terms of longest screening delays: The 'maximum standard wait time' was 88 minutes, the TSA reported. Passengers who went through TSA PreCheck — an expedited screening program which is typically faster than regular lines — waited 55 minutes, statistics showed.
  • Washington state's lieutenant governor declined to preside at Gov. Jay Inslee's State of the State speech Tuesday, saying he was concerned people might bring concealed weapons to the joint session of the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, noted that the state House of Representatives, where the speech was given, does not have a policy banning concealed weapons, The Daily Herald newspaper of Everett reported . 'There is no specific threat to me. There is no specific threat we know of, period,' Habib said. 'It's about the policy.' The House and Senate ban openly carried weapons in their galleries, and in the Senate, where Habib is the presiding officer; he extended that ban to cover concealed weapons as well. Habib, who is blind, said he was concerned the House policy leaves elected officials vulnerable. Other statewide elected officials, from the nine Washington Supreme Court justices to the commissioner of public lands, attended. In an emailed response, the office of the chief House clerk, Bernard Dean, called Habib's decision regrettable. 'Washington state law is clear: Properly licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry concealed weapons on the state capitol campus, including the galleries,' the statement said. 'Absent any specific security issue, and in accordance with the law, the House kept the galleries open so that the public could see its government in action.' Democratic Rep. John Lovick, of Mill Creek, the speaker pro tem in the House, presided over the joint legislative session for Inslee's speech in Habib's absence. Inslee, who is mulling a possible 2020 Democratic presidential bid, highlighted climate as his top issue in his annual address to lawmakers, who started their 105-day legislative session this week. ___ Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com
  • The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.