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►  Fox News loses its outrage over leaks

Is Fox News a stalwart defender of the press freedoms it depends on?

Well, that may depend on the year. It might even depend on who is the president.

In 2013, when Fox reporter James Rosen was targeted by the Obama Justice Department during a leak investigation, a top network executive was appalled. Naming Rosen as a criminal co-conspirator was outrageous, said Michael Clemente, who at the time was a Fox executive vice president for news.

“It is downright chilling. We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press,“ Clemente said.

But, at the beginning of this month, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he might find new ways to pursue news organizations that publish leaked information, some Fox staffers climbed right on board.

- “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade fanned the flames, publishing the results of his Twitter “poll,“ in which he asked whether members of the media should be prosecuted for publishing leaked information. (With a leading question and no framing of the underlying issues, it was hardly a surprise that 52 percent voted yes and 23 percent voted no.)

- On “Fox and Friends,“ weekend host Pete Hegseth agreed – “Absolutely!“ – when Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka described the publication of leaked transcripts as “disgraceful.“ (He was talking about recorded conversations between Donald Trump and two foreign leaders, published in The Washington Post.) An accompanying headline had a mocking tone: “Media melts down over leak crackdown.“

- Sean Hannity, ever loyal to Trump, continues to decry leaks as the media’s way of taking down the commander in chief – and when he’s not trying to settle old scores against Hillary Clinton, he’s bashing news organizations with his favorite expression: “the corrupt media.“

- A Fox news story on Sessions’s announcement gave only the briefest of nods to press rights being under siege, using a single sentence from David Boardman, chairman of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

- And Fox’s politics editor, Chris Stirewalt, in on-air conversation with Fox media reporter Howard Kurtz, opined that the publication of the leaked transcripts was “obviously . . . a danger to national security.“ (A dubious conclusion, since there’s little reason to think anyone was endangered - unless embarrassment is hazardous to one’s safety.)

With the nation’s press under attack, a little solidarity would be nice – the kind of togetherness that other news organizations showed not only in the Rosen case but earlier, in 2009, when the Obama White House threatened to keep Fox News out of an interview with a newsmaker.

Jake Tapper, then at ABC News, pushed hard in questioning White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about the exclusion of “one of our sister organizations.“ And bureau chiefs at CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS in Washington refused to go along with the White House plan to keep Fox out.

Strength in numbers worked. The White House relented and included Fox.

These days, though, some of the most prominent voices at Fox sing in unison – not with their media colleagues but with the president’s scathing opposition to the news media.

One exception is Fox’s Chris Wallace, whose tough skills were on display last Sunday in an interview with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, eliciting the assurance – different from what his boss had suggested – that “we don’t prosecute reporters for doing their jobs.“

On the other end of the spectrum is Hannity, who after the election suggested restricting access to journalists who weren’t supportive of Trump: “In my opinion, it is time to reevaluate the role of the press in this country. . . . Does Trump really need to be granting access to biased journalists who openly oppose him?“

Dan Gillmor, author and a professor at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, now refers to the network in his tweets with the second word always in quotation marks: Fox “News.“

While Gillmor (admittedly not an inveterate Fox watcher) acknowledges that the network has some strong journalists and “an alleged division” between its straight news and its entertainment or commentary,“ he still can’t take it seriously: “The channel looks mostly like a Trump/Republican propaganda arm.“

When you think of Fox’s spineless response to Trump administration threats to the press, that’s increasingly hard to argue with.


►  Can’t see the solar eclipse? Tune in online or on TV

Ronald Dantowitz has been looking forward to Monday’s solar eclipse for nearly 40 years.

An astronomer who specializes in solar imaging, he’s been photographing eclipses for more than three decades, and will be using 14 cameras to capture the August 21 celestial event. The cameras have solar filters to capture the eclipse in its partial phases, along with custom modifications that can photograph the corona and light wavelengths that are invisible to the human eye, allowing scientists to view and study the sun’s temperature and composition in a way only possible during a total eclipse, he said.

Dantowitz, who is based at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, Massachusetts, is lending his expertise to NOVA’s “Eclipse Over America,” airing at 9 p.m. EDT Monday on PBS. That hourlong special, which will incorporate his images, is among extensive coverage planned on TV and online of the first solar eclipse to cross the United States in 99 years.

Still, witnessing totality — when the sun is completely obscured by the moon — is best done with the naked eye, not a camera, Dantowitz said, adding that the total eclipse is safe to view without special lenses.

“Enjoying totality by eye is more rewarding,” he said. “There is much to see: stars during the daytime, the million-degree solar corona, and seeing the sun blacked out during the daytime.

“I have been waiting almost 40 years for this eclipse, and although I will be operating 14 cameras during totality, I will certainly take a moment to gaze at the eclipse the same way people have done for thousands of years: with wonder.”

For those not in the 14 states comprising the eclipse’s “path of totality,” here’s a look at some of the viewing opportunities online and on TV:

— “Eclipse of the Century”: CNN plans two hours of livestreaming, 360-degree coverage accessible in virtual reality through Oculus headsets beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. Accompanying television coverage will include reporting from Oregon, Missouri, Tennessee and South Carolina.

— “Eclipse Over America”: The PBS science series NOVA is planning a quick turnaround on its eclipse documentary premiering Monday. Senior executive producer Paula S. Apsell said “Eclipse Over America,” which delves into why eclipses occur and what scientists can learn from them, will incorporate images of the event from across the country shot earlier that day with Dantowitz’s high-tech cameras.

— “Great American Eclipse”: The Science Channel will broadcast its live coverage from Madras, Oregon, with commentary from educators and astronomers from the Lowell Observatory from noon to 4 p.m. EDT.

— “The Great American Eclipse”: David Muir will anchor ABC’s two hours of live coverage, with correspondents reporting from viewing parties across the country. NBC also plans live coverage, with Lester Holt hosting special reports at 1 and 2 p.m. EDT featuring correspondents reporting from Oregon, Illinois, Wyoming and South Carolina. Shepard Smith will breaking into typical broadcasting on Fox News Channel from noon to 4 p.m. EDT to update viewers on the eclipse and introduce footage from NASA and observatories around the country.

— “Solar Eclipse: Through the Eyes of NASA”: NASA will offer hours of coverage online and on NASA Television beginning at noon Eastern. It plans livestreaming of the eclipse beginning at 1 p.m. EDT with images from satellites, research aircraft, high-altitude balloons and specially modified telescopes.


►  Queen Latifah to be honored at Diddy’s REVOLT conference

Queen Latifah will be honored at Diddy’s fourth annual REVOLT music conference in October, where performers will include Lauryn Hill and 2 Chainz.

REVOLT announced Wednesday that the conference will take place October 12-15 in Miami. Latifah will receive the Icon Award for her accomplishments in music, film and TV. She has won an Emmy, Golden Globe and Grammy Award.

Hill, SZA and Daniel Caesar will perform at the October 14 gala honoring Latifah. 2 Chainz will perform with special guests on October 13, while French Montana and King Combs, Diddy’s son, will kick off the conference with performances on October 12.

The four-day event will also feature panels and guest speakers. It will be held at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort.

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The Free Press WV

►  Netflix wins ‘Scandal’ creator Rhimes in blow to Disney, ABC

Netflix has lured Shonda Rhimes, the well-regarded creator of TV series “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,“ from ABC — announcing its scoop just days after ABC owner Disney laid out plans to pull programming from Netflix.

Netflix said Rhimes’ Shondaland production company is moving to Netflix for a multi-year deal. New ideas and projects from Rhimes and her producing partner, Betsy Beers, will be available on the streaming service.

But her existing, well-known shows — “Grey’s Anatomy,“ ‘'Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” — will remain on the network. Upcoming Shondaland projects already in the works, like the drama “For the People” and a “Grey’s” spinoff, will also still stay with ABC. Rhimes has had exclusive deals with ABC Studios for nearly 15 years.

ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said “fans can rest assured” that the network’s Thursday night lineup of Rhimes-produced shows “remains intact and will be as buzzed about as ever.“ Rhimes’ shows have been among ABC’s top-rated series.

“I’m proud to have given a home to what have become some of the most celebrated and talked about shows on television,“ Dungey said in an emailed statement.

Financial terms of the Netflix deal weren’t disclosed, nor were details on how long Rhimes and her company will produce series for Netflix.

The announcement late Sunday came just days after Disney said it was creating a new streaming service of its own for kids and launching an online-subscription version of ESPN.

Disney said it will pull Disney and Pixar movies and shows from Netflix for the new service aimed at kids, expected to launch in 2019. ABC shows won’t be included, but Disney has hinted that it could shift more content to this new moDelegate Disney is also launching an ESPN streaming service, without pro football and basketball, early next year. It has said it might also sell the full ESPN channel directly to viewers online if viewership disintegrates; currently, a cable or satellite subscription is required.

Disney is setting itself up for the future as ratings for traditional TV have suffered. Competition for viewers is increasing and attention is shifting online, where video can be watched on a viewer’s schedule — an option Netflix has taught viewers to love.

ABC ended the traditional TV season in May at the No. 3 slot among the big broadcasters and down 9 percent in the ratings, according to NielSenator It’s rebooting “Roseanne” and “American Idol” in the 2017-18 season and bringing back popular comedies “black-ish” and “Modern Family.“

Netflix continues to invest in more original programming to win those eyeballs. It’s not competing with just cable anymore. Traditional TV companies have launched or are planning a slew of streaming services , and tech companies like Amazon and Google’s YouTube have as well. In the past few weeks, Netflix has signed up David Letterman and bought a comic book publisher to turn its characters into movies and shows.

Rhimes wrote in a statement that she was grateful to ABC for giving her career a start, but she was looking forward to expanding her audience and “creative identity” with Netflix. “Starting today, we are thrilled to begin creating new Shondaland stories with Netflix,“ she wrote.

She said that she and Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos had developed a plan for the next phase of Rhimes’ career. She said Netflix offered her and her team “limitless possibilities.“

“I’ve gotten the chance to know Shonda and she’s a true Netflixer at heart — she loves TV and films, she cares passionately about her work, and she delivers for her audience,“ Sarandos wrote.

Rhimes, 47, has been nominated for three Emmy Awards, all for her work on “Grey’s Anatomy.“ The long-running series begins its 14th season next month. “Scandal” will return for its seventh and final season in October.


►  Crosby: Talent, not politics, behind Nugent’s Rock Hall snub

David Crosby says fellow rocker Ted Nugent has been kept out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because he’s not good enough, not because of his politics.

Crosby responded to a fan’s question about whether political correctness kept Nugent out of the Hall by saying that Nugent “just isn’t good enough.” He also used an expletive to describe the “Cat Scratch Fever” singer.

Nugent told Albany, New York, radio station WQBK-FM last week he hasn’t been inducted into the Cleveland-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because of his support for gun rights and his membership on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors.

Crosby has been inducted into the Hall twice for his membership in The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.


►  Review: ‘Logan Lucky’ is sure to put a smile on your face

“Logan Lucky ” is an easy movie to like, but maybe not love.

In his big return to film after a four-year hiatus (or retirement, if it can even be called that now), Steven Soderbergh has created a sort of cinematic bingo of his well of tricks. Heist movie? Check. Channing Tatum? Check. Not so subtle metaphors slipped in to genre stories about the state of the working class man? Check. Dopey but reliable sidekick brothers? Check, check, check.

That’s not to say that “Logan Lucky” has nothing new to offer — it just feels unshakably familiar in a way that could irk some and feel like home to others.

The setting for this heist is West Virginia, where Tatum’s Jimmy Logan has just been laid off from his coal mining job because one of the higher-ups spotted him walking around with a limp. Like a distant cousin to Magic Mike, who supplemented waning construction work with stripping, Jimmy Logan is another side of the American dream dashed. Once a high school football star with a promising future, Jimmy has ended up in the same place where he began, only slightly worse. He’s also got a young daughter, Sadie (a precocious and adorable Farrah Mackenzie), and an ex-wife (Katie Holmes) who has traded up for a middle class husband (David Denman) and may be moving across state lines imminently.

His brother, Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) is a slow-talkin’ bartender who lost one of his arms serving in Iraq, but can still make a killer martini when an arrogant NASCAR sponsor played by Seth MacFarlane challenges him. And his sister, Mellie Logan (Riley Keough), is a no-nonsense hairdresser who wears acrylics, drives a stick and has no time for try-hards like her ex-sister-in-law’s new husband.

The Logans, simply, are not going anywhere anytime soon, which is why they decide to try to take something back from the institutions that have failed to share the wealth with the people who support them. Their plan? To intercept the cash flow at a big NASCAR race.

They gather up some help in an incarcerated demolition savant, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig, who is hilarious), and his knucklehead but shrewd-enough brothers Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam (Brian Gleeson) who say things like they “know all the things there is to know about computers” while playing horseshoes with toilet seats.

Suffice it to say, this is not some verite look at the world of coal miners and NASCAR lovers, nor is it an all-out comedy a la “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” Rather, it’s an interesting combination of the two, closest, probably to Adam McKay’s “The Big Short” but a lot sillier.

“Logan Lucky” throws in bits about charity health workers providing shots to the underprivileged West Virginians next to MacFarlane sporting a Rick James wig and a British accent. For all its wildness, “Magic Mike” was done with a straight face and happened to be about something more than male strippers. “Logan Lucky,” despite the social conscious, is slightly more trivial.

And unlike “Magic Mike,” it never really feels like it’s about the people it’s about — it is all surface. You’re always very keenly aware you’re watching movie stars who are just playing at being hillbillies. That’s not a bad thing — especially when you’ve got a batch of charismatic personalities hamming it up in trucker hats without condescending to their subjects.

It’s a gimmick, however enjoyable, that goes on a little too long, with a few too many tangents that can’t sustain the pulsating energy of, say, any of the Ocean’s movies.

But, flaws aside, it is a darn good heist, and sure to leave you with a smile on your face. We should be glad Soderbergh is back, hopefully this time for good.

“Logan Lucky,” a Bleecker Street release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “language and some crude comments.” Running time: 119 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

___

MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


►  Pantone creates ‘Purple Rain’ hue to honor Prince

A shade of purple named for the late superstar Prince was announced Monday by the icon’s estate.

The “Purple Rain” hue created by the Pantone Color Institute was dubbed “Love Symbol #2,” paying tribute to his custom Yamaha piano and the squiggly graphic Prince began using as his name in 1993 in a testy battle with Warner Bros. Records over ownership of some of his biggest hits. He switched back to Prince as a name in 2000 after his Warner contract expired.

Prince died in April 2016 at age 57 of an opioid overdose, according to authorities.

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►  Judge, lawyers go over Swift jury instructions

The Latest on a civil trial involving Taylor Swift and a former DJ she accused of groping her (all times local):

9:10 a.m.

Taylor Swift, her mother Andrea Swift, and former radio DJ David Mueller are back in a federal courtroom in Denver federal as the judge and attorneys for her groping case review instructions for the jury.

Monday’s review is taking place outside the presence of the eight-member jury, which will be called in later in the morning to hear closing arguments.

Swift alleges Mueller groped her before a 2013 concert and he denies the allegation.

A judge ruled Friday Mueller did not prove Swift personally tried to end his career. Identical allegations against Andrea Swift and Frank Bell are expected to go to jurors.

Mueller sued the three after Swift’s team reported the encounter to his bosses. He sought up to $3 million in damages. The judge ruled that he did not make a case for recovering that much money.

Swift countersued for a symbolic $1. The jury will consider her assault claim.

_____

9 a.m.

Lawyers are expected to make closing arguments Monday in a trial over allegations that a former radio host groped Taylor Swift before a 2013 Denver concert.

The former DJ alleges in a competing federal lawsuit that the star’s mother and radio liaison tried to destroy his career.

A federal judge ruled Friday that former DJ David Mueller did not prove Swift personally tried to end his career.

Identical allegations against Andrea Swift and Frank Bell are expected to go to jurors.

Mueller sued the three after Swift’s team reported the encounter to his bosses. He sought up to $3 million in damages. The judge ruled that he did not make a case for recovering that much money.

Swift countersued for a symbolic $1. The jury will consider her assault claim.

_____

7:55 a.m.

Lawyers are expected to make closing arguments Monday in a trial over allegations that a former radio host groped Taylor Swift backstage before a 2013 Denver concert.

The former DJ alleges in a competing federal lawsuit that the star’s mother and radio liaison set out to destroy his career.

A federal judge ruled Friday that former DJ David Mueller did not prove Swift personally tried to end his career.

But identical allegations against Andrea Swift and Frank Bell are expected to go to jurors.

Mueller sued the three after Swift’s team reported the 2013 encounter to his bosses. He’s seeking up to $3 million, saying the allegation cost him his job.

Swift countersued for a symbolic $1. The jury will also consider her assault claim.

She called the encounter despicable.

_____

1:15 a.m.

Lawyers are expected to make closing arguments Monday in a trial concerning allegations that a former radio host groped Taylor Swift backstage before a concert in Denver, and competing allegations the singer’s mother and her radio liaison set out to destroy the DJ’s career after the photo op took place.

A federal judge on Friday determined that former DJ David Mueller didn’t prove that Swift personally tried to end his career, but identical allegations against Andrea Swift and Frank Bell are expected to go to jurors.

Mueller sued the three after Swift’s team reported the 2013 encounter to his bosses. He’s seeking up to $3 million, saying the allegation cost him his job.

Swift countersued for a symbolic $1. The jury will also consider her assault claim.

She called the encounter with Mueller despicable.


►  ‘Scandal’ creator Shonda Rhimes making new shows for Netflix

Shonda Rhimes, the creator of popular television series such as “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” has signed a deal to make new shows for Netflix.

The streaming service announced late Sunday that Rhimes’ Shondaland production company is moving to Netflix. Netflix wrote in a news release that Rhimes’ shows “Grey’s Anatomy,” ″Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” would continue to air on ABC.

Rhimes wrote in a statement that she was grateful to the network for giving her career a start, but she was looking forward to expanding her audience and “creative identity” with Netflix. “Starting today, we are thrilled to begin creating new Shondaland stories with Netflix,” she wrote.

She wrote that she and Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos had developed a plan for the next phase of Rhimes’ career. She said Netflix offered her and her team “limitless possibilities.”

“I’ve gotten the chance to know Shonda and she’s a true Netflixer at heart — she loves TV and films, she cares passionately about her work, and she delivers for her audience,” Sarandos wrote.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed. The news release also didn’t state how long Rhimes and her company would produce series for Netflix.

Rhimes, 47, has been nominated for three Emmy Awards, all for her work on “Grey’s Anatomy.” The long-running series begins its 14th season next month.


►  Eagles announce tour dates with son of the late Glenn Frey

The Eagles are heading out on tour with a son of founding member Glenn Frey stepping in for his late father.

The band announced Monday that it will visit Greensboro, North Carolina; Atlanta; Louisville, Kentucky; and Detroit in October. The shows will follow a September 30 date with The Doobie Brothers in Seattle.

The Eagles played concerts in Los Angeles and New York last month for their first shows since Frey died at the age of 67 in January 2016.

His son Deacon filled in on guitar and vocals at the concerts and will join the band on tour in the fall.


►  Willie Nelson cuts show short, cites Utah’s high altitude

Willie Nelson is blaming Utah’s high altitude for forcing him to cut a performance near Salt Lake City short.

Nelson ended his show early at the USANA Amphitheatre in suburban West Valley City on Sunday night.

He later apologized in a statement posted to his Twitter and Facebook accounts. The 84-year-old country music legend explained: “The altitude got to me. I am feeling better now and headed for lower ground.”

Nelson’s publicist didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment Monday.

Nelson was forced to cancel several concerts earlier this year because of what his publicist said was a bad cold.


►  ‘My Favorite Year’ actor Joe Bologna dies at 82

Joe Bologna, the actor, director and writer known for his role in the 1982 film comedy “My Favorite Year,” died Sunday. He was 82.

Bologna died in the Los Angeles area after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer, his manager Matt Sherman told The Associated Press.

He was married to actress Renee Taylor, who credited his doctors for prolonging his life so he could receive a lifetime achievement award at the Night of 100 Stars for the Actors’ Fund of America in February.

“He had a beautiful life,” Taylor said in a statement.

Bologna in July attended a 35th anniversary screening of “My Favorite Year,” in which he played King Kaiser, the star of a TV variety show.

Born December 30, 1934, Bologna was a native of Brooklyn, New York. After he graduated from Brown University with a degree in art history, Bologna served in the Marines.

Bologna and Taylor married in 1965.

“Joe was a loveable man, a kind soul, a good friend and always a pleasure to be with,” Sherman said.

Bologna was nominated for an Oscar in 1971 for best adapted screenplay for “Lovers and Other Strangers.” He won an Emmy in 1973.

He had a string of television appearances and was a voice actor for the 2006 animated film “Ice Age: The Meltdown.” He also had a role in the 1999 Adam Sandler comedy “Big Daddy.”

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►  Dire wolves were real. Now someone is trying to resurrect them

“Game of Thrones” viewers who were hoping to get another glimpse of direwolves were disappointed. The wolf Nymeria did not reconsider her rejection of her former human companion, Arya Stark. Jon Snow’s journey to Dragonstone did not feature Ghost as a sidekick. Their absence will no doubt add to fan grumbling that the series has sidelined the computer-generated predators.

But take heart, viewers: Dire wolves are closer to a real-life resurrection.

Well, sort of. In southern Oregon, there is a breeder who has spent 30 years creating a new sort of dog she calls the American Alsatian. The puppies are astonishingly cute, and they grow up to be tall, broad, golden-eyed and quite wolfy-looking. And, Lois Schwarz hopes, they are on their way to looking just like the actual dire wolves that roamed the Americas during the last Ice Age, hunting bison and other megafauna, before going extinct.

Schwarz is the founder of the Dire Wolf Project, an endeavor that predated both the “Game of Thrones” books and series – a show she calls “very, very smart,“ although she dislikes the sex and darkness. Inspiration struck her decades before, in the late 1980s – an era when wolf-dog hybrids were hot and Schwarz wanted a large dog with the character of a lap dog. She had bred and trained dogs for some time, and she said she knew that even if people thought they wanted a wolf, they really didn’t. (Wolves and hybrids make infamously terrible pets.)

Schwarz figured: Hey, I can make that.

“So I thought, everybody wants the wolf look; I’m going to work on the wolf look, but I’m also going to work on the temperament and the character of the dog to fit a companion dog,“ said Schwarz, who lives near the city of Medford. Her daughter, Jennifer, suggested that the look she was aiming for was a dire wolf’s. And so away Schwarz went.

And what was that look? The dire wolves of the late Pleistocene weren’t nearly as imposing as George R.R. Martin’s pony-sized predators, which the author spells as one word, direwolves. But fossils indicate they had some heft.

Canis dirus existed from about 125,000 to 10,000 years ago, and it lived from coast to coast, as far north as Canada and as far south as Bolivia. But the treasure trove of fossils comes from the La Brea Tar Pits in what is now downtown Los Angeles, where, scientists say, the ancient pack animals probably pursued prey that was stuck in the goopy asphalt and then got trapped themselves.

The result is hundreds of well-preserved skulls and bones that show dire wolves were a lot like the gray wolves of today, only a bit bigger – weighing about 130 pounds and measuring about six feet long from nose to tail. Dire wolves were also stockier and had bigger heads, jaws and teeth, said paleontologist Caitlin Brown. Those dimensions came in handy, because packs of dire wolves took down big prey, she said: Horses, bison, and maybe even the occasional baby mammoth.

In Schwarz’s mind, there can also be a modern-day dire wolf. A kinder, gentler, cuddlier dire wolf.

She began her experiment in 1987, thousands of years after its inspiration went extinct under circumstances that are still unclear. Schwarz said she wanted to start with an intelligent dog, so she chose the German shepherd. But they tend to be “whiny,“ in her estimation, so she selected the least whiny pooches and bred them with dogs whose conformation, or body structure, she deemed the best: Alaskan malamutes.

Over the generations, she has introduced English mastiffs, for their large bones and heads; great Pyrenees, for some additional bulk; Akitas, for their shorter ears; and Irish wolfhounds, for their height and length. But all along, Schwarz said, her focus was temperament - creating a decidedly nonpredatory companion dog that “doesn’t bark, whine, dig and wants to be with you and doesn’t mind leaving the property.“

(If this all sounds like messed-up canine eugenics, remember that all dog breeds began this way – by selecting for certain traits.)

The result is big, shaggy and dusky gray to brown, but never the white of Jon Snow’s Ghost, because Schwarz figures pale fur would have stood out too much in the prehistoric flora and impeded hunting. Brown, the paleontologist, isn’t so sure about that. She thinks white is “feasible,“ gray is likely, and only black is impossible, because “we know for sure that black coats showed up in modern wolves from breeding with Native American dogs.“

Brown, who had not heard of Schwarz’s project, deemed it “cool,“ when told about it. “They have that big, bulky body, which is what I would have imagined,“ she said of the dogs in photos on Schwarz’s website.

Schwarz said the American Alsatian is not really complete, and she has no intention of making it an official, American Kennel Club-recognized breed anyway. That hasn’t stopped about 3,000 people across the country from buying one of her puppies and 90 or so others from putting their names on her waiting list. Her daughter, the only other breeder, has a waiting list of about 100, Schwarz said.

“Game of Thrones” has given demand a bump, but not in a way Schwarz likes. The fiction-motivated customers are looking for their Ghost or Nymeria, she said.

“It sends me people who only want dire wolves. They don’t care about the animal,“ she said. “They’re very sensitive, loving, kind dogs. They don’t want to fight.“

Yes, they’re “intimidating-looking,“ she said. But “they’re just so intuitive. You look into their eyes and see their soul.“

Kind of like Arya did to Nymeria, before the wolf turned her back and returned to the Riverlands.


►  Bruno Mars donates $1M from concert to Flint water crisis

Bruno Mars said Saturday he is donating $1 million from his Michigan concert to aid those affected by the Flint water crisis.

The Grammy-winning star told the audience at his show in Auburn Hills, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Detroit, that he and tour promoter Live Nation are redirecting funds from the show to the charity The Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

In 2014, Flint switched water sources and failed to add corrosion-reducing phosphates, allowing lead from old pipes to leach into the water. Elevated levels of lead, a neurotoxin, were detected in children, and 12 people died in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that experts suspect was linked to the improperly treated water.

“I’m very thankful to the Michigan audience for joining me in supporting this cause,” Mars said in a statement. “Ongoing challenges remain years later for Flint residents, and it’s important that we don’t forget our brothers and sisters affected by this disaster.”

Mars, who was born and raised in Hawaii, performed at the Palace of Auburn Hills during his sold-out 24K Magic World Tour. His latest album, “24K Magic,” recently achieved double platinum status.


►  Annabelle’ scares up $35M, jolting sleepy box office

The “Conjuring” spinoff “Annabelle: Creation” scared up an estimated $35 million in North American theaters over the weekend, making it easily the top film and giving the lagging August box office a shot in the arm.

The opening came close to matching the film’s predecessor, “Annabelle,” which opened with $37.1 million in October 2014. Warner Bros. could celebrate not only the month’s biggest debut but also having the week’s top two films. Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” followed in second with $11.4 million in its fourth weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Even amid an especially weak August, the well-reviewed horror sequel and modestly budgeted “Annabelle: Creation” found eager audiences.

“That we were able to do $35 million in what is a very sluggish marketplace was very impressive,” said Jeffrey Goldstein, Warner Bros.′ distribution chief. “We all know that moviegoing begets moviegoing and right now it’s a dip in the content overall.”

The film, the third to spiral out of 2013′s “The Conjuring,” cost only about $15 million to make. More sequels and spinoffs are being developed in what has become for Warner Bros. a steadily profitable horror franchise bent on old-school frights. The “Annabelle” offshoot centers on a possessed doll.

Last week’s top film, the poorly received Stephen King adaptation “The Dark Tower,” slid dramatically. The Sony Pictures release, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, toppled nearly 60 percent on its second weekend with an estimated $7.9 million.

The week’s other new entry, the Open Road animated release “Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature,” edged just above “The Dark Tower” with $8.9 million. That was well below the 2014 debut of the original, “The Nut Job,” which opened with $19.4 million.

But the solid returns for “Annabelle: Creation” did little to counter the box-office slide. The box office was down 31.6 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Suicide Squad” was No. 1 despite brutal reviews and Seth Rogen’s “Sausage Party” opened. The summer altogether is down 12.4 percent from last year, according to comScore.

“This is a great weekend to be a really scary doll and Warner Bros., but for everyone else, it’s just plain scary,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “It proves the horror genre is alive and well.”

Some of July’s bright spots, however, have continued into August. The summer’s top comedy, “Girls Trip,” will soon surpass $100 million domestically. The movie, starring Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah, took in $6.5 million in its fourth week to bring its cumulative total to $97.2 million. It may end up doubling the gross of its closest summer comedy competition: the starrier and pricey “Baywatch” ($58.1 million in its entire run).

In limited release, the A24 crime thriller “Good Time,” starring Robert Pattinson, debuted with a robust $34,000 per-screen average on four screens. That was bettered, though, by the $47,000 screen-average of Neon’s “Ingrid Goes West,” with Aubrey Plaza, on three screens. Both films expand in coming weeks.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Annabelle: Creation,” $35 million ($35 million international).

2. “Dunkirk,” $11.4 million ($14.5 million international).

3. “Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature,” $8.9 million.

4. “The Dark Tower,” $7.9 million ($7.9 million international).

5. “The Emoji Movie,” $6.6 million ($14.1 million international).

6. “Girls Trip,” $6.5 million ($1.4 million international).

7. “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” $6.1 million ($12.4 million international).

8. “Kidnap,” $5.2 million.

9. “Glass Castle,” $4.9 million.

10. “Atomic Blonde,” $4.6 million ($5.2 million international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore

1. “Wolf Warrior 2,” $83.6 million.

2. “Annabelle Creation,” $35 million.

3. “Guilty of Mind,” $23.6 million.

4. “The Adventures,” $22.3 million.

5. “War for the Planet of the Apes,” $17.1 million.

6. “A Taxi Driver,” $15.3 million.

7. “Despicable Me 3,” $15 million.

8. “Dunkirk,” $14.5 million.

9. “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” $14.4 million.

10. “The Emoji Movie,” $14.1 million.


►  Teen Choice awards to honor Miley Cyrus and Bruno Mars

Miley Cyrus and Bruno Mars will be among the honorees at Sunday’s Teen Choice 2017 awards.

The 19th annual show will feature performances from French Montana, Rita Ora and Louis Tomlinson during a two-hour broadcast that honors stars from film, television, sports and even YouTube personalities.

Cyrus is receiving the ceremony’s highest honor, the Ultimate Choice Award. The award honors Cyrus for involvement with the ceremony for more than a decade. It has given her 18 awards so far, and she is nominated for another four.

Mars is being given the Visionary Award for his success in pop music.

The show, which doles out many of its awards based on online voting, begins at 8 p.m. EDT. It is tape-delayed for West Coast audiences.

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