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Uh-Oh, Are Dancing With the Stars’ Dancers Not Bad Enough?

DANCING WITH THE STARS, DWTS, Melissa Gilbert, Martina Navratilova, Gavin DeGrawABC/ADAM TAYLOR

Gladys Knight has some moves. Jaleel White has a lot of moves. And even after a conk to the head, Melissa Gilbert has “blooming artistry.”

It could be said the latest edition of Dancing With the Stars has been blessed with talent.

It could also be said it’s been cursed to be without Kate Gosselin or Bristol Palin.

DWTS RECAP: Who’s “Wired for Sex”?

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While continuing to dominate Monday as the night’s most-watched show, and hold its own against NCIS: Los Angeles on Tuesdays, the ratings for this season’s much-praised DWTS are down significantly from the trainwreck editions that featured Gosselin and Palin. 

By week six of those two DWTS cycles, spring 2010 and fall 2010, respectively, the show was drawing more than 20 million viewers for its performance episodes. Last night, the show’s sixth week kicked off before about 17 million.

But there’s probably more at work here than the current season’s lack of polarizing personalities and debateably talented dancers.

For one thing, this is the first spring DWTS and The Voice have gone head-to-head—both shows are a little bruised as a result. For another thing, DWTS is coming off a weak fall edition that was no slouch in the lightning-rod department (see: Chaz Bono). And for a third thing, the season’s biggest-ever Nielsen season, last spring’s Hines Ward-crowning run, didn’t have a Gosselin or a Palin in the bunch.

Also, Gosselin’s talent for the ballroom, or lack thereof, isn’t all that debatable

Elsewhere, here’s a look at some of the other TV ratings winners—and losers, per the just-released broadcast and cable rankings: 

The Voice (10.1 million estimated viewers): Last night’s show was back up over the 10 million mark, and just plain back up for the first time in weeks.

Smash (6.1 million estimated viewers): Bollywood saves. 

Revenge (7.7 million viewers): Its spring return wasn’t its biggest performance, but it was big enough to take its 10 p.m., Wednesday time slot.

Grey’s Anatomy (9.8 million viewers): It hasn’t lost its touch, even up against Touch (7.3 million viewers); it scored its largest audience in more than two months. 

Don’t Trust the B—— in Apartment 23 (6.4 million viewers): A Top 20 finish among young adults who know very well how to fill in the blanks.

Fox 25th Anniversary Special (4.3 million viewers): If you missed it, then at least you’re only a YouTube click away from Barry Manilow wishing ABC a happy 25th.

Veep (1.7 million viewers): Yes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is twice as old as Girls' Lena Dunham, and, yes, her HBO audience is twice as big.

Here’s a complete look at the top 10 most-watched broadcast shows, per the latest Nielsen rankings:

  1. NCIS, 18.1 million viewers
  2. American Idol (Wednesday), 16.9 million viewers
  3. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), 16.6 million viewers
  4. American Idol (Thursday), 15 million viewers
  5. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), 14.2 million viewers
  6. 60 Minutes, 13 million viewers
  7. Castle, 11.23 million viewers
  8. Two and a Half Men, 11.2 million viewers
  9. NCIS: Los Angeles (rerun), 11.1 million viewers
  10. The Good Wife, 10.4 million viewers

PHOTOS: Dancing With the Stars: Injured Hoofers

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Don Cornelius Autopsy Report: Seizures Plagued Soul Train Legend Before Shocking Suicide

Don CorneliusFrank Micelotta/Getty Images

New information has come to light about the final moments in the life of Don Cornelius.

E! News has obtained the graphic autopsy results on the Soul Train legend, who died back in February at the age of 75.

The documents reaffirm the coroner’s ruling issued then: the cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head which entered through the right temple.

Read the Coroner Investigator’s summary here

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The autopsy report states that Cornelius had suffered an aneurysm about 15 years ago which caused him to develop seizures and “as time went on the decedent’s health continued to decline regardless of his medication.”

It notes that on Feb. 1 at approximately 3 a.m., the 75-year-old Soul Train host phoned his son and said, “I don’t know how long I can take this.” Moments later, Cornelius apparently pulled the trigger.

His son later told investigators, “[I] found the back door open and detected the odor of smoke…then found [the elder Cornelius] unresponsive on a chair. 911 was dialed.”

MORE: Soul Train Impresario Don Cornelius’ Death Officially Ruled a Suicide

The report, which includes vivid depictions of Don Cornelius’ wounds, reveals that he had been “very depressed about his failing health” for the past six months.

After paramedics failed to revive him with CPR, the impresario was pronounced dead at 4:56 a.m.

No suicide note was found and no foul play was suspected.

—Reporting by Baker Machado

GALLERY: Celebrity Deaths: 2012’s Fallen Stars

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Keeping Up With the Kardashians Keeps Going on E!

Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Season 7E! Networks

The Kardashians are happy to have you along for the ride for at least three more years.

E! has signed up the whole family for another three seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, including the upcoming 18-episode seventh season of the name-brand hit, which premieres May 20.

Just think about what could be on tap for seasons eight and nine…

READ: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Step Out Holding Hands: Now Is It Official?

We’re talking Kourtney’s baby, Mason turning into even more of a little man, Kendall graduating from high school, celebrity guests, maybe a new romance…

Anyway, the contract encompasses heads-of-household Bruce and Kris Jenner, still-at-home daughters Kendall and Kylie, and—of course—Kim, Kourtney, Khloé and Rob Kardashian.

As always, we love having them in the E! family fold!

(E! Entertainment Television and E! Online are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

Don’t miss the season-seven premiere of Keeping Up With the Kardashians on May 20 at 9 p.m., only on E!

GALLERY: Kardashian Family Album

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Debt Collection Agents Working At Hospitals Under Fire For Aggressive Tactics And Privacy Breach

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Hospital Debt Collectors

Next time you’re at the hospital, be on notice: The person taking down your information and admitting you for treatment might not be a hospital employee but a staffer from a debt-collection agency.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed suit against a debt-collection agency called Accretive Health in January after an employee left a laptop containing personal information about for 23,500 patients in a rental car last July. Swanson’s lawsuit alleges that Accretive Health’s access to patient records violates federal privacy laws.

The case brings attention to the little-known practice of hospital companies embedding debt collectors in their facilities, the New York Times reports.

Americans are being subject to increasingly harsh tactics by debt collectors seeking to recoup money for their clients by using tactics including threats, insults and lies, recent research shows. Lisa Lindsay, an Illinois woman recovering from breast cancer, endured an arrest and a brief stay in jail over an unpaid $280 hospital bill that wasn’t even hers.

Hospitals are under increasing financial pressure as health care costs escalate and payment rates from Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance companies become smaller. And largely because of a decades-old federal law requiring hospitals to provide emergency medical care to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay, hospitals take on tens of billions of dollars in bad debt each year. In 2010, hospitals were stuck with $39.3 billion in unpaid bills, which amounted to 5.6 percent of their total expenses, according to the American Hospital Association.

Cash-hungry hospitals aren’t the only obstacle to patients’ getting the health care they need. Health insurance premiums continue to rise even as benefits get more meager, joblessness and the sluggish economy are causing many Americans to go without medical care or become uninsured, and the size of hospital bills themselves can be impossible to predict.

Anxiety about dollars and cents has driven hospitals into the arms of aggressive debt collectors, according to the Times:

As a growing number of hospitals struggle under a glut of unpaid bills, they are turning to companies like Accretive. To win promised savings, all hospitals have to do is turn over the management of their front-line staffing — ranging from patient registration to scheduling and billing — and their back-office collection activities. Accretive says it has such arrangements with some of the country’s largest hospital systems to help reduce their costs.

Accretive Health works with dozens of U.S. hospitals, including Fairview Health Services and North Memorial Health Care in Minnesota, according to the Times and a press release from Swanson’s office. Debt collectors are instructed to ask patients for credit cards or checks when they arrive at an emergency room seeking treatment, the Times reports.

Hospitals across the U.S. are trying new methods of avoiding unpaid bills. HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain, and other companies have started demanding upfront payments as high as $350 from people in emergency rooms, Kaiser Health News reported in February. In 2011, about 80,000 people walked out of HCA emergency rooms being getting any medical care because of the company’s $150 fee, according to Kaiser Health News.

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Nick Gruber Arrested: Calvin Klein’s Boyfriend Caught With Cocaine

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Nick Gruber Arrested

We wonder if Nick Gruber has his boyfriend on speed dial for situations like this.

TMZ reports that Gruber, the 22-year-old on-again, off-again boyfriend of designer Calvin Klein, has been arrested for cocaine possession. The former model, who has been linked to the 69-year-old designer since 2010, was caught when police came to his New York home early this morning.

The cops arrived after receiving a call that Gruber assaulted a man; but when they did a strip search, TMZ says, they also found that Gruber had coke on him. Now the young model is in police custody and waiting to make his phone call to Calvin (that second part we’re just speculating).

While Gruber would certainly not be the first fashion type to get caught with cocaine (we can think of, oh, dozens more), anything involving Gruber and his much-older boyfriend tends to the headlines. The May-December couple (who may or may not have split this past January) made headlines in 2010 when Gruber was only 20 years old (and when his rumored gay porn pics were uncovered). Since then, the pair has celebrated Nick’s 21st birthday together, walked red carpets and even had a few major PDA moments.

Now Gruber is enduring another very public moment — TMZ has a photo of him being led into a cop car. Will he get off scot-free? Unclear for now. But in the meantime, see pics of Klein and Gruber below in happier times… and head to TMZ.com to read more.

December 2011 at the “Young Adult” premiere

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Obama On Jimmy Fallon: President Talks Secret Service Scandal, Desire To ‘Slow-Jam’ The News

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Obama Jimmy Fallon

President Obama appears on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” Tuesday night, and he taped the segment that afternoon at the University of North Carolina after he gave a speech there about student loans.

According to pool reports, the president came out from behind a curtain to “slow-jam the news” to The Roots, Fallon’s house band.

"I’m president Barack Obama, and I, too, want to slow-jam the news," the president said.

Mr. Obama then held a microphone and described the importance of keeping student loan interest rates low, while the band behind him played a moody, bluesy background music. Fallon came in with his own alternating riffs about Stafford loans.

Background singer serenaded Obama as “the POTUS with the most-est.”

Obama spoke politely about the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

"I’ve met him, but we’re not friends," he said. "His wife is lovely." He added that Romney "seems like somebody who cares about his family."

He also had only good things to say about the Secret Service, which has brought him unwanted attention after 11 agents were caught hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia.

"The secret service, these guys are incredible," Obama said. "They protect me, they protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from that they do. What they were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they’re not there anymore."

The president was a good sport when Fallon surprised him with a college-age photo of him.

"Notice the afro," Obama said.

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Anti-Union Bill: GOP Attempt To Quash Union-Friendly Rules Fails In Senate

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Enzi

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) pushed a measure that would have blocked new federal rules considered friendly to labor unions.

WASHINGTON — In a modest victory for labor groups, a measure that would have blocked new federal rules considered favorable to unions failed Tuesday in the Senate, with Republican lawmakers and business groups unable to bring Democrats on board.

The failed bill featured an unusual legislative strategy, known as a “resolution of disapproval.” Pushed by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), it would have scuttled rules proposed last year by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that streamline the union election process, likely making it easier for workers to join unions and harder for businesses to convince them not to. Strongly opposed by business groups and many conservative lawmakers, the new rules are set to go into effect later this month.

Enzi’s measure failed along party lines, 45 to 54.

In addition to facing a White House veto, Enzi’s measure needed 60 votes to move forward and was never expected to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. Nonetheless, it served as another rebuke by Republicans of the federal labor board, an agency that it has pummeled for more than a year as overly friendly to unions under President Barack Obama. Unions said the new NLRB rules will make it harder for businesses to delay elections and union-bust, while businesses say the rules won’t give them enough time to educate workers on unionization and will lead to “ambush elections.”

For the GOP, Enzi’s measure also had the added benefit of forcing some Democrats facing re-election to either buck their party or cast a vote against the interests of several powerful industry trade groups. Among the lobbies that flagged the measure as a “key vote” were the National Association of Manufacturers, the Associated General Contractors of America, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Restaurant Association, according to Enzi’s speech on the House floor Tuesday.

The AFL-CIO labor federation applauded the Senate vote, calling the measure a “senseless and time-wasting” attack on workers.

"Politicians who care most about divisiveness and political payback were sent a clear message of disapproval today," Alison Omens, an AFL-CIO spokeswoman, said in a statement. "A majority of Senators voted for working people to have a more fair election process that can help achieve economic security."

Enzi sparred Tuesday on the Senate floor with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a strong proponent of unions and a critic of Enzi’s resolution. Calling the rules an “attack on small businesses,” Enzi argued that the NLRB was overstepping its bounds and “stacking the odds against” employers.

"This is one of the most important votes we’ve had on labor issues this Congress," Enzi said. "We need to let the NLRB know that their duty is to be a referee … Their job is not to tip the scale in favor of one party or another."

Harkin countered that the rules were commonsense and overdue, arguing that the long lead-time before union elections has given businesses too much time to stall or use union-busting techniques.

"These are very modest rules," Harkin said. "This is not anything overwhelming, but it is a step in the right direction to make sure that we level the playing field and don’t have these undue delays, where the management can intimidate" workers.

Among other streamlining measures, the election rules will define the amount of time parties can litigate before and after an election, allow for the electronic filing of election documents and defer litigation on voter eligibility until after an election. The NLRB declined to comment on Tuesday, but the previous board chairwoman, Wilma Liebman, explained last year that the rules are meant to modernize an outmoded system.

"One of the most important duties of the NLRB is conducting secret-ballot elections to determine whether employees want to be represented by a labor union," Liebman said. “Resolving representation questions quickly, fairly, and accurately has been an overriding goal of American labor law for more than 75 years."

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Meditating Buddhist Lemur At Parc Paradiso Nature Reserve Finds Inner Peace (PHOTOS)

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Some might think meditation is for the Buddhists, but it turns out, it’s for the lemurs. Photographer Sebastien Degardin caught this lemur meditating with his legs crossed and his hands on his knees at the Parc Paradiso nature reserve in Mons, Belgium.

"I was gobsmacked when I saw this lemur meditating," Degardin said in the photo caption provided to The Huffington Post.

“No matter how close I got he didn’t stop,” Degardin told The Sun of the meditating lemur. He didn’t even look up as I moved in for a close-up — he was so spaced out.”

See the photos for yourself below:

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#Syria violence still ‘unacceptable,’ #Annan tells UN

Twitter / Al Arabiya English: #Syria violence still ‘una …

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Feds bust suspected Ecstasy drug network linked to N. California rap label - @cctimes

Twenty-five individuals, many of them rappers associated with one of the Bay Area’s largest entertainment labels known as “Thizz Entertainment,” have been arrested as part of a major nationwide drug trafficking ring focused on Ecstasy, according to a federal prosecutor.

Agents seized about 45,000 Ecstasy pills, 4 pounds of crack cocaine, a half pound of heroin and $200,000 in suspected drug profits, and forfeited about 230 acres of property valued at about $1 million. The suspects, from Vallejo, Stockton, Oakland, Fairfield, Los Angeles, New York and Oklahoma City, were arrested Thursday, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said.

The investigation, led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, uncovered a network of drug distributors centered in Vallejo’s Crest neighborhood, across Highway 37 from the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom theme park.

Check back for more details.

Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.


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Wife of Cuban dissident says he launched hunger strike to protest jailing - @miamiherald

By Juan O. Tamayo

Cuba’s most aggressive dissident, José Daniel Ferrer García, freed only last spring after eight years in prison, has declared a hunger strike to protest his three weeks in police custody without charges, his wife reported Monday.

Ferrer’s wife, Belkis Cantillo, told human rights activists that during her visit to Ferrer in a state security interrogation center in eastern Santiago de Cuba he told her, “they are killing me slowly” before a guard abruptly cut off the visit.

The dissident quickly shouted that he was going on a hunger strike, said Havana human rights activists Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz, who noted that Cantillo telephoned him around 1 p.m. Monday, shortly after the prison visit.

Cantillo’s home and cellular phones appeared to be blocked, and El Nuevo Herald could contact her as of late Monday, but blogger Yoani Sánchez also Tweeted that Cantillo had reported her husband’s hunger strike.

Ferrer, 41, has been a thorn in the communist government’s side over the past year, organizing almost weekly protest marches in his hometown of Palmarito del Cauto and nearby Palma Soriano, 18 miles from Santiago, which drew unusually harsh police crackdowns.

He founded the dissident Cuban Patriotic Union and worked closely with Ladies in White in eastern Cuba as they were repeatedly detained while trying to attend Sunday masses in the Santiago Cathedral and the Virgin of Charity basilica in the nearby village of El Cobre.

Ferrer was one of the 75 peaceful dissidents arrested in a 2003 crackdown known as Cuba’s Black Spring, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Cuba branded them as “mercenaries” on the U.S. payroll.

Cuban ruler Raúl Castro agreed in a 2010 dialogue with Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino to free the last 52 of the 75 still in jail. Virtually all agreed to go into exile in Spain with their relatives, but Ferrer and 11 others insisted in remaining in Cuba.

Ferrer and 42 other dissidents were arrested April 2 during street protests in Palmarito and Palma. The others were freed hours later, but Ferrer was transferred to the provincial capital. The Castro government has made no public comment on his arrest.

Amnesty International, the London-based human rights group, last week added Ferrer to its list of “prisoners of conscience, detained only for peacefully exercising their right to free speech,” and expressing concern that he might be forced to serve the rest of his 25-year sentence.

Sánchez Santa Cruz said Cantillo told him that the guard cut short her visit when Ferrer began to make political statements, because only family issues are supposed to be discussed during such meetings.

Cantillo described Ferrer as having lost much weight and quoted him as saying, “They are killing me slowly” in a reference to the notorious swarms of mosquitoes that plague the state security interrogation center, the human rights activist added.

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#BreakingNews Report: Syracuse Justice Center inmate’s death was a homicide http://t.co/apg6gtha

Twitter / WSYR-TV Syracuse: #BreakingNews Report: Just …

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Blockbuster to move headquarters from Texas to Colorado - @nbcdfw

Blockbuster Moving HQ to Colorado

AP

Customers enter a Blockbuster video store in Dallas.

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What is left of Blockbuster is moving to Colorado.

The video rental company is moving its worldwide headquarters from McKinney to Douglas County, Colo.

The satellite television provider Dish Network Corp., which bought Blockbuster almost a year ago, also is based in Colorado.

Dish said Monday that Blockbuster’s move will bring more than 150 management positions to the Denver area over the next five years.

Gov. John Hickenlooper said Dish already employs nearly 5,000 people along the Front Range in Colorado.
 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Posted Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 - 8:49 AM CDT

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Michelle Williams & Jason Segel: Date Night in NYC!

Michelle Williams, Jason SegelSplash News

And another celeb duo has decided to take things a little more public.

First, the phenomenon known as Kimye saw fit to make their pairing all but official, and now this adorable couple, Michelle Williams and Jason Segel (Jaselle? Michon?), have done the same, going more public than ever during their own date night in New York.

So what did these two get up to?

MORE: Michelle and Jason go privately public at Five-Year Engagement premiere

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The 32-year-old Segel and the 31-year-old Williams were caught out by the paparazzi when exiting La Esquina Monday night, a Mexican eatery in Manhattan.

It’s not the first time the couple has been spotted out together, but it’s certainly the first time they’ve been photographed knowingly (unlike, perhaps, their romantic Brooklyn stroll last month) and making no attempt to hide while in the vicinity of cameras (unlike, no perhaps about it, when they succeeded in remaining un-photographed while by all accounts PDA-ing it up at the Five-Year Engagement premiere last week).

So are their reticence-eschewing ways a sign that things are getting more serious between these two? Time will tell, but we can only hope. We’re rooting for those two crazy kids!

PHOTOS: Fashion Spotlight: Michelle Williams

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