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Quick Takes: World Cup final sets U.S. ratings record

July 13, 2010

Almost 25 million people in the United States watched Spain beat the Netherlands and take the World Cup on Sunday, a record audience for a telecast of a soccer game here.

According to Nielsen, ABC had 15.5 million viewers while Univision drew 8.8 million.

The appeal of soccer has been growing steadily in the United States for years and the 24.3 million figure is not far behind the 28.2 million that tuned into Game 7 of the NBA final between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics last month.

Overall, ESPN said coverage of all 64 World Cup matches averaged about 3.3 million viewers on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. That's a 41% improvement from 2006, when the games averaged 2.3 million viewers.

—Joe Flint

Walters checks in with 'View'

Television personality Barbara Walters made her first TV appearance Monday since undergoing open heart surgery in May and said she is "fully recovered" from the procedure to replace a faulty valve.

She checked in with her fellow panelists on the ABC daytime talk show "The View." The 80-year-old broadcaster said from her Manhattan apartment that she was never in serious discomfort from the surgery.

She plans to rejoin her comrades when "The View" begins its new season in September.

—Associated Press

Weekend grosses redone

The estimates that the Hollywood studios made about this past weekend's box office fell a little short. No, it was more than a little short.

In fact, every single movie in the top 10 ended up generating less revenue than their studios estimated on Sunday.

According to the actual weekend ticket sales compiled Monday by Hollywood.com, the studios overestimated weekend box-office revenue for the top 10 movies by $9 million.

The biggest change was for "Despicable Me." Universal Pictures estimated that its 3-D animated film grossed $60.1 million, but the final total was $56.4 million. Summit Entertainment said "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" would land at $33.4 million, but it came in at $31.7 million. "Predators," the No. 3 movie, ended up $500,000 lower than its estimate at $24.8 million.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the consistent shortfalls. The large audience for the World Cup final on TV may have been a factor.

—Ben Fritz

Late-night viewers down

Late-night ratings sank over the last three months, despite the attention and extraordinary television created over the winter by the drama of Jay Leno taking back "The Tonight Show" from Conan O'Brien.

"Late-night talk shows have been around since the 1950s, and you wonder if they are getting passé with the viewing public," said Brad Adgate, an analyst with Horizon Media.

Competition is a factor. Johnny Carson in his prime never had to worry about a Jon Stewart or George Lopez. Or video games and the Internet. Or, for that matter, his own network. At 11:35 p.m., more people now watch programs saved on their digital video recorders than either Leno or David Letterman, the Nielsen Co. said.

Leno averaged 4 million viewers a night during April, May and June. That's a full 1 million viewers lost to NBC compared with the same three months in 2009. Letterman wasn't necessarily the beneficiary, since his audience of 3.3 million people was off 7% from 2009.

An hour later, NBC's Jimmy Fallon and CBS' Craig Ferguson are both down. Comedy Central's Stewart and Stephen Colbert are essentially drawing the same numbers as last year.

—Associated Press

OCMA steps in for MOCA

Fans of the late Montreal-born, L.A.-based artist Jack Goldstein, who recently learned that the Museum of Contemporary Art scrapped plans to organize a survey of his work, will be happy to know that the show has found a home.

Director Dennis Szakacs of the Orange County Museum of Art said that his institution will present the first U.S. Goldstein retrospective in the summer of 2012.

"This kind of show is right in our wheelhouse, because it's about a very important artist who has not been recognized widely enough," he said.

He called Goldstein, who died in 2003, "one of the instigators of what many people consider one of the last cohesive, avant-garde movements in American art: the Pictures Generation."

The subject of a 2009 show at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pictures Generation artists are known for using appropriation strategies and wrestling with the rise of mass media.

—Jori Finkel

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