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Quick Takes: NBC, nonprofits to team

December 06, 2011

Ten NBC-owned television stations across the nation will team with nonprofit news outlets in an attempt to beef up their enterprise and analytical reporting, the network announced Monday.

NBC outlets in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia will work with non-commercial outfits in those cities — KPCC public radio, the Chicago Reporter and WHYY public radio and television, respectively — while all of the network's owned-and-operated stations will get early access to investigative reports from the independent, nonprofit newsroom Pro Publica. The arrangement comes as Comcast moves to fulfill its commitment to federal regulators to strengthen local, public-interest programming in the wake of its purchase of NBCUniversal earlier this year.

The partnerships also continue the trend toward content sharing throughout media industry, as operators try to trim the high costs that come with producing stories on their own. The New York Times, for example, has expanded its editions in Chicago, San Francisco and other locations via publishing partnerships with nonprofit news outlets. In Los Angeles, Pasadena-based KPCC-FM (89.3) and NBC4 each plan to use content produced by the other and, in some cases, stories that the two outlets will develop together. Details and a starting time for the joint content programming remain to be worked out.

KPCC Chief Executive Bill Davis said the for-profit station and his nonprofit radio outfit will be able to expand the size of their audiences and the reach of their reporting. "We can get to the kind of investigative and enterprise stories we wouldn't be able to singularly," Davis said.

—James Rainey

SoCal artists awarded grants

The holidays have come early for dozens of writers, dancers, musicians, filmmakers and other artists across the country. United States Artists has just announced the recipients of its annual grants: 50 artists (or artist teams), each receiving no-strings-attached grants of $50,000. This year five of the 50 so-called USA fellows are based in Southern California.

The formally inventive, technologically savvy L.A. architect Elena Manferdini received one of the grants in the category of architecture/design. Long Beach independent filmmaker Dee Rees, who loosely based the upcoming movie "Pariah" on her experience growing up gay in a religious black family, won in the media category. Nancy Keystone, a playwright and founder of

Critical Mass Performance group in L.A., won in theater.

And the region had two winners in visual art: assemblage artist John Outterbridge of Los Angeles, an instrumental figure in the Watts arts scene, and conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg of Santa Monica, who once described himself as a cultural "flaneur" for his wide-ranging, mass media-inspired practice. (Other categories include craft and traditional arts, dance, music and literature.)

Outterbridge, 78, and Ruppersberg, 67, are among the oldest recipients this time. They have also been recognized this year by several Pacific Standard Time exhibitions designed to showcase pioneers of the Southern California art scene.

United States Artists Executive Director Katharine DeShaw calls the Pacific Standard Time connection a happy coincidence. "If

you look at the full list of winners, a lot of these artists are very, very talented and have been very important mentors for next generations, but have in the past gone under-recognized. I am delighted we can celebrate them."

—Jori Finkel

Wedding plans for 'Rosie' host

Rosie O'Donnell and her girlfriend, Michelle Rounds, are engaged.

O'Donnell's publicist and a spokesman for the Oprah Winfrey Network say the host of "The Rosie Show" told her studio audience about the engagement Monday during a commercial break. The Emmy award-winning talk show host's new program debuted in September. She tapes in Winfrey's former Chicago studio.

Rounds is a 40-year-old headhunter for an information technology company. O'Donnell is a mother of four and was previously married. She and former partner Kelli Carpenter publicly wed in San Francisco in 2004, two weeks after the mayor authorized granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The licenses were later voided by the California Supreme Court.

O'Donnell's publicist says a wedding date hasn't been set.

—Associated Press

Brinkley to pay back taxes soon

Christie Brinkley vows she'll immediately repay the $531,000 she owes in back taxes.

New York's Daily News recently reported that the Internal Revenue Service has filed a tax lien against the supermodel.

Brinkley says in a statement that the lien was a "result of an error" and pledges it will be paid in full by Wednesday.

Brinkley says she regrets not paying more attention to her accounting. She says she's been focused on

her parents, who are dealing with "serious health issues."

The 57-year-old Brinkley was married to Billy Joel and appeared in his "Uptown Girl" video. She made her Broadway debut this year playing Roxie Hart in the musical "Chicago."

—Associated Press

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