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Quick Takes: London's Olympic Games may close theaters

December 31, 2011

Andrew Lloyd Webber says London's Olympic Games will force most of the capital's theaters to close during the summer.

Lloyd Webber said Friday the Games will make it "very tough" for shows in London's West End and predicted that three major musicals would not play during the Games.

The composer, whose Really Useful Group owns seven London theaters, told BBC radio that the biggest hits — such as his own "The Phantom of the Opera" — would continue during the Olympics but that others would struggle to draw crowds. He said advance bookings for West End shows were running at only 10% of their normal level.

—Associated Press

Hefner won't slow down in '12

As the new year begins and Playboy approaches its 60th birthday, Hugh Hefner intends to continue working on the magazine, his scrapbooks and a Hollywood movie about his life. "That's alive again," he says of the biopic idea that's been bandied about for decades.

Though 2011 wasn't entirely kind to the man or the brand — Hefner's 24-year-old fiancée called off their engagement days before their June wedding, and NBC's "The Playboy Club" was the first fall TV casualty, canceled after just three episodes — Hefner, 85, is optimistic about what's next, personally and professionally.

"Retirement is unthinkable to me," he says. "The future is bright and very exciting, and I'm looking forward to playing a part in it."

Although Playboy Enterprises named Scott Flanders its chief executive in 2009, Hefner continues to serve as editor in chief of the magazine, choosing the cover models and centerfolds and editing the cartoons, letters and party jokes.

—Associated Press

Brand, Perry are divorcing

Russell Brand and Katy Perry are getting a divorce, the British comedian said Friday.

"Sadly, Katy and I are ending our marriage. I'll always adore her, and I know we'll remain friends," said Brand, 36, offering no other details.

Brand, whose recent film credits include "Arthur," "Hop" and "Get Him to the Greek," and the 27-year-old pop singer were married in October 2010 at a resort inside a tiger reserve in India.

—Associated Press

Queen to honor Bonham Carter

Oscar-nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter, famed for playing quirky characters as well as British royalty, is on the list of people being awarded honors by Queen Elizabeth II this new year.

Bonham Carter missed out on the supporting actress Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth, the supportive wife of King George VI, in "The King's Speech." Her other major roles have included characters in films such as "Planet of the Apes," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and the "Harry Potter" series.

The queen, who is the daughter of King George VI and Elizabeth, awarded Bonham Carter a CBE, short for Commanders of the Order of the British Empire.

Bonham Carter said she is dedicating the CBE to her late father.

Peter Bazalgette, who brought the show "Big Brother" to the United Kingdom and devised a string of much-copied lifestyle and reality shows, was made a knight.

Professor Geoffrey Hill, who has been described as the greatest living poet in the English language, also became a knight.

—Associated Press

KABC shuffles weekday lineup

Talk station KABC-AM (790) will change its weekday lineup starting Tuesday, with moves that executives hope will reverse a ratings tailspin and position the outlet to better cover the looming election season and other issues.

Doug McIntyre trades his popular overnight "Red Eye Radio" show for morning drive, taking over the 5 to 9 a.m. shift from Peter Tilden. Larry Elder heads to afternoon drive, 3 to 6 p.m., from late mornings. That move pushes Mark Levin's nationally syndicated show to 6 to 9 p.m. Young host John Phillips moves from evenings to Elder's old spot, 9 a.m. to noon. Nationally syndicated host Sean Hannity remains at noon to 3 p.m. Finally, Tilden moves to 9 p.m. to midnight, while Gary McNamara and Eric Harley take over "Red Eye Radio," midnight to 5 a.m.

KABC program director Jack Silver said the new lineup "puts all of KABC's incredibly talented hosts into time slots that highlight their strengths."

He also said that the station hopes to come across as less partisan, with a greater variety of voices.

In the December ratings, released last week, KABC — at one time the dominant talk-radio station in the market — finished in a four-way tie for 35th place, averaging only 0.7% of the Los Angeles-Orange County listening audience age 6 and older.

The station was 30th a year ago, and was last in the Top 25 in April 2010.

—Steve Carney

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