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Quick Takes: 'Shameless' scores big ratings for Showtime

January 11, 2011

'It may have divided the critics, but in the ratings "Shameless" scored another win for Showtime's programming strategy of banking on antihero star vehicles.

The drama, an Americanized version of a British series, stars William H. Macy as an abusive, substance-abusing father. It delivered 982,000 total viewers, according to the Nielsen Co. — the pay-cable network's biggest drama premiere in seven years, since "Dead Like Me" scored 1.1 million.

The show divided reviewers, with Los Angeles Times critic Mary McNamara finding it gritty and preachy, "never a good combination."

Meanwhile, Showtime's fourth-season premiere of "Californication" — the comedy with David Duchovny as an oversexed writer — was the show's best season opener ever, with 848,000 viewers.

It provided a strong lead-in for "Episodes," Matt LeBlanc's return to series TV, which premiered to 768,000 viewers.

—Scott Collins

Douglas says tumor is gone

Actor Michael Douglas says he has completed treatment for Stage IV throat cancer and tells "Today" host Matt Lauer on Tuesday that his tumor is gone and that the odds are that he has beaten the disease.

In a taped interview, Douglas said he felt relieved after a "wild, six-month ride." He said that he had lost 32 pounds but had put 12 pounds back on. He said he'll continue to go in for monthly checkups.

The 66-year-old actor is set to play Liberace in Steven Soderbergh's film about the entertainer that begins shooting in May or June.

—Associated Press

Newbery Medal given to 'Moon'

"Moon Over Manifest," Clare Vanderpool's story of a girl in Depression-era Kansas who investigates a hidden past, was awarded the Newbery Medal by the American Library Assn. at a ceremony in San Diego.

The top award for illustration, the Caldecott Medal, went to "A Sick Day for Amos McGee," illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by her husband, Philip C. Stead. Woodblock prints tell the story of a zookeeper who is visited by the animals he cares for when he stays home sick.

For a complete list of the awards, winners and finalists in 23 categories, go to the American Library Assn. website, http://www.ala.org.

—Carolyn Kellogg

Rush in 'Diary of a Madman'

Geoffrey Rush will return to the New York stage next month, when he opens in "The Diary of a Madman" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Rush plays a civil servant driven mad in the darkly comic play adapted from a short story by Nikolai Gogol.

The play is presented by the Australian theater company Belvoir, which also launched the production of "Exit the King" that Rush starred in. Rush won a Tony Award in 2009 for his performance as a mad monarch.

"The Diary of a Madman" will play from Feb. 11 to March 12. Rush is nominated for a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for his performance in "The King's Speech."

—Associated Press

Finally

Expecting: Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, 35, is pregnant with her first child, US magazine reported. Her boyfriend of three years is actor-director Guillaume Canet, who worked with her on the 2003 film "Love Me if You Dare."

Farewells: Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Shanice Wilson and Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. honored singer Teena Marie on Monday at a private memorial service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The singer died Dec. 27 at age 54.

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