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Quick Takes: Farewell, 'Hannah Montana'

January 19, 2011

A darkness has fallen on the kingdom of the preteens: "Hannah Montana" is officially gone.

The Disney Channel series about ordinary girl Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) who has a secret life as a pop star wrapped its fourth and final season Sunday with a finale that drew 6.2 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Co. That was up 9% compared with the average this season, the show's most-watched.

Among kids 2 to 11, the finale drew 2.1 million viewers.

Despite the show's popularity, Cyrus has said she's relieved to be leaving. "I've grown out of it," she told an interviewer last year. The actress turned 18 in November.

—Scott Collins

Museum chief defends decision

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough on Tuesday defended his decision to remove an artist's video that depicted ants crawling on a crucifix from an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, saying a controversy over the short clip threatened to overshadow its first major exhibition on gay themes in art history.

Critics had blasted Clough's decision last November as verging on artistic censorship; members of Congress and a Catholic group had complained that the video was sacrilegious.

In his first public response to questions on the issue, Clough said the controversy overshadowed the exhibition and threatened to spiral into a debate on religious desecration. He said he acted to preserve the overall exhibit, "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture."

"I still believe it was a right decision and I'm still proud that that exhibit is still up and thousands of people are coming and learning what we hoped they would learn from it," Clough said in an interview.

—Associated Press

Hannity beats Morgan's debut

Sarah Palin found a way to steal the thunder from the premiere of CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" and his first guest, Oprah Winfrey.

Morgan's heavily promoted CNN show got off to a decent if not thrilling start in the ratings Monday night, scoring 2.1 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Co.

But Fox News Channel, which employs Palin as an analyst, was not to be outdone. The network shrewdly scheduled the former Alaska governor as a guest on "Hannity," where she attacked the mainstream media for connecting her to the recent shooting in Tucson.

As a result, Morgan had to settle for second place among cable news programs in that slot to Sean Hannity, who delivered 2.4 million viewers.

—Scott Collins

As a bonus, some Coltrane demos

Like finding a few extra cookies at the bottom of the jar, Impulse Recordings has announced that its upcoming four-CD set "First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection" will include three previously unreleased demos by John Coltrane.

Recorded in early 1961 for "Africa/Brass," the large ensemble album that would mark the saxophonist great's debut for Taylor's new label, the songs were recorded and conducted by trumpeter and Coltrane friend Cal Massey.

Including the standard "Laura" along with two Massey compositions — eventual "Africa/Brass" track "The Damned Don't Cry" along with a slower take on "Nakatini Serenade" (previously recorded by Coltrane in 1958) — the demos could offer an interesting glimpse into Coltrane's process heading into the "Africa/Brass" sessions.

In addition to "Africa/Brass," the set will include Ray Charles' "Genius + Soul = Jazz" and two albums by Danish trombonist Kai Winding that were never released in the U.S. It is scheduled to come out in April.

—Chris Barton

'Social Network' team to reteam

"The Social Network" has become one of the biggest hits of this film season. Now some of the key people behind it are coming together for a new movie.

Ben Mezrich, the writer on whose nonfiction book the movie is based, is teaming up with "Social Network" producers for a film called "Sex on the Moon." It would tell the story of Thad Roberts, a once-promising young scientist working for NASA who in 2004 hatched a plan to steal highly prized moon rocks from the Johnson Space Center and sell them on the Internet.

The project is based on a book proposal by Mezrich. Sony, which released "The Social Network," has optioned the rights.

—Nicole Sperling

Finally

Meet the Prof: Frank Gehry — whose architectural marvels include Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the IAC Building in New York — has been named a professor of architecture at USC, where he earned his bachelor of architecture degree in 1954.

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