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Quick Takes: CNN drops Eliot Spitzer's show

July 07, 2011

Eliot Spitzer was bounced from CNN's prime-time lineup on Wednesday, having spent less time as a TV host than he did as New York governor.

CNN reshuffled its schedule to add a new program by former CNBC personality Erin Burnett, move Anderson Cooper's flagship newscast into the tough 8 p.m. time slot and eliminate Spitzer's "In the Arena" program.

CNN has asked Spitzer about staying with the network as a commentator but no decision has been made, said Ken Jautz, executive vice president of CNN/US. Spitzer released a statement referring to his time at CNN in the past tense.

Spitzer, who resigned in March 2008, 14 months into his term as New York governor, amid a prostitution scandal, began his nightly show on CNN in October. At first he was paired on "Parker/Spitzer" with conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, who left in February. The show was then renamed "In the Arena" with Spitzer the lead personality.

—Associated Press

Huffington Post expands to U.K.

The Huffington Post launched a website in Britain on Wednesday, giving Europe its first version of the popular news hub.

The Huffington Post U.K. has lined up a coterie of high-profile bloggers to bolster its coverage of politics, entertainment, style, world news and technology. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Sarah Brown, wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, will pen columns along with celebrities like Ricky Gervais.

The launch is one part of cofounder Arianna Huffington's strategy to expand abroad. It follows the launch of Huffington Post Canada in May. Huffington is also developing a site for France.

—Associated Press

Olbermann loses a lot of viewers

Keith Olbermann's still preaching liberal gloom and doom to the choir, but the church pews have emptied. The commentator's "Countdown" audience in the show's new home on the little Current cable network is about one-third of what he averaged on MSNBC.

But one man's decline can be another's stunning success. Since Olbermann arrived June 20, the audience weeknights at 8 EDT on Current has increased fifteenfold, moving the network, founded six years ago by Democratic stalwarts Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, from total obscurity into cable's lower middle class.

There's been virtually no change in the "Countdown" format, featuring news of the day with an unapologetic and sometimes humorous left-wing slant.

—Philadelphia Inquirer

Spader lands 'Office' job

James Spader is the man who will fill the void of the "world's best boss" on "The Office" this fall, NBC said Wednesday.

Spader, who previously starred in "Boston Legal" and "The Practice," will be reprising his role as Chief Executive Robert California of Sabre, the parent company of Dunder Mifflin.

Kathy Bates played the company's CEO last season, but Spader's character is expected to be more of a regular.

The character, self-assured and sexually charged, made a brief appearance in the series' May finale.

The hire adds a new face to the mix following the departure of Steve Carell after seven seasons.

—Yvonne Villarreal

Modest gain for album sales

The record industry has modest reason to celebrate this week: Album sales are up slightly for the first time in six years compared with the previous year.

Overall album sales, a figure that includes CDs, digital albums, LPs and other media, have increased 1% during the first six months of 2011 over the same period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan's midyear report on U.S. music sales.

The gain is not much but a significant improvement over double-digit percentage drops that have become the norm over the last decade.

Additionally, total music sales — encompassing albums, singles, music video and digital tracks — are up 8.5% over last year at this time.

An irony, however, is that although album sales have been bolstered this year by sales of blockbuster albums from superstar artists such as Lady Gaga and Adele, the increase is more due to strong response to sales of older albums — those released 18 months ago or earlier.

Catalog and deep catalog sales were up 8.5%, which offset a 4% drop in sales of current albums.

—Randy Lewis

Finally

Record deal: Former "American Idol" contestant Pia Toscano has signed a record deal with Interscope Records and will release her debut single, "This Time," on Tuesday, the label said Wednesday. An album will follow later this year.

Added play: The Geffen Playhouse in Westwood has added the West Coast premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire's "Good People" to its 2011-12 season, with an opening set for next April.

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