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Quick Takes: CBS' Harry Smith joining NBC

July 09, 2011

Harry Smith is joining NBC, the network confirmed Friday, leaving CBS News after a 25-year career there.

He is expected to join Brian Williams' upcoming prime-time newsmagazine, according to TVNewser, which also obtained a copy of a memo CBS News President David Rhodes sent to his staff: "Harry Smith has been a fixture here at CBS News for a generation — he joined us in Dallas in 1986 — but today he's decided to move on."

Smith was an anchor at CBS' "Morning Show" until a shakeup late last year, when Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and Dave Price were replaced by Chris Wragge, Erica Hill and Maggie Castro.

NBC would not confirm his role in Williams' hourlong show, saying an official announcement is planned for Monday.

—Joy Press

Boston fireworks shots altered

TV footage of Boston's July Fourth fireworks show was spectacular. Some of the shots also were physically impossible.

The CBS national broadcast Monday included shots of colorful explosions over city landmarks, including Fenway Park, the Statehouse and Quincy Market.

Organizers of the show acknowledged to the Boston Globe for a story Friday that some scenes had been altered: Images of fireworks going off over the Charles River were superimposed over prefilmed landmarks in other parts of the city.

David Mugar, the Boston-area businessman and philanthropist who is the show's executive producer, defended the practice, saying the broadcast was entertainment, not news.

—Associated Press

Ewings return with 'Dallas'

J.R. rides again.

TNT said Friday that it has ordered a new version of "Dallas," the iconic TV series about the battles, loves and power struggles within a Texas oil and cattle-ranching dynasty.

The series will combine new cast members with stars from the original series, which ran on CBS from 1978-91. Original stars Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy, who played battling brothers J.R. and Bobby Ewing, will be joined by Linda Gray, who played J.R.'s ex-wife, Sue Ellen, and newcomers Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Julia Gonzao and Brenda Strong.

TNT has ordered 10 episodes of "Dallas," which is scheduled to premiere in the summer of 2012.

—Greg Braxton

Oprah may host Oscars: report

Oscars, Oprah; Oprah, Oscars. One can almost hear David Letterman saying it.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday that talk show queen and cable network owner Oprah Winfrey has emerged as a top candidate to host the Academy Awards next February, but the event's organizers quickly shot down the speculation.

The Sun-Times, citing unnamed sources inside the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said organizers feel Winfrey's presence would expand the show's audience.

But officially, the academy isn't talking — yet.

"Every year there's always great interest and excitement about who will host the Oscars," the academy said in a statement. "This is a wonderful example of just that, and at this point, there is nothing for us to comment on regarding who is or is not on the rumored Oscar host list."

—Reuters

Wynn Resorts buys rare vases

Wynn Resorts has acquired a rare set of antique Chinese vases to adorn its newest resort in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.

The Las Vegas-based company announced Friday that it paid more than $12.7 million for four porcelain vases Thursday at a London auction.

The vessels date from the late 1700s and early 1800s. Wynn Resorts said the only similar examples belong to the British royal family.

The vases will be on display in a company resort set to open in 2015 on Macau's Cotai Strip.

—Associated Press

Arts council names new chief

The California Arts Council — the embattled state agency that has seen its budget hit hard in recent years — has appointed a new leader who will be coming directly from the Los Angeles area.

Craig Watson has been named the director of the Sacramento organization and will assume his job on Aug. 15. He is currently the executive director of the Arts Council for Long Beach, another group that has dealt with its share of cutbacks and reductions.

Watson will take over from interim director Marilyn Nielsen.

The council has been struggling to survive since the state slashed its budget to a little more than $3 million in 2003.

—David Ng

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