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Quick Takes: A&E scores with 'Storage Wars'

July 23, 2011

"Storage Wars" has just lifted the door on some record ratings.

The A&E reality hit about storage auctions delivered

5.1 million total viewers in its Season 2 premiere at 10:30 Wednesday night, according to the Nielsen Co. That was the second half of back-to-back premiere episodes; the first scored 4.5 million viewers.

That makes it the highest-rated series telecast in A&E history. Perhaps more impressive: The hour beat original episodes of NBC's reality dating show "Love in the Wild"

(4.6 million) and ABC's newsmagazine "Primetime Nightline" (3.2 million).

"Storage Wars" is structured as a competition among professional buyers who bid on the unclaimed contents of commercial storage lockers after getting just a quick glimpse inside.

—Scott Collins

Heidi Fleiss, parrot lover

A new kind of creature is roaming Animal Planet: former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss.

In a stroke of programming inspiration — or perhaps desperation — the cable network on July 31 will air the one-hour special "Heidi Fleiss: Prostitutes to Parrots." (It will air at 10 p.m., when, presumably, most of the network's younger viewers are asleep.)

The network release says the program "follows Fleiss as she struggles to care for the new loves in her life" — more than 20 macaw parrots. "With her home covered in bird poop and monthly bills for the birds soaring into the thousands, the former madam must balance her need to tend to the birds at home with the necessity of leaving them to earn a living outside of it," the release adds.

In fact, this is not Fleiss' first problematic run-in with birds. In 2008, she was accused of leaving a rental house in Nevada trashed by her pet macaws.

—Scott Collins

Willie Nelson, hall of famer

Country music legend and Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson will be inducted next month into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kan.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 13, the same day as the 26th annual concert to benefit farm families takes place at Live-

strong Sporting Park in nearby Kansas City, Kan.

Nelson organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 with John Mellencamp and Neil Young to raise money for family farmers and draw attention to their economic struggles.

Nelson said Thursday he's honored and humbled to become the 39th inductee in the Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Mellencamp, Young, Nelson and fellow Farm Aid Board member Dave Mathews are among the musicians who will perform at the August concert.

—Associated Press

Chili Peppers

to play benefit

The Red Hot Chili Peppers will play a rare small-venue show on Aug. 24 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles as a benefit for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, the nonprofit institution that Chili Peppers bassist Flea helped create to offer music lessons to youths in the region and scholarships for those who could not otherwise afford to pay.

General seating tickets that go on sale Saturday will be $125. Proceeds will go toward the conservatory's operating costs and to support its scholarship program. Flea started the Silverlake Conservatory with Keith Barry in 2001 and RHCP singer Anthony Kiedis is a member of the board of directors.

—Randy Lewis

Leno books YOLA group

Members of the Gustavo Dudamel-inspired Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles made a guest appearance on Thursday's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on NBC.

Members from the group provided backup music for singers Rickey Minor, Sharon Jones and Grace Potter, who provided a preview of their scheduled Sunday

concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

The YOLA Expo Center Youth Orchestra is a joint initiative between the L.A. Philharmonic, the Harmony Project and the EXPO Center. The program is modeled on Venezuela's El Sistema program and provides free music lessons to students from disadvantaged areas.

—David Ng

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