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Quick Takes: 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' finale draws 16.4 million viewers

June 09, 2011

When Oprah Winfrey told her daytime viewers farewell last month, more than 16 million were watching.

The Nielsen Co. reported Wednesday that the May 25 finale of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" drew 16.4 million viewers. This made the finale the show's most-watched episode in more than 18 years, since the February 1993 airing of its "Why I Love Older Women" episode, which was seen by 17.3 million viewers.

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" averaged 8.2 million viewers during May.

— Associated Press

Obreht wins fiction prize

Belgrade-born author Téa Obreht was the surprise winner Wednesday of Britain's Orange Prize for Fiction for her debut novel "The Tiger's Wife," a mystical, magical examination of the recent conflicts in the Balkans.

At 25, Obreht is the youngest author to scoop up the award, which honors female writers from around the world and is now in its 16th year.

Despite her high profile in the United States, where she has lived since she was 12, attended USC and is seen as an up-and-coming literary star, Obreht was among British bookmakers' outsiders to win the Orange Prize.

The favorite had been Emma Donoghue ("Room"), followed by Aminatta Forna ("The Memory of Love"). Also on the shortlist were Emma Henderson ("Grace Williams Says It Loud"), Nicole Krauss ("Great House") and Kathleen Winter ("Annabel").

— Reuters

Ja Rule is sentenced to two years

Hip-hop artist Ja Rule was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday, six months after he pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

"See y'all later," the 35-year-old rapper and actor, born Jeffrey Atkins, told family and friends in the New York courtroom audience as he was handcuffed.

The charge stemmed from a July 2007 incident, when police pulled over Atkins after a New York concert and found a semi-automatic handgun hidden in his car, according to authorities.

Atkins also faces possible federal prison time for failing to pay taxes from 2004 to 2008. He pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to file taxes in a New Jersey federal court in March and is awaiting sentencing.

— Reuters

Vieira's tearful, tuneful farewell

Meredith Vieira has spent her last morning hosting TV's most-watched morning show.

The popular "Today" co-anchor ended her five-year run on Wednesday, telling viewers her decision to go is "right, but it's hard."

That decision was clearly hers alone. Seated beside co-host Matt Lauer, she has helped keep "Today" the audience front-runner among network morning shows. The 57-year-old Vieira has said she wants to spend more time with her family.

Vieira wiped her eyes as she was serenaded by Carole King with a Vieira favorite, "You've Got a Friend." Later, Vieira was surprised with a starring role in a live music video to the tune of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Led by various members of the "Today" company, Vieira scampered and danced from the studio through the warrens of the "Today" control room and offices, then up the stairs and outside to Rockefeller Plaza, where she was cheered by the gathered crowd.

"Today" show veteran Ann Curry will take over for Vieira.

— Associated Press

Rock hall opens Beatles exhibition

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland has opened the world's most comprehensive collection of items from the Beatles as part of the first redesign in the facility's 15-year history.

The exhibit announced Wednesday features nearly 70 items, including several that are being displayed for the first time, such as Paul McCartney's handwritten arrangement for the song "Birthday." Visitors also can see guitars played by John Lennon and George Harrison, personal clothing and the logo drum head from the kit that Ringo Starr used on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February 1964.

— Associated Press

Sawyer will talk with Dugard

Kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard has agreed to give her first interview to veteran broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer.

ABC News reported Wednesday that the "World News Tonight" anchor plans to tape a conversation with Dugard that will air next month, just before publication of Dugard's memoir, "A Stolen Life."

An exact date wasn't provided, but the book is to be released July 12.

Dugard was kidnapped from South Lake Tahoe in 1991, then sexually abused and held captive for 18 years by Phillip and Nancy Garrido. She gave birth to two daughters by Phillip Garrido. The couple pleaded guilty and received lengthy prison sentences last week.

— Associated Press

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