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Quick Takes: David Letterman's long run

April 04, 2012

David Letterman and Craig Ferguson have signed contracts with CBS that will keep their shows, "Late Show" and "The Late Late Show," respectively, on the air through 2014. Letterman is set to become the longest-serving late-night TV host in history, surpassing Johnny Carson's 30-year run on "The Tonight Show."

What sets Letterman's run apart from Carson's is that it is divided into two distinct sections: his original "Late Night With David Letterman" run on NBC, which lasted from 1982 until 1993, and his CBS run, which began in late 1993 and is still going. Carson began his "Tonight Show" gig in 1962 and worked there continuously until 1992.

"David Letterman is a late-night legend with an iconic show and Craig Ferguson continues to evolve the genre in exciting and innovative ways," said CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler in a statement.

Ferguson's "Late Late Show" has charted its own late-night course since its premiere in 2005, with the Scottish-born host frequently tearing up the accepted format by rearranging the order of the show, having themed episodes and delivering unscripted monologues. The show has received Peabody Awards and an Emmy nomination, and with the new contract it will move to a larger stage at CBS Television City.

—Patrick Kevin Day

A presidential 'Mockingbird'

President Obama will introduce a new restoration of the 1962 courtroom drama "To Kill a Mockingbird" on April 7 on the USA Network.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird" tells the story of white Southern lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), who defends a black man accused of rape, Tom Robinson (Brock Peters). The airing on USA marks the first national broadcast of the movie since it was digitally remastered and restored by Universal Pictures and the American Film Institute in conjunction with Universal's centennial this year.

"I'm deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by introducing it to a national audience," Lee said in a statement. "I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I'm proud to know that Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on — in a world that needs him now more than ever."

USA is broadcasting "To Kill a Mockingbird" as part of its "Characters Unite" public-service campaign, a bid to combat discrimination through on-air programming, digital content and events.

—Rebecca Keegan

Adams heads 'Into the Woods'

Amy Adams, who played a princess in the film "Enchanted," will be returning to fairy tales this summer, starring opposite Cinderella and a witch.

The Public Theater said Tuesday that the three-time Academy Award-nominated actress will play the Baker's Wife in its production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's "Into the Woods." The musical is one of two shows the Public will present in Central Park's Delacorte Theater to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of its free Shakespeare in the Park series.

"Into the Woods," directed by Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel, will begin previews on July 23 and continue for five weeks through Aug. 25. Adams, whose films include "The Fighter" and "Doubt," will star with Jack Broderick, Gideon Glick and Cooper Grodin.

The other show is Shakespeare's "As You Like It," directed by Daniel Sullivan with Lily Rabe as Rosalind, David Furr as Orlando and Stephen Spinella as Jaques. The Public announced Tuesday that Oliver Platt and Robert Joy had also joined the cast. Steve Martin will compose original music for the play.

—Associated Press

'Satchmo' cooks up songs, dishes

Smithsonian Folkways will be releasing a recording of one of the last live performances by Louis Armstrong, "Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours." Available on CD and in digital form on April 24, the release comes in celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month.

Recorded in Washington, D.C., just five months before Armstrong's death in 1971, the recording features Armstrong favorites "Mack the Knife," "Rockin' Chair" and "Boy from New Orleans" from an impromptu concert.

Rounding out Armstrong's five-track set is a tribute concert from the same venue after the bandleader's death and, as an added bonus, a selection of Armstrong's favorite recipes.

—Chris Barton

Library's salute to 'Little House'

Laura Ingalls Wilder, who already holds a special place in the hearts of millions of parents and children, soon will be added to the official literary canon of the U.S.

The Library of America announced Tuesday that it will issue a boxed two-volume set this fall of Wilder's "Little House" series, including "Little House on the Prairie" and "Little House in the Big Woods." Wilder based the books on her family's experiences as pioneers in the 19th century. She died in 1957 at age 90.

—Associated Press

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