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Quick Takes: 'Walking Dead' walks tall

December 05, 2012

Those zombies in "The Walking Dead" have already terrorized the good people of Atlanta. Now they're gobbling down the ratings record books too.

AMC's zombie smash has become the first cable series to win the fall TV ratings in the important, advertiser-friendly demographic of viewers ages 18 to 49, according to Nielsen, when DVR playbacks are included.

That includes established network series such as "Modern Family," "The Voice" and "The Big Bang Theory," as well as the new fall shows such as "Elementary" and "Revolution."

What kind of power does "Dead" have? Sunday's "midseason finale" — the show will return in February — drew 10.5 million viewers. Throw in a couple of encores, and the total rose to 15.2 million.

Season 3 also has been averaging an additional 3.4 million viewers who watch later in the week and are included in the DVR numbers.

—Scott Collins

S.F. Opera reads Stephen King

The San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker's "Dolores Claiborne" on Sept. 18 next year.

The company said that the opera, with a libretto by J.D. McClatchy, will be based on Stephen King's 1992 novel about a character who denies killing her employer but admits murdering her husband almost three decades earlier after learning he sexually molested their 14-year-old daughter.

This will be the fifth opera for Picker following "Emmeline" (1996), "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (1998), "Therese Raquin" (2001) and "An American Tragedy" (2005).

The San Francisco Opera also announced it had commissioned Italian composer Marco Tutino to write "La Ciociara" (Two Women), based on Alberto Moravia's 1958 novel, which was adapted into a film starring Sophia Loren.

—Associated Press

Sitcom vets join in TV Land pilot

Three sitcom veterans — Kirstie Alley ("Cheers"), Rhea Perlman ("Taxi") and Michael Richards ("Seinfeld") — are teaming in a pilot for a prospective series on TV Land.

The series, "Giant Baby," focuses on Broadway star Maddie Banks, played by Alley. Richards plays her limo driver, Perlman her assistant.

—Associated Press

Takei beamed into comic book

Mr. Sulu in Riverdale? Oh, my!

Actor and equal rights advocate George Takei, whose portrayal of the "Star Trek" character in television and film has made him a science-fiction legend, is crossing a new frontier this week by appearing as himself in issue No. 6 of Archie Comics' "Kevin Keller," a series about a gay resident of Riverdale.

Takei, who is gay, said his appearance in the issue that is released Wednesday dovetails nicely with his real-life advocacy for equal rights because it helps bring home his message that anyone can aspire to be what they want to be no matter who they are.

Takei, 75, said he was quick to say yes when asked about appearing in the comic.

"I remember as a preteen and a teenager, I used to read Archie Comics," said Takei, who grew up in California. "I was so flattered."

—Associated Press

'Infrared' lands dubious award

England's most feared literary prize was announced Tuesday night — "awarded" wouldn't be the right word, because the winning author was not in attendance. That was Nancy Huston, who took the 2012 Bad Sex in Fiction Award for her novel "Infrared."

The Bad Sex in Fiction Award is presented by the Literary Review, a British journal. While all in good fun, it's not a prize that authors hope to win. The judges cited passages such as "flesh, that archaic kingdom that brings forth tears and terrors, nightmares, babies and bedazzlements," and a long one building to a climax of "undulating space where the undulating skies make your non-body undulate."

Huston has plenty of weighty literary awards to counteract this one: She has won the Prix Goncourt, France's highest literary honor; been a finalist for the Orange Prize; received the Canadian Governor's General Award for Fiction in French; and been awarded the Prix Femina.

—Carolyn Kellogg

Cooper has blindness scare

Anderson Cooper says a reporting assignment turned into a temporary blindness scare.

On his talk show Tuesday, Cooper said he was in Portugal last week working on a story for "60 Minutes" and spent two hours on the water. He said he later developed a burning sensation in his eyes and lost sight for 36 hours.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical correspondent for NBC News, explained to Cooper that he had suffered a retina burn.

—Associated Press

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