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Quick Takes: 'Pan Am's' final descent?

February 21, 2012

"Pan Am" may be going the way of Pan Am.

ABC's period piece about the 1960s glamour days of jet travel needed to post big ratings in its Sunday finale to stay a contender for renewal next season. But the show just didn't have the engine thrust to do it.

A piddling 3.9 million viewers tuned in to the show's Season 1 farewell, according to early data from Nielsen on Monday (final numbers will come Wednesday). That put "Pan Am" last at the gate at 10 p.m., behind CBS' "CSI: Miami" (10 million) and NBC's season premiere of "Celebrity Apprentice" (7.7 million). The show was likewise last among viewers ages 18 to 49.

The show drew nearly 11 million viewers for its premiere last fall.

—Scott Collins

Astronaut writes children's book

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who collaborated with his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, on her memoir, is writing a children's book about a mouse that goes to space.

His "Mousetronaut: A Partially True Story" will be published in October by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. According to Simon & Schuster, which released a statement Monday, the book tells of a little mouse chosen for a space mission.

Kelly, who retired in the fall, turns 48 on Tuesday. Last year, he collaborated with Giffords on the memoir "Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope," which told of her recovery from a shooting.

—Associated Press

'Trouble' film

to finally screen

Actor Paul Sorvino might finally be over his trouble with "The Trouble with Cali."

Armed with $500,000 in taxpayer funding from Lackawanna County, Pa., the first-time director and "Goodfellas" star shot the independent film in Pennsylvania six years ago. But the project ran short of cash, and politicians demanded to know what he did with their investment. Sorvino, in turn, was stunned and hurt that anyone would question his integrity.

Sorvino, 72, is hoping all that's in the past now that his passion project is about to get its first screening on Tuesday, at Arizona's Sedona Film Festival.

He said he's proud of the black comedy about an aspiring dancer and her dysfunctional parents. His Oscar-winning daughter, Mira, has a small role as the title character's ballet instructor; another daughter, Amanda, wrote the script and most of the score; son Michael produced the movie and appears on screen. Sorvino himself plays Cali's father.

The Sorvinos hope Lackawanna County will soon make back its investment, plus a percentage of any profits. They're hoping to create buzz on the film festival circuit. A theatrical release is their ultimate goal, though a TV deal would be fine, too.

—Associated Press

Tenor too ill to perform as Ahab

Ben Heppner has canceled his Tuesday appearance in "Moby-Dick" at the San Diego Opera. The company said that the tenor was ill and that the role of Captain Ahab would be sung that night by Jay Hunter Morris.

"Moby-Dick," by Jake Heggie, is an operatic adaptation of the Herman Melville classic novel. Heppner originated the role of Ahab in the world premiere at the Dallas Opera in 2010.

In recent years, Heppner, 56, has been noted as much for his cancellations as his appearances and some vocal travails in performances.

Heppner and Morris are scheduled to share the role of Ahab when "Moby-Dick" premieres in San Francisco in October.

Performances of "Moby-Dick" will continue in San Diego on Feb. 24 and 26, with Heppner's availability dependent on his recovery.

—David Ng

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