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Quick Takes: Bieber mania in Mexico

June 12, 2012

Hordes of school-skipping tween girls and their parents streamed into Mexico City's historic main plaza Monday, jostling for the best spots at a free concert by teen superstar Justin Bieber that was expected to draw 200,000 people.

Authorities said they would have more than 5,000 police on hand, partly to prevent the sort of crush that injured 40 Bieber fans at a free concert in Oslo, Norway, in late May.

The Zocalo is ringed by some of the most historic structures in the hemisphere: Mexico's Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace and the partially excavated remains of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. The plaza was created by the Aztecs in 1325 and was redrawn after the Spanish conquest of 1521.

Bieber's performance emptied the sprawling square of its normal population, heavy on tourists, street vendors and political protesters, some of whom agreed grudgingly to clear space for the concert by abandoning an encampment there after negotiations with the city government.

A similar concert in the Zocalo last month by former Beatle Paul McCartney drew an estimated 230,000 people.

—Associated Press

Behar to co-host at Current TV

Al Gore is turning to another cable-news castoff to help prop up his Current TV network. This time, it's Joy Behar.

Behar — best-known for ABC's morning gabfest "The View" — will co-host a 6 p.m. talk show Monday through Thursday starting in September for the low-rated outlet founded by Gore and legal entrepreneur Joel Hyatt. The program will repeat in prime time.

In a sort of dry run, Behar will guest-host for the vacationing Eliot Spitzer next week on Current's "Viewpoint."

Current hired ex-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann to great fanfare and a high salary, only to sack him earlier this year after he warred with executives over technical issues, his work schedule and assorted other issues. The firing led to a lawsuit that's still pending.

—Scott Collins

No winner in concerto contest

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has chosen to not name a winner in its nationwide online concerto competition.

Music director Manfred Honeck announced the first-of-its-kind contest in February. Honeck and symphony officials came up with the idea in hopes of finding talented musicians who weren't already represented by talent agencies and who otherwise might not have come to the symphony's attention.

Orchestra official Robert Moir didn't explain Monday why no winner was chosen.

Soloists entered by downloading 10-minute clips onto a symphony YouTube website. The winner was to have received $10,000 and a solo slot at two symphony concerts.

—Associated Press

Anchor has blood disorder

Robin Roberts, who overcame breast cancer five years ago, is battling another health scare. The "Good Morning America" anchor announced Monday that she has myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease of the blood and bone marrow, that was likely caused by her cancer treatment.

The 51-year-old anchor expects to undergo a bone marrow transplant this fall, with her sister as donor.

"My doctors tell me I'm going to beat this — and I know it's true," she said in the statement. " If you Google MDS, you may find some scary stuff, including statistics that my doctors insist don't apply to me. They say I'm younger and fitter than most people who confront this disease and will be cured."

Roberts will begin chemotherapy immediately. She'll continue appearing on the morning show but is expected to take several months off after the transplant to recover.

—Yvonne Villarreal

Showtime adds 2 dramas to slate

Showtime has added two new dramas — "Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex" — to its slate of original programming, the network announced Monday.

"Ray Donovan" is a family drama starring Liev Schreiber as a fixer called to solve the three Cs of L.A.'s elite: complicated, confidential and controversial problems. But as is always the case, he can't seem to solve the tribulations created by his own family. Veteran actor Jon Voight stars as the ex-con patriarch of the family unit.

In "Masters of Sex," Michael Sheen ("Frost/Nixon," Rachel McAdams' beau) and Lizzy Caplan ("Cloverfield," "Party Down") will portray William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the husband-and-wife team who pioneered research on the nature of human sexuality.

Both series have been given a 12-episode order and will film in Los Angeles. They are expected to make their debuts in 2013.

—Yvonne Villarreal

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